Download Absolutism and Ruling Class: The Formation of the Russian by John P. LeDonne PDF

By John P. LeDonne

This is often the 1st accomplished exam of the Russian ruling elite and its political associations in the course of an incredible interval of kingdom development, from the emergence of Russia at the degree of global politics round 1700 to the consolidation of its place after the victory over Napoleon. rather than concentrating on the nice rulers of the period--Peter, Catherine, and Alexander--the paintings examines the the Aristocracy which on my own can make their strength potent. LeDonne not just supplies an entire chronological account of the advance of bureaucratic, army, financial, and political associations in Russia in this interval, but in addition skillfully analyzes the ways that neighborhood companies and the ruling category exercised keep watch over and shared energy with absolutely the monarchs.

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By the end of Catherine's reign it had grown to 68,320 males (1795), and the census of 1816 reported a total size of 96,600 in Russia proper. 83 percent in 1816. They were found in all twenty-six gubernias but were heavily concentrated in those of the two capitals and in Smolensk gubernia, where a more visible nobility remained a vestige of Polish social tradition. 8 percent in 1816. Elsewhere, the strength of the nobility varied from a high of 4,350 nobles in laroslavl gubernia to a low of 130 nobles in Olonets gubernia in 1782, from 6,644 in Kursk gubernia to 333 again in Olonets gubernia in 1816.

47 Whatever differences existed among high and low members of the ruling class, a consensus bound them in that belief among themselves and collectively with the Romanov house for more than two centuries. The inviolability of serfdom precluded the growth of divergent interests and kept tsar and ruling elite the inseparable constituents of a ruling class whose grip on the political life of the country was unchallengeable. The politics of the ruling class was the politics of patronage, and the search for dominance, incarnated in the rise of favorites, implied the glorification of the principle of autocracy, as every ambitious politician, unable to find a power base in society outside the ruling class, took refuge behind the unlimited power of the autocrat to consolidate his position.

In 1794, for example, the 170 nobles of the Vladimir assembly voted 164 to 6 in favor of Brigadier Taneev and 101 to 69 in favor of Major Alenin, both uezd marshals. Taneev was confirmed and remained uezd marshal as well. 20 The marshals' responsibilities were never spelled out in detail, and Kochubei complained in 1814 that there were too many misunderstandings between them and the governors, who accused the marshals of encroaching upon their prerogatives. 21 They were the true politicians of the gubernias and uezds, with bands of followers in their uezds and good connections in Moscow and Petersburg.

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