Ruling families in the Russian political order, 1689-1825 : I. The Petrine leadership, 1689-1725; II. The ruling families, 1725-1825 - article ; n°3 ; vol.28, pg 233-322

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Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique - Année 1987 - Volume 28 - Numéro 3 - Pages 233-322
John P. Le Donne, Les familles dirigeantes dans l'ordre politique russe. I : La direction de Pierre, 1689-1725 ; II : Les familles dirigeantes, 1725-1825.
Ces deux articles ont pour but d'identifier les familles apparentées aux Romanov qui ont constitué la classe dirigeante de l'Empire russe pendant plus d'un siècle. Ces familles, ainsi qu'il apparaît, forment deux groupes dont l'origine remonte aux deux femmes du tsar Alexis Mihajlovič, le père de Pierre le Grand. La vie politique de l'Empire russe est présentée comme une rivalité entre ces deux groupes pour se partager les « dépouilles », c'est-à-dire les nominations aux postes administratifs importants dont les détenteurs étaient de ce fait en mesure de mettre en place des « réseaux de protection ». On suggère alors que l'ordre politique russe aux XVIIIe siècle reposait sur l'acceptation générale du principe de l'autocratie, sur le servage et sur l'extension des « réseaux de protection », aussi bien en Russie même qu'entre la Russie et ses régions frontières.
John P. Le Donne, Ruling families in the Russian political order. I : The Petrine leadership, 1689-1725 ; II : The ruling families, 1725-1825.
The purpose of these two articles is to identify families related to the Romanov house which constituted the leadership of the Russian Empire for more than a century. These families are seen to form two groups, and the origin of these groups is traced to the two wives of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich, Peter the Great's father. The politics of the Russian Empire is presented as a struggle between these two groups over the distribution of the spoils, i.e., appointments to important administrative positions from which their holders were in a position to develop patronage networks. It is then suggested that the Russian political order in the eighteenth century was held together by the general acceptance of the autocratic principle, by serfdom, and by the extension of patronage networks, both within Russia proper and between Russia and its borderlands.
90 pages
Source : Persée ; Ministère de la jeunesse, de l’éducation nationale et de la recherche, Direction de l’enseignement supérieur, Sous-direction des bibliothèques et de la documentation.

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John P. LeDonne
Ruling families in the Russian political order, 1689-1825 : I. The
Petrine leadership, 1689-1725; II. The ruling families, 1725-1825
In: Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. Vol. 28 N°3-4. Juillet-Décembre 1987. pp. 233-322.
Citer ce document / Cite this document :
LeDonne John P. Ruling families in the Russian political order, 1689-1825 : I. The Petrine leadership, 1689-1725; II. The ruling
families, 1725-1825. In: Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. Vol. 28 N°3-4. Juillet-Décembre 1987. pp. 233-322.
doi : 10.3406/cmr.1987.2115
http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/cmr_0008-0160_1987_num_28_3_2115Résumé
John P. Le Donne, Les familles dirigeantes dans l'ordre politique russe. I : La direction de Pierre, 1689-
1725 ; II : Les familles dirigeantes, 1725-1825.
Ces deux articles ont pour but d'identifier les familles apparentées aux Romanov qui ont constitué la
classe dirigeante de l'Empire russe pendant plus d'un siècle. Ces familles, ainsi qu'il apparaît, forment
deux groupes dont l'origine remonte aux deux femmes du tsar Alexis Mihajlovič, le père de Pierre le
Grand. La vie politique de l'Empire russe est présentée comme une rivalité entre ces deux groupes pour
se partager les « dépouilles », c'est-à-dire les nominations aux postes administratifs importants dont les
détenteurs étaient de ce fait en mesure de mettre en place des « réseaux de protection ». On suggère
alors que l'ordre politique russe aux XVIIIe siècle reposait sur l'acceptation générale du principe de
l'autocratie, sur le servage et sur l'extension des « réseaux de protection », aussi bien en Russie même
qu'entre la Russie et ses régions frontières.
