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Restoration after "Distemper"

Evolution of the State-Political System

The beginning of the Romanovs' dynasty reign was the bloom of the class-representative monarchy. In the time of young Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich the actual power was concentrated in the hands of Boyard Duma, the crucial role in which was played by the kin of the new tsar - the Romanovs, Cherkasskys, Saltykovs.

However, strengthening of centralized power in the state demanded constant support of nobility and prominent townspeople. Therefore, Zemskoy Coincil in the years of 1613 - 1619 was in session practically without a break.

"The Great Moscow Ravage" of the beginning of XVII century devastated Russia. Restoration of economic life both in cities and villages went with great difficulties. Internal political situation remained unstable. Smolensk was under Poland, Novgorod - under the Swedes. Many regions were terrorized by gangs of former Tushio people.

After unsuccessful attempt in 1615 to seize Pskov, Sweden started peace negotiations with Moscow. On February 27, 1617 the peace treaty was signed at Stolbovo Village. Novgorod Land passed back to Russia, Sweden preserved Ivangorod with Izhora Land, the town of Korela with its uyezd and the town of Oreshek. Russia was stripped of the only outlet to the Baltic Sea.

The Polish army of the king's son Vladislav and Ukrainian cossacks under command of Hetman P. Konashevich-Sagaydachny made a new campaign against Russia. In October, 1618 the enemies approached Moscow. The city defense was commanded by Voevode D.M. Pozharsky.

December, 1 the same year the armistice between Russia and Poland was concluded at Deulino Village (near Moscow) for the period of 14 and a half years. Rech Pospolitaya held Smolensk and Chernigovo-Severskaya Land. The principal condition of the armistice was that Vladislav did not refuse Russian throne.

Thus, having signed these two not enjoying equal rights agreements, Russia left the period of Distempered Time and the Poland-Swedish intervention. Russia preserved national independence and provided further development in foreign and internal policy. In 1619 Filaret (Feodor Nikitovich Romanov), the father of Tsar Mikhail, was finally set free and returned from Poland, in past he himself had strong claims to the throne. In Moscow he became the Patriarch and was titled "The Great Sovereign". From this moment he was the actual governor of the state till his death in 1633.

Certain measures to strengthen autocracy were taken. Prominent secular and church land owners were given vast grounds and even towns. The biggest part of estates of gentry became patrimonies. New estates were given for the service to the new dynasty. Boyard Duma changed its structure and importance. All authority concentrated in hands of the so-called Blizhnyaya Duma that consisted of four boyars at that time. All of them were relatives of the Tsar (I.N. Romanov, I.B. Cherkassky, M.B. Shein, B.M. Lykov). A new state seal was introduced in 1625. The tsar title gained a word "autocrat".

While the competence of Boyard Duma was restricted the Departments got broader privileges. The most powerful were: Land-owners', Ambassadorial Department, the Department of Domestic Affairs, the Treasury. In the course of time the practice to subordinate several departments to one influential person - the head of the government became customary. Local administration underwent changes as well - the power in uyezds gradually passed to voevodes.

The Church improved its position in the time of Filaret. The Tsar gave the Patriarch power to judge clergy and monastic peasants by a special decree. Patriarchal judicial and administrative-and-finance departments were formed. The patriarchal court was arranged in a similar manner to that of the tsar.

Consolidation of absolutism in Russia began after Alexey Mikhaylovich, the elder son of Tsar Mikhail, accession to the throne in June, 1645. B.I. Morozov, the tutor of the young Tsar, became the most important person of the Court. The governmental policy of saving resulted in bribery and arbitrariness of the Departmental machinery. This evoked discontent of servicemen and in 1648 the ruling clique was changed. Now it was I.D. Miloslavsky who played the first fiddle in Duma.

Preparation of a new Law Code started under the pressure of nobility. This new Code was called to maintain interests of landed gentry and rich townspeople and reinforce autocracy.

