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Russia in the second half of XVIII century

Reign of Catherine II (1762-1796)

Catherine II, nee princess of Anhalt-Zerbst, married by the successor of the Russian throne in 1744, already from the 2nd half of the 50-es gradually paved her way to power. Excellent educated, friendly and polite, great princess and then empress Catherine Alexeyevna knew how to gain confidence not only of close friends but also of foreign monarchs, diplomats, scientists, who called her 'Tsarskoye Selo Minerva' and 'Nothern Semiramida'.

Having come to power as a result of palace revolution, Catherine II was compelled to conduct a flexible policy taking into account the public opinion in the country and abroad. The new empress considered first and foremost the task of strengthening of her personal power connected with growth of her authority, that's why she made her steps to it during the first decade of her reign. First Catherine II tried to emphasize her loyalty to the supreme imperial bureaucracy through her personal presence at 16 senatorial sessions before her departure for crowning in September 1762, and her order to the Senate to reconsider decisions of the previous government.

In February 1763 Catherine II founded the Commission of rights of nobility in the structure of the prospective council, she solemnly named it "the assembly established at Her Majesty court yard". But soon the work of the Commission was frozen because of her fears of probable oligarchic aspirations of councilors. In 1768-1778 the Military Council operated but its field of competence were operations against the Ottoman empire and questions connected with war.

On the 15th of December 1763 the Senate was divided into 6 departments, two of which were moved to Moscow. Breaking up of functions of the Senate and its filling with obedient officers weakened its meaning. In "The top secret directions" to the new Prosecutor-general A.A.Vyazemsky Catherine II ordered to suppress any attempts of bureaucratic self-will and to "replace all shady and suspicious people without mercy". Thus, already in the beginning of her reign, she took measures to nip in the bud realization of the political reform connected with restriction of the autocracy.

In Catherine's II reign the absolutist tendencies to eliminate distinctions in management and social sphere became evident to full extent. In 1764 in reply to the petition of the Ukrainian nobility about securing of the hetman succession law of the Razumovskies' dynasty Catherine II attacked the remains of the Ukrainian autonomy. By her decree of the 10th of December 1764 the hetman system was abolished and replaced by the Small Russian college headed by the governor-general P.A.Rumyantsev. In 1765 - 1767 the manhood of the territory was imposed by a tax of one ruble; in the 70-es the general census of the population took place, and the decree of the 3rd of May 1783 prohibited transfers of slave-peasants. Thus, the serfdom established in Ukraine too.

The decree of secularization of church possessions and transfer of monastery peasants to the state category was adopted on the 26th of February 1764. Almost 2 million peasants of both sexes were transferred to the College of economy and were imposed by capitation taxes. In 1786 - 1788 monastery and clergy peasants of Ukraine appeared in the same situation.

In the second half of XVIII century the basis principles of absolutism were realized to full extent. One of the most vivid examples of liberal undertakings of Catherine II was establishment in 1765 of the Free Economic society called to popularize advanced agronomical knowledge and to promote efficiency of landowners. Catherine's "The Instructions" of the Code Commission of 1765-1767 became another step of the principles and wishes of absolutism. The empress stated her opinions cast by ideas of enlighteners: about expansion of education, eradication of lawlessness, cruelty, despotism, about increasing of people's well being.

"Instructions" was a manual for the commission (July 1767) in charge of preparation of the new Code. The commission was a temporary form for attraction of representatives of free classes to government on the administrative and bureaucratic bases. It consisted of 564 deputies, including 28 from official bodies, 161 from nobility, 208 from cities, 167 from peasants (except serfs). The questions on agenda raised by deputies, as a rule, did not exceed the limits of class needs. The nobility demanded affirmation of its exclusive right to possess land and peasants, the merchant class demanded the monopoly of commerce and production and permission to use serf labour in the industry.

In 1775 Catherine II ratified "Establishments for government of the provinces of the Russia Empire", according to which a serious regional reform was taken. Instead of the former three-element administrative and territorial division (government - province - uyezd) were created a new sub-division: a government with population of 300-400 thousand and an uyezd - 20-30 thousand people. The capital governments and large regions of 2-3 governments formed region ruled by governor-general. The governor with board headed the government administration. The local district court played the role of police. The Department of public assistance controlled by the provincial administration supervised schools, medical and charitable establishments and asylums. Many functions of the central establishments were given to local authorities. The reform of 1775 proclaiming separation of the court from the administration and being an appreciable step forward of the judicial system, nevertheless, did not remove many other basic lacks: unity of the court and prosecution, secret legal procedures, administrative principles of staffing of supreme courts.

In 1782 was published the 'Charter of obedience, or police charter", according to which in cities posts of quarter supervisors and non-commissioned police officers were introduced. They were subordinate to the town council, which was charged of 'vigil, in order to keep obedience, decency and order in the city'. The chief policemen were in charge of order in the city.

The 21st of April 1785 the Charter to nobles was published. In it the major privileges of the nobility were united and affirmed. The nobles got the right of petition of its needs to the provincial authorities and even to the Senate and the monarch. Simultaneously with the Charter to nobility the letter of privilege to cities of the Russian Empire was published.

