The Succession Crisis of 1730: A View from the Inside*

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  • 1 University of Illinois at Chicago Circle

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  • *The research on which this essay is based was carried out with the assistance of grants from the International Research and Exchanges Board, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, and the Research Board of the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle. For their comments on an earlier version of this essay, I am grateful to Professors David Ransel, Brenda Meehan- Waters, and Marc Raeff. 1. The text of the "Account" used here is in Russkii arkhiv [hereafter RA ], 47, No. 1 (1909), 430-42, where it is appended to the roughly contemporary "Zapiski diuka Liriis- kago" (pp. 337ff.), both being reprints of D. Iazykov's edition of same published in St. Petersburg in 1845. According to D. A. Korsakov, Yotsarenie imperatritsy Anny Ioan- novny (Kazan': Tip. Imp. Universiteta, 1880), p. xx, Iazykov's edition follows closely-

  • "almost word for word"-the manuscript copy then (1880) in the Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv (razd. III, delo No. 6, 11. 57-72; archive now at TsGADA), which in Korsakov's judgment was to be dated, if not to 1730 itself, then certainly to the 1730s, and was the best of the seven manuscript copies of the work with which he was familiar (see his pp. xix-xxii). Two other printed editions.of the "Account" are: M. P. [Pogodin], ed., "0 smerti Impertora Petra Vtorago i o vozshestvii na Prestol Gosudary ni Imp. Anny loan- novny," Moskovskii vestnik, Pt. 1 (1830), pp. 42-74 (a reprint of this is in the Library of Congress, at DK 153. F4), which is based on a nineteenth-century manuscript of P. P. Beketov (Korsakov, p. xx); and A. V. Tereshchenko, ed., Istoriia o izbranii i vosshestvii na prestol Blazhennyia i vechnodostoinyia Gosudaryni Imp. Anny Ioannovny (St. Peters- burg, 1837; copies at the State Public Library, Leningrad and the Lenin Library, Moscow), which is also based on an eighteenth-century manuscript and is, as Korsakov (p. xxi) shows, the least accurate of the printed texts. Among major historical-treatments of the succession crisis only Solov'ev's makes any very extensive use of the "Account," and then without discussion or analysis of the document itself: see S. M. Solov'ev, Istoriia Rossii s drevneishikh vremen, 15 vols. (Moscow: Izd-vo Sotsial'no-ekon. lit-ry, 1959-66), ,X, 198ff., referring to Iazykov's 1845 edition cited above. 2. "Protokoly Verkhovnago tainago soveta (1726-1730)," in Chteniia v Imp. obsh- chestve istorii i drevnostei rossiskikh pri Moskovskom universitete [hereafter Chteniial, 264 vols. (Moscow: Universitetskaia tip., 1846-1918), Bk. 3, Pt. 2 (1858) p. 112.

  • 3. Anna's letter to the Council accpeting its "conditions," dated Mitau 28 Jan. 1730, is in Korsakov, pp. 118-19.

  • 4. Solov'ev, X, 207-08 and nn. 218/11 (p. 323). 5. Text of the "conditions" in M. Raeff, ed., Plans for Political Reform in Imperial Russia (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966), pp. 45-46. The nobiliar counter- proposals will be referred to below.

  • 6. Solov'ev, X, 210 and nn. 223/16 (p. 323). 7. Ibid., pp. 215-16; also the "Vita Theophanis Procopovitsch," most probably by his friend G. S. Bayer, in J. B. Sherer, ed., Nordische Nebenstuden, I (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1776), p. 266.

  • 8. For the "new oath," which refers to Anna only as "Great Sovereign Tsaritsa" and not as "Autocrat" or "Empress," see Korsakov, pp. 245-46. 9. Chteniia, Bk. 3, Pt. 4 (1913), pp. 5-6; Solov'ev, p. 217; Korsakov, p. 266. 10. Texts of both petitions in Raeff, pp. 50-52.

