State & Society


The Tsarist State
and the Origins of Revolutionary Opposition
in the 1860s

Alan Kimball
University of Oregon

A presentation to the Northwest Scholars of
Russian and Soviet History and Culture
Seattle WA

1998 November 7

The title of this piece promises more than one conference presentation can deliver. What I propose to do here is open the discussion of the active role of the tsar and his ministers in provoking a revolutionary underground. Let’s look at the first five years of the era of "great reforms", from 1856 into the fall of 1861. This carries us from the earliest official announcements of big changes ahead and up to the appointment of Petr Valuev as Interior Minister. By the time of Valuev’s appointment, the leading power ministries had put themselves on a collision course with a mobilizing public. Efficiency suggests not only that we focus on these first five years but also that we concentrate on official reaction to only three sorts of social mobilization: the landed gentry, the Sunday school movement, and the universities. We can set the tsarist agenda for reform and take the story up to the first serious clash between the state and urban society in the reform epoch, the student disorders in the fall of 1861.

Under pressure of military failure in the Crimean War, economic crisis, and international challenge in an era of rapid European modernization, the tsarist state with the young Alexander II at its head, mobilized its many bureaus and offices for purposes of extensive reform. The state could not rely solely on traditional instruments of tsarist administration. Novel institutions in pursuit of novel objectives set the tone for the drama that followed. Peasants responded with a mobilization of their own, acting within traditional village institutions for the most part. When necessary, villagers were as able as the tsar to invent appropriate new devices, like the well organized temperance societies. On other occasions they following the lead of ecstatic leaders, as in the tragic episode of the Bezdna massacre just south of Kazan. The landowning gentry tried also to influence the course of events through their traditional noble assemblies, but increasingly moved outside these bodies and into novel organizations of an incipient civil society. The state tried to force peasants and lure gentry aristocrats again behind the ramparts of state power, away from the increasingly alluring voluntary associations.

The dramatic and complex story of social mobilization, the quick rise and fall of an activist public between 1859 and 1863 is one of the least well understood moments in modern Russian history. Public enterprise ramified in complex networks, reaching out from capital cities into the provinces. Satellite organizations sprang up without official razreshenie [license, approval]. State bureaus with the authority to license these initiatives were unable to maintain control over this rapid growth of social volunteerism. In fact, state bureaus flaked members into the ranks of social volunteerism and thus lent greater force to them.

{_{ An account of social mobilization in this era. }_}

As events unfolded, society began to "mill about", shifting between state assignments and social volunteerism. Large numbers were losing contact with traditional group identities. It is easy to understand how one might well lose faith in traditional social categories watching the activist state dismantle and transform the life of aristocrats and peasants, playing freely with traditional social formations.

Less easily anticipated were the great numbers who drifted from state service into varieties of independent business and professional associations and companies. There was milling, but quickly many discovered new, shared interests and perspectives. As customary forms of assigned and natal identity deteriorated, groups began to coalesce in a wide variety of public associations. One gestating network of allied groups formed along a spectrum of endeavor associated with the print-media. Scores of bookish societies, publishing businesses, journals, book dealers, public libraries, schools, and universities with their professors and students represented something very much like a backbone of a civil society in embryo.

The state took alarm and launched a counter offensive. The countryside was aflame with peasant revolt, certain gentry leaders just would not sit down and shut up, Polish Rebellion loomed, mysterious fires raged in the capital, and more threatening proclamations appeared. The state apparatus itself wavered as even leading ministerial figures concluded that revolution was imminent. Perhaps this would be the Russian 1789 or 1848, or maybe a simpler coup d'etat. The state pulled itself together under the leadership of Interior Minister Petr Valuev and War Minister Dmitrii Miliutin, and with the solid backing of the Chief Gendarme Vasilii Dolgorukov. Troops crushed peasant rebellion. Police agencies worked closely with the Interior Minister to suppress voluntary associations like the Sunday Schools, the Free University, the Chess Club, the Student Sections of Litfond, student organizations (courts, treasuries, assemblies, libraries, reading rooms, and the like). The state harassed other societies, like the committees for the promotion of literacy, the Political-Economic committees of the Russian Geographic Society and Free Economic Society. It arrested hundreds of activists, put scores of them on trial, convicted dozens and just administratively exiled still more, and punished, sometimes with extreme severity, even the most moderate of independent or oppositional acts.

The state assault on domestic public activism got under way in the months leading up to the announcement of serf emancipation, intensified in the fateful spring 1861 meetings of the Council of State, and became all-out war in the spring of 1862. The struggle flared up again in 1866, once the Polish uprising was safely put down. The revolutionary movement was the result of successful state action against an emerging civil society or, to put it another way, was the result of failure to pursue social and political reform along with all those other "great reforms". From the huge, legal Literary Fund, through the pedagogical societies and schools, the Free University and Litfond Student Section, the shady, quasi-conspiratorial Chess Club, to the revolutionary Land and Liberty, Russian public initiative gravitated from open to underground politics, from reform to revolution. A revolutionary intelligentsia tapped what sustenance it could from a trampled early blossom of Russian civil society.



The state was not monolithic or anonymous, however autocratic in theory or lofty and out of touch with its subjects in practice. The state did not lurk off stage in the unfolding drama; it was firmly planted on the foundations of national life.

{_{ See V. G. Chernukha, Vnutrenniaia politika tsarizma s serediny 50-kh do nachala 80-kh gg. XIX v. (LGR:1978) and her more recent and narrowly focused Pravitel'stvennaia politika v otnoshenii pechati 60--70-e gody XIX veka (LGR:1989).}_}

Often histories of Russian social movements and political opposition put the state off stage, like violence in Greek drama. Taking a metaphor from botany rather than stage architecture, I would suggest that an analysis of Russian social movements without constant attention to the state is a study of blossoms rather than roots.

{_{ Thus Venturi's now classic Il populismo russo (Turino:1952) was badly served by the title affixed to the English translation, Roots of Revolution. To get at the root of the problem we must, to use Theda Skocpol's phrase, "bring the state back in". Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China (C:UP,1979).}_}

The little word "state", when we are talking about the Russian imperial state, packages a large and complex network of official posts and institutional functions intimately fused with an equally complex network of social and economic relations. The state contained numerous factions squirming in uneasy institutional or "assigned" association. The state not only claimed autocratic authority within its own agencies and throughout the social structure, but it had a legally established position along the full spectrum of volunteer public endeavors, from charity to manufacturing and trade.

The Emperor, his royal family and court, along with their high titled favorites and plenipotentiary aides-de-camp, stood at the top of the institutional structure. Around them gathered the ministerial elite, the sanovniki [grandees] of state service, like Chief Gendarme and Head of the Third Section of His Majesty’s Own Chancery Vasilii Dolgorukov (who actually functioned at the higher and more personal level of one within the Tsar’s personal Suite) and Prince Illarion Vasil'chikov, the Governor General of Kiev Province, military governor of Podolia and Volhynia provinces, and Commander of the Kiev military district. Around these and others like them large numbers of state servitors functioned: not only the famous chinovniki [bureaucrats] in the civil agencies and provincial administration, but also military officers (and the troops under their command), clergy, and courtiers, all organized within the hierarchies of the Table of Ranks. Impoverished students and their professors had a functional or assigned relationship to the towering institution called the state, as did the whole network of theological seminaries and academies, monasteries and parish churches, and secular gymnasia and lyceums.

{_{ See N. P. Eroshkin, Istoriia gosudarstvennykh uchrezhdenii dorevoliutsionnoi Rossii (MVA:1983); Krepostnicheskoe samoderzhavie i ego politicheskie instituty (pervaia polovina XIX veka) (MVA:1981), and the earlier handbook Ocherki istorii gosudarstvennykh uchrezhdenii dorevoliutsionnoi Rossii: Posobie dlia uchitelia (MVA:1960).}_}

The state faced the imperative need to "make a better life" for itself or risk collapse, and thus the Emperor Alexander II and his close advisers launched the era of uluchshenie byta with the byt of the tsarist state at the center of attention. In the days after the signing of the Peace of Paris ending the Crimean War, in March 1856, the imperial state issued a series of announcements which opened the political drama that followed. The Emperor's public promise that peasants would be liberated "from above" meant that the gentry-owned serfs, more than one-third of the population of the Empire, were to see the servile legal system dismantled in the shortest period of time. The phrase uluchshenie byta therefore meant that more than twenty one million human beings who had been for at least two centuries the private property of the landed nobility were to be freed. Perhaps with land and village institutions intact, perhaps not, no one knew for sure. It therefore also meant that the most particular possession of more than a half-million Russian gentry--the serfs and about half the gentry lands--were to be expropriated. Perhaps with compensation, perhaps not, no one knew that for sure either. Furthermore the exclusive juridical and administrative powers of noble landlords across the Russian countryside were threatened with destruction. The conditions of life of the two fundamental social formations [sosloviia] of the old regime--peasants and nobles--were to be altered almost beyond recognition. Many radical movements proposed many radical changes in the 19th century, but nothing else this radical actually happened. Emancipation was the major event of 19th century Russian history. It is one of the great legal and social events of all times.