At the end of Catherine's II reign a turn to the right was noticed in the government position as a reaction to the Great French revolution and growth of opposition moods in the country. In 1790 the director of the St. Petersburg customs house A.N.Radishev, the author of the book "Travel from St. Petersburg to Moscow" was arrested. The Empress detected in his composition "dissipation of French pest and repugnance against authorities". In 1792 the publisher and writer N.I.Novikov, accused of belonging to masonry, was arrested. Persecution of the advanced public thought, disarrangement of finances, disorder in management, bureaucratic arbitrariness, no more controlled by the senescent empress, marked the end of her 34-year reign.

Even her lovely grandson, the grand duke Alexander Pavlovich, was forced to state: " In our affairs there is extreme disorder, everyone steals, all parts are badly governed; it seems the order is expelled from everywhere, and the empire aspires only to the expansion of its territories". Catherine the Great died on the 6th of November 1796 having left the throne to her son, the 42-year-old Pavel Petrovich.

Reign of Pavel I (1796-1801)

Pavel I grew up in the atmosphere of fear and suspiciousness at the court of his mother, who removed him from state affairs and neglected him in an emphatic manner. He distinguished himself by an unbalanced character and hot temper. On the other hand, he got an acute call of duty and responsibility before the country, adherence to discipline and order.

The internal policy of Pavel I, who came to the throne at the beginning of crisis situations in the country and collapse of feudal regimes in the Western Europe, was directed on strengthening of bases of the social and economic life and the political regime of the empire. Trying to eliminate the opportunity of palace revolutions and to increase the stability of his power, in the day of crowning (the 5th of April 1797), Pavel signed the Decree of the succession of the throne that approved succession of power of the ruling dynasty through the male line. The main stake of the tsar in his attempts to overcome crises, inherited from the previous reigns, was made on the authorities given to him by the Russian crown. This meant refusal of former custom of imperial councils and tsar's aspiration to the maximum centralization of his power. The ministerial system of power replaced the collective one; the ministerial system was based on the one-man management and allowed a more effective control from above.

Pavel elaborated the plan of establishment of seven ministries: of justice, finance, defense, marine, foreign affairs, commerce and the state exchequer; however, it was completely fulfilled only after his death. 50 provinces existing in times of Catherine II were transformed into 41 but the Territory of Don Cossacks appeared.Thus management of 11 marginal provinces was carried out in account with national traditions and local features. The reorganization of the state system combined with the bureaucratization of administration caused infringement to the nobleman's self-management. The administrative and police functions were withdrawn from the noble assemblies, and in 1799 the provincial noble assemblies were abolished at all. In 1798 were cancelled highest local courts. The decree of the 23rd of August 1800 cancelled the right of noble societies to elect assessors in courts, thus participation of elective representatives of nobility in the legal proceedings was limited by low local courts. Provincial city councils were liquidated. The basic judicial establishments were bureaucratic establishments - chambers of criminal and civil courts. Striving for the maximal concentration of the power was conformed by the autocratic doctrine of the supposedly divine origin of the Emperor power, the idea of continuity of the power from ancient rulers, and also elements of the knight's conservative utopia. That was followed by attributes and ceremonial. So, during the ceremony of coronation Pavel was in command of the military parade with the crown and dalmatic (dress of ancient tsars).

Pavel's social policy testified of his ability to flexible maneuvering and adaptation to needs of the time not touching the foundations of the feudal and absolute state. On the 5th of April 1797 was promulgated the Manifest of three-day corvee, obliging landowners to use corvee labour no more than three days a week. The very fact of creation of such act was evidence of aspiration of the power to a legislative settlement of relations between landowners and peasants. The evolution of these undertakings was the interdiction to sell up house-serfs and peasants in 1798, replacement of bread tax from peasants by a moderate monetary due, demand of fealty of possessory peasants to the emperor.

On the other hand, unprecedented distribution of 600 thousand state peasants of both sexes for the period of incomplete five years to private possession, rigid suppression of peasants' complaints to masters, the custom of severe state guardianship applied to appanage peasants with use of principles of "landowners' rights", essentially were the logic continuation of the serf course of Catherine II. Contradictory tendencies were also observed in Pavel's policy regarding the nobility. Concern of the tsar to strengthen the economic situation of nobility were expressed in the material aid through the bank system and particularly the Auxiliary bank, creation of the regime of maximal favor to nobility at the service: by the decree of the 14th of December 1797 noblemen were ordered to serve military service in a rank of private soldiers not more than three months; the decree of the 17th of April 1798 forbade promotion to officers of corporals - not noblemen. The other tendency showed in restriction of class self-management and its absorption by the bureaucracy, cancellation of the major items of the Charter to the nobility of freedom from obligatory public service and corporal punishment, introduction of taxes from noble manors to maintain courts and other administrative establishments. Already since 1796 it was forbidden to enlist young children of noble families in regiments; that practice existed during Catherine's II reign. All "dead souls", enlisted in regiments and officers who did not come back in due time from leaves, were fired from the military service. Those soldiers, who served no more than a year as officers and wanted to be retired, were also dismissed.