Abstract
John P. Le Donne, Ruling families in the Russian political order. I : The Petrine leadership, 1689-1725 ;
II : The ruling families, 1725-1825.
The purpose of these two articles is to identify families related to the Romanov house which constituted
the leadership of the Russian Empire for more than a century. These families are seen to form two
groups, and the origin of these groups is traced to the two wives of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich, Peter the
Great's father. The politics of the Russian Empire is presented as a struggle between these two groups
over the distribution of the spoils, i.e., appointments to important administrative positions from which
their holders were in a position to develop patronage networks. It is then suggested that the Russian
political order in the eighteenth century was held together by the general acceptance of the autocratic
principle, by serfdom, and by the extension of patronage networks, both within Russia proper and
between Russia and its borderlands.ARTICLES
JOHN P. LE DONNE
RULING FAMILIES
IN THE RUSSIAN POLITICAL ORDER
1689-1825
For Edward Keenan and Marc Raeff
Parti
The Petřině leadership
1689-1725
More than a decade ago Robert Crummey deplored the "old-fashioned quality"
of recent writing on Russian history. "It is startling," he declared, "that at a time
when the study of political and social elites is a common undertaking of historians
of other countries and among political scientists has reached the status of a ha
llowed cliché, historians have given the governing elite of Russia scant atten
tion."1 Despite some pioneer work in the study of political families,2 little
progress has been made since then, and there is still no comprehensive survey of
the political leadership during the momentous reign of Peter I and the three subse
quent generations, when families brought into the entourage of the ruler by marr
iage, talent, or some accident of fortune, consolidated their gains and built patron
age networks. Even the broad circulation of elites, so characteristic of the reign
of Alexander I, has been ignored by historians, despite the compelling fact that his
reign and that of Peter I, similar in many ways - a protracted war threatened the
survival of the political order, imposed structural changes, and accelerated social
mobility - formed two major transition periods in the evolution of the political
leadership of the Romanov dynasty.
Cahiers du Monde russe et soviétique, ХХУШ (3-4), juillet-décembre 1987, pp. 233-322. 234 JOHN P. LE DONNE
To discuss the Russian political leadership presupposes a willingness to see the
ruler as the center of an autonomous constellation of power. The acceptance of
the autocratic form of government, reflected in the absence of permanent institu
tions representing social formations strong enough to win recognition and unite in
challenging the monopoly of the ruler, never precluded the existence of a court so
ciety.3 It was a society that shaped the ruler as much as it was shaped by
him. It paired off the offspring of its members, banished the undesirables, and
ceaselessly tunnelled a labyrinth of intrigues under the seemingly most secure posi
tions. It brought forth advisers and favorites and destroyed them with equal ease,
unabashedly using autocracy as a shield to advance its interests and justify its irr
esponsible behavior.
Such a discussion must follow two consecutive lines of approach. The first,
followed in these two articles, defined political leadership narrowly as a group of
men occupying the major positions of government. Accordingly, we must trace
the genealogies of these men and their closest ties with other families. To do so
with profit, however, there must be an agreement on a guiding principle to order
these relationships into a meaningful whole. If it is premised that the leadership
revolved around the ruling house, marital links with the Romanovs become funda
mental elements shaping its constitution and governing its evolution. Thus it
will be shown that the families of the first two wives of Tsars Mikhail, Alcksei,
and Peter on the one hand, and those of the second wives of Tsars Mikhail and
Aleksei on the other, formed the core of two extended political famil
ies. Individuals in leading positions came for the most part from these families
constituting collectively the extended family of the Romanov house, dispensing
patronage throughout the century, and keeping open the channels through which
certain outsiders were groomed for leadership positions and for marriage into the
leadership.
Such is the purpose of these two articles. The second line of approach, once
a genealogical classification of the ruling families has been completed, must be to
study the position of individual members of the leadership on various issues con
fronting the Russian government and to determine whether their families can be as
sociated with a definite policy concerning contemporary issues. But the first and
indispensable step remains the identification of families in order to place them
within a social context and tradition that conditioned their attitudes.