The big reform measure, emancipation, appeared to be part of a thorough plan of national renewal. A commission was formed to consider the overhaul of the burgeoning bureaucracy, the system of chinovnichestvo. The word chinovnichestvo referred to the formal system of comprehensive national administration by state servitors holding rank--chin--up and down the "Table of Ranks". The Table of Ranks established appropriate, hierarchical rungs for civilian, military, church, and royal court servitors. This scandalous system had fallen into shambles long ago, so the pressing need for reform here was obvious to all.

Addressing another ancient deficiency, plans were laid for judicial reforms that would place restraints on traditional administrative arbitrariness and promised to give some limited protection to what are called "civil rights". Clerical reforms hinted at reversal of the pitiful subordination of the church to the state and the reconciliation of the state with its vast population of illegal "Old Ritualists" [Staroobriadtsy; old believers, schismatics]. A commission took up the question of the Orthodox Christians who had separated themselves from the official church two centuries earlier. This touched on the spiritual life of not thousands but millions of Russian subjects.

Plans for educational reform lagged, even though Russian illiteracy had become a shame among European nations, a serious obstacle to modernization, and possibly a contributing cause to humiliation in the Crimea. Educational reform was a definite item on the agenda, but for the longest time officials took no positive steps. Educational institutions drifted in directions set by professors and students. Society jumped far ahead of the state as it launched the first nation-wide system of elementary education, the Sunday schools.

In 1859, the state began deliberations behind closed doors on reforms in local self-government which were to produce Zemstvos in 1864. Zemstvos were startling innovations in regional and local self-administration (if not quite self-government). In time they were established over Russian territory about the size of all the rest of Europe, territory which for centuries had been accustomed to contradictory extremes of central administrative control and neglect.

At the heart of the state's own hopes for uluchshenie byta were the military and financial reforms. It took more than a full decade, but by 1872 the reforming War Minister Dmitrii Miliutin had achieved his main objectives. Financial reform was more complicated. Dolgorukov warned Alexander that financial conditions in the Empire made it impossible for either peasant or landlord to benefit from serf emancipation. Committees and commissions immediately took up the overhaul of taxation, banking and fiscal systems; the state took measures to encourage economic modernization.

{_{ V. I. Neupokoev, "Podatnoi vopros v khode reformy 1861 goda", EC.RSR:212-229.}_}

Financial reform aimed at two targets: the backward banking system and the absence of a unified national budget in Europe's ostensibly most centralized state power. Commissions were formed to look into the questions of the creation of a state bank and establishment of legal guidelines for private banks. The state banks were closed down in 1859 and nothing appeared to take their place for several months.

Beyond the agencies of state power, social initiatives were launched to deal with the problem of low capital accumulation which hindered economic development. Tension between state control over the national economy and the energies and interests of privateers complicated and delayed progress in this realm. In May of 1860 the State Bank was founded, but its capitalization was slight and its salutary influence on the economy was delayed for years. Inter-ministerial competition blocked easy progress in the realm of a unified state budget while statist insiders blocked developments in the general political economy that might have opened things up for broader development.

{_{ On the financial crisis in this period, see V. Ya. Laverychev, Krupnaia burzhuaziia v poreformennoi Rossii, 1861-1900 (MVA: 1974); I. F. Gindin, Gosudarstvennyi bank i ekonomicheskaia politika tsarskogo pravitel'stva (1861-1892 gody) (MVA: 1960); and L. E. Shepelev, Aktsionernye kompanii v Rossii (1973) and Tsarizm i burzhuaziia vo vtoroi polovine XIX veka: Problemy torgovo-promyshlennoi politiki (LGR: 1981); and Michael Florinsky, Russia 2:941-5. In May, 1989, in Philadelphia, Steven Hoch presented suggestive paper on the financial foundations of peasant reform to the NEH Conference on the Great Reforms.}_}

No one had a better view of the emerging crisis than Chief Gendarme Vasilii Dolgorukov. For the Emperor's eyes only, the vast police network which the Third Section dispatched over the entire face of the Empire compiled, digested and summarized intelligence gathered on the material and moral condition of the nation. Dolgorukov was predisposed to attribute Russia's woes to evildoers, to foreign corruption of young minds, and to the machinations of international conspiracies. But he also had a good eye for actuality. Dolgorukov may have known more about the byt of the wide Russian realm than any other individual. Like most effective intelligence and police agencies, the Third Section was in a position to know most about the zhivaia zhizn', even when it had no real intention to make it better. Dolgorukov perceived the outline, at least, of the massive and interlocked range of national problems which could no longer be ignored.

{_{ Dolgorukov's reports are found in GARF (State Archive of the Russian Federation) f. 109, op. 85, ed. khr. 21-34, "Otchet deistviia IIIgo [variation: "3ogo", etc.] Otdeleniia Sobstvennoi Vashego Imperatorskogo Velichestva Kantseliarii i Korpusa Zhandarmov za 1856 [-1869] god" [hereafter: OD3 za …]. On the Third Section, see I. V. Orzhekhovskii, Iz istorii vnutrennei politiki samoderzhaviia v 60--70-kh godakh XIX veka (Gor'kii: 1974); and Samoderzhavie protiv revoliutsionnoi Rossii (1826-1880 gg.) (MVA: 1982). Also see Peter S. Squire, The Third Department (LND: 1968); and Sydney Monas, The Third Section: Police and Society under Nicholas I (Cambridge MA: 1961).}_}

Dolgorukov, the secret police chief, was thus one of the most ardent reformers of his time. The only question was, whose life did he hope to make better?

He reported that the whole nation suffered from an inadequate system of credit banks and land banks. Furthermore the national economy found itself in a serious slump. An excessive influx of paper money, the disappearance of hard currency, and a weakened faith in joint stock endeavors and in other industrial enterprises: altogether, these had depressed stock market values, stagnated trade, and caused serious hardship, particularly for the poor. In addition to all this, in search for means to reestablish faith in state finances and in the value of Russian currency undermined by the disastrous Crimean War, the state itself exposed for all to see the faulty foundations of the national credit system.

{_{ OD3 za 1859 g., ed. khr. 24, p. 190.}_}



The Finance Committee, under the watchful eyes of the Tsar and his most elevated associates, simply had not the strength to raise the central question. Can a medieval statist economy and hybrid feudal social structure sustain an industrial-age military establishment? The long-term answer to that fearful and largely unasked question was to be given in World War One, and it was to be negative. The short term answer appeared to be yes, so long as one discrete but massive change takes place, the emancipation 22 million serfs, plus several careful, measured collateral adjustments. In the belief that the answer was yes, the state launched its reforms, guided by a formula that was to destroy it in the long run: push antiquated systems to their limits in order to modernize state power.

The crisis trickled down from the top and was first felt as a crisis in the system of taxation, when peasants resisted increases in the taxation of spirituous liquors, and then as a banking crisis, when investors withdrew from a crumbling system of state banks. The state doubled the excise on vodka, leaned hard on flimsy banking institutions, and heated the snarled and uncoordinated budgetary system to the melting point. Peasants went on strike against vodka, which amounted to a tax rebellion, and investors lost confidence in the banks and withdrew their money in something of a banking run. The nation--or at least the state--tottered on the brink of financial ruin.

In the winter of 1862, Russia negotiated a fifteen million pound loan from England. This was supplemented that spring with a loan squeezed out of the Rothschild banking house. These loans applied to redemption of the money that had rolled off the state printing presses in recent times to cover expenditures. Together these loans were an effective shot in the arm which carried the state through the short-term crisis and emboldened it in the direction of resistance to social pressure for more extensive reform. With time the broader reform agenda suggested in the expanding social movement of the day was rejected and silenced, and the limited official reforms began to have their effect. Russian finances were never put on a very sound footing, but the immediate and severe crisis of 1857-1862 was weathered.

Short-term success can sometimes jeopardize long-term success. It has been widely noted that nothing was accomplished in this dramatic reform era to alter in principle the power and authority of the autocrat. In other words, the one biggest political or institutional problem, tsarist power, received no serious, open governmental attention, even though everyone thought and whispered about it. The memory of Mikhail Loris-Melikov "constitutional" proposal on the very eve of Alexander II’s assassination in March, 1881, is largely a legend designed to sweeten the poignancy of the Tsar-liberator’s assassination and to strengthen the useful myth that revolutionists prevented the tsar-batiushka from giving a constitution to his deserving subjects.

It has not been so widely noted that the one biggest social problem was also neglected. Like an untreated wound surrounded by bandages of reform, we observe the dysfunctional social/service class structure. Autocracy and its antiquated but essential foundation--the formal social estates or sosloviia and the formal civil service system or chin--emerged from the reform era unaltered. The two basic medieval social estates were utterly transformed--the most numerous, the serfs, and the most privileged, the gentry masters--but with renewed zeal the state continued to protect the larger system, of which the now transformed estates were components.