In 40's the tsar's confessor Stefan Vonifatiyev formed a circle of clergymen that initiated a church reform. It started with correction of prayer books and unification of church ceremonies. However, when the question of sacred images was raised, the clergy disaccorded. One of them preferred the Old Russian canon, the others stood for the Greek one. The latter were headed by Patriarch Nikon (since 1652), whose reformatory activity was approved by the Church Council and the Tsar.

The state was strongly interested in such reform - the authority of the church was limited. Unification of orthodox churches would facilitate reunion of Ukraine and Russia. Though, the growing personal authority of Patriarch Nikon caused displeasure of the Tsar, boyards and hierarchs of the church. In 1658 Nikon was forced to leave Moscow, still, he preserved the position of the Patriarch.

Church Council 1666 with participation of patriarchs of eastern lands defrocked Nikon.

Since then the Tsar himself directed the church reform. Russian society was split into supporters and opponents of the reform. The latter was called Old Believers. Archpriest Avvakum became their leader. Old Believers were savagely victimized. Their movement got social coloration. In 1682 Avvakum, the ideological inspirer of Old Believing was faggoted. But despite of persecutions, the movement grew stronger in XVIII century.

An important innovation in executive system was formation of Secret Affairs and Accounting Departments under the initiative of Tsar Alexey Mihaylovich. The Secret Affairs Department obeyed directly the Tsar. It supervised all other official bodies and political figures. The Secret Affairs Department was governed by F.M. Rtishchev and D.M. Bashmakov. The Accounting Department had the functions of the sate revenue.

When Alexey Mihaylovich died in 1676, his elder son Feodor became his successor. Feodor was an unhealthy boy of 14. So, the power was controlled by his relatives from the mother's side - the Miloslavskys and his sister Sofia, who was distinguished by strong will and a lot of energy. A very clever and talented Prince V.V. Golitsyn, who was a favorite of the tsarevna, headed the ruling circle. A strong blow on the class privileges of aristocracy was stroke in 1682, when the order of seniority was abolished. Now personal merits became more important than the origin.

The death of childless Feodor Alekseevich in 1682 called the matter of a successor into question. His brother Ivan was weak-headed. The other brother Peotr, the child of the second marriage was only 10 years old. A court struggle flared up between relatives of the tsarevitches. Ivan's party was formed by the Miloslavskys led by Tsarevna Sofia, while the Naryshkins supported Peotr. Peotr was proclaimed the Tsar at a session of 'Osvyashenny Council' and Boyard Duma. However, on May 15, 1682 streletses rebelled in Moscow. They were incited by the chief of Streletsky Department Prince I.A. Khovansky. All important adherents of the Naryshkins were killed.

On demand of the streletses both tsareviches mounted the throne. Tsarevna Sofia became the regent. When Peotr came of age in 1689 regency of Sofia lost legal ground. Sofia did not want the power to slip out of her hands. She intended to organize a new coup d'etat with the help of her protege F. Shalkovity, the chief of Streletsky Department. But this attempt failed. Sofia was deprived of the power and cloistered in the Novodevuchy Monastery. Her closest followers were executed or banished.

Economic Development

As a result of the Distempered Time about 50% of arable lands were neglected, many villages deserted, cities depopulated. Vast territories in the north and west of the country passed to Poland and Sweden. Though the development of Siberia was going on well.

Restoration of the economy lasted several decades, and only in the middle of the century the areas of cultivated soils reached the former level. This long revival of economic life went on against a background of aggravation of social contradictions that accompanied the process of strengthening and distribution of serfdom. The wide distributed practice of granting of estates in the first decades of XVII century increased sharply the number of enslaved population and the degree of their dependence.

The role of large-scale feudal landed property grew. By the middle of the century each member of Boyard Duma possessed on average 520 peasant holdings. Four boyards - I.N. Romanov, F.I. Sheremetyev, I.B. Cherkassky, D.M. Pozharsky - owned from 1 to 3 thousand peasant holdings. The Troitse-Sergiyev and Kirillo-Belozersky Monasteries were among the biggest landowners as well.