When Tsar Aleksei died in January 1676, his son Fcdor inherited a political si
tuation charged with the mutual hatred of the families of Aleksei's two wives, the
Miloslavskiis and the Naryshkins.4 Fedor, a sick and weakly child of fifteen, left
much of the governance of his realm to his relative Ivan Miloslavskii, who ban
ished the young Peter and his mother, Nataliia Naryshkina, to the village of Pre-
obra/henskoe, outside Moscow. Following Fedor's death in April 1682, the Na
ryshkins obtained the proclamation of the ten-year old Peter as tsar, thus bypassing
the lawful heir, the sixteen year-old Ivan, no less sick and unfit to rule than his
brother Fcdor. But Ivan Miloslavskii's skill in using the discontent of the
strel'tsy troops that flared up in open revolt in May 1682 led to the acceptance of
Ivan and Peter as co-tsars, in a regency headed by Sofiia, Ivan's sister. In this
uneasy association of the two families the Miloslavskiis had the upper hand, but
Ivan Miloslavskii's death in July 1685 and Sofiia's inability to consolidate her
power resulted in the coup of August 1689. Sofiia was incarcerated in the RULING FAMILIES IN THE RUSSIAN POLITICAL ORDER 235
Novodevichy Convent, and new appointments were made in most agencies of gov
ernment.5 The joint rule of the two tsars continued, but they took little part in
the government, Ivan because of his disabilities, Peter because of his lack of inter
est. His unbounded curiosity in other areas led him meanwhile to make unusual
acquaintance and daring small-scale experiments, which directed his violent energies
toward reshaping Russian society and government after the outbreak of the North-
em War a decade later.
The struggle for influence and for positions to translate this influence into
power was fought over appointments in the administrative machinery. It is
therefore necessary to keep the organization of government always in mind and this
can be done best by dividing the administrative history of Peter's reign into three
periods. The first began with the tsar's departure for his grand tour of Europe in
1697 and ended on the eve of the creation of the gubernii and the appointment of
governors in 1708. The second stretched from 1709 to the end of 1717 : it wit
nessed the territorial reform and the creation of the Senate, both aiming at giving
the tsar a flexible instrument of government at a critical time. The third encomp
assed the reforms of 1718 and 1722, which left a permanent imprint on Imperial
administration until the 1770's.
When Tsar Peter, now twenty-five years old, left Moscow for his unprecedented
tour of Western Europe in March 1697, he entrusted his realm to a temporary comm
ittee of five men, who not only constituted a kind of family council of the Ro
manov house, but were also responsible for the most important sectors of Muscov
ite administration in their capacity as chiefs of prikazy, central agencies with mult
iple and poorly coordinated responsibilities.
Responsibilities for personnel and military administration were closely related
because the chief function of the Russian ruling class remained the staffing of the
traditional cavalry and its chief perquisite the enjoyment in peacetime of landed
properties allotted in return for its contribution to the country's external defense and
internal security, while civil appointments, chiefly in the provinces, were given to
those unfit for service in the field. As a result, both military and civil positions
at various levels were cleared through the Razriad, the most important prikaz, be
fore they were submitted to the ruler. Specialized military formations, however,
had their own prikazy : the artillery, the strel'tsy troops (infantry), the Western-
style cavalry (reitary), and the foreign mercenaries (inozemtsy). The second most
important prikaz was the Pomestnyi prikaz, which kept the records of the vast
landholdings of the ruling class, whether hereditary (votchinnoe) or held in condit
ional tenure (pomestnoe). The Razriad determined the amount an individual de
served according to his share in political management, but the Pomestnyi prikaz
made the actual grant and registered transfers of title.6
Despite the fact that collection of the national revenue remained scattered
among several prikazy, a Grand Treasury (Bol'shoi Kazny) collected substant
ial sums, chiefly from the sale of vodka and the imposition of trade. It also JOHN P. LE DONNE 236
managed custom houses, the mint, and the Tula ironworks where muskets and
guns were manufactured. Much of civil litigation came under the Sudnyi prikaz,
but police responsibilities were divided among at least three prikazy. Criminal
investigations of inhabitants of the capital were carried out in the Zemskii prikaz,
others depended on the Sysknoi prikaz. Police forces - mostly strel'tsy - were
subordinated to the Streletskii The chief police agency, however, was the
Preobrazhenskii prikaz. Created, probably in 1696, as the tsar's personal chanc
ery and named after the village to which Peter and his mother were restricted in
1677, it was also the staff headquarters for the two Guard regiments. The deci
sion to remove all politically sensitive cases from other prikazy and to concentrate
them in the Preobrazhenskii prikaz gave this agency privileged status in the politi
cal apparatus and allowed it to extend its activities over the entire country and its
jurisdiction over all classes of the population, a radical departure from Muscovite
administrative tradition7 and a precedent for similar practices down to our own day.