{_{ A specialist on the politics of Alexander II has summarized the situation: "To overcome Russia's military weakness he [Alexander] had to smash the rigid social system which had been created for the same reason it was about to be destroyed--to provide the state with the men and money to wage war" [Rieber, Politics:25]. I would amend that trenchant summary in only one way. The reforms did not "smash the rigid social system", they transformed it in such a way as to accommodate the inescapable need to modernize state power yet to preserved it everywhere possible.}_}

The autocratic state laid claim to authority even in the intimate details of village life and on the manors and within the institutions of the rural gentry. As a corporate personality, the state was inseparably bound up with all legally recognized social formations, not just peasants and gentry. Over the long duration, the rights and duties of the larger set of social aggregates were shaped and reshaped to suit the interests of autocracy. From one perspective, peasants were born peasants and nobles were born nobles, as in a recognizable "feudal" social system. From another perspective, the rights and duties of peasants and nobles, as well as those of the other formal social estates, were designed and redesigned by the state.

{_{ Richard Hellie, Enserfment and Military Change in Muscovy (Chicago:1971) measures the degree to which even serfdom was created to meet state needs and was itself, to use my terms, something of an assigned group with natal or heritable qualities. See also Robert Crummey, Aristocrats and Servitors: The Boyar Elite in Russia, 1613-1689 (P:UP,1983); and Robert Edward Jones, The Emancipation of the Russian Nobility, 1762-1785 (P:UP,1973).}_}

The birth-right and "natal" identity of serfs and landlords were now the targets of autocratic reform. These two fundamental social formations were once again to be assigned new identities under the authority of the state and in line with state needs. The social formations thus bridged two different categories of self-identity: birth and state designation. In other words, the social formations were both natal and assigned. The state also sustained a formal institutional or assigned presence in the intellectual and business life of the whole empire. Through censorship and an elaborate system of licensing and regulation [razreshenie and reviziia], the state kept its hand in the affairs of nearly every enterprise and profession.

There was no other state like this in the modern European experience. The state expressed itself in powerful institutions staffed by a bulky network of assigned groups, and in social formations that arranged huge groupings of imperial subjects in increasingly dysfunctional ranks and files. Whether groups of considerable continuity and duration, like chinovniks, military officers, soldiers, priests, and professors, or groups of briefer association, like students, or groups of an irregular sort, like those under surveillance, under arrest, imprisoned, and in exile, or even the formal social estates, like peasants (who paid taxes and otherwise provided servile labor or rents) and nobles (those who served the state directly), all of these groups were shaped by official and institutional assignment.

Half of the peasants were "state peasants" and their lives had been transformed already by a semi-secret "in-house" emancipation in the 1830s which left them still the laborers of the autocratic administration. The tsar was the head of a gentry landowning family, of sorts. The royal family’s possessions in land and labor were distinguished from state possessions. Royal or "udel" serfs were emancipated only in the 1860s (leaving the royal family in personal possession of lands almost equal in extent to the combined territories of Austria, Prussia, and France). In the time of Catherine II nobles had themselves been "emancipated" from service to the tsarist state, but those who drifted from state service did not for the most part form anything like a vital and independent civilian social force or civil society. Those who drifted loose found themselves in a famous and pitiful condition of "superfluity" which confirms rather than alters the picture of compounded natal/assigned condition of Russian society.

{_{ See Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A Parting of the Ways: Government and the Educated Public in Russia, 1801-1855 (O:UP,1976).}_}



The state wavered dangerously as it embarked on reform after Crimea, but it continued to push ahead with organizational innovations. Shortly after the publication of new liberal censorship regulations allowing more glasnost' [public deliberation] with respect to peasant reform and the convocation of provincial gentry committees to deliberate on it, the state created a Secret Committee, headed by General Yakov Ivanovich Rostovtsev, second generation service noble, grandson of a merchant, yet now the Emperor's closest adviser. The clear purpose was to remove the whole business from both public and bureaucratic deliberation, to neutralize the reformed censorship and local participation of the landowners, but also to free the process from normal bureaucratic procedures. Beginning with great promises of change, Alexander soon found himself forced to retreat and to compromise with a deeply divided governmental machinery. Divisions within the tsarist administration with respect to the extent, pace, and character of reform threatened the stability of state power from within. Even without external social resistance, the reforms shook the old regime.

As early as 1857, Dolgorukov noticed that the state itself was generating some of its most dangerous opposition. Dolgorukov understood that this was to be an era of reform, and thus competent reformist ministers were to be esteemed. Yet Dolgorukov also understood that the state could lose control of the process. In the early phases, Dolgorukov lavished praise on the reform-minded Nikolai Miliutin (brother of the future War Minister Dmitrii), the driving force for reform within the Interior Ministry. Dolgorukov’s praise cut both ways. Nikolai Miliutin, he said, is the most capable and educated administrator in the Interior Ministry. "He has traveled abroad, is committed to Western ideas, and is a well-known participant in the creation of the local well-ordered [City] Duma, in which a special General Duma with Western representational forms has been established, according to his plan." The phrase "Western representational forms" allowed Dolgorukov a useful double entendre. Dolgorukov knew and shared Alexander's revulsion for representational forms or any sort of institutionalized participatory politics.

{_{ "Ocherk Glavnykh Upravlenii", in OD3 za 1857 g., ed. khr. 22, pp. 85ff, esp. p. 86.}_}

By "representational forms" Dolgorukov could not have meant "democratic forms" because they all--Alexander II, Dolgorukov and Nikolai Miliutin--despised active participation of the public in governmental policy. Dolgorukov meant "ministerial self-management and other forms of bureaucratic independence from autocratic control", an institutional innovation that Miliutin would have liked but one that Alexander and Dolgorukov feared above all others. Dolgorukov, it must be remembered, was the head of the Third Section, one of the surviving irregular and arbitrary autocratic institutions from the time of Nicholas I.

Dolgorukov took it upon himself to watch over the sprawling state apparatus and keep Alexander informed about its readiness to participate "in the current epoch of state reorganization". This is a time, said Dolgorukov, which more than any other requires great technical and moral soundness within the administration. The Third Section set itself the task of nothing less than measuring the potential and monitoring the progress of about thirteen ministerial bureaucracies participating "in the movement throughout the whole state system". These long and careful reports were intended to keep the Emperor in touch with the political and intellectual condition of the whole nation. Dolgorukov accepted the reform mission of Alexander II, and was particularly concerned that the state--under the firm direction of the Tsar--remain the sole agent of reform, if not the sole profiteer. He scrutinized all branches of imperial administration, measuring and reporting on their "readiness" to meet the challenge. His reports describe a mounting despair as he came to see that "society" showed a willingness and enthusiasm for reform superior to that of the state apparatus. In the thick of public unrest in 1861-62, he feared that the state was losing its control over affairs and that society was gaining the upper hand.



The imperial bureaucracy had a lot of power, wealth, and independence from society below and seemed sometimes to be independent of the autocrat above.

{_{ "By 1855 the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other ministries had attained a position of momentary semi-independence from traditional social estates and from the emperor himself." Daniel T. Orlovsky, The Limits of Reform: The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Imperial Russia,1802-1881 (C:HUP,1981):198.}_}

Several developments in the early reform era suggested that some elements within the state bureaucracy might be ready to strike an alliance with an emerging civil society against the unlimited autocracy.

Only a small fraction of the 280 most prominent public activists of the reform era lived a life independent of state service.

{_{ Kimball Files, PBL.}_}

Russian civil society in its infancy was to a large degree a byproduct of an autocratic, bureaucratic state in crisis.



In 1857 Alexander created a new State Council which he convened and chaired, and which he intended to assume direct administration over the larger reform process, subordinating the Council of Ministers and other more regular bodies to a novel institution more easily maneuvered in uncharted waters of reform.

These innovations, taken together, worked to strengthen the imperial autocrat's hand and free it from the unwieldy and untrustworthy machinery of everyday government. In this the Autocrat and his closest advisers showed as much inventiveness as any of the leaders of the burgeoning social movement. At the same time these innovations put independent social forces at a greater distance from the business of administration and strengthened the ability of the tsar to deal "administratively" with bureaucrats or with subjects when they did get out of hand. The Autocrat had no choice but to mobilize his bureaucracy and, to some degree, his subjects to the tasks of reform. Many signs indicated that moral discontent deepened as political ambition leapt upward in the chanceries and bureaus, in the barracks and officers' quarters, even in the parishes, and on the university campuses.

Service in the autocratic state and the achievement of a better life came increasingly to seem contradictory to great numbers of educated and capable Russians on state payroll, and this in conjunction with rumblings in the universities, lycea, gymnasia, cadet corps, academies and institutes, even in the seminaries, out of which the next generation of state servitors would have to come. With irregular agencies and unlimited power on the alert, Alexander sought in every way to restrain and channel the molten energy which he was compelled to release. Thus the imperial state equipped itself with irregular institutions styled originally in the time of Nicholas and designed like asbestos gloves to handle hot objects.




In the spring of 1860 Dolgorukov reported to Alexander II in a tone of nervous anticipation. "In a word", he wrote, "all parts of the state apparatus are more or less going through changes, and although perhaps Russia might anticipate a bright future, her current transitional condition very naturally gives rise to danger and negation".