Subsistence farming did not promote improvement of agricultural techniques. This determined an extensive character of development of agriculture and toughening of exploitation of extremely unproductive peasants' labour. Numerous duties to their masters and the state were beyond small farms strength. Runaway of peasants got grandiose scale in the time of Mikhail Fedorovich. Families, even whole villages made off.

Under the pressure of nobility the government continued the policy of serfdom's toughening. The most interested supporters of enslavement were numerous servicemen who possessed small ground areas with 10-30 families of peasants. They laid strong claims during the Zemsky Council in 1648. The attitude to this question of large landowners - boyars, monasteries and church hierarchs was a little different. Their estates had a very well-organized administrative machinery that allowed them to suppress runaways of peasants easily.

The gradual growth of the term of fugitives' pursuit grew in 1649 into a law that set eternal and hereditary attachment of peasants to the land. New features of the economic development of Russia appeared in the middle of XVII century. First of all it was concerned with the development of commodity manufacture both in cities and villages. People were gradually returning to desolate towns. Handycrafts were re-established.

By the middle of XVII century there were 250 towns in the territory of Russia (without Ukraine and Siberia). Moscow was the biggest among them; its population was about 270 thousand residents. Other 15 largest cities had more than 500 homesteads. Cities became centres of commercial and industrial life of the country. There appeared districts specializing on manufacture of certain goods.

The first manufactories were organized in Russia in 20-30's. There was division of labour and qualified masters worked at such enterprises. The first of them were engaged in metallurgy - the state needed weapons and handicraft industry could not serve quickly growing needs of the state any longer. In 1636 Andrey Vinius, a Dutch merchant, founded a factory producing cannons and cannon-balls in Tulsko-Kashirsky District. A part of its production went to the domestic market (frying pans, nails). The same factories were constructed by big landowners I.D. Miloslavsky and B.I. Morozov to meet the needs of their patrimonies in iron.

There appeared the first brass works. In 30's the first glass-works were founded near Moscow by Swede E. Koet. Its production was mainly for the Tsar's Court. Khamovny Dvor was the first textile manufactory that operated in Moscow. A rope factory was opened in Arkhangelsk. The total number of manufactories at the end of XVII century was hardly more than 20, and their overall share was rather insignificant in the market.

The main role in supply of population with industrial products and formation of the All-Russia market was played by small commodity manufacture. Strengthening of interdistrict relations resulted in appearance of All-Russia trade fairs - Makaryevskaya Fair (under Nizhni Novgorod), Svenskaya (under Bryansk), Irbitskaya in Ural. Moscow was the largest center of trade in Russia. All agricultural and industrial production, goods from the countries of the East and the Western Europe were gathered in Moscow. All wholesale bargains were also held in the capital. Developing trading relations laid the foundation of inter-economic consolidation of the country.

The top layer of the merchant class was formed by guests and tradesmen of the guest and cloth sotnias. The guests (in middle of the XVII century only 30 persons) were the richest and most privileged part of the merchant class. They had an exclusive right to go abroad on business and were exempted from many taxes and duties. Retail trade was in hands of small traders who owned one or several stores in the market place.

The trade with the countries of the Western Europe was carried out through the only Russian port - Arkhangelsk on the White Sea. ? of the country's trade turnover belonged to this port. The importance of Arkhangelsk was steadily growing during the century: 24 ships arrived in 1604, by the end of the century the annual number of incoming ships reached 70. The trade with the Asian countries was carried out through Astrakhan. Industrial goods made up the basis of the import from the European counties, while the East imported luxury goods. The Russian export consisted mainly of agricultural raw stuff and semi-product: hemp, cloth, furs, leather, lard, potash, etc.