During Pavel's reign every tenth nobleman in a civil or military service was punished for misdemeanour. It was forbidden to ex-servicemen retired after 1796 to be a candidate at the nobleman's elections. The purpose of full mobilization of the nobility to public service and rising of discipline spoke about the dependence of the supreme class from the throne, which Pavel tried to restore counter to aims of the nobility.

Finally, the infringement of concerns of the nobility was the crucial point that determined the destiny of Pavel I. Formation since 1797 of the plot against Pavel was the direct answer to the infringement of the balance between authorities and noble estate. That was frankly said by the outstanding diplomat S.R.Vorontsov after Pavel's death: "Nobility... is the nearest intermediary between the sovereign and people. It helps to bridle people and is a natural support of the throne... Weakening the nobility means to sap the foundation of the throne". On the night of the 12th of March 1801, Pavel I was assassinated in Mikhailovsky castle by a group of conspirators to which belonged Catherine's II former favorites, brothers Zubovs, general L.L.Bennigsen, commanders of Guardian regiments P.A.Talyzin and F.P.Uvarov, the St. Petersburg governor-general P.A.Palen, senator D.P.Troshinsky. The successor of the throne, grand duke Alexander Pavlovich, supported the plot too.

The Social-Economic Development

In the second half of XVIII century Russia occupied a territory of 17, 4 million sq. km. According to the information of the 5th census (1795), the population made up 37,4 million persons. The nobility totaled 726 thousand people, clergy - 220 thousand, the merchant and lower-middle class - 1,5 million; the basic number was formed by the peasants - 32,6 million (almost 90 %).

In spite of that the majority of the population lived in countryside, the number of towns remarkably grew in the second half of XVIII century. In 1785 216 new towns appeared. The state often redeemed villages from landowners and made them towns.

The internal reforms, the active foreign policy and maintenance of the court required enormous expenses that were not covered by public revenues. The deficiency of the state budget by the end of Catherine's II reign exceeded 200 million rubles. The disorder in the finances reflected the exhaustion of internal resources of the serf system. Concentrated exploitation of the salt and wine regalia (the income from alcohol in the second half of XVIII century doubled), increasing of the tribute from state peasants (from 40 kopecks in 1860 up to 3 rubles in 1890) no more gave expected results.

Similar to the government, noblemen - land owners searched for a way out of economic troubles through the exploitation of peasantry. This tendency was shown both in the increasing of the feudal rent and its changing according to regional particularities. Thus, in the non-chernozem zone the greatest stability was found out by the labour-rent system characterized by a steady growth of the quitrent: in the 60-s of XVIII century the peasants paid landowners about 2 rubles apiece, in the 90-s the rent was already 7 rubles a year.

Exploitation of corvee peasants surpassed approximately twice as much that of labour-rent peasants and was measured in money terms: 7-8 rubles in the 60-s and 14-16 rubles in 90-s of XVIII century. In some places at the close of the century corvee reached 5 days a year. The return of landowners in the black earth zone to the previous form of feudal rent, connected with expansion of lords' arable land, was caused by the aspiration of landowners to increase their incomes owing to market entry. Inclusion of the landlord economy into the commodity production for the peasants turned into loss of any connection with the market, the isolation within the medieval natural system.

The development of agriculture grew far more rapid that that of agriculture. At the close of XVIII century in Russia operated 167 mining plants for 80 thousand workers, and 1094 manufacturing plants for 82 thousand workers. In the last quarter of XVIII century the significance of metallurgy of Ural and the Central zone, especially of the old Russian Tula-Kaluga metallurgical center, partly decreased.

At the same time the manufacturing industry went through the rise. At the close of XVIII century its leading branches worked not only for the internal but also for the foreign market. The important stimulus for the industrial entrepreneurship were the privileges given to the merchant class in 1766: exemption of merchants from military service and replacement of it by the fixed cash contribution (in the beginning 360 rubles, later 500 rubles); declaration of freedom of entrepreneurship in 1775 allowing merchants to buy enterprises without consultation with official bodies and exempting from taxes for every mill.

The significant feature of the development of main branches of the manufacturing industry, and first of all of textile industry, was still increasing application of civilian labour. The number of civilian workers in the second half of XVIII century grew from 17,8 thousand up to 33,6 thousand people. This labour force already played a defining role in the cotton, tanning, haberdashery and glass branches, which developed due to the merchant capital. At the same time, forced labour prevailed in the linen and cloth industry where active nobleman's business.

The process of decomposition of the serf system and parallel formation of bourgeois ties were expressed in the increasing inclusion of landowners' and some peasants' economies in the commodity-money relations. The indicator of marketability of the agriculture in the second half of XVIII century was the increasing volume of bread sale reaching 10 % of clear and 7 % total yield. Trade of bread inside the country was realized by direct trading by peasants and landowners and by buying-up of peasants' bread by merchants. In 1860 - 1880-es of XVIII century appeared the known harmony of bread price-levels in different areas of the country, which meant formation of the All-Russia bread market. Russian bread was exported to 12 countries, and in the second half of XVIII century the export increased in 11,5 times.Profitable trade and crafts contributed to the growth of the layer of so-called "capitalist peasants", including among serfs.