{_{ OD3 za 1859 g., ed. khr. 24, p. 190 ob.}_}

Reporting again on "the movement of the national spirit" in 1861, he warned the autocrat that with each passing year the Russian national spirit [narodnyi dukh] strives more vigorously "for guarantees and extensions of civil rights, for the expansion of the material well-being of the nation [narod] which that implies, and for the broadening of the sphere of its intellectual activity in accordance with contemporary liberal principles". Despite censorship, said the chief gendarme, journals express themselves too freely, even dangerously.

{_{ OD3 za 1860 g., ed. khr. 25, p. 32.}_}

Dolgorukov understood that everything depended on the successful mobilization of the ministries for the business of reform. He also understood that success very likely hinged on whether civilian and military servitors were mobilized within or beyond the ramparts of state power. Large numbers of the very best of these state servitors came to think and act like they preferred mobilization within something like a "civil society" rather than within the autocratic service state. This was as true of "conservatives" as of "liberals". In this way the main lines of struggle were drawn along social-institutional lines rather than along ideological lines. The struggle was between the state, especially the sanovnik insiders, and the subjects of that state, especially an intense minority called obshchestvo. Radicalism, liberalism, conservatism: these were not significant distinctions as the crisis unfolded. This or that "ism" might embellish the struggle, but the struggle was at heart institutional and social, what the nineteenth century called "political-economic".

The line between state and society had never been a clear one in Russian history. State institutions and offices overlapped with social designations like nowhere else in Europe. This overlap helped create a revolutionary situation which exhibits many of the characteristics of an "internecine" struggle within the ranks of an intense minority, ready to rule either in the traditional bureaus of autocratic power or in transformed institutions of a more public and voluntaristic sort.

Thus a weakened and disordered state launched the reform epoch in order to make a better life for itself and in the hope that this might benefit certain others as well. The state's own emancipation plan was to be firmly implemented and other administrative reforms, including the ultimate military reforms, moved ahead. But along the way the state fell back from thoroughgoing social and political reform, and in the process provoked a revolutionary situation. The state was not the only force at work here, nor was it independent of the larger trends of macro-economic life, but the autocratic state was the most powerful and active ingredient of Russian imperial social life.



On 19 March 1856, Tsar Alexander II issued a most august manifesto exhorting his subjects to devote themselves strenuously to "educational and every other form of useful activity [poleznoi deiatel’nosti]". All social classes responded. A new printing and publishing house built its name on the central concept of the tsarist manifesto, Tovarishchestvo "Obshchestvennaia Pol’za" ["Good of Society" Company] and functioned as something very much like a voluntary society dedicated to the promotion of literature and pedagogy, responding to the Tsar’s ostensible invitation. Nikolai Vodov, Grigorii Pokhitonov, and Aleksandr Strugovshchikov were founders. Nikolai Pisarevskii was an associate director.

{_{ Obshchestvennaia Pol’za, Tridtsat....}_}

Vodov and Pokhitonov were among the 77 Founders of Litfond, nominated by the "patriarch and Mathusala" of Russian journalism, Andrei Kraevskii, while Strugovshchikov was nominated in February 1862 by Petr Lavrov. Vodov associated "Obshchestvennaia Pol’za" with an expanding, nation-wide literacy movement headquartered in the Third Department of the venerable Imperatorskoe Vol’noe ekonomicheskoe obshchestvo [Imperial Free Economic Society, or VEO]. Free-wheeling pedagogical and book-trade initiatives extended over the Empire with surprising speed, all in response to the Tsar’s expressed wishes. Pisarevskii was soon rocking the capital as free-enterprising editor of a most unlikely periodical, the official War Ministry newspaper, Russkii invalid [Russian Veteran (military pensioner)]. Pisarevskii took that publication further down the road of social initiative and independence than the War Ministry was willing to tolerate. One of Dmitrii Miliutin’s first acts as War Minister in late 1861 was to appoint Pisarevskii to the sensitive editorial post, but within a year he fired him. The newspaper had become a prominent defender of extensive institutional and social reform, pushing the implications of Alexander’s invitation to society to their limits.

Nine months after Alexander’s invitation to society to get cracking with "educational and every other form of useful activity", in December 1856, Vladimir Lamanskii came down from Saint Petersburg to Moscow to talk up his project for a Russkaia Matitsa ili narodnyi kapital [Russian Maçica or national wealth]. This project was philosophical and learned, but the quality that distinguished it in all minds was Lamanskii’s linkage of cultural creativity with national prosperity and his call for action on a scale seldom before contemplated. Lamanskii's audience in Moscow, made up of Slavophiles and other enthusiasts of the Russian renaissance--for example, Konstantin Aksakov and Mikhail Pogodin, and the literary or bookish figures who gathered around the entrepreneurs Aleksandr Koshelev and Dmitrii Chizhov--understood that the project was a model for the solid, organized actualization of the scattered potential they felt among themselves.

{_{ BJP,15:294-302.}_}

The Lamanskii project addressed three problems at once: disunity among the literate and learned stratum of the population, their isolation from the wider population of the Empire, and ignorance or backwardness among the laboring masses. The project offered to improve the wealth of the nation as a whole and at the same time provide a better life for that amorphous group that would soon begin to call itself the intelligentsiia. The project offered solutions to the disunited and yet fettered qualities of the received traditions of soslovie and chin, and pointed the way toward appropriate structures of self-actualization for writers and scholars. The project presented for the first time a model of voluntary social action on a national level toward the creation of a ramified system of secular education and scholarship in all branches of technical and cultural learning. The model furthermore lent itself to easy generalization on broader national political issues. The goal was no less than a transformation of the existing civilization, out of the hand of officials, and a realization of a "Russian civilization", at the hand of a native intelligentsia. It was an indirect assault on the Uvarov legacy of "Official Nationality" and the Nicholas trend toward a statist ideology. It was a direct appeal to a nascent civil society to declare its independence and unite with the whole nation in the name of universal science and nativist tradition.

The state and its church had until recent decades monopolized public expressions of truth and beauty and had controlled their dissemination. Education and censorship were housed in the same ministry. Writing, reading, speaking, listening, and thus "thinking" too, were all bound up with publishing and distributing the printed word. No more sensitive and formal moment of distribution or consumption of the printed word can be found than in the schools. In the reform era a budding civil society assumed significant responsibilities for founding schools and teaching in them. In this way another natural professional interest of the public came into conflict with the state in an area where the state was accustomed to something very much like a monopoly. The clerical and lay educational establishments responsible for that near monopoly had been for years drifting. When social initiatives rushed into the field of popular education, an old dog in the manger was roused.

The only substantial issue of contention was about who should be the agent of enlightenment: the church, the state, and/or civil society. Literacy therefore was both a pedagogical and a political issue. When combined with the powerful 19th century belief in progress, science, and learning, literacy also found a niche in any number of the more visionary schemes of that time. Also, just at that point, the promotion of literacy attached to the mundane needs of an emerging intelligentsia. Teaching was an occupation, like literature and journalism, to which people of learning might turn with greatest success. The promotion of literacy had an immediate professional meaning to obshchestvo in search of a better life. How very flattering to think that becoming a teacher, librarian, book dealer, publisher, or writer, making a career for yourself, also promoted the better world that so many perceived ahead in this most optimistic 19th century.

In October 1859 the head of the Kiev regional educational office N. I. Pirogov granted permission to create a Sunday school near Kiev. Pirogov was one of the purely positive heroes produced for Russia in the miserable Crimean War. A founder of the Russian Red Cross and a tireless surgeon and administrator of medical services in that vicious war, he now moved into higher educational administration and in 1858 was appointed Superintendent of the Kiev education district reporting directly to the Education Ministry in Petersburg. This gave him responsibility for all formal secondary and higher education in the south central region of the European empire. Student organizations at Khar'kov and Kiev universities flourished under his administration. The school which Pirogov approved in Kiev was operated by a group under the leadership of Platon Pavlov, professor of history at Kiev University, and made up of seventeen students there, plus one student from the Kiev Spiritual Academy.

The "Sunday school movement" is often taken to have been launched by this group.

{_{ Pirogov claimed to be the originator of the Sunday school movement, a claim bravely put in a defense of the institution a few months after the state suppressed it [Pirogov, "O voskresnykh shkolakh":464]. On the movement, see Reginald E. Zelnik, Labor and Society in Tsarist Russia: The Factory Workers of St. Petersburg, 1855-1870 (Stanford: 1971); M. K. Lemke, Ocherki osvoboditel'nogo dvizheniia "shestidesiatykh godov" po neizdannym dokumentam s portretami [hereafter LOD] (SPB: 1908): 399-438; G. I. Ionova, "Voskresnye shkoly v gody pervoi revoliutsionnoi situatsii (1859-1861)", Istoricheskie zapiski 57 (1956): 177-209; R. A. Taubin, "Revoliutsionnaia propaganda v voskresnykh shkolakh Rossii v 1860-1862 godakh", Voprosy istorii 8 (1959); Ya. I. Linkov, "Voskresnye shkoly i russkoi revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie 1860-kh godov", Istoricheskii arkhiv 6 (1956): 176-79; Raznochinno-demokraticheskoe dvizhenie v Povolzh'e i na Urale 1 ["A. I. Gertsen, N. P. Ogarev i obshchestvennoe dvizhenie v Povolzh'e i na Urale"] (KZN: 1964).}_}

It is clear, however, that Pirogov and Pavlov were only two of many pedagogical wildflowers sprouting in the field of education.