The foreign trade of Russia was almost fully controlled by foreign merchants. They were gradually penetrating the home market as well. It evoked strong discontent of less rich and less organized Russian merchant class. Russian tradespeople lodged complaints since 1627, they demanded to exile foreigners. Only in 1653 the government issued the Trading Charter, which strengthened positions of the Russian merchants in the home market. Novotorgovy (New-trading) Charter of 1667 had even more protective character. It was compiled by a prominent statesman A.L. Ordin-Nashchokin.

City Revolts

The national economy development was accompanied by great social movements. XVII century was even named 'the Boisterous Century' by contemporaries.

The history of city revolts of the century was opened by the Solyanoy Revolt in 1648 in Moscow. Different layers of the capital's population participated in this revolt: townsfolk, streletses, noblemen dissatisfied with the pro-boyards policy of the government of B.I. Morozov. The ground for the revolt was the dispersal of the delegation of muscovites, who wanted to bring a petition about arbitrariness of officials to the Tsar, by strelets troops on June 1.

The pogroms of influential dignitaries' houses began. Duma Clerk Nazary Chistoy was killed, the chief of the Lands Department Leonty Plesheyev was harrowed by the crowd, the official P.T. Trakhaniotov was publicly executed. The Tsar could save Morozov only having cloistered him in the Kirillo-Belozersk Monastery.

The Moscow revolt had a strong response - a wave of social movements in the summer of 1648 went through many cities: Kozlov, Sol Vychegodskaya, Kursk, Veliky Ustyug, etc. The most stubborn and long revolts were in 1650 in Pskov and Novgorod. They were caused by abrupt increase of the prices for bread as a result of the obligation of the government to supply Sweden with grain. In both cities the authority passed to the zemstvo heads. The elected authorities of Novgorod opened the gate to the punitive force of Prince I.N. Khovansky.

Pskov showed successful armed resistance to the governmental armies during a three-monthly siege of the city (June - August, 1650). The zemstvo head Gavriil Demidov became the absolute master of Pskov. He distributed bread and confiscated property of rich townspeople among inhabitants. The emergency Lands Council formed a special delegation for negotiations with people of Pskov. The resistance was ceased only when all the participants of the revolt were officially forgiven.

The so-called 'Copper Revolt' occurred in Moscow in 1662. It was caused by prolonged Russian-Polish War and financial crisis. Currency reform (coining of cheapened copper money) resulted in the slump in the exchange-value of the rouble. That in the first place affected soldiers and strelets troops who received money allowance. The other victims were handicraftsmen and small traders. On July 25, leaflets ('the thieves' letters") were scattered over the whole city. The agitated crowd set off to Kolomenskoye in search of the Tsar. In Moscow itself the insurgents smashed boyards and rich merchants. While the Tsar was trying to persuade the crowd and boyards hid out in distant apartments of the Tsar's palace, the governmental strelets troops came to Kolomenskoye. As a result of the carnage several hundreds of people perished and 18 were publicly hung.

An example of development of a religious struggle into a social one was represented by the Solovetsk Revolt 1668-1676. It began with the fact that the community of the Solovetsk Monastery flatly refused to accept reformed prayer books. The government decided to tame the rebellious monks and laid the siege. High and thick walls, rich stocks of foodstuffs prolonged the siege for several years. The people of Razin, who had been exiled to the Solovetsk Islands, also joined the rebellious monks. It was a betrayal that helped to capture the monastery. Only 60 out of 500 defenders were left alive.

The Revolt of Stepan Razin

The climax of the national disorders in XVII century was achieved in the rebellion of Cossacks and peasants under the leadership of S.T. Razin.

This movement arose in the Don cossacks' stanitsas. This free land of the Don always attracted runaways from the southern and central areas of the Russian state. Here they were protected by the unwritten law - "There is no extradition from the Don'. The government needed cossacks' services in the defense of the southern borders and therefore had to put up with such self-government of the land.