  • 11. "Iz" iasnenie, kakovy byli nekikh lits umysli, zateiki i deistviia v prizove na pres- tolEia Imperatorskago Velichestva,"in P. Kashpirev, ed., Pamiatniki novoi russkoi istorii, Vol. 1 Pt. 2 (St. Petersburg, 1871), pp. 11-16: Kashpirev tentatively attributes the work to Prokopovich; Korsakov (p. xxii), definitely, adding that it was evidently written soon after 25 February 1730 and intended for submission to Anna. The provenance of the manuscript on which Kashpirev based his text, other than that it belonged to 1. I. Shul'gin, is not known; but the language and contents of the work make the attribution to Proko- povich certain.

  • 12. The text of the "Project," with original orthography preserved and author's mar- ginal and other notations indicated, is in N. V. Golitsyn, "Feofan Prokopovich i votsar- enie imp. Anny Ioannovny," Vestnik evropy, Bk. 4 (1907), pp. 524-25. The text is based on a manuscript found in the Gosudarstvenny arkhiv, in the file concerning the special investigative commission of 1741, there because it had been among the confiscated pa- pers of A. I. Osterman, with whom Prokopivich, before his death in 1736, had been close: the "Project," relating to the events of 1730, was of no interest to the commission of 1741, and thereafter escaped notice. Golitsyn, who discovered the manuscript, is certain of its attribution to Prokopovich-not only because of its contents and style, but because the handwriting itself "leaves no doubt" (ibid., p. 523).

  • 13. A copy of the Council's presumably public declaration of 19 January, to which Prokopovich refers here, appears not to have survived. The Council's "protocol" under that date states merely that on Peter II's death the Council, "general-fieldmarshals, ec- clesiastical synod, and also [members] of the senate and generalitet who were present in His Imperial Majesty's house at this time," took counsel among themselves and then, "since the imperial male line of succession had been broken, therefore decided to entrust it [the succession] to the tsarevna Anna Ivanovna [sic], duchess of Courland, born of the royal blood" (quoted in Korsakov, p. 7, citing an archival source). Korsakov goes on to state (p. 13), without documentation, that later that day (19 January) a "manifesto" from the Council announcing Peter's death and Anna's election was "composed." Prokopovich perhaps refers here to a "Manifesto" from the Council which, according to its protocol of 4 February, was published and which, after announcing Peter 11's

  • death and the end, therefore, of the "succession of the Imperial male sex," stated that Anna had been chosen to succeed "by the wish and agreement of the whole Russian peo- ple"; moreover, that a delegation had been sent to her "with a petition ... to which [she] has consented," that all should give thanks, and that when she had arrived in Mos- cow all would be infomed concerning the taking of the oath of loyalty to her. See Chteniia, Bk. 3, Pt. 2 (1858) pp. 117-18; also Solov'ev, X, 209. 14. "Slovo pokhval'noe o preslavnoi nad voiskami sveiskimi pobede... ," in h P. Ere- min, ed., Feofan Prokopovich: Sochineniia (Moscow/Leningrad: Izd-vo Adademii nauk SSSR, 1961), pp. 23ff. 15. Golitsyn to Chancellor Golovkin, 15 Feb. 1709, in Solov'ev, VIII, 268. 16. I. Chistovich, Feofan Prokopovich i ego vremia (St. Petersburg: Tip. Imperator- skoi akademii nauk, 1868), pp. 14, n. 3, and 220. 17. Korsakov, pp. 34-40; also Korsakov, Iz zhizni russkikh deiatelei XVIII veka (Ka- zan': Tip. I. Universiteta, 1891), p. 223; N. V. Golitsyn, "Novyia dannyia o biblioteke

  • kn. D. M. Golitsyna," in Chteniia, Bk. 4. Pt. 4 (1900), pp. 1-16; and A. Lappo-Dani- levskii, "L'idee de 1'6tat et son evolution en Russie," in P. Vinogradoff, ed., Essays in Gegal History (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1913), pp. 369-77. 18. J. Cracraft, The Church Reform of Peter the Great (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press, 1971), p. 134. 19. Ibid., pp. 130-32; Golitsyn, "Votsarenie," pp. 532, 534-35.

