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The Reign Of Peter The Great Of Russia Notes

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THE REIGN OF PETER THE GREAT RUSSIA The Establishment of Royal Authority: Problems facing Russia in the 1680s:

Geographical Location- Rivers on ran from north to south and the cities were on the east and west. The Archangel River was frozen for half of the year. Has fertile soil but it is frozen for half a year.

Economy- Russia needed to import goods which could not be obtained during the winter. This was a difficult problem as their only means of import was the Archangel Sea which was frozen for half a year and Russia was too poor to import many of its products. The economy was not flourishing because the end of privileges for foreign trade meant Russia was even more isolated from contact with the west.

Civilasation- 90% of the population were peasants.

Diplomatic Isolation:

• Law Codification 1694- The law codification legalized serfdom making Russia seem more under developed compared to other West European countries. This tied peasants to the land meaning society ranks were permanent and that mean there was no development of the country. If 90% of the population were tied to the land for agriculture, there would be no new improvements as they are poor and have no chance of education. The nobles were all conservative and the end of economic privileges meant Russia was even more diplomatically isolated as most of the nobles are very conservative. Political Instability:

• Streltsy Revolt- The streltsy were complaining that the colonels didn't pay their wages on time. When the Assembly of Land decided for Peter to be the Tsar. The streltsy then complained about the neglection of Ivan from the throne. They did not like the Naryshkins who were in support of Peter because they were not as conservative as Miloslavkiis. They were also complaining that Naryshkins were given positions in the government and did not like the un-conservative influence. The streltsy revolt was significant because it led placing Sofia as regent. Peter went to live in the Preobazhenskoe with his mother and Tsar Ivan was too poorly to rule the country. Sofia took advantage of this situation and put Golitsyn in charge of the military while she ruled the country in place of the two Tsars. The streltsy revolt was a warning for the Naryshkins and other gentry who were in support of Peter that western influence was not welcome in the government, this weakened Peter's position as his support was weakened meaning, if he wanted to take power and the throne, it would be hard in comparison to Sofia and Tsar Ivan who had support of the conservatives. The fear of the streltsy also made supporters of Ivan and Sofia stronger as they had an army to get their backs. However, the streltsy revolt wasn't fully successful because Golitsyn was very open to western influence and planned for many Russians to go abroad and study. Furthermore, they lost support of Sofia which weakened their position since they were not of use in the government. The revolt of the Streltsy and declaration of Peter as a joint ruler:

• When the streltsy declared joint Tsar-ship, Sofia took advantage of Peter's and Ivan's young age to take control of ruling Russia with Golitsyn 1


Golitsyn's Ideas- further reforms of the army, trading across Siberia, establishing permanent relations with the West, sending Russians to study in the West, freedom of worship


Culture- Progress away from Orthodoxy and Greek Scholatism. Byzantine traditions loss ground which gave way to secular elements from the west. Cultural outlook pointed mostly towards the west. Novels were translated from Latin and German to Russian.


Economy- National economy was dominated by nobility supported by serfs. Private economy was encouraged in crafts and industrial goods which led to an increase in trade between provinces. Custom barriers were lifted and foreign trade was encouraged by renewal of trade treaties. Foreigners were invited to help with Russian industry (iron, copper, textile factories were subsidized and special privileges were granted to those which would promote economical self-sufficiency.


Diplomacy- Foreign trade was encouraged by the renewal of trade treaties. When Russia lost Amur to China, they confirmed Russia's rights to the far east. The treaty formed the division of Asia and Russia making Russia a part of Europe. Handing Ukraine over to Poland in the Treaty of Moscow 1686 and in return Poland would help Russia fight Turkey. Treaty of Andrussov allowed alliance with Poland and Sweden to fight against Crimean Tatars to regain part of the Baltic Sea.


First and second Azov campaigns- Failed both times because Golitsyn never fought the battle but he was welcome home as a hero under Sofia's orders. Peter never attended the welcoming ceremony and refused to pay the generals. This shows that Peter is displaying signs of rebellion against Sofia's policies.

