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18世紀初頭におけるツァーリとエリート : 元老院の地位と活動を手がかりとして

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Title: 18世紀初頭におけるツァーリとエリート : 元老院の地位と活動を手がかりとして
Other Titles: Tsar and the Elite at the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century : The Status and Functioning of the Senate in the Petrine Era
Authors: 田中, 良英1 Browse this author
Authors(alt): Tanaka, Yoshihide1
Issue Date: 1999
Publisher: 北海道大学スラブ研究センター
Journal Title: スラヴ研究
Journal Title(alt): Slavic Studies
Volume: 46
Start Page: 91
End Page: 124
Abstract: Historians have remarked that the Russian Empire had the different structure from that of West European countries in the same age. True, this empire was marked by tsars' "autocratic" power, the lack of estates, and the unique bureaucratic system -- allegedly attributes of the empire's backwardness. Recently, however, several researchers began to remark that these attributes, especially tsars' autocratic power was an effective mobilizing factor in the course of Russia's modernization. Sharing this position, I focus on the status and functioning of the Senate in the Petrine era. My interest in this period is justified by the fact that the archetype of Imperial Russia, i.e., the combination of autocracy and bureaucracy on the social basis of noble officials, was founded by Peter I, in particular by his decrees which imposed lifelong state service on nobles. Moreover, recent historical studies (A. Mayer, D. Lieven, P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, to name but a few) make us question the myth of the so-called dual revolutions (civil and industrial) which allegedly uprooted the anciens regimes, even in regards to West European countries. Rather, the political regimes based on the nobility and the bureaucracy, which were established in the early modern age, continued to function until the eve of World War I. This is partly why I examine the Senate made up of the highest noble officials in the Petrine era, and their political relationship with the tsar. In the late 1960s, M. Raeff published a study focused on nobles' educational and service conditions, and established classic (but convincing still) understanding of the power relationship between tsars and nobles in eighteenth-century Russia, i.e., the lack of the nobility's estate autonomy, and tsars as the sole creator of the nobles' identity and prestige. In the 1970s and early 1980s, B. Meehan-Waters proved the continuous weight of the traditional noble families among the highest officialdom before and after the Petrine Reforms by adopting the method of prosopography. Her studies raised an objection to S. M. Troitskii's overestimation of "meritocracy" based on the Table of Ranks, but she did not necessarily object to Raeff's understanding. Rather, she also mentioned that all the nobles in the Eighteenth century could not resist tsars' will, though she did not present data enough to prove this opinion. In the 1980-90s, J. P. LeDonne's genealogical studies provided a view in contrast to Raeff and Meehan-Waters; he emphasized the autonomy of "the ruling class" composed of high noble officials, elucidating patron-client networks among these nobles and the mechanism to incorporate the newcomers. Appreciating LeDonne's studies, however, I cannot agree to his overestimation of the nobility's estate autonomy, especially the nobles' influence on tsars. Prosopography and genealogical study should be complemented by analyses of concrete political processes, in particular, interactions between tsars and noble officials. This is why this paper examines the status and function of the Senate as a point of contiguity between Peter I and the highest nobles. Following introduction of the College system of administration after 1717-18, the Senate was ordered to monitor and control the nine Colleges and other state offices. True, the Senate, made up of the highest noble officials of first four ranks, was the highest state organ. Moreover, remarkably, the Senate was to recommend the tsar the candidates for College presidents and other high officials. As was the case with the boyar duma in the Seventeenth century, however, members of the Senate were always selected by the tsar, unlike the Estates in West European countries. Furthermore, the Senate's recommendations in terms of recruitment of officials were not compulsory for the tsar, who actually appointed even those who had not been nominated by the Senate. By unrestrictedly appointing high officials and generals, who, in turn, were granted significant authority over their own cadre selections, the tsar indirectly controlled appointment of lower officials. This paper examined two cases of trial to which the Senate was related. One is the Shafirov trial in 1723 that Baron Petr Shafirov stood for his quarrel with the senate procurator G. Skorniakov-Pisare v in a Senate meeting and the other was held in 1721 to inquire into the corruption of the former Siberian governor Matvei Gagarin. These trial cases revealed similar patterns. First, it was the tsar himself that initiated the trials and selected their procedural forms. In the Shafirov case both sides in dispute (Pisarev and Shafirov) petitioned the tsar to settle the quarrel immediately after it, even though he was absent from St. Petersburg then. This means that the administrative organs of those days, including the Senate, lacked such extent of autonomy to solve conflicts between officials. As for the Shafirov case, apparently with the purpose of segregating the trial from clanship within the Senate, the tsar preferred to create an ad hoc "highest court" separated from the Senate, which originally had the status and function of the Supreme Court. In the Gagarin case the tsar charged the Senate with the inquiry, probably because Gagarin did not have a post in the Senate. Another pattern was that both the courts quoted in their judicial decisions the tsar's decrees, in which we can read the judges' mentality. In the Shafirov case the highest court, made up of the top elite as well as the Senate, quoted the decrees declaring tsars' absolute power, especially tsars' exclusive authority to plan, interpret or amend laws. This showed the elite's conscious subordination to tsars. In the Gagarin case the decree quoted by the Senate demonstrated the principle of legality, and both the tsar and the Senate took the attitude that they should follow the principle. Moreover, the tsar was not restricted by the elite's will. In the Shafirov case he made a change in the judicial decision handed down by the highest court, commuting a death sentence on Shafirov to exile. In the Gagarin case the treatment of executed Gagarin's dead body completely depended on the tsar's will, and he confiscated Gagarin's several properties -- a measure which was not included in the decision written by the Senate. Not surprisingly, the lower noble officials than the senators were more subordinate to the tsar. When they faced problems, even though these problems appeared trivial, the noble officials tended to ask for instructions from their higher ranks, without coping with their problems on their own. It is true that the officials, as a rule, asked their direct superiors necessary instructions, in other words, did not violate the normal chain of command within bureaucracy. There were a significant number of cases, however, that the officials made direct petitions to the tsar in quest of his instructions. They sometimes asked the tsar to explain how to cope with their work, and at other times petitioned for improvement in their living conditions: for example, grant of houses and salaries (which had been given irregularly or had not been given at all) or reduction of the sentences on themselves or their families. By responding personally even to the trivial petitions, the tsar affected all spheres in the elite's lives. In conclusion, I would like to remark three points. First, although it cannot be denied that a bureaucratic apparatus was established during the Petrine era, it does not mean that this apparatus was run by "bureaucrats" in the strictly Weberian sense. The Russian noble officials, as a rule, lacked a self-image and competence as administrati ve specialist. Second, it was the tsar himself that always introduced many administrative organs and finally selected the high officials in the Petrine era. This situation can be attributed to the fact that tsars had exclusive authority over laws. This structure might appear despotic but it helped the tsar a lot to enhance discipline in the whole society (Sozialdisziplinierung) by means of his decrees. Third, while the noble officials' tendency to avoid deciding on their own could make the activity of each individual administrative organ inefficient, it produced strong unity in Russian state mechanism as a whole and increased the cohesive force between the tsar and the elite. As is often noted, most Russian subjects in the Petrine era, including the noble officials, were discontented with Peter I, but we should remember that this discontent did not give rise to any apparent large-scale opposition to the Petrine reforms. The cohesive force was strong enough to guarantee the Russian Empire the status of a European great power. Because of this autocratic power, Russian tsars could cope with a situation operatively. For example, the tsar organized the ad hoc "highest court," independently of the elite's will. In fact, however, restricted by the laws which he himself had promulgated, the tsar could not use his power arbitrarily and irrationally. In my view, this situation helped the creation of "tsarism as an institution" which functioned following rationality of its own and attempted to pursue the common wealth.
Type: bulletin (article)
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2115/38837
Appears in Collections:スラヴ研究 = Slavic Studies > 46

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