Stepan Timofeyevich Razin originated from Zimoveyskaya stanitsa and belonged to a prominent Cossacks family, so he possessed high authority among. In 1667 he led a troop, one thousand strong, to the Volga, then to the Yaik River where he seized Yaitsk. In the summer of 1668 Razin had a 2-thousand army that was successfully acting in the territory of Persia (Iran), at the Caspian coast. The seized values Razin people exchanged for the Russian prisoners, who then reinforced the army. In the summer of 1669 Cossacks crushed the fleet of the Persian Shah at Svinoy Island (southward of Baku). That complicated the Russian-Iranian relations strongly and aggravated the government against the Cossacks.

In the beginning of October, 1669. Razin returned through Astrakhan to the Don where he was met triumphantly. Inspired with the luck, he started preparations of a new campaign. This time "for a kind Tsar against traitors-boyards". The march of Cossacks alone the Volga to the north grew into out peasant disorders. Cossacks remained a military core of the army. But with the influx of great masses of fugitive peasants, peoples of the Volga Region - Mordva, Tatars, Chuvashs - the social orientation of the movement changed strongly.

In May 1670, 7 thousand strong army of S.T. Razin seized the city of Tsaritsyn. And at the same time he defeated the strelets troops sent from Astrakhan and Moscow. Having set cossaks self-government in Tsaritsyn and Astrakhan, Razin went northward. Saratov and Samara came over to his party of their own free will. Razin addressed people of the Volga Region with an appeal to join the revolt and struggle against the traitors, i.e. boyars, noblemen, voevodes, officials. The revolt involved a vast territory where acted numerous troops led by atamans M. Osipov, M. Haritonov, V. Fedorov, nun Alena and others.

In September, 1670 the army of Razin approached Simbirsk and laid a month's siege. The frightened government declared mobilization and in August, 1670 a 60-thousand army was moved to the Middle Volga Region. In the beginning of October the governmental army led by Yu. Baryatinsky defeated the main body of Razin's troops and joined the Simbirsk garrison commanded by Voevode I. Miloslavsky. Razin with a small troop left for the Don where he hoped to muster a new army. But he was betrayed by Cossacks leaders and given up to the government.

On June 4, 1671 he was delivered to Moscow and two days later executed on the Red Square. In November, 1671 fell Astrakhan - the last bastion of the rebels. The participants of the revolt were subjected to severe repressions. 11 thousand people were executed in Arzamas only.

The Struggle for the Annexation of Ukraine and an Outlet to the Baltic Sea

The foreign policy of Russia during XVII century was aimed at solving three major tasks: gaining an outlet to the Baltic Sea, securing the southern borders from the attacks of the Crimean Khan and returning of the territories seized during the Distempered Time.

As a result of Stolbovsky Peace Treaty 1617 with Sweden and Deulinsky Armistice 1618 with Rech Pospolitaya Russia lost vast terries. For a long time the major knot of contradictions was represented by the relations between Russia and Rech Pospolitaya. The efforts of the government of Patriarch Filaret in 20's and at the beginning of 30's were directed at creation of the anti-polish coalition including Sweden, Russia and Turkey.

The martial line of policy against Poland proclaimed by Zemsky Council in 1622 appeared in the 10-year-long economic assistance to the enemies of Rech Pospolitaya - Denmark and Sweden. The death of the Polish King Sigizmund III in the spring of 1632 provided favourable conditions to brake out the war for Smolensk. Indecision and sluggishness of the government and voevodes M.B. Shein and A.V. Izmaylov resulted in an 8-month's exhausting siege of Smolensk.

The news about incursion of the Crimean Tatars into the southern areas of Russia, and the wave of riots of soldiers, villeins and peasants demoralized the army. The army of Vladislav IV, a new king of Poland, that came to Smolensk in August 1633 put an end in the campaign of the Russians. As a result of the court intrigues the voevodes who led the campaign paid for the failure with their lives. In June 1634 Russia and Poland signed Polyanovsky Peace Treaty. Under the treaty Vladislav at last abandon a claim for the Russian throne.