{_{ A participant in the movement wrote later that by the time Pavlov got underway a wide variety of privately sponsored elementary schools were holding classes, for children, girls, adults, and no longer just "Sunday", but other selected days and evenings as well [Stasov,Stasova:86-116].}_}

Their importance stems less from their being first or second on the field and more from the fact that they were the first in the cross-hairs of state reaction against public initiative in elementary education. Police officials arrested several Khar’kov students in February, 1860, and over the next year began to fabricate an elaborate conspiratorial image of these young activists, designed to incriminate the self-organizational and particularly the educational initiatives of students in the south of Russia. Pirogov was fired in March, 1861. One year later Pavlov was arrested and immediately sent into administrative (non-trial) exile. At the beginning, Pavlov stayed only five more weeks in Kiev, then set off to the capital city Petersburg to accept a teaching post at the prestigious School of Jurisprudence in the Law Ministry. He took with him a vague plan to create a national Sunday school movement, blissfully unaware of his eventual fate, inspired by the thought that he was on a mission consecrated by tsar-batiushka himself.



The most significant and misunderstood of all Alexander’s invitations to action came in the fall of 1857. At that time the Tsar invited committees elected in dvorianskie sobraniia [provincial noble assemblies] to deliberate on peasant reform. No parallel gesture had been made toward peasant assemblies. Freed peasants were likely to come into possession of about one half of all private farmland, and furthermore the peasant deliberative assembly, mirskoi skhod, was somehow expected to become a fundamental administrative and judicial institution at the lowest level, replacing the landlord. But it would never have occurred to the tsar to invite peasants or their deputies to deliberate and to advise him on these vital public issues. For one thing, the peasant assembly was not recognized in law with the firmness of the noble assembly. And the tsar was, after all, an aristocrat, not a peasant. Yet the contrast in the way the emperor treated these two social formations is not as striking as the similarity. The salient fact of the matter is this: the state had no real plans for independent deliberation or administration in either dvorianskie sobraniia or mirskie skhody.

From his post on high, Tsar-batiushka was prepared to grant to gentry but a touch of active, institutional involvement. Provincial noble landowners often misunderstood just this point. Alexander's invitation was taken in many gentry assemblies to grant greater local initiative than intended. Within traditional corporate institutions some gentry thus thought themselves empowered to slow or prevent reform, others thought to hasten or expand reform. In either case, pulling back or pushing forward, these noble assemblies and related committees and deputies represent a second phase of political opposition in the era, following on the heels of the peasant temperance movement.

{_{ Discussion of gentry politics depends on Terence Emmons, The Russian Landed Gentry and Peasant Emancipation (Cambridge: 1968) and Daniel Field, The End of Serfdom: Nobility and Bureaucracy in Russia, 1855-1861 (Cambridge, Mass.: 1976). Emmons is more interested than Field in the institutional and political life of the gentry. Field sees gentry more in terms of tactics and positions taken with respect to emancipation up to its enactment in 1861. I speak here of gentry pulling and pushing. Field concentrates on gentry who pulled back, Emmons on those who pushed forward. The revolutionary implications of mobilized conservative or reactionary opinion are explored in Friedrich Diestelmeier, Soziale Angst: konservative Reaktionen auf liberale Reform-politik in Russland unter Alexander II. (1855-1866) (Frankfurt a. M., Bern, and NYC: 1985). See also A. P. Korelin, Dvorianstvo v poreformennoi Rossii 1861-1904 gg.: sostav, chislennost', korporativnaia organizatsiia (MVA:1979), esp. 235-53, re. noble assemblies. Svatikov, Obshchestvennoe dvizhenie:3-21 still serves as an informative and compact statement on gentry politics.}_}

Gentry mobilization in their assemblies and through their deputies appears to have been foredoomed. On 21 April 1858 Alexander II made his decision to put gentry committees at a significant distance from the actual decision-making process, to "...disallow any wide-ranging initiative by the gentry on the fundamentals of peasant emancipation."

{_{ RSR.KM:190-1; Emmons, Gentry:209-10.}_}

In March, 1859, an Editing Commission was formed, headed by Rostovtsev. A grandson of the merchant soslovie had become arbiter of the fate of peasant and noble sosloviia alike. These things depended on favorable proximity to the interests of the tsarist elite themselves, not social status. On 23 October 1859, Rostovtsev reminded Alexander of their controlling strategy: The state will create a social order like nowhere else in Europe. "To this task of state (and not to any idylic aspiration to promote peasant welfare) even the interests of aristocracy were subordinated."

{_{ Zakharova, Samoderzhavie:197.}_}

Gentry landowners, like peasants, were mobilized by state-initiated reform. Out of that process came the remarkable proclamations of the Tver gentry. Ex-serfs and ex-serfowners were products of the same political process. But a triumphant union of peasants with the rest of society against the crown proved to be just a dream or nightmare, nothing more. The state overcame peasant resistance, but a constant rumble from the countryside rattled ministry windows in the cities. And soon the state had to quell disorder in the midst of other social formations. Like peasants, gentry concentrated on maximizing their position within traditional organizations, and, like peasants, they failed. Failure of traditional corporate or NATAL institutions to meet social and political needs created an organizational vacuum which nobles, more often than peasants, sought to fill with novel forms of VOLUNTARY association.

A famous but minuscule number of gentry aristocrats seized on new and extravagant revolutionary identities. Young noble Petr Zaichnevskii's father was a retired colonel and gentry landowner. As a second-year student at Moscow University in the winter of 1861, young Petr was active in student kruzhoks. He drew notice of police when he participated in a spontaneous demonstration in Moscow, a memorial for Poles killed by Russian troops in Warsaw. When the school year came to a close in June, in the same weeks that Kavelin went to Samara to negotiate with his ex-serfs, Petr set out on horseback for a mad summer of barn-storming, revolutionary agitation on his way home to his family estates in Orel Province, about 200 miles south of Moscow. He signaled his new identity even in the red blouse he now wore, and delivered reckless, theatrical speeches to polite peasants. The dashing young aristocrat rebel wrote bold letters back to Moscow in which he chided more cautious associates. He detailed wild rumors he heard about Bezdna and other peasant uprisings. He saw these events as components of an unfolding pan-European liberation. He was gladdened to see that the "red banner" now was unfurled in Russia.

This 18-year-old was under a quixotic spell of world revolutionary transformation worthy of Police Chief Dolgorukov's own fevered imagination. This difference was that Zaichnevskii fell into his spell as a way to escape the legacy of a dying class, while Dolgorukov fell into his as a way to justify harsh measures against all independent efforts to escape the dying systems of soslovie and chin.

Only a few miles out of Moscow, in Podol'sk, Zaichnevskii came unhinged while attending a ceremonial opening of negotiations between a great landlord and his ex-serfs. Prince Aleksei Obolenskii, Moscow Provincial Governor and sanovnik of the old regime, surrounded by priests and local Peace Arbitrators, addressed villagers. Obolenskii recommended the newly appointed Peace Arbitrators to the elected representatives of his ex-serfs. "Earlier I was your father and protector, now, they are. In me you earlier found a barin [feudal lord] and defender, but now you will find that in them."

{_{ 1922:KrA#1:270f; KzmI:180-9.}_}

One is tempted to imagine the thoughts of Zaichnevskii as he witnessed this decisive turning point in the fate of his own soslovie, as he watched Obolenskii discard the authority of the barin. Here Obolenskii, the crafty grandee insider, handed over traditional gentry power and privilege to a novel institution which was assigned an unprecedented task of negotiating settlements with elected representatives of ex-serfs. The young visionary Zaichnevskii then took the platform with a speech in which he asserted that Arbitrators were unnecessary. The land already belonged to peasants. If landowners don't volunteer it to peasants, peasants should take it. Rather than transfer allegiance from gentry to Arbitrator, peasants should cease to cooperate with any masters. Zaichnevskii did presume that peasants should listen to him, and his letters reported that elders appeared to agree with him. He did not relate how Obolenskii reacted. The possibility of revolutionary leadership served Zaichnevskii as a substitute for the leading role of his gentry class in the centuries prior to Obolenskii’s casual relinquishment.

Other episodes followed on the road to Orel in which flamboyant Zaichnevskii raised toasts to revolutionary socialism and the memory of 1848. He praised the obshchina, the superiority of which lay "in dependence of government officials on their obshchestvo [society], their responsibility to it". The essence of the obshchina was "election and answerability of officials to the mir". If this is good for peasants, said Zaichnevskii, it must be "the very best for all of society". He also praised communal authority and condemned "the injustice of personal and heritable ownership of the land". However, his main accent was on authorities chosen by the people, in contrast to Arbitrators chosen by the elite and manipulated by grandee princes. Only programs designed by the people can fill the people's needs.