The trade turnover in which were involved prosperous peasants, merchants and landowners, was carried out through a network of markets and fairs. Moscow and St. Petersburg still played the leading role in the All-Russia market. In foreign trade of Russia dominated contacts with England that needed Russian raw materials. The trade turnover with Prussia, Sweden, France and China increased too. At the close of XVIII century Russia imported things sought after the commercial and industrial circles and the nobility: sugar, dyes, leather, wines, fruit, haberdashery, writing paper, faience and porcelain products. From the middle of XVIII century, when the Russian trade capital actively began to penetrate the Central Asian markets, eastern fabrics, yarn, cotton, precious metals and astrakhan fur appeared in Russia. The average yearly import of goods in the first half of the 90-es of XVIII century made up 27 886 thousand rubles. In the atmosphere of decomposition of the serf economy Russia was more and more involved in the world market.

The Public Idea and Social Movements.

The public idea and social movements. "Enlightened absolutism".

The public idea of the second half of XVIII century was already presented by a wide spectrum of socio-political conceptions. Its basic directions were the official and protective theory, the conservative and aristocratic ideology, the liberal and nobleman's direction, the moderate and revolutionary enlightenment.

The first direction was elaborated in Catherine's II works. The essay "Anitod" alleged that Catherine's II enlightened government did not intend to change the regime in the state, for in Russia all is safely.

The aristocratic and conservative direction was represented by M.M.Sherbatov (1733-1790). The historian and publicist, in 1767-1768 he protected nobleman's privileges in the Code commission, later worked in the Commission of commerce, headed secret office work in the Military council, was the court historiograph. He did not accept any of the reigns of XVIII century. Not denying the advantage and necessity of reforms in the first quarter of XVIII century, Sherbatov nevertheless laid the blame on Peter I for disruption of the socio-political role of patrimonial nobility and "injury of public morals". He supported such a form of government in which the nobility, as a corporation, was sharply separated by the privileges from other estates and had a great influence on state affairs. At last, Sherbatov was a convinced landlord advocating serfdom, sincerely believing in the beneficence of serfdom for peasants and in careful fatherly attitude of landlords towards them.

The liberal and nobleman's direction was represented by N.I.Panin (1718-1783), the Russian envoy in Denmark and Sweden, and since 1760 the tutor of grand duke Pavel Petrovich, since 1763 the chairman of the Board of foreign affairs; A.R.Vorontsov (1741-1805), in 1762-1768 the plenipotentiary minister in England, in 1773-1794 the president of Commerce collegium; princess A.R.Dashkova (1743-1810), the director of the Academy of Sciences and the president of the Russian Academy in 1783-1796; prince D.A.Golitsyn (1734-1803), the Russian ambassador in France and Netherlands, publicist and scientist; A.A.Bezborodko (1747-1799), the virtual head of the foreign policy of Russia since 1784, the chancellor during Pavel I.

Representatives of the nobleman's liberalism put forward the projects of relaxation of serfdom and even its gradual abolition in the future, however, in case of preservation of nobility land ownership. Simultaneously their offers concerned the settlement of political relations of the Supreme authority with the ruling estates. Not infringing on the very idea of monarchy, the nobleman's liberalism aspired to elimination of the arbitrariness of the Supreme authority and its constitutional restriction.

Enlightenment of the second half of XVIII century, being the wide and diverse process, continued its approach to the ideology of the feudal society from the position of the theories of "the natural right" and "the social compact". The perfect state system for the majority of enlighteners was the enlightened constitutional monarchy, in which the ideal of public boon meaning first of all the legal preservation of "liberty and property" was practised. The largest figure of Enlightenment was N.I.Novikov (1744 - 1818), the journalist and publisher who issued about 1000 editions. In his satirical magazines he attacked the deep-seated vices of the administrative and public life: bureaucratic arbitrariness, embezzlement of public funds, bribery, cupidity and cruelty of owners of "baptized property".

The other enlightener D.I.Fonvizin (1744-1792), the author of the satirical fable "Fox - intriguer", the translation of the French enlightener Thom's composition "The Panegyric to Mark Aurelius", the original comedy "Ignoramus" and "Brigadier" exposing nobleman's ill nature. Fonvizin did not stop at nothing while condemnation of Catherine II policy, who established the despotic regime of government and tolerated landowners - tyrants.

In the second half of the 60-es of XVIII century D.A.Golitsyn acted with a series of letters with the plan of settlement of the peasant question. He specified the serfdom as a main brake in development of the country, which should be abolished by the reform of the State range. But for all that Golitsyn based himself on the necessity that the landed property should remain in hands of landowners, who might lease it on beneficial terms. Thus, receiving personal freedom the peasant willy-nilly had to become a renter of the landowner's land; rich peasants could purchase land, buying it at the market price from the landowner. Despite of the limited nature of the project elaborated by Goltsin, its execution could promote the transformation of feudal latifundia into capitalist farms, and occurrence of civilian agricultural workers.