The defeat in the Smolensk War bound the foreign activity of the Moscow government. In 1637 the Don Cossacks under their own initiative seized a Turkish fortress of Azov. Active attempts of the Turks to return Azov forced the Cossacks to ask assistance of the Russian government in 1641. Having Azov under the patronage of Moscow would open an outlet to the Azov and the Black Seas. However, Zemsky Council taking into account the lack of preparation of the country to an inevitable military conflict with the Osmanian Empire, refused the aid to the Cossacks and offered to give Azov back.

In 30's the government took measures on strengthening of defensibility of the country. Already during the Smolensk War the first steps of reorganization of the armed forces were carried out. The value of ineffective home guard formed by noblemen was reducing, while soldiers' and riders' troops became the basic military force. Erection of strong defensive lines and fortresses at the southern borders began in 1635 to restrain the attacks of the Crimean Tatars. In 30-40's 29 new towns were founded and made up the southern protecting line (Kozlov, Tambov, Chuguyev, Yablonev, etc.).

Russian-Polish relations still remained the crucial question in the Russian foreign policy at the middle of XVII century. The liberation struggle of the Ukrainian people which started in 1648 under the direction of B. Khmelnitskiy against the Polish rule stirred up the national-wide movements in Byelorussia and Smolenshina. Zemsky Council October 1, 1653 in Moscow resolved to reunite Ukraine with Russia. The reunion of two sister nations was proclaimed in solemn tones. The war against Rech Pospolitaya lasted 13 years (1654 - 1667). In the campaign of 1654 the Russian armies captured Smolensk and 33 towns of the East Byelorussia. The Polish armies were unprepared to the war, whereas the Russian troops were strongly supported by the Byelorussian population. In the summer of 1655 liberation of Ukraine and Byelorussia was going to an end - the main body of the Polish army was broken.

In 1655 the Swedish King Charles X intruded into Poland and captured a significant part of its northern territories. Aggressive plans of Sweden did not end at this point - Charles X laid the claims to all Lithuania and Byelorussia, including the territories already occupied by the Russian troops. An outstanding Russian diplomat and statesman A.L. Ordin-Nashchokin headed a new party in the government that considered the war with Sweden for an outlet to the Baltic Sea more important than continuation of a struggle against Poland. So, on May 17, 1656 Russia declared war to Sweden and in the summer of the same year the Russian army set off in the direction of Riga.

On October 24, 1656 Russia and Rech Pospolitaya concluded an armistice. All the moot territorial points remained open and both parties united for the joint actions against the Swedish army. Initial successes of the Russians finished with an unavailing siege of Riga. Russia failed to achieve any further progress in the struggle against Sweden.

In 1658 Poland renewed military actions against Russia.

In 1661 after three years of negotiations Kardissky Peace Treaty was signed between Russia and Sweden. The treaty restored the pre-war borders of the countries. The question of an outlet to the Baltic Sea was postponed for a long time.

The War with Pech Pospolitaya got a lingering character. Neither party could obtain decisive success. The peace talks began in 1661 and finished by signing of Andrusovskoye Armistice on January 30, 1667. The terms of which where secured in 1686 by a peace treaty. As a result Russia gained Smolenshina, the left-bank Ukraine and Kiev. Byelorussia remained under Poland. Besides, the treaty provided for the joint actions of Russia and Poland against possible Turk-Crimean aggression.

From the beginning of 70's and up to the end of XVII century the main task in the foreign policy of Russia became a question of relations with the Crimea and Turkey. In the summer of 1677 a 60-thousand strong Turkish army laid siege to the political centre of the left-bank Ukraine - the fortresses Chigirin. 12 thousand in number garrison of Chigirin under the command of I.I. Rzhevsky showed heroic resistance. And with the help of the Russian-Ukrainian army of G.G. Romodanovsky the Turks were crashed under Buzhin. A year after the Osmans besieged Chigirin again. They managed to capture the fortress but failed to crush the Russian army that had retreated in an organized manner. The further battles did not bring any success to the Turks, so, they had to retreat. On January 13, 1681 a 20 years armistice was signed in Bakhchisarai.