Another three prikazy operated as regional agencies, even though their headquart
er was in Moscow. The Kazan' prikaz (Kazanskogo dvortsa) administered the
towns along the middle and lower Volga which had once been part of the Kazan'
and Astrakhan khanates,8 and the Siberian prikaz those of Siberia. The prikaz of
Foreign Affairs (Posol'skii) was the central agency for the garrisons in the Ukraine
(Little Russia), the towns scattered along the Northern Dvina and the White Sea
littoral, and those of the former principality of Smolensk because their activities
often had a direct bearing on Russia's relations with the Ukraine, the Turks, the
Poles, the Dutch, and the English.9 The Postal (Iamskoi) prikaz was closely re
lated to it. We can thus identify fifteen major prikazy in 1697.10 Who were
their chiefs, and how were their families related to the ruling house ?
Fedor Romanov, better known as Patriarch Filaret, father of the first Romanov
Tsar Mikhail (1613-1645), had three sisters and one brother who are relevant to
this study. Anna married Ivan Troekurov : their great-grandson Ivan headed the
Streletskii prikaz ; Marfa married Boris Cherkasskii : their nephew Petr Prozo-
rovskii was the chief of the Treasury ; Anastasiia married Boris Lykov, whose
cousin Ivan was the father of Mikhail Lykov, the chief of the Sysknoi pri
kaz. Fedor's brother married Evdokiia Golitsyna : their grandnephew, Boris Go-
litsyn, had been Peter's tutor, headed the Kazan1 prikaz, and was, together with Pro-
zorovskii, a member of the committee of 1697. The chief of the Siberian pri
kaz, Ivan Repnin, had entered the immediate entourage of the ruler when his son
married the daughter of Mikhail Lykov. These five prikaz chiefs thus belonged
to families connected with the ruling house as far back as the early days of the new
dynasty.11
Tsar Mikhail's second wife Evdokiia Streshneva, the mother of Tsar Aleksei
(1645-1676) and grandmother of Tsar Peter, brought her relatives to court where
their most famous representative was Tikhon, whom Peter called "father" — Tsar
Aleksei had died when Peter was only four. Twenty-eight years older than Peter,
he was one of the most trusted members of the leadership, headed the Razriad in
1697 and sat on the committee of five. His family was related to the Lykovs
and Troekurovs, and Alcksci's marriage to Natal iia Naryshkina created close ties be
tween the Streshnevs and the Naryshkins. His role in the selection of Evdokiia
Lopukhina to be Peter's first wife established him as the single most important
member of the Romanovs' immediate family, even though as is well known, the RULING FAMILIES IN THE RUSSIAN POLITICAL ORDER 237
choice was a disastrous one.12 His relative, Lev Naryshkin, Nataliia's brother,
had been a leading member of the government since 1689 in his capacity of de fac
to head of the prikaz of Foreign Affairs, and Lev's uncle, Kondratii, headed the
Postal prikaz. For easy reference, this first extended family, consisting of the
Streshnevs, Naryshkins and Lopukhins, together with their relatives and clients,
will be called the Naryshkin group.