In the second half of XVIII century, within the frames of enlightenment, the revolutionary tradition connected with the activity of A.N.Radishchev (1749-1801) was formed. In his compositions (Ode "Liberty", "Travel from St. Petersburg to Moscow", "Letter to a friend, residing in Tobolsk", etc.), the widespread enlightening theories of the natural right and the social compact were shown from the point of view of a radical conclusion about the people's right to overthrow rulers, unworthy or failing to do their national duty. The revolutionary character of Radishev's positions was embodied in the appeal to destruction of the regime of violence and injustice through a peasant revolt. The ultimate aim of the struggle was establishment of democracy in the form of the bourgeois republic.

The second half of XVIII century was connected with appreciable stirring up of social movements. In the year of Catherine's II accession to the throne almost 150 thousand monastery and landowners' peasants revolted. The main reason of peasant strikes was the intensification of feudal exploitation of peasants during the decomposition of the serf system and the government policy that protected serfdom. The presage of the peasant war was the large people's movements of the end of 60-es and the beginning of 70-es. In 1768 the revolt took place in Ukraine.

In 1771 in Moscow "the plague revolt" broke out; the panic-stricken population because of plague, closing of manufactories, dismissal of workers gave short shrift to archbishop Ambrosy, who enjoined to take away a wonder-working icon of the Blessed Virgin from the Barbara gate. The explosive atmosphere emerged among Cossacks of Ural: the state monopoly on fishing and salt, constraint of the autonomy of Yaik Cossacks, calling of Cossacks to the military service in the Northern Caucasus and other places in 1772 provoked the revolt on the Yaik, during which were killed the general, the army ataman and a number of representatives of the Cossack brass. After the suppression of revolt the Cossack district was forbidden and a commandant was appointed to the Yaitsk town.

Country War in Russia in 1773-1775.

Autumn of 1773 Don Cossack Yemelyan Ivanovich Pugachev fugitive from Kazan prison appeared among the Cossacks of Yaik. Using the rumors of the Peter's III rescue, Pugachev took his name and proclaimed the 'czar's' manifesto in which granted Cossacks with river and grass territories, lead, provisions and eternal liberty.

The Cossacks who joined Pugachev and fugitive peasants made the armed group, which had captured several fortified points of Yaik and had besieged Orenburg fortress. Country and factory peasants, working people, the representatives of Volga region were joining Pugachev's camp. By the end of the 1773 the forces of the rebels grew up to 30 thousand men, and they possessed 86 artillery weapons. Because of the typical organization fault within the movement of peasants, it was necessary to Pugachev and his companions to bring in the element of discipline to his detachment. Shelves of Cossacks, factory workers, the Bashkir were formed.

The Military board founded in November 1773 in Berdensk village became the general stuff of the revolt. The military board tried to stop robberies of local population and to adjust the organized division of property seized from landowners and authorities. Communication of Pugachev's rate with the local centers of movement was carried out through dispatch of manifestos. These documents were ratified by signatures and special seals (which Pugachev's brothers-in-arms acquired in December, 1773), and abounded in references on " the grandfather of ours, Peter the Great ", words from Ekaterina's II manifestos and decrees. It was one of the ways to make documents look legal. With the main forces located near Orenburg, Pugachev had directed detached groups down Ufa, to Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, and Samara. In the beginning of 1774 92 factories making three quarters of all industry of Ural were seized by the rebels. But the attempts to adjust manufacture of the weapon at the Ural factories wasn't a success as the greater part of production capacities was destroyed, and work people and bounded peasants had joined Pugachev's army.

By the beginning of Pugachev's siege of Orenburg the government had directed active armed forces under command of the general Kara for suppression of movement. However, they were totally defeated by the insurgent army. At the end of 1773 general Bibikov was appointed the commander-in-chief of retaliatory armies. Having collected significant armed forces, Bibikov had directed their basic part for the rescue of the besieged garrison in Orenburg. Pugachev, preparing to meet the impact of the governmental armies, had fortified himself in Tatisheva fortress located near Orenburg. In March 1774 after the bloody battle insurgents were dislodged from Tatishev fortress and forced to raise the siege from Orenburg. The second stage of the movement began.

Pressed by imperial armies, Pugachev headed to the east. The principal operations were deployed on the Ural and in Bashkiria. But having suffered new defeat under Troitsk fortress, Pugachev decided to leave mountain - factory areas of the Ural and to go to Kazan. On July, 12 at the head of 20 thousand insurgents he had approached Kazan, seized suburb of the city and besieged the Kremlin in which the garrison was locked up. The population of the city welcomed the country leader. But regular regiments of cavalry came to Kazan led by colonel Michelson and had forced Pugachev to retreat from Kazan. July 17 Pugachev forwarded to the right bank of the Volga and entered the territory in mass country revolt. The third stage of the war began.