  • 20.Polnoesobranoezakonovrossiiskoiimperii,poreleniemGosudariaImperatoraNikolaiaPavlovichasostavlennoe. Sobranie pervoe, S 1649 po 12 dekabria 1825 goda [hereafter PSZ], 46 vols. (St. Petersburg: Tip. II Otdeleniia Sobstvennoi Ego Imperator- skago Velichestva kantseliarii, 1830, 1843), VII, No. 4830. 21. PSZ, VII, No. 4862; Sbornik Imp. Russkago istoricheskago obshchestva [hereaf- ter SIRIO], 148 vols. (St. Petersburg-Petrograd: Tip. M. M. Stasivlevicha, 1867-1916), LV, 2, 65-69, 93-97, 119-21, 457, 473-74 (from the proceedings of the Council); Polnoe sobranoe postanovlenii i rasporiazhenii po vedomstvu pravoslavnago ispovedaniia rossii- skoi imperii [hereafterPSP], 14 vols. (St. Petersburg-Petrograd, 1872-1916), V, No. 1739; and P. V. Verkhovskoi, Uchrezhdenie Dukhovnoi kollegii i Dukhovnyi reglament, 2 vols. (Rostov-on-Don, 1916), I, 576, n. 4. 22. Cracraft, pp. 161-62, 178-79, 198ff. 23. PSZ, VII, Nos. 4919, 4925; PSP, V, No. 1819; also Verkhovskoi, pp. 514-15. 24. Cracraft, pp. 79ff., 184ff., and passim. For further instances of the Council's in- tervention in the Synod's affairs, see Verkhovskoi, pp. 577-82.

  • 25. Petitionprinted in R, No. 11 (1870), cols. 1953-59; also SIRIO, CIV, 18-20. 26. Decree of 4 Oct. 1727: see SIRIO, LXIX, 431-32. 27. T. A. Bykova, M. M. Gurevich, and R. 1. Kozintseva, comps., Opisanie izdanii, napechatannykh pri Petre I: svodnyi katalog. Dopolneniia i prilozlieniia (Leningrad: n.p., 1972), p. 177. 28. PSZ, VI, No. 3893; VII, No. 4870. 29. PSZ, VII, No. 5070; SIRIO, LXIII, 473; Solov'ev, X, 80-82. 30. Bykova, Gurevich, Kozintseva, No. 577. 31. Russkii biograricheskii slovar' [hereafter Rbs], 25 vols. (St. Petersburg; 1886- 1913), IV, 28-32; also above, n. 23.

  • 32.FeofanaProkopovicha ... slova i rechi pouchitel'nyia, pokhval'nyia i pozdravi- tel'nyia sobrannyia... , ed. S. F. Nakoval'nim, 4 vols. (St. Petersburg: pri Sukhoputnom Shliakhetnom Kadetskom Korpuse, 1760-74), II, 171-92, 193-202, 203-19, 223-24; III, 1-8. 33. Eremin, Sochineniia, pp. 216, 481. The phrase "The fifth day has come" refers to the fifth year since Peter I's death (January 1725). 34. The various charges and counter-charges, and the ensuing investigations, are dis- cussed in detail in Chistovich, pp. 154ff.

  • 35. As reported by C. H. Manstein, Mémoires historiques, politiques et militaires sur la Russie, 1727-1744, ed. Huber (Paris: chez Humblot, 1771), p. 36; also by the Prussian and English residents in Moscow, in their dispatches of 2, 6, and 26 February 1730, in SIRIO, XV, 408 and LXVI, 133, 154. For Osterman's activities in 1730, see Korsakov, Votsarenie, pp. 43-44; for his career generally, Rbs, XII, 405-17. 36. Recent archival research confirms that between its founding (February 1726) and Catherine's death (May 1727) the Council, dominated by her favorites, was firmly under her control and/or that of her personal "Cabinet" headed by the seasoned A. V. Makarov; but that with Peter II's accession the Council quickly became a "collective regency" dominated now by members of the old aristocracy, i.e., by Golitsyn and the Princes Dolgorukii whom Prokopovich goes on to mention: see E. V. Anisimov, Vnutrenniaia politika Verkhovnogo tainogo soveta (1726-1730 gg.J, Avtoreferat dissertatsii (Leningrad: politika Verkhovnogo tainogo soveta (1726-1730 gg.), Avtoreferat dissertatsii (Leningrad: Leningradskii gos. universitet, 1975), with thanks to the author for calling his work to my attention.

  • 37. For the assembly of 25 February, see Korsakov, Votsarenie, pp. 268ff. as well as Prokopovich's own description of it, in his "Account," as summarized above. 38. For Anna's relevant decree, see SIRIO, CI, 552-53.

  • 39. As mentioned above, n. 12. 40. Rbs, XII, 409; also Manstein, pp. 48-49. 41. SIRIO, CI, 552-54. 42. Cf. the dissident nobles' second petition of 25 February, in Raeff, pp. 51-52. 43. Golitsyn, "Votsarenie," pp. 526-27. 44. Istoriia Imp. Petra Velikago ot rozhdeniia ego do Poltavskoi batalii... , ed., M. M. Shcherbatov (St. Petersburg, 1773; Moscow, 1788).

  • 45. E.g., Prokopovich's Rozysk istoricheskii, koikh radi vin, i v iakovom razume byli i naritsalisia imperatory rimstii ... potifeksami ili arkhiereiami.... (St. Petersburg, 1721); or his unfinished "Kratkaia istoriia sviaschennaia i politicheskaia o sostoianii Sinoda," printed in Sovetskie arkhivy, No. 3 (1972), pp. 79-81 (ed. O. F. Kozlov). 46. As suggested by G. A. Protasov, "Zapiska Tatishcheva o 'Proizvol'nom rassuzh- denii' dvorianstva v sobytiiakh 1730 g.", in Problemy istochnikovedeniia (Moscow, 1933-), XI (1963) 260-61. 47. Korsakov, Votsarenie, p. xxii. 48. See above, n. 1. 49. See the preamble to his letter to her of 19 April 1730, in RA, No. 1 (1868) col. 377. 50. Golitsyn suggests ("Votsarenie," p. 533), quite plausibly that Prokopovich's in- tention here was partly fulfilled in his speech on the fourth anniversary of Anna's coro- nation (1734), where he demonstrated, from Russian history, "kak mnogopolezno est' Rossiiskomu Gosudarstvuvladychestvo samoderzhavnoe": see Nakoval'nim, Slova i rechi, III, 191-216.

  • 51. Cf. Prokopovich's Pravda of 1722, where he speaks of the "people" or "nation" (narodJ transferring its "general will" and the "will of general government" to the mon- arch, and states that when the monarch died without designating an heir (as provided by the Petrine succession law) it was the task of the "nation" to decide who would have been his choice: he expressed here and elsewhere in this and other works a version of the Western notion that political power originally rested with the people, and that it returned to them whenever the succession came to an end (PSZ, VII, No. 4870, pp. 625, 627). 52. SIRIO, CI, 553-54.

  • 53. Korsakov, Iz zhizni, pp. IlOff., 226ff. See also the manifesto of 14 April 1730 proclaiming the Dolgorukiis' guilt for various offenses committed against or under Peter 11-corrupting the boy, embezzeling royal treasure-or, in the case of V. L. Dolgorukii (Prokopovich's "dragon"), for unspecified insults done to Anna herself; but saying noth- ing of their participation in the attempt to limit her power (PSZ, VIII, No. 5532). Simi- larly, the deposition of Ivan Dolgorukii and the ensuing "opinion" of the Secret Chancel- lery, where Ivan's crime consists of his part in fabricating Peter II's will in favor of his, Ivan's sister: in Chteniia, Bk. 1, Pt. 5 (1864), pp. 1-7. Or see, again, the very general lan- guage of the manifesto issued (December 1731) in connection with the punishment of V. V. Dolgorukii (PSZ, VIII, No. 5915). For further details of the Dolgorukiis' fate, and for governmental instructions concerning their confinement, etc., see Chteniia, Bk. 2, Pt. 5 (1866), pp. 115-20; Bk. 3, item 6 (pp. 19-32) (1880); Bk. 1, item 7 (pp. 32-47) (1881). 54. See Korsakov, Votsarenie, pp. 88ff., 146ff.; Raeff, pp. 48-51. 55. Cf. the contemporary report of the French resident in Moscow, Magnan, that "certain clever people from' the clergy made every effort to arouse the lesser nobility against the Supreme Council" (quoted in Korsakov, Yotsarenie, pp. 257-58).