Mikhail's first wife - who gave him no children - brought another four famil
ies into the inner circle of the Romanov house, and their intermarriage created a
second extended family. Mania Dolgorukova belonged to one of the most illus
trious Russian families, and her marriage boosted the prestige of the new dynasty
as much as it flattered the pride of her family. The Dolgorukovs may have
brought the Miloslavskiis into the inner circle, and their ties with this family of
modest origin remained close well into the eighteenth century. Dmitrii Dolgo-
rukov, Mariia's cousin twice removed, married the sister of Mariia Miloslavskaia,
Tsar Alcksei's first wife, and her other sister Anna was the wife of Boris Morozov,
the most influential boyar in Aleksei's government until his death in 1661. The
Miloslavskiis played no role during the reign of Peter, partly because the two
branches directly involved in the tumultuous events of the 1680's died out at the
end of the century, partly because the third branch had no competent members or,
more likely, because Tsar Peter's undying hatred barred their participation in his
government. But Mariia Miloslavskaia's two sons brought two families into
this already large extended family : the Apraksins, the relatives of Tsar Fedor's sec
ond wife, and the Saltykovs, those of Tsar Ivan's wife, known in history as Tsarina
Praskov'ia, a remarkable woman whose biography attracted the attention of the his
torian Mikhail Semevskii.13 This second extended family will be called the Sal
tykov group.
This group occupied a dominant position in military administration, the police,
and financial administration - Prozorovskii's sister was married to a Salty
kov. Mariia Dolgorukova had two more cousins twice removed. One, Petr,
gave his daugther in marriage to Aleksei Shein, the commander-in-chief of the
army and chief of three of the four military prikazy (artillery, cavalry, and foreign
mercenaries), although not a member of the committee of five. The other, Iurii,
married the widowed grandmother of Petr Sheremetev, the chief of the Pomestnyi
prikaz, whose son and daughter married two Dolgorukovs. And Iurii Urusov, in
the Sudnyi prikaz, was the brother-in-law of Sergei Miloslavskii, whose second
wife was a Saltykova.14
But the strength of the Saltykov group derived from the presence of Fedor Ro-
modanovskii at the head of the Preobrazhenskii prikaz and ranking member of the
committee of five. There was something symbolic about this most dreaded
member of the leadership. He was the only one of the thirteen who was never
made a boyar, even though he had the lineage and the talents to be one, and his
children married into both family groups. He gave one of his daughters in marr
iage to Avraam Lopukhin, Peter's brother-in-law, the other to the nephew of the
future Marshal Sheremetev. But the primary link, which placed Romodanovskii
squarely in the Saltykov group, was his only son's marriage to Anastasiia Saltykov
a, sister-in-law to Tsar Ivan, and a relative of the senior branch of the Dolgorukov
family. 238 JOHN P. LE DONNE
The Narva disaster of November 1700 triggered a feverish activity to mobilize
the energies of the entire country in what promised to be a long conflict with Swed
en. The tsar's absence from Moscow, where he now went only as a "guest,"15
gradually shifted the center of gravity to the theater of operations where new rela
tionships were crystallizing between the ruler as commander-in-chief and his field
commanders. The need had never been greater for a committee of ministers to
coordinate the operations of the civilian government at the center while the war
was being fought in the Baltic provinces of Sweden and in Poland. Since war
imposes extraordinary demands on the reserves of the treasury, fiscal stringency is
often the mother of administrative reform. And indeed, references begin to appear as
early as March 1701 to a Privy Council (Blizhniaia kantseliariia) to which all pri-
kazy were ordered to report on the size of their staffs and the level of their revenues
and expenditures. The Council seems to have been a restricted committee of the
old Duma, which no longer met as a body. Nikita Zotov, one of Peter's former
tutors, presided. These boyars, now called ministers - hence the occasional refe
rence to a Konsilium ministrov - met to hear reports and passed resolutions
(prigovorili). The formula was reminiscent of procedures in the Duma, but with
a major difference. The Duma had met with the tsar and could not function with
out him ; the new council enjoyed administrative autonomy, while Peter ruled
from his field headquarters.16
Few changes were made in the network of prikazy. The Streletskii prikaz
was closed after the disbanding of the strel'tsy troops in 1699, the prikazy for the
cavalry and foreign mercenaries were combined into a new Military prikaz
(voennykh del) in 1701, but the Artillery prikaz remained in existence. The
Navy ("Admiralty") was a new service.
