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What reforms in Russia did Peter I carry out?
What reforms in Russia did Peter I carry out?

Video: What reforms in Russia did Peter I carry out?

Video: What reforms in Russia did Peter I carry out?
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Peter I, the reformer tsar, the revolutionary tsar, under whom Russia received the status of an empire, from the first days of his reign did not look like his predecessors.

Preconditions for the reforms of Peter I that changed Russia

The last Russian tsar and the first Russian emperor, Peter Alekseevich Romanov, with his inexhaustible energy, imperious, decisive actions, in the apt expression of Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin, “raised Russia on its hind legs”. But such radical transformations might not have happened if it were not for the predecessors of the sovereign, his father, Alexei Mikhailovich Quiet, and his half-brother, Fyodor Alekseevich. It was they who became the initiators of Peter's "glorious deeds" and paved the way for the new Russia.

It is generally accepted that the Europeanization of the country took place during the years of Peter's transformations. Meanwhile, the influence of foreigners increased even under Alexei Mikhailovich. It was under him that foreign servicemen, doctors and pharmacists began to come to Russia. In Moscow in 1652, according to the tsarist decree, the New German settlement was created for foreigners.

Of no small importance for the future great transformations were the first reforms of Alexei Mikhailovich on the Western model. Regiments of the new order served in the Russian army, craftsmen from Holland were invited to build the first Russian sailing ship "Eagle".

Also, during the reign of Father Peter I, the tax system was reformed in a European manner. This is how indirect taxes on salt and tobacco appeared.

The most prominent reformer of the era of Alexei Mikhailovich Quiet was Afanasy Lavrentievich Ordin-Nashchokin. It was with his light hand that the number of archers was increased, recruitment was established and a permanent army was created.

By a decree of 1667, the tsar canceled the privileges of foreign companies and introduced privileges for Russian merchants.

Alexey Mikhailovich Quiet, 1670-1680
Alexey Mikhailovich Quiet, 1670-1680

Alexey Mikhailovich Quiet, 1670-1680 Source:

The heir to the "Quiet" sovereign, Fyodor Alekseevich, was not independent in public affairs due to poor health. However, he also succeeded in making a number of important transformations: in 1682, localism was abolished, court life and fashion changed significantly, a Printing School appeared at the Zaikonospassky Monastery, which became the forerunner of the Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy.

Thus, the start of the great Peter's reforms was given back in the middle of the 17th century. The young sovereign, who ascended to the Russian throne in 1682, had to bring the plans of his predecessors to its logical conclusion - again, recalling Pushkin, “to cut a window to Europe”.

The beginning of the reign of Peter I: a time of change

In 1696, after the death of his brother Ivan Alekseevich, Peter became the sole ruler. Communicating with foreigners from a young age, he realized that access to the Black and Baltic Seas was of paramount importance for Russia. Having decided to start the struggle from the southern borders, in the spring of 1695 the young sovereign undertook the first Azov campaign.

The attack on the Turkish fortress failed. A year later, Peter decided on a second siege. As a result, the fortress fell. Thanks to this victory, Russia reached the southern seas. True, it was problematic for her to gain a foothold on the new frontiers - allies were needed.

In the spring of 1697, Peter, calling himself Peter Mikhailov, went to Europe as part of the Grand Embassy, whose primary goal was to find allies to fight the Ottoman Empire. But for the tsar himself, the diplomatic mission to Europe was of great importance.

Peter studied military science and shipbuilding, got acquainted with the life and order of European states. In addition, during the Grand Embassy, he changed the main direction of Russia's foreign policy from the south to the north. Instead of comrades-in-arms against Turkey, he found like-minded people against Sweden.

The building of the Twelve Collegia on Vasilievsky Island
The building of the Twelve Collegia on Vasilievsky Island

The building of the Twelve Collegia on Vasilievsky Island. Source: ru.