The end of regency and the consolidation of Peter's authority:

• September 1689- Sofia was exiled to convent under Peter's orders and Golitsyn was exiled after Peter's supporters warned him that Sofia was planning a coup against Peter.

January 1696- Tsar Ivan dies which meant Peter was free to assess his position. The death of Tsar Ivan meant the death of the old conservative Russia. He was now free to make autocratic decisions without the opposition from Tsar Ivan and his supporting members. Leading churchmen and merchants reluctantly supplied cash to laborers who built Peter's new ships. This allowed Peter's dreams of improving Russia's navy come true;


The Reforming Tsar: Aims and achievements of domestic reforms:

S.J Lee says that much of his policy was based on trial and error and he seemed to lack an overall blueprint for expansion; however he did have 3 main goals o

Gain access to the Baltic to win back territories lost to Sweden in the 17th century and to open up a window on to the west. The recapture of Ingria and Kerilia was Peter's main. (S.J Lee the recapture dominated his reign to such an extent that it also dictated the pattern and pace of most of his domestic reforms)


Break through to the Black Sea t the expense of the Ottoman Empire


Aimed to put Russia on the diplomatic map of Europe and regain Russia prestige lost in the 17th century and raising Russia's diplomatic prestige would be the inevitable result of her emergence as a great military power

The navy and army:

• Most historians consider that the main stimulus behind Peter's reforms were Russia's impending war with Sweden in The Great Northern war. o Anderson and Lentin argues that Peter's reforms stemmed from the immediate war and that war and its demands generated much of the reforms. o E.N Williams argues that the military situation was the "raison d'être" was the reason of all reforms. o Dukes believes that Peter's reforms were improvised rather than carefully planned particularly in the beginning. This is supported by the pace of reform before and after Poltava. Initially the reforms had little preparation while later in the reign there was more time to rationalize the whole structure. He was guided by necessity and had no blueprint of plans. o Cracraft says that the prospects of war with the Ottoman Empire followed by war with the Swedes meant that Peter had to reform his armed forces in accordance to contemporary Europen standards if he was going to defeat them

However other historians have other views on Peter's reforms o Slavophiles said that Peter's changed did not benefit Russia but instead damaged the traditional society by introducing alien ideas and institutions.
 Berdyaev drew parallel between Peter and the impact of Lenin which used the same "barbarity, violence, forcible application of certain principles from above downwards" o Sumner conceded that most of Peter's changes depended on previous developments but identified that there has never been the abolition f the Patriarchate, the creation of a strong navy, the making of St. Petersburg 3

o Dukes said that Peter's army was actually developed on the foundation of Tsar Alexis and Tsar Mikhail where large-scale recruitments were set up during 1654~1667 against Poland where "novogo stroyo" was the direct imitation of German methods and were led by German officers. In 1649, German manuals dated from 1615 were used.

He began disbanding the Streltsy and making the guards the nucleus.

Began a systematic conscription o

1720s- standing army of 200,000.


100,000 Cossacks

• Introduction of new manuals and emphasis was based on action including the co-ordinated fire of platoons and the more regular use of cavalry, wheeling and regrouping

Weapons were replaced with the most modern available o While in England, Peter had purchased 40,000 flintlocks. These were imitated in Russia and 30,000/year being manufacture by 1706

By the time of Poltava the Russians had a military lead

• Ivan the Terrible had the ideas of creating a large navy but it was confined to a few ships based at Archangel and the White Sea.

Peter put the navy as his priority o

1701-81,000 roubles | 1706-204,000|1715-700,000|1721-1.2million

• It was the success of the Russian navy which eventually pressurized Sweden into accepting the Treaty of Nystadt 1721 o The Baltic Fleet comprised 29 warships and 90 guns which gave Russia naval supremecy over Sweden

• Due to the defection of the Marzipan Hetman, Peter increased Russian control by billeting troops and imposing labour conscription o Created a separate college to oversee that Ukraine abide by Russian laws thereby placing it under the control of the Senate Finance and economy:

• Historians tend to agree that struggle with Sweden was the key influence behind Peter's economic reforms o E. N. Williams think that Peter's reforms were stemmed from the necessity of recruiting men for forces and raising revenue for financing wars
 1701: 75% of revenue spent on army and navy | 1710: 80% spent on army and navy |
1725: 66% spent on army and navy 4

o Massie separated the economic reforms into two categories. Pre-Poltava and Post-Poltava. He said Peter's attempt to build industry were war-influenced. However, after Poltava, as the demands for war diminished, Peter became interested in other kinds of manufacturing designed to improve Russian living standard and modernize/westernize Russia. o

Florinsky suggests that Peter's economic edicts were unsystematic, and had no plan

o S. J Lee says that The conflict with Sweden also promoted rapid industrialisation especially the development in the Urals of the iron industry, manufactories and foundaries. At the same time, commerce with western Europe was stimulated as contracts were assisted by the acquisition of the Baltic lands.

• Rozman considers that Peter's programs for modernization were far in excess of what the country could afford and had dire consequences for its future development

• although industrialisation flourished, agriculture scarcely benefitted from Peter's modernisation programme remaining backwards

• Peter increased state revenues by indirect taxes (beards, salt, tobacco) which accounted for 33% of tax revenue, and debasing the coinage which raised 4.4million roubles

• Direct taxes included the soul tax (1718) which produced 4.6million roubles against 1.8million roubles raised by direct taxes before the soul-tax

Total revenue increased from 1701: 3mill roubles | 1720: 7.5million roubles | 1724: 8.5million roubles

• Anderson says that out of all Peter's economic reforms, the development of industry and was Peter's main and most successful interest o A foundry was set up in Tula in 1613 but it was nowhere as advanced as ones in western Europe o At first, industrial priority was given to meeting needs of the war but as Sweden was defeated, he sought to enlarge and diversify industrial base by promoting consumer goods such as silk o 1718- College of mining and manufacturing was set up to generate capital and promote enterprise

However, industries would be dependent on state direction and support


Output of pig iron quadrupled from 1700 to 1720


No. of factories increased from 21 in 1682 to over 200 by 1725


Promoted the cultivation of marginal lands In Siberia, Volga regions and parts of Ukraine

Self sufficiency unlike pre-Petrine where most goods had to be imported


Imported Russian and Silesian breeds to improve quality of Russian sheep


By 1725, over 50% of Russia's exports were industrial goods 5

o Increase in Russian's foreign trade (exports increased by fourfold) and he also got western advisers to promote private commercial enterprise

1711- decree allowed people of all ranks to trade

Industrial development centred mainly on iron, copper and textiles o

86 factories were established to meet war needs


Rise of iron production ot 1500 poods to 1,200,000 poods


• However, Peter failed in promoting private enterprise and goods such as needles, wool, silks were of low quality o Sources of capital were restricted to nobility and merchants who were unwilling to rish their wealth in uncertain enterprise o

Labour was undermined by the inflexibility of serfdom

o Thus, although Peter's policies were successful, Russia never experienced the same type of industrial revolution which happened in Britain which emerged from entrepreneurial capitalism o Traditional methods were still used due to resistance from illiterate peasants and nobility who did not welcome the change as they saw no need to change the system based on free nobility

• Miliukov argued that Peter introduced no social reforms and that social class changes were merely consequences of his legislation which he has not foreseen

• Anglo-Russian naval connection established by Peter created a rapid growth of the seaborne AngloRussian trade

Throughout Peter's reign, Russia's foreign trade increased in real terms by 15 folds


• Peter was convinced that in order to be powerful, Russia needed rapid development in education which would develop military, economy, and technological revolution

Work in admin demanded education so Peter decreed that all noble children between 10~15 must have training in maths and grammar (1714)

Diligent non-noble students were given the opportunity to attain higher state ranks such as stol'nik

1701- School of mathematical sciences and navigations was found to encourage and deepen the knowledge which would help Peter in his shipbuilding

Graduates served as sailors, engineers, architects, teachers of cipher schools

In 1700 the majority of seamen in the Navy were Russian but by 1721 approx. 7300 were nativeborn and trained through the school of maths and navigation 6

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