Austria and Poland, having refused to help Russia in the struggle against the Turkish-Crimean aggression, now faced a real menace themselves. "The Sacred League" consisting of Austria, Poland and Venice under the patronage of the Pope was formed in 1684. The consent to enter "the Sacred League" was used by the head of the Moscow government V.V. Golitsin to accelerate the signing of the peace treaty with Poland in 1686 and to get considerable territorial concessions to Russia. In 1687 and 1689 Russian troops carried out two campaigns against the Crimean Khanate that was in allegiance to Turkey. Prince V.V. Golitsyn was appointed the commander.

The Crimean campaigns brought Russia neither outstanding military successes, nor territorial gains. Nevertheless, the Russian troops blocked the forces of the Crimean Khan who, thus, could not render assistance to the Turkish army when it suffered defeats from the Austrians and Venetians. Besides, inclusion of Russia into a European military union enhanced the international prestige of Russia considerably. The important event in the foreign policy of Russia at the end of XVII century was a conclusion of the first Russian-Chinese treaty 1689 in Nerchinsk.

Russian Culture in XVII century

Serious social conflicts, foreign intervention, changes in social and economic life, increase in impact of the West-European culture - all that influenced the development of Russian culture greatly. XVII century became the turning-point for the Russian culture. During the whole century the influence of the church on the culture was diminishing.

The chronicles in XVII century gave way to historico-publicistic narrations ("The Story about Tsar Feodor Ivanovich","the Story of the year 1606", 'Novaya Povest', 'Plach o Pleneniy' (1610-1612). The rise of the social and political thinking in the first quarter of XVII century was due to the depression of the Destempered Time. In 20's there appeared narrations of religious and secular authors devoted to the wild developments of this period: 'Skazaniye' by Avraamy Palitsin, the cellarer of the Troitse-Sergiyev Monastery, "Vremennik" by Clerk Ivan Timofeyev, 'Slovesa' by Prince Ivan Andreyevich Khvorostinin, "Povest" by Prince Ivan Mikhaylovich Katyrev-Rostovsky.

The authors of these works found the main reason for the social disasters in the break of the Ryurikovichs dynasty and weakening of the government. 'Novy Letopisets' written by the request of Patriarch Filaret in 1630 became a prominent historical work that officially substantiated the rights of the Romanovs to the throne. At the end of 50's the creation of the official history was entrusted to a special establishment - the Zapisnoy (Recording) Department. The main task of the department was to continue compiling of 'Stepennaya Kniga'. When the department was closed this task was partially accomplished by Clerk F. Griboyedov in 'The History'.

The first printed historical book appeared in 70's - it was a composition of a Kiev monk Innokenty Gizel "Sinopsis" ("Description"). It became the first available educational book on the Russian history from the most ancient times. The author made the main emphasis on the appropriateness of the re-unification of Ukraine with Russia.

Secular works based on systematized historical material were printed in 90's of XVII century ('The Scythian History" by Andrey Lyzlov, "the Siberian History" by S.U. Remezov).

Monk Simeon Polotsky (Samuil Emelyanovich Petrovsky-Sitnianovich) was a brilliant representative of the official publicism in the literature of XVII century. He was the first court poet who composed not only panegyrics to autocracy but also satirical, religious verses and moralistic works.

During this century various stories of everyday life were written, they depicted a daily life of simple people and blamed the church and judicial systems, the morals and manners of boyards and nobility ("Povest o Gore-Zloschastiy', "The Story of Savva Grudtsin', "Povest o Ershe Ershoviche", "The Narration about Priest Savva", "The Story about Shemyaka's Trial"). From the end of the century the woks of amateur and folk arts were being collected. P.A. Kvashnin compiled a collection of songs in 1681. In 90's he was collecting Russian proverbs and sayings.