The appearance of Pugachev in Volga region provinces had caused the rise of country movement, which was quickly spread to Penza, Tambov, Siberian and Nizhniy Novgorod provinces. The government of Ekaterina II, having hastily concluded the Kyuchuk-Kainargy peace treaty with Ottoman empire, directed all forces on suppression of country movement. Pugachev quickly moved to the south through Saransk,Penza and Saratov with the purpose to break to Don where he intended to stir up the rebellion of Don Cossacks. Pugachev's manifestos, reflecting expectations of peasants, contributed to the inflow of new forces and expansion of the social base of the movement. They were most fully reflected in Pugachev's manifesto from July 31 1774, which proclaimed the deliverance of peasants from serf bondage and taxes and called upon to destruction of nobility. Thus, the antiserfdom character of the movement was most obviously expressed at its third stage. At the same time the common faults of the country wars became evident: the local character of campaigns, poor arms, weak military training, complicating the resistance to active armed forces.

In August Pugachev had besieged Tsaritsin but failed to seize the city. Aiming to break to Don, he fell back from Tsaritsin, but was again overtaken by the government armies. With a small group of supporters Pugachev forwarded to the left bank of the Volga. By that time disintegration occurred in the ranks of rebellions. Traitors decided to give Pugachev out to the authorities aiming to rescue their lives by means of treachery. The group of former fellow-fighters led by Yaik Cossack Tvorogov had attacked Pugachev, disarmed him and delivered to the nearest Budarinsky advanced post. Pugachev was sent to Simbirsk, and there from put into a wooden cage under escort transported to Moscow. January 10, 1775 the execution of Pugachev was held on the Marsh area in Moscow. Country war was put down. It hadn't changed the serfdom regime of the country, but had nevertheless given a push to a number of governmental measures, making way to establishing bourgeois relations and somewhat easing feudal fetters, and had also sped up realization of regional reform of 1775.

Foreign Policy in the second half of XVIII century.

The central tasks of foreign policy of Russia in the second half of XVIII century were: providing the outlet to the Black sea; reunion with the Ukrainia and Byelorussia lands, still remaining under the authority of Rech Pospolita; fortification of the positions in Baltic. France, Austria, Ottoman empire and Rech Pospolita opposed to accomplishing these tasks.

With the accession of Catherine's II to the throne the new foreign policy course was set. It was aimed at getting rid of dependence on the Versailles and Viennese courtyards and establishing new own system, without mating its own actions with interests of other powers. With such understanding of tasks of foreign policy was penetrated the activity of N.I.Panin, who was heading the collegium of foreign affairs for twenty years.The project developed by Panin was meant to provide peace and political balance in Europe and to create conditions for the successful solving of a southern problem by Russia. The following countries were supposed to enter the Northern system: on rights of "active" members - Russia, England, Prussia, partly Denmark, which might have represented themselves as the key forces in struggle against the countries of the southern union; on rights of "passive" members - Rech Pospolita and Sweden.

In 1764 Russia concluded the trade contract with Prussia, in 1765 - with Denmark, in 1766 - with England. The Russian diplomacy managed to achieve the break of the dangerous French - Swedish union and in 1764 to raise Catherine's II protege - Stanislav Avgust Ponjatovski to the Polish throne.

However in the beginning of 70es Russia had to shift its ground in the Polish question. The convention of 1772 had issued the first section of Speech Pospolita: Galitsia passed to Austria, Pomorje (seaboard) and a part of Great Poland went to Prussia, a part of East Byelorussia went to Russia.

In the 2nd half of XVIII the relations between Russia and Ottoman empire remained extremely tensed. Set by France, at the end of 1768 the Turkish sultan had declared war to Russia. Russia had military advantage over Turkey in Russian-Turkish war of 1768-1774. In July 1774 in a small Bulgarian village the Kyuchuk-Kainargi peace treaty with Turkey was signed, by which Russia took Kerch, Yenikale, Kinburn and Kabarda. Russia was granted the right of trading navigation over the Black Sea, constructions of ports at the Black Sea coast and pass of trading crafts to Mediterranean sea. Vassal dependence of the Crimean khanate on Turkey was liquidated. Thus, the results of the Russian-Turkish war of 1768-1774 provided safety of southern borders of the state and made possible wide development of the fertile grounds of Northern Black Sea coast.

On the 8th of April 1783 Crimea was joined to Russia. On the 24th of July Georgievsky treaty was signed, which had established the protectorate of Russia above East Georgia. Russia's success in solving the southern problem caused the envious attitude of the European powers - England and France and nourished the revanchist aspirations of Ottoman empire. Catherine's II trip to Crimea in spring 1787 had resulted in an aggravation of Russian-Turkish relations. In August, having accused Russia in breach of conditions of the Kyuchyk-Kainargy peace treaty, Turkey declared war.