A Monastic prikaz was added in 1701 to manage the properties of the monasteri
es, but the Sysknoi prikaz was abolished the same year, and its responsibilities
were distributed among other prikazy. Thus there were still fourteen major pri
kazy in the 1700's. To these must be added the Chamber of Review (Raspravnaia
palata) to which vexed questions (spornye delà) were referred before their submis
sion to the tsar for final decision.17 Finally, Peter's energy, increased responsib
ilities, and constant travels made it impossible for the Moscow-bound Prcobra-
zhenskii prikaz to function as a personal chancery, and a new post of "cabinet sec
retary" made its appearance in 1704.18
The Council's membership has not been studied, but it is known that fourteen
members met on September 15, 1708 under the chairmanship of the tsarc-
vich.19 Not all fourteen may be counted as members of the leadership, while
others who did not attend the meeting - such as the chiefs of the Foreign Affairs,
Artillery, and Kazan' prikazy - must be included. The same applies to Nikita
Zotov, the president of the Council, who functioned as its liaison man with the
tsar, and may have been absent that day. With these qualifications we can claim
that the leadership consisted of fourteen individuals.20
The Saltykov group had lost its dominant position in central military administ
ration but remained in charge of two crucial sectors, the political police with Ro-
modanovskii and the Treasury with Prozorovskii. Two new men also belong
here. The wife of Plemiannikov, who represented the Navy and its chief Fedor
Apraksin, a relative of Tsarina Praskov'ia, is unknown, but the fact that he later
signed Senate decisions for Mikhail Dolgorukov, who could not write,21 makes FAMILIES IN THE RUSSIAN POLITICAL ORDER 239 RULING
him a client of the family. Another client was Iakov Brius (Bruce), the only
member of foreign descent, with whom the leadership of the Artillery was associat
ed for twenty-two years (1704-1726). He remained single and his brother married
a non-Russian, but two of his nephew's three wives were Dolgorukov princesse
s. A fifth member was Alcksei Saltykov, the chief of the Sudnyi prikaz, a
cousin of Tsarina Praskov'ia and a close relative of Prozorovskii and Romodanov-
skii.
The president of the Chamber of Review, Mikhail Cherkasskii, a sixth leader,
belonged to a family with its own direct connection with the ruling house. A
first cousin of Mikhail's great-grandfather had been Ivan the Terrible's second wife,
another married one of Filaret's sisters. Mikhail's own wife, a Pozharskaia, was
the first cousin twice removed of Mariia Dolgorukova, and his grandson married
the daughter of Petr Apraksin.
The subordination of both the Razriad and the Military prikaz to Streshnev in
1701,22 together with the important responsibilities vested in these two prikazy and
the Monastic prikaz in recruiting and the formation of new units during the hectic
years following the first battle of Narva, gave the Naryshkin group a dominant role
in the government. The strength of this group had been in the foreign policy es
tablishment and personnel management. Lev had died in January
1705, but he had lost much of his authority since 1699 to Fedor Golovin, who
also belonged to the Naryshkin group and, as Grand Admiral, combined the leader
ship of Foreign Affairs with that of the Navy.23 Golovin died at the end of 1706
and the leadership of the Navy passed to the Saltykov group. His distant cousin,
Matvei, headed the Postal prikaz. One suspects a compromise between the two
groups, the Saltykovs now clearly dominant in naval administration and the artil
lery, the Naryshkins in personnel and military administration.
Moreover, the choice of Gavriil Golovkin, a distant cousin of the tsar and a rel
ative of the Naryshkins, as Peter's closest collaborator in foreign affairs, showed up
the strength of the Naryshkin group. Leadership of Foreign Affairs still included
responsibility for the administration of border regions. Boris Golitsyn, the chief of
the Kazan' prikaz since 1685, had a niece married to Fedor Naryshkin, Peter's uncle
and a nephew married to Nataliia Naryshkina, Peter's first cousin. The administ
ration of Siberia likewise had long been the preserve of the Naryshkin group, with
Repnin in the Siberian prikaz and Gagarin, whose family had been active in Siberi
an affairs since the 1680's.24 His link with the ruling house, however, was less
clear : he was related to the Golovins through his wife and daugther-in-law. These
three men - Golovkin, Boris Golitsyn, and Gagarin - were thus major figures in
Russia's foreign relations not only with the Western world but also with the world
of the steppe and Persia.
The remaining three members may be said to form a separate sub
group. Musin-Pushkin emerged as a major figure at the head of the Monastic
prikaz created for the purpose of drawing on the wealth of the monasteries for the
war effort. He was indeed a special case : he was the illegitimate son of Tsar
Aleksei ; Peter openly called him his brother. He and Ivan Buturlin, who head
ed the Zemskii prikaz, were married to the Savelov sisters, nieces of Patriarch
Joachim (1674-1690), who had led the Moscow populace to proclaim Peter as
the only tsar in 1682 and had taken a crucial part in thwarting Sofiia's ambitions
in 1689.25 Musin-Pushkin's daughter married Boris Golitsyn's brother and JOHN P. LE DONNE 240
Buturlin's married Golovkin's son. Finally, the remarriage of Zotov's widow to
Petr Buturlin, first cousin of Ivan's father, suggests a close relationship between
the two families.
The Privy Council attempted to coordinate in Moscow the activities of the ma
jor prikazy in which the traditional overlapping of territorial and functional juris
dictions had created an administrative nightmare with unacceptable consequences in
the midst of war. At the same time, a separate governmental structure had been
taking shape in the field, with clear lines of command, personal accountability, and
disregard of bureaucratic procedures. The conduct of war on an immense theater
of operations, the building of a fleet to defend the newly conquered mouths of the
Neva and the Don, the strengthening of strategic bases in Kiev and Kazan' from
which to project Russian power against the Turks and their allies, led to the gradua
l emergence of territorial commands headed by tested lieutenants enjoying great
powers and depending on the tsar alone.
Petersburg, founded in May 1703, and Sweden's Baltic provinces, conquered in
the summer of 1704, were placed under a governor of Ingermanland, Karelia, and
Estland. By then, the title of governor had been used on several occasions : in
Arkhangelsk in 1694, in Azov since at least 1703, in Astrakhan in 1705, in Smol
ensk in 1706.26 These new governorships were territorial commands superim
posed upon long corridors of strategic defense and staging areas from which to
launch offensive operations against any potential enemy.
After defeating the Russians at Narva in 1700, Charles ХП had directed his main
forces against the Polish king, who was forced to capitulate in October 1706. The
invasion of Lithuania in September 1707 signalled the imminence of the long-
awaited showdown, postponed for seven years. Three months later, the tsar con
veyed to the Privy Council his decision to create a new administrative-territorial di
vision of the country. He submitted to it a list of six towns - Arkhangelsk,
Moscow, Smolensk, Kazan', Kiev, and Azov - with instructions to group other
towns around each of them in order to create six governorships.27 Petersburg a
lready had its own territory, and Siberia was a world apart The new system took
shape in the course of 1708, and a final list of towns was sent to the eight gover
nors in February 1709. Meanwhile, strong Russian resistance had forced
Charles xu to change his designs against Smolensk and to head for Poltava in the
Ukraine, where the Swedish army would be annihilated in June 1709.28
This emergency situation in the Lithuanian and Ukrainian sectors and the inse
curity of the eastern borderlands - uprisings had recently been crushed in Astra
khan, Bashkiria, and the Don - accounted in large part for the reform. The major
responsibility of the governors was to collect their quotas of funds and recruits and
to ship both to the army. They commanded troops in their gubernii ; they were
even sent on distant campaigns. The governor-general of Petersburg fought the
Swedes in Poland, the governor of Kazan' led his troops down the Volga on their
way to the Northern Caucasus, the governor of Azov commanded naval squadrons
in the Gulf of Finland.29