The ways of the further development of Russian culture were a matter of strong debates in XVII century. The prospects of expansion of cultural relations with the countries of the Western Europe were regarded as means of overcoming of the cultural backwardness of Russia caused by negative historical circumstances. These ideas were expressed in the works of I.A. Khvorostinin and the clerk of the Ambassadorial Department Grigory Kotoshikhin who in 1664 ran to Sweden and there made up the well-known description of Muscovy.

Enlightenment in Russia in XVII century involved more and more layers of the population and got more and more deep and thorough character. Literacy among noblemen and city dwellers increased considerably. By the end of the century each second or third townsman could read and write. Uniformed printed textbooks were appearing: the first ABC book compiled by Vasily Burtsevy in 1634, the multiplication table in 1682, an illustrated ABC book by Karion Istomin at the end of one century.

A grammar school under the direction of Simeon Polotsky was opened at the Zaikonospassky Monastery in 1665. The school prepared clerks for the departments of the government. In 80's another school functioned at the State Printing Office where Greek language was the major discipline. In the year of 1687 the Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy was opened under the initiative of Silvester Medvedev. Its curriculum had both secular and religious disciplines.

The progress of education increased the demand for books. During XVII century the State Printing Office published almost 500 titles, the secular literature was also presented among them. The first bookstore was opened in Moscow in 60's. The Tsar Court hand-written newspaper 'Kuranty' containing translations of foreign news appeared in 1621. The stocks of private libraries were also growing. The first Russian scientific library was opened at the Pharmaceutical Department.

The accumulation of scientific knowledge went on. In 1633-1638 as a result of a campaign of Cossacks Ilya Perfilyev and Rebrov the rivers Yana and Indigirka were discovered; in 1643 Mikhail Stadukhin reached the Kolyma; Kurbat Ivanov got to the Baikal; Semen Dezhnev and Fedot Popov discovered the strait between the Asia and America in 1648; expeditions of V. Poyarkov (1643-1646) and E.P. Khabarov opened a way to the Pacific ocean; and the expedition of V.V. Atlasov (1697-1699) surveyed the Kamchatka. A big contribution to the study of Mongolia and China was made by official documents of Russian embassies. The detailed description of China made by Nikolay (Milesku) Spafary (1675), the translator of the Ambassadorial Department, rendered a lot of new facts earlier completely unknown by the world science.

Accumulation of the geographical data made cartography of the country possible.

In XVII century decoration in architecture became more rich. Wood remained the basic building material. Its peak the wooden architecture of XVII century reached in a magnificent Tsar's palace in Kolomna (1667-1668). It was highly decorated with fretworks and multicoloured painting. The share of brick construction was steadily growing. The traditional temple construction reached its fullest flower in XVII century. In this period the grandiose Rostov Kremlin was erected and the ensembles of the Iosifo-Volokolamsky, Troitse-Sergiyev and Kirillo-Belozersk monasteries were accomplished.

The last quarter of XVII century gave birth to a new style. It was especially characteristic of small churches in the manors of Russian grandees - the Moscow or the Naryshkins' baroque. The Church of the Protection in Fili and the Sukharev Tower in Moscow were constructed in this style.

Painting and especially icon-drawing were under strict supervision of the church and the state and preserved traditional conservative style. The control over the activity of painters was carried out by the Armory Museum of the Kremlin that since XVII century became the art centre of the country. Its workshops accomplished works for the Tsar's Court: icons and portraits; crockery, furniture and toys. During 30 years (1626-1688) the art production in the Armory Museum was headed by Simon Ushakov who created his own art school.

Moscow State
Moscow State Formation
Russian State in XVI century
Distempered Time

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