Governance reforms of Peter I

Returning from a European tour, Peter not only began to actively prepare for the Northern War, but also began to implement reforms. Seeing the need to create a special government body, in the spring of 1711 he established the Governing Senate, which consisted of 9 dignitaries closest to him. The institution created by the tsar, although it had legislative, judicial and controlling powers, did not replace the tsar and did not restrict his power.

Simultaneously with the Senate, the office of fiscal was established, whose duties were charged with detecting and supervising thieves and bribe-takers. In 1722, the activities of the Senate itself came under control. This work was entrusted to Pavel Ivanovich Yaguzhinsky, who received the post of prosecutor general, "the eye of the sovereign."

In 1718, orders were replaced by colleges (there were 13 of them under Peter I), which were subordinate to the Senate and had a clear division of functions. This control system was borrowed from Sweden.

Government reform did not leave aside local institutions either. The administrative-territorial division of the country has completely transformed. The counties were replaced by provinces headed by the governor or the governor-general, endowed with full judicial and administrative power.

In the future, the provinces began to play the role of military districts, and the country's territory was divided into provinces. They touched upon the transformation and management of cities. Back in 1699, the Burmister Chamber was established in Moscow, subordinate to which were the zemstvo huts of all cities. Subsequently, the Burmister Chamber was renamed the Town Hall, and in 1718 it became the Commerce Collegium.

Peter's reforms changed the position of the nobles. In 1714, the sovereign signed a decree on single inheritance, according to which only one of his sons could inherit all the real estate of a nobleman. This decree leveled the patrimony and the estate, and also forced the young noblemen, left without their father's land, to enter the military or government service, where a career now depended not on origin, but on merit.

The table of ranks, adopted by Peter in 1722, determined the division of civil and military service into 14 classes. In order to obtain the status of a hereditary nobleman, it was necessary to reach the 8th rank.

Economic policy of Peter I

Significant shifts have taken place in the economy. Almost half of all enterprises under Peter I were opened with state funds. Merchants who built factories received significant privileges: they were exempted from military service, from paying taxes and duties on foreign goods. At the same time, factory owners were often obliged to rent unprofitable enterprises from the state and engage in their development, while guaranteeing good sales of products through state orders.

Peter paid much attention to military manufactories. Already in 1702, the tsarist veto was imposed on the import of weapons from abroad. Tens of thousands of cannons were cast during the years of Peter's rule. The first rapid-fire guns also appeared during this period. The textile industry was gaining momentum for sewing military uniforms.

The development of the fleet was the reason for the introduction of a new duty, which consisted in the construction of ships by landowners. Their associations were organized - kumpanstvos, which in 1700 were abolished and replaced by a single state tax.

In 1719, the Berg Privilege was promulgated - a document according to which any person had the right to extract minerals, subject to payment of a mining tax to the state and the owner of the land. This is how large deposits of peat, coal, rock crystal and saltpeter were discovered.

The development and formation of industry required a large number of labor. Peter invited qualified craftsmen from abroad, promising them favorable conditions and privileges. Sending young nobles to study abroad, opening technical schools and vocational schools at manufactories, he acquired his own competent personnel.

According to the decree of 1703, serfs or black-haired peasants were assigned to manufactures to work on account of state tax. These peasants were called registered peasants. Another category - the possessory peasants - was bought by merchant-manufacturers and attached to the manufactory forever, without the right to sell.

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V. A. Serov. Peter 1, 1907. Source:

Trade was actively developed. By a decree of 1718, merchants were prohibited from conducting commercial activities with foreigners through Arkhangelsk. So Petersburg became the main port of the country. Russian timber, resin, hemp, iron and copper were in great demand in the West.

The protectionist policy of Peter I, which supported domestic producers, led to a decrease in imports. In 1724, a customs tariff was introduced and high duties were imposed on foreign products that could or were produced in the Russian Empire.

Domestic trade developed successfully. River transport has become the main mode of transport within the country. Therefore, under Peter I, the Volga-Don, Ladoga, Vyshnevolotsky canals and the Moscow-Volga canal were built.