{_{ PPR:17-19; KzmI:196-7, see also 323.}_}

He was soon arrested in Orel. Showing a braggadocio in his interrogation every bit as reckless as his speeches, he compromised his Moscow associates, exposing them to quick arrest. Tireless organizer and true guiding light of the student kruzhok, Perikl Argiropulo, was taken to jail and soon died there. In prison in the spring of 1862 Zaichnevskii wrote, pretty much on his own inspiration, one of the most famous and inflammatory pamphlets of the day, "Young Russia". The pamphlet was very nearly universally denounced, right and left, even by his own associates back at Moscow University.

Zaichnevskii was a brilliant singularity, but still might be said to reflect something fundamental about these years. He sought and found a new and satisfactory self-definition to replace an inherited but emasculated natal identity, which he could not bear to see insulted by Governor Obolenskii before his very eyes. Not many gentry were able to react with Zaichnevskii's impulsiveness. Most just hunkered down. But a significant body of gentry came to life and, so to speak, gussied themselves up in more reserved models of Zaichnevskii red blouse.

The social process in which state servitors were first mobilized within their bureaus and then gravitated beyond the ramparts of the autocratic state (as in the case of Nikolai Serno-Solov'evich) was joined by a similar process in which gentry were first mobilized within traditional corporate institutions and then gravitated beyond these into innovative voluntary associations. Significant numbers experienced this larger process of mobilization which soon represented an actual threat to autocracy greater than all the Zaichnevskies.

In times like these, Dolgorukov said more than once, it is altogether natural that ill-intentioned or misled individuals should be inspired to acts of political madness. If there are noblemen or gentry among the political opposition, it is because they have "abandoned their agrarian unity for the arena of politics".

{_{ OD3 za 1861 g., ed. khr. 26, p. 217 ob.; DCh:119.}_}

Dolgorukov felt vindicated by that singular comet Zaichnevskii, but he had little inkling of just how badly "agrarian unity" had been broken throughout the ranks of the gentry. Understandably, he refused to grant the possibility that "the arena of politics" might be the very best place to create a new and better "agrarian unity". He refused because he sensed that the agrarian unity implied in gentry projects, even the most modest of them, could not be created except out of the hide of the state.

Reform eras are always colored by "pathological manifestations", he said, sustaining his mood of reassurance and minimization. But at the same time he emphasized that strong measures had to be taken. Dolgorukov defined the enemy as a well organized clutch of rootless writers and intellectuals, gathered in Litfond auxiliaries, Chess Club, and other voluntary societies. In other words, his sharp policeman's eye had not been altogether blinded by the nightmare of world revolution or the useful Zaichnevskii episode. He saw the actual process of social mobilization in detail. But he conceptualized it as an alien growth, inspired by world revolutionary ideologists from abroad and growing like a cancer on the otherwise healthy body politic. With close attention he followed the momentum of public mobilization out of ministries and gentry assemblies into voluntary societies, into obshchestvo. He saw the first innovative associations created by civil society beginning to cope with all the change. And what is critical here is this: He saw these organizations as symptoms rather than cure of the broken "agrarian unity". He sought to embitter the Emperor's thinking about these novel organizations, and to draw his attention away from the pitiful realities of traditional social formations.

However weak and short-lived the gentry phase of public reaction to reform, it generated a significant opposition and quickened mobilization of a wider public. Professor Kavelin found himself, willy-nilly, at the center of turmoil in Litfond and university disturbances. The latifundia agriculturalist Koshelev published tracts abroad like an underground conspirator. Nikolai Serno-Solov’evich spiraled out of government service toward staunch oppositional politics. Aleksei Unkovskii and other gentry continued to play an important role after emancipation, but by then their institutional base in gentry committees had dissolved and in any event their political horizon had lifted above the provincial level. Defeated in this great struggle, both Unkovskii and Golovachev abandoned the countryside and drifted into careers in journalism and other non-agricultural pursuits.

{_{ "Many nobles saw the redemption of plowland as a means of cashing in their chips--liquidating their estates as a form of enterprise with minimal financial loss" [Field, End:220].}_}

From emancipation onward, their actions were taken beyond their provincial domiciles, within a broad context of national political crisis.

When the Emperor called on gentry to join him in this exciting time of change he had in mind a pro-forma gathering of gentry acquiescence, if not approval, of state initiatives. He would not tolerate either pushing or pulling. Much turmoil can be traced to gentry refusal to accept Alexander's narrow invitation. Eventually, Alexander ignored, even seemed to betray, the very gentry committees he had encouraged to study and make recommendations on the question of emancipation. A parallel with the peasant sense of betrayal, once they read or heard the prolix and indecisive Emancipation Manifesto, is inescapable. The Tsar was thought to have called forth wide social and political discussion, then he appeared to throttle it. Alexander, like his Chief policeman Dolgorukov, did not understand changes then underway in the ranks of the best born, his own fellow aristocrats. And he could not in his wildest imagination have foretold nor could he comprehend the eruption of other social forces into what he had expected to be a cordial deliberation among wellborn gentlefolk.

The Emperor responded to unrest among gentry committees as if it were nothing more than an expression of narrow, reactionary self-interest [intérêts particuliers] opposed to the general welfare [bien général]. Using just these phrases, he wrote to Bariatinskii in December, 1858, that gentry committees were shot through with "ignorance and self-interest which is harmful to general welfare". Idealizing Tsar-batiushka in his own cunning way, Alexander implied that he had no self-interest and was concerned always with the general welfare.

{_{ Alfred J. Rieber, The Politics of Autocracy: Letters of Alexander II to Prince A. I. Bariatinskii, 1857-1864 (Paris-The Hague: 1966):126. Rieber emphasizes the sluggish and self-centered qualities of gentry politics [29 and 35].}_}

Alexander's view was not altogether accurate, or perhaps not altogether honest. As time went on, it became clear that, by striving for "narrow soslovie interests", gentry did not distinguish themselves from other actors on the historical scene, including the state. Through their assemblies gentry furthermore formulated programs that often contained clearer expression of their own, and of national interests, than one finds in deliberations of state committees. Gentry sought ways to combine who they were, their intérêts particuliers, with the bien général without intending serious damage to either. In this regard they were no more or less "selfish" than the state and its apparatus, or than any other factional interests caught up in the era of reform. It was not clear at first, but it was the state that had the power to restrain gentry action, not the other way around.

The gentry's social and institutional base was too weak to force a Magna Carta on Alexander II. And the state was too strong. Throughout the months of gentry mobilization, Dolgorukov made some effort to shield Alexander II from the full scope of the political challenge they represented. More than any other leading figure in central administration, Dolgorukov strove to exonerate traditional class formations from any essential culpability in the political crisis. He did not want to assign positive political intent to the great mass of the people, or to any traditional soslovie. Seeking causes of "criminal acts" of rebellion which gripped the Empire in 1862, he reported to the Emperor that rebellion flowed from abroad and had no roots in Russian "native soil" [literally, narodnykh istochnikakh or "popular sources].

{_{ OD3 za 1863 g., ed. khr. 28, pp. 405-406 ob.}_}

Dolgorukov was happier with the chimera of revolutionary conspiracy than with the actual forms of active mobilization produced within the broken-down tsarist social/service structure.

Dolgorukov was inclined to see peasantry, and to some degree also nobility, as naughty or misled children. He was careful to portray gentry assemblies as nothing more than selfish and narrow defenders of gentry privilege who represented no political threat. He knew better when he reported that gentry opposition had so far produced nothing resembling an open call for "political revolution", but he preferred to fib to his tsar rather than face the implications of rebellion rooted in the native soil of Russia.

{_{ OD3 za 1861 g., ed. khr. 26, p. 217 ob.; DCh:119.}_}

He sought always to picture opposition as a foreign infection, and to fit it in a small corner of a larger general scene of vigorous, successful state reform.

Head policeman and tsar were forced to see gentry politics as sluggish defense of superannuated privilege, thus in some deep sense loyal, perhaps even a defense of soslovie. The state sought to preserve its own self-image as arbiters of national progress and to dodge more advanced reform projects. The advantage was to keep open the option later to relent, to give in to gentry "interests", but only to those interests they were willing to recognize according to the traditions of soslovie, not those implied in novel programs put forward by gentry groups themselves. In truth, gentry politics were least acceptable to Alexander in the fall of 1859 during the first convocation when gentry projects were least selfish, when rule by all sosloviia in national representative institutions with the authority to administer national wealth were the leading themes. Gentry politics became more acceptable to the state in the fall of 1860, when they became more selfish, when a narrow fear of sharing power with peasants washed over the second convocation and attenuated its political resolve. The guiding concepts of Valuev’s later policy of "favoritism to the aristocracy" were in place months before he became Interior Minister.