The top of strategic successes of Russia in the war of 1787-1791 was the capture of an unapproachable fortress Izmail on the left coast of Danube. Turks lost 26 thousand killed, 9 thousand captured, 265 weapons. Losses of Russian armies made 1815 killed and 2,5 thousand casualties.After defeat at Izmail the Turks had asked for peace. On the 29th of December, 1791 Yassky peace treaty was concluded, which had confirmed the attachment of Crimea to Russia and the establishment of protectorate above Georgia. The territory between Boug and Dnestr had also passed to Russia.

Together with Russian-Turkish war an armed struggle against Sweden was going on. In 1788 the Swedish king Gustav III, expecting to take advantage of hardships of Russian-Turkish war, had deployed military operations against Russia to win back the lands lost by Sweden in the first quarter of XVIII. However, these claims proved their full inconsistency. The military actions, which were taking place on the sea and on land (mainly, on the territory of Finland), were marked by victories of the Russian weapon. In March 1790 in village Verele (Finland) the peace treaty was concluded, restoring status quo between Russia and Sweden, existing prior to the beginning of war.

The 2nd half of XVIII was marked by intensification of influence of Russia on the international relations. In 1778 under pretence of protection of the all-European interests Russia had interfered with the conflict of Austria and Prussia around " the Bavarian inheritance ". The Russian diplomacy put their efforts to transforming the Russian intermediary into constant arbitration in the German affairs. Having strengthened the influence in the given region, in 1781 Russia had contracted the alliance with Austria, due to which it was possible to essentially weaken counteraction of England, France and Prussia in a question of joining Crimea to Russia.

Power lines of the world politics were more and more developed towards Russia. In 1780 Russia had propounded with the initiative stated in the Declaration of armed neutrality. According to the last, the neutral countries, which were not participating in the war of North American colonies for the independence at the end of 70 - the beginning of 80es, had the right for free navigation and trade with the countries participating in war. Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Prussia, Austria and other states had joined the Declaration of armed neutrality. Objectively this act contributed to the victory of the American revolution, having broken the plans of England of full blockade of insurgent colonies.

Far more complicated and contradictory was the attitude of the Russian ruling circles to the Great French revolution of 1789-1794. Firstly, the Russian empress and her courtyard didn't emphasize the social cataclysms, which had burst in France. The crisis concerning official circles of Russia had come in 1792, when Girondist came to power in France and the king's life was under the real threat. In July, 1792 the diplomatic representative of France in Russia E.Gene was ordered to leave the territory of Russian empire. The execution of Lui XVI accomplished on January 21, 1793 served as a cause to final breakup with France. After receiving the news the three-day mourning was declared at the Russian courtyard.

On the 13th of February 1793The highest decree of the termination of relations with France was published. After suppression of the Polish national-liberation movement and the third unit of Poland, Catherine II had closely engaged in preparation of measures on liquidation of the French center of disturbances. In 1795 Russia, England and Austria contracted the Triple Alliance for joint actions against revolutionary France. The 60-thousand corps expedition to France under command of Souvorov was also planned. However, the intention was never fulfilled because of Catherine's II death on the 6th of November1796.

Catherine's II beginnings were partly continued by Paul I. In 1798. Russia had entered the new anti-French coalition formed by Austria, Ottoman empire, England and Naples. Military actions were deployed both on land, and on the sea. After the upheaval of the 18th brumer and the establishment of consulate of Napoleon in 1799 the character of Russian-French relations suddenly started to change. In 1800 Russia broke off the relations with England and Austria, which had showed themselves unfair allies, and in the same year the peace agreement with France was completed. In Berlin, and then in Paris the Russian-French negotiations gathered strength for the conclusion of the strong treaty of alliance between Russia and France - such task was assigned to the Russian representative S.A.Kolychev, who arrived to Paris in March 1801. However, this process was interrupted by regicide on the 11th of March 1801.

Russian Culture in the second half of XVIII century.

The attempts to reform the educational system of Russia were undertaken in the second half of XVIII. They were to a greater extent dictated by the authorities' concern of upbringing of the " new breed of people ", capable to serve as a support to the throne and to put into practice plans of the monarch.

The most vigorous conductor of the course was I.I.Betsky (1704-1795), the outstanding teacher and the organizer of the educational affair in Russia. According to Betsky project the following organizations were established: Educational houses for foundlings and "unfortunate-born" children in Moscow and St. Petersburg (1764 and 1770), the Society for two hundred noble maidens in St. Petersburg (1764) with a branch for petty-bourgeois maidens (1765), the Commercial school (1772), and also cadet cases were reorganized.

In 1782 - 1786 the school reform was carried out, which had created the system of uniformly organized educational establishments with the uniform curriculum and general technique. They were the so-called " national schools " - main in provincial cities and small in districts. The first were the four-grade schools where besides initial disciplines arithmetics, geometry, geography, history, natural sciences, and architecture, the Russian, mechanics and physics were taught. The second were the two-grade schools and provided with the basic knowledge (reading, writing, calligraphy, arithmetics, catechism). The system of national schools rapidly grew: at the end of XVIII the total number of 288 schools was already counted, with 22 thousand of pupils studying there.

Apart from the comprehensive school, schools for poor children and orphans were created on the initiative of private persons in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Tver, Vladimir, Kursk, Tula and other cities. In 1779 on N.I.Novikov's initiative the teacher's seminary was opened at the Moscow university - the first pedagogical educational institution in Russia. Medical staff training was also improved - at the end of XVIII there were three medical schools, the Medical-surgical academy and the medical faculty at the Moscow university.

In 1783 the Russian Academy, headed by E.R.Dashkova, was founded. Studying natural resources of the country was still remaining the major area of the research activity. The most productive were the five academic expeditions organized in 1768-1774 with the purpose of the complex investigation of nature, population, facilities, life and culture in different parts of Russia.

In the second half of XVIII the major technical inventions were made: self-taught mechanic I.P.Kulibin (1735-1818) had improved polishing glasses for optical devices, created the prototype of a projector, the semaphore telegraph, the lift, a new clockwork. In 1763 another prominent inventor, soldier's son I.I.Polzunov (1728-1766), had developed the project of the universal steam engine - the first-ever two-cylinder machine of continuous action. In 1765 he had constructed the first in Russia steam-power installation for factory needs. In the second half of XVIII the study of history had considerably advanced. It was the time of work of such prominent historians as M.M.Shcherbatov and I.N.Boltin. Shcherbatov's 7-volume work (" The Russian History from the most ancient times "), chronologically led up prior to the beginning of Michael Romanov's reign, was interesting not only from the point of view of the rich historical material submitted in it, but also from the point of view of attempts of establishing of causality of historical events which the author had connected with the characteristics of historic figures, ruling ideas, customs and traditions of each epoch. Unlike Shcherbatov, I.N.Boltin (1735-1792) wasn't the professional historian, but had managed to make the whole series of valuable historical supervision in works which were written in polemic with French author Leklerk and Shcherbatov ("The Notes on " The Ancient and the Present History of Russia " by Leklerk" and 'Critical notes of general - major Boltin on the first and the second volumes of " The History " of prince Shcherbatov).

The breach of classicistic laws was noticeably reflected in a genre of comedy. Thus, even the comedies of orthodox ' classicist ' A.P.Sumarokov, written in 60 - 70es, had a distinct satirical and accusatory orientation, bright ethnic colouring. Rapproachement of literature with life ran through the so-called method of " introduction of originals ", i.e. images of concrete persons, easily recognized by the reader or the spectator by particularly individual features. Those tendencies were vividly expressed in the works of D.I.Fonvizin.

At the end of XVIII the school of sentimentalism was appearing in Russian literature. As against to classicists, glorifying the power of government and human sense, sentimentalists mainly appealed to the inner world of the person, his psychological state and feelings. The leading genres were a novel, a diary, traveling notes. The development of sentimentalism was most vividly reflected in the work of Y.M.Karamzin (1766-1826).

In the second half of XVIII Russian theatre achieved its bloom. It was greatly contributed by the transformation of management of theatres: in 1766 theatres were placed under submission of joint body - " Theatrical management " - and put on the state maintenance. At the same time theatres became public. In 1783 public state theatre - the so-called Bolshoy, or Stone, theatre was opened. Prior to that, in 1779, German impresario K.Knipper established the private city theatre on Tsaritsyn Lug in Saint-Petersburg. In 1780 the Petrovsky theatre (named according to its location - Petrovskaya area) was established, the head and the owner of which was the Englishman M.Medoks. The productions by European and Russian playwrights: Bomarche, Lessing, Molyer, Sumarokov, Fonvizin, Knyazhin were successfully staged on Russian boards.

The fine art had also entered the new stage of its development. The officially recognized leading art genre was historical painting, which was greatly emphasized by the Academy of arts. Such representatives of the genre as A.P.Losenko (1737-1773), B.I.Ugryumoe (1764-1823), who had written a series of canvases on different topics of Russian history, had achieved the greatest success. Genre painting, though not officially honored and demanded among rich customers, had also given famous names like: I.Firsov, M.Shibanov.

Landscape became an independent genre of fine art in the second half of XVIII. The special landscape class was founded in the Academy of Arts. The most talented masters of the genre such as S.F.Shchedrin (1745-1804), F.Y.Alexeyev (1753-1824) had depicted the picturesque views of Moscow and St. Petersburg, Pavlovsk, Gatchina, Peterhof on their canvases.

Sculpture of the second half of XVIII developed under the prevailing influence of classicism directing sculptors for search of patterns of high art among the works of antiquity. One of the most outstanding monuments of sculpture was the equestrian statue of Peter I created by E.M.Falkone (1716-1791).

Architecture of the second half of XVIII experienced the influence of classicism to a greater extent than sculpture. Architects constantly turned to the heritage of antique classics, under the influence of which the architectural style evolved to increasing simplicity and strictness of forms, rational convenience of plans.

Russian Empire
Birth of the Empire - Peter the Great
Epoch of Palace Revolution
Russia in the second half of XVIII century
Epoch of Alexander I Reign
Nikolai`s Russia
Epoch of Great Reforms
Alexander III Government
Russia in XIX-XX centuries. First World War

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