The tax reform also contributed to the enrichment of the state. Since 1724, per capita tax has been collected from every male soul, excluding nobles and clergy. To account for taxpayers, an “audit” of the population was carried out. In addition to the direct tax, there were almost fifty indirect taxes: horse, bath, fish taxes and the well-known tax on the beard.

Church reform of Peter I

Peter's transformations did not pass by the clergy - the most important estate of the 18th century. Considering that the church should educate the laity, maintain schools, almshouses and, most importantly, obey the state, Peter, after the death of Patriarch Adrian in 1700, ordered not to elect a new head of the clergy. Instead, he established the post of Patriarchal Locum Tenens, which was occupied by Metropolitan Stefan Yavorsky.

A year later, a decree was issued from the pen of the sovereign, which restored the Monastic Order and transferred church land ownership and a significant share of the income from them under his control. Also in the jurisdiction of the Order was the solution of monastic issues and the appointment of abbots in the monastery.

In January 1721, Peter promulgated the "Spiritual Regulations" - his joint "brainchild" with Archbishop Feofan Prokopovich. According to this document, the patriarchate was abolished, the affairs of the church were entrusted to the Holy Synod, whose members were personally appointed by the sovereign.

Apart from other duties, priests were now ordered to keep registers of births, identify fugitives and report to higher authorities on state criminals who revealed themselves in confession.

Spiritual Regulations, 1721
Spiritual Regulations, 1721

Spiritual Regulations, 1721. Source: ru.

Peter showed a certain tolerance towards the Old Believers and representatives of other confessions. The schismatics ceased to be prosecuted, but they were obliged to pay double taxes and wear a special dress. Foreigners who came to the country received complete freedom of faith from the Russian sovereign. In Russia, churches, churches, Catholic churches were erected. The Synod also gave the go-ahead for interfaith marriages.

Social and national movement and opposition to reforms

Peter's transformations fell heavily on the shoulders of the common people. High taxes, conscription, the founding of a new capital, the construction of forts and canals, the forced introduction of foreign orders - all this pushed the masses to decisive action.

The first riot broke out in Astrakhan. In 1705, the local champion-voivode, following the tsar's decree, began to forcefully cut the beards of the townspeople and shorten their dresses. For archers, merchants and other townspeople, this was the last straw. At night, they attacked the Astrakhan Kremlin, executed the governor and several hundred servicemen, confiscated their property and even planned a march to Moscow. Peter threw several thousand people to suppress the uprising. It was possible to normalize the situation only in 1706.

The reasons for the next uprising were Peter's decree on the search for fugitive peasants and the tsar's attempt to limit Cossack self-government. The rebellion was led by the Don ataman Kondraty Afanasyevich Bulavin. In the summer of 1707, he destroyed the head detachment of the sovereign, but he failed to consolidate the victory. Defeated by the army chieftain, Bulavin fled to the Zaporozhye Sich. Having strengthened and replenished their forces, the rebels took possession of Cherkassk, then, divided, moved to Saratov, Izium and Azov. Defeated under the latter, Bulavin returned to Cherkassk, where, according to one version, he was killed.

The death of the leader did not stop the rebels. Peasant unrest continued for several more years. Schismatics, Bashkirs, factory peasants and factory workers rose up against the sovereign-reformer and his decrees. The nobility, too, was not delighted with the tsarist innovations, which destroyed the usual way of life.

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N. N. Ge. Peter 1 interrogates Tsarevich Alexei, 1871. Source: ru.

With the accession of Peter to the Russian throne, his opposition sided with Princess Sophia. After her imprisonment in a monastery, opponents of the sovereign's reforms began to group around his firstborn, Tsarevich Alexei. After the latter died in the dungeons of the Peter and Paul Fortress under unclear circumstances, Peter introduced a decree on succession to the throne. However, he himself did not have time to use it.