Alexander II could not acknowledge gentry programs of elaborate social and political reform. Without question, gentry projects were designed to satisfy gentry interests, but not for the most part traditional interests or old privileges. On the contrary, gentry programs often assaulted the principle of "title by birth". In these cases gentry were willing to exchange title for a clear bill of sale; they were willing to exchange tattered remains of privilege and exemption for self-rule. Gentry programs often reached far beyond superannuated class privilege toward forms of advantage more compatible with anticipated post-emancipation conditions. While some gentry sluggishly resisted reform, many pushed far ahead. Gentry petitions, appeals, proclamations and manifestos expressed a broader political mentality and a richer and more visionary sense of "interests" than the tsarist state was prepared to recognize. Some gentry were ready, in fact, to attack "superannuated" privileges of an autocratic throne, including its mortmain property claim to almost half the Empire. The cutting edge of gentry politics pressed against soslovie and bureaucratic, managerial autocratic institutions.



In 1859 Moscow Governor-General A. A. Zakrevskii reported on political unreliables in Moscow. TABLE ONE contains 28 names of the most diverse sort of people. Westernizer or Slavophile, Prince or merchant, ranking bureaucrat or student-chinovnik, rich or poor, famous or obscure, it made no difference to Zakrevskii, all were subject to suspicion. Almost half were from the ranks of the most prominent social activists of the era, but the clearest shared characteristic of those on the Governor-General's list was active involvement in voluntary social organizations and promotion of inter-soslovie collusion. TABLE ONE lists Muscovite unreliables in Zakrevskii's order and with some indication of reasons for their inclusion, either Zakrevskii's own stated reasons or, in his silence, the presumed reasons. In the table Zakrevskii’s report is supplemented with indications of the most important voluntary associations of these unreliables, as a suggestion of the hidden structure of Zakrevskii's suspicion: uppity merchant involvement in public affairs (Kokorev and associates), association with the émigré publicist Alexander Herzen, and above all else significant involvement in voluntary public activism.

An Analysis of Governor-General Zakrevskii's 1859 List of Political Unreliables in Moscow
Reasons for inclusion (in parenthesis) = Zakrevskii's own
Reasons for inclusion [in brackets] = presumed but unstated
Reasons for inclusion indicate names of untrustworthy associates
Parenthesis around X means association soon after date of report
Lower-case f after X means founder of the society in question


Reasons for inclusion






[leader of Slavophiles]






[leader of Slavophiles]






[activist; Slavophile]











Maslov,Stepan A













(provokes disorder,Democrat,Westernizer)





Mamontov,Ivan F

(Kokorev) son?












(evil sborishcha [little gatherings])






(son of political exile)  






(Old-Ritualist Westernizer; Kokorev)






(strives for disorder; Herzen) 






(friend of Slavophiles & Westernizers)






(ready for anything; Herzen)   


















(wants revolution; ready for anything)






(son of MS above)






(ready for anything; Kokorev)






(wants revolution; ready for anything)






(wants rev.;ready for anything,Sl-phile)
























[Active gentry entrepreneur; Herzen]























[Sources: *1885:RAr#2:447-50, Spisok podozritel'nykh lits v Moskve | BJP,17:39-40 | Kimball Files.]



Perhaps the strangest thing about Zakrevskii's list was the dominant presence of illustrious Muscovites whose ambitions and entrepreneurial energy bore close resemblance to what was called "the middle class" or "bourgeoisie", terms applied to a class of people then transforming the rest of Europe beyond recognition. The simplest explanation is this: While Alexander II and his ministries wanted the productive and financial rewards of modernization, they were unwilling to compromise their monopolies, even those that hobbled modernization. Many on Zakrevskii's list got their start in tax farming and other state projects, and while a certain leeway could be allowed, they would have to be disciplined in the long run to state agendas. If the state first defeated the gentry as rebel barons with various magna cartas, it would now have to defeat them as a fledgling bourgeoisie. Russian industrial modernization was not to be launched for another quarter century, and the vagaries of social and political reform in the 1860s, as reflected in Zakrevskii’s list, were an important reason for that.

A wide variety of voluntary economic societies appeared on the scene for the first time or were infused with new and unprecedented vigor. These societies pursued practical, real-life objectives. Economic societies numbered 56 (ca. 1/3) of the 160 most important voluntary societies, 1857-1862.

{_{Kimball Files, GRP.}_}

TABLE TWO lists about half of these economic societies, the most important or representative.


Representative Economic Societies (1857-62)
(%) = percentage among all econ. societies represented by all in particular
category (not just "Representative") "o" stands for obshchestvo


1765:SPB Vol'noe ekonomicheskoe o, Imp. [Free Economic S.; VEO]
1820:MVA Sel'skogo khoziaistva, Imp. Moskovskoe o. [Moscow Agricultural S.]
1829:ODE Sel'skogo khoziaistva iuzhnoi R.,Imp. o.[Southern Rus. Agricultural S.]
1857:SPB Sel'skii khoziain [The Farmer]


1859:VsR Pooshchreniia otechestvennoi promyshlennosti, O.
1862:SPB Sodeistviia protsvetaniiu otechestvennoi promyshlennosti


1839:KZN Ekonomicheskoe o. [Economic Society]
1859:SPB Bankovoe i torgovoe o., Glavnoe [Central Bank & Trade Society]
1859:SPB Politiko-ekonomicheskii komitet [Political-Economic Committee of VEO]
1859:SPB Politiko-ekonomicheskii komitet [Political-Economic Committee of RGO]
1859:SPB Kommercheskogo kredita, O. [Commercial Credit Society]
1860:TVR Zemskii bank [Land Bank]
1861:KIV Zemskoe kreditnoe o. [Land Credit Society]
1861:SPB Kreditnoe o., SPB-skoe gorodskoe [Petersburg City Credit Society]


1840:SPB Vspomogatel'naia kassa dlia tipografov....
1858:VsR Trezvosti, O. (or Bratstva) [Temperance Societies or Brotherhoods]


1858:SPB Stolichnogo osveshcheniia, O. [Society for Streetlights in the Capital]
1859:MVA Pracheshnykh zavedenii, O. publichnykh [Public Laundry Society]
1860:SPB Obshchestvennogo zdraviia, O. [Public Health Society]
1861:ODE flx Vodoprovoda, Odessa-Dnestr O. [Odessa/Dnestr River Water Works]


1856:ODE Parokhodstva i Torgovlia, Russkoe o.
1857:SPB Zheleznykh dorog, Glavnoe o. Rossiiskikh
1859:MVA Ekipazhei, O. Moskovskikh obshchestvennykh [Moscow Public Transport S.]
1859:SAR Zheleznoi dorogi, O. Saratovskoi [Saratov Railroad Society]


1857:SPB Uluchsheniia v SPb-e pomeshchenii rabochego..
1858:MVA Strakhovoe ot ognia o. [Fire Insurance Society]
1859:SPB Deshevykh kvartir...., O. dlia dostavleniia
1860:SAR Damskogo popechitel'stva o bednykh, O. dlia
1861:PRM Vzaimnogo vspomoshchest, O. [Mutual Aid Society]
1862:Riga Vzaimnogo zastrakhovaniia, O. [Mutual Insurance Society]

[Source: Kimball Files, GRP]


In the Nicholas era, never more than two or three joint-stock companies formed in any year. In one reform year, 1859, forty three such companies were founded with total capital value of 63 million rubles. Between 1857 and 1860, one hundred joint stock companies were founded with a capital value of 186 million r.

{_{ L. E. Shepelev, Aktsionernye kompanii v Rossii (LGR: 1973); and Tsarizm i burzhuaziia vo vtoroi polovine XIX veka: Problemy torgovo-promyshlennoi politiki (LGR: 1981).}_}

A broad survey of public enterprises reported in the official War Ministry newspaper Russkii invalid in November, 1861, contrasting these developments with the previous era of deadly stagnancy [mertvennogo zastoia].

{_{ 1861no29:RIn#265:1095.}_}

Hybrid private/state reform commissions were formed within various ministries. The Editing Commission for peasant reform employed "experts" who were not themselves bureaucrats. The Commission for the Revision of the System of Taxes and Duties brought veteran bureaucrats together with selected experts. Notable also is the fact that as of mid-1861 nine of the 20 commissioners--these nine a mixture of both bureaucrats and experts--were members of the Geographic Society (six of them active in the new section devoted to political-economic advocacy and policy issues). Nine were also members of Litfond (five of them founders).

{_{ See the list of commission members in 1861:Vek#1:5.}_}

Educated civil society was a by-product of the long history of state reforms initiated by Peter I and Catherine II, and continued into the reign of Alexander II. Tsars nurtured something like a civil society but pruned it severely in rococo, statist patterns. The state enjoyed the advantages of large numbers of enterprising, educated and talented individuals, but it would not let them flourish according to their own rude nature. It would not allow them to exercise talent, education or enterprise too far beyond the ramparts of the centralized state. It sought to fix them tightly in hierarchies of rank and social estate, and to harness them to bureaucratic enterprises. The expanding bureaucratic institutions of the centralized, unlimited, autocratic state jealously monopolized these individuals. It favored them only so long as they decorated the garden of state power.