  • 56. Protasov, p. 260. 57. Cf. Golitsyn, "Votsarenie," p. 532. 58. Korsakov, Votsarenie, p. 82, without documentation. 59. As cited above, n. 9.

  • 60. Korsakov, Votsarenie, pp. 279ff.: also Korsakov, "Anna Ioannovna," Rbs, II, 163; P. N. Miliukov, "Verkhovniki i shliakhetstvo," in Miliukov, Iz istorii russkoi intelligentsii (St. Petersburg: "Znanie," 1902). pp. 1-51; and M. M. Bogoslovskii, Konstitutsionnoe dvizhenie 1730 goda (Moscow, 1906; St. Petersburg, 1918). Cf. Raeff, p. 42, n. 1, and especially D. Ransel, "Political Perceptions of the Russian Nobility: The Constitutional Crisis of 1730," Laurentian University Review, 4, No. 3 (June 1972), 20-38, with further references. For a recent interpretation of the Council's actions in 1730 which argues, somewhat abstractly, for their "constitutional implications," see S. Benson, "The Role of Western Political Thought in Petrine Russia," Canadian-American Slavic Studies, [hereafter CASS], 8. No. 2 (Summer 1974), 263-64. 61. Ransel, n. 19 (p. 37).

  • 62. Ibid., pp. 30ff. 63. See M. D. Rabinovich, "Sotsial'noe proiskhozhdenie i imushchestvennoe polo- zhenie ofitserov reguliarnoi russkoi armii v kontse Severnoi voiny," in N. I. Pavlenko et aL, eds., Rossiia v period reform Petra I (Moscow: "Nauka," 1973), pp. 131-71; S. M. Troitskii, "Sotsial'nyi sostav i chislennost' biurokratii Rossi v seredine XVIII v.," Istori- cheskie zapiski, 89 (1972); R. Crummey, "Peter I and the Boiar Aristocracy, 1689-1700" and especially B. Meehan-Waters,"The Russian Aristocracy and the Reforms of Peter the Great," both in C-ASS, 8, No. 2 (Summer 1974), 274-87 and 288-302, with further re- ferences. The church hierarchy just before, during, and after the Petrine period has'not been similarly studied; but the impression to be gained from partial studies and from in- dividual biographies suggests that the highest ranks of the clergy were filled to a far great- er extent by non-nobles and/or outsiders than those of the contemporary military and civil services. This lack of "social weight" among the leaders of the church, in contrast to the senior officers and bureaucrats, may explain as much as anything else the church's political impotence or, as it is frequently put, its "subservience."

  • 64. The testimonials of contemporary Western observers of the crisis of 1730 are in- teresting in this respect. See, for example, the dispatches to London of the English resi- dent, C. Rondeau, dated Moscow 16 and 26 February 1730: "The russ nobility cannot agree what form to give the alterations they are desirous to make in their government. I have seen several plans ... but they seemed to be very ill digested and none of them have been generally approved.... As these gentlemen have been always used to obey blindly an absolute monarch, they have no true notions of a limited government. The great no- bility would fain get the power in their own hands, and the little nobility and gentry are very jealous they should, and would rather have one master than several..."; on the other hand, the Council's "plan of a new government ... was not entirely well digested [either], and seemed to me imperfect.... The Czarinna was left a mere cipher without the least power to do harm and very little good too" (dispatches printed in SIRIO, LXVI, 135- 36, 155-56).


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