The number of "licensed" volunteer organizations with a clear bridged relationship to state bureaus grew, but also showed signs of qualitative, rather than purely quantitative evolution, in the direction of generalized and independent public organization. Four organizations from the time of Peter I, Catherine II, and the early 19th century played critical roles in the Era of Great Reforms: Academy of Sciences with its several monopolies (most gallingly its monopoly on the publication of the wildly popular and potentially profitable kalendary, but also its ownership of the oldest daily newspaper), the Free Economic Society (VEO) with its Political-Economic Committee, the Russian Geography Society (RGO) also with a Political-Economic Committee and the Literacy Committee, the Moscow Agricultural Society (MAS) with its several empire-wide projects, including public schooling. These securely licensed and bridged institutions burst into new life in the 1860s and helped force imperial organizational life off the field of normal autocratic license and out of bounds.

Soon the Litfond and Chess Club were to appeal openly to progressive state servitors, not per se, not as state servitors with a night off, but as critical members of obshchestvo with a more permanent and vested interest in the public sphere. Public participation in voluntary societies and in the reform process swelled in the early months of Alexander's reign. In truth, Alexander invited it, as when he personally appealed to the gentry to mobilize themselves and deliberate on the great movement to make a better life for the peasantry, as when he seemed to invite independent initiative across the board. When the Temperance Movement swept the land in 1858, organizers in the Kovno villages claimed that the movement was blessed by Alexander on a recent visit there.

{_{ CLW:295.}_}

Quickly public participation in the reform process had become more than an embellishment of an enlightened monarchy, as in the dream of Catherine II. Permission and independence were thrown way off balance. Volunteer association had become both essential to the orderly course of autocratic reform, and at the same time a threat to autocratic and bureaucratic power.

"Liberal" professions and employments grew daily in importance, most of them unknown to Peter I at the time the Table of Ranks was put in place.

{_{ Wortman and Frieden.}_}

The schools which the state thought of as training grounds for state servitors also trained the first cadres of the Russian professional classes, writers, teachers, university students, engineers, chemists, agronomists, economists, publishers and bookmen, newspaper editors, lawyers, medical doctors, joint stock company members, and other sorts of professional entrepreneurs whose existence put them on the margin between the state structure and the laboring narod, and almost always beyond any meaningful definition in the systems of soslovie and chin. The state was determined to stretch soslovie and chin to the dimensions of modernization. For example, the professional category prisiazhnye poverennye [court advocates] created after the legal reforms of 1864, was considered a soslovie designation.

The inescapable truth was this: the old soslovie system was pushed beyond reasonable limits. The state preferred that to the abolition of the system itself to make room for more functional, more modern, political-economic structure. These modern technical or professional groups were fast becoming the real backbone of "civil society", strengthening an urban society earlier more exclusively composed of local garrison officers, administrators with the night off, and wintering landowners. Yet the political-economic structure designed to accommodate a society in which these antiquated formations were the central ingredients still dominated the Russian spirit and compromised the future of the nation.

It was as if the following questions were being put at the national level. Using the word "public" in its English sense, are publicly controlled railroad companies and steamship lines to be the agencies of modernization of Russian imperial transportation, or will the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, and other high-placed insiders in the Finance Ministry, maintain lofty control over the process? What of the vast royal domains, land that could be used to "finance" emancipation? What of royal and state control over mines and forests? Are the cities and their dumy [councils] to be agents of Imperial power or municipal enterprises administering urban utilities and services? Will the new courts be independent or even more sophisticated extensions of bureaucratic power?

The relative weight and meaning of these and the several other varieties of public association become clear only in the field of action, as we continue to follow the experience of the mobilizing civil society, particularly as it was concentrated in that range of endeavors from belles-lettres to students, as it developed in the sequence of organizational experience from the Literary Fund, into the journals and publishing houses, out into the private schools and volunteer organizations dedicated to the promotion of literacy, and back into the universities and other specialized institutions of higher education.

We have seen how the ambitious gentry assemblies sought to augment tsarist power in the locales and came into conflict with a state unready to share power with anyone. The growth of entrepreneurial enterprise posed the same threat. The state had good reason to suspect that too many provincial activists agreed with Unkovskii when he suggested that local agencies might be given authority over state property. The suggestion was in the air: Publicly controlled modernization was superior to state controlled modernization. The cluster of economic enterprises shaped itself to the contours of this suggestion.

This was a situation easily generalized throughout the body politic. Similar questions were raised by the organizations where scholars, writers, publishers, teachers, and other professionals dominated. Are those several activities associated with the full spectrum of the print-media to be allowed to drift away from the exclusive dominion of the state, of the censorship bureaus and subsidized journals, and of the church? Will the public or the state and church prevail over the first system of primary education known to Russia? The economic societies presented a challenge to the central authorities, but the liberal professions more naturally generalized on their first questions, moving quickly to questions about the way in which public business was conducted at all levels. Great social and political unrest can be found in these gray areas between state and society where traditional practice had been discredited, or where there was no previous tradition. Obshchestvo [civil society] formed obshchestva [voluntary societies] as outposts in the struggle between the state and emerging public. Were these organizations going to serve the state or a civil society? Were the members of these voluntary societies subjects or citizens?



By 1861 Alexander II strengthened his personal suite and his ministries to weather the internecine struggle. Dolgorukov and the Third Section, inherited from Nicholas I's irregular "own chanceries", were still securely by his side. Valuev was soon in the Interior Ministry, and shortly thereafter Dmitrii Miliutin in the War Ministry. The key domestic "power ministries" were in line to steady the ship of state. They all recognized the need for technical, professional changes in the military and throughout the state structure. But they all hoped to sever the connection between these changes and the larger visions of progress and change that the reforms naturally provoked in the minds of many within the mobilized state structure. Specifically, they all recognized the need for emancipation, but sought to sever the connection between peasant emancipation and inspired visions of parliamentary government, social equality and civil liberty. The severance they all sought was necessary to neutralize both reactionaries, who didn't want any change, and radicals, who wanted too much change, and to convert the whole reform era into a simpler mechanical or administrative process. The state sought to fix a protective screen between its own discreet repair jobs and the huge plans for major transformation sparked by the repair process itself. That screen was never more than semi permeable.

Disgruntled military servitors and also civilian chinovniks swelled the ranks of voluntary organizations and brought a fresh and informed anger to social movements. The process of their radicalization is one in which they were shaken from the ranks of the stop-go reforming bureaucracy. The state constantly spun off from its heavy flanks large numbers of people who could no longer bear careers behind the wall of state power. Leading figures were often disappointed or all-too-ambitious servitors of the very regime they came to oppose. Uvarov, from his high post, saw the early beginnings of this process and identified it with modern Revolution; these renegade servitors, from their lowly position, assumed a reciprocal attitude toward the tsarist system: autocracy came to seem the main obstacle to progress in their nation.

All branches of government contributed to the social ferment in the Sixties, but none had greater consequences for the social and political history of the reform era than the Education Ministry. The Education Ministry was created in the time of Alexander I. At that time also the single Russian university in Moscow was joined by newly created Saint Petersburg, Kazan, and Khar'kov universities. Many of the most durable volunteer societies were established in nominal close relationship to the universities and Education Ministry. Around these institutions a palpable new public consciousness was forming.

More than other Imperial ministries, the Education Ministry suffered instability of leadership and policy. Educational policy inherited from Nicholas I was in shambles. Since the Crimean War revisions of contemptible 1835 University statutes were under discussion in official circles, but in the meantime the universities had been allowed to move ahead on their own without explicit sanction to introduce unofficial practices at variance with old statutes. Spontaneous transformation of the universities ran far ahead of the sluggish bureaucratic reform process. When Grigorii Shcherbatov became Superintendent at Saint Petersburg University in 1856, he seemed to say, "Have at it. Let’s reform our university on our own informal initiative". Professors began to dream of corporate independence and students hurried to take control over their own daily lives. Beginning in 1858 the state pursued a policy of benign indifference to internally motivated developments within the universities, all of which pointed in the direction of university autonomy.

In just four years, 1858-1861, there were three very different Education Ministers. On 23 March 1858 Evgraf Pavlovich Kovalevskii became Minister of Education, and he set the system loose to seek its own level. Evgraf was brother to the successful ambassador Egor (who was soon to take a leading role in the powerful volunteer society Litfond). Evgraf shared with his activist brother a forward-looking, reformist and progressive vision for Russia. For the next three years Evgraf Kovalevskii’s ministry unbuckled a large part of the Nicholas legacy, even when it did not formally rescind Nicholas legislation or promulgate explicit change of policy. Throughout the realm of the Education Ministry's responsibility, reformist action and spontaneous implementation of reform raced far ahead of legislation, creating a most dangerous situation for all involved.

University degrees were often the key to professional and bureaucratic careers within the Table of Ranks. Over the years, university admissions were widened or narrowed according to the oscillations of state need, subjecting a young, talented and impressionable segment of the imperial population to a very particular rhythm of hope and disappointment. The numbers of students shot up in the 1840s, declined in the 1850s, and erupted like never before after Crimea. Even then, universities found it increasingly difficult to graduate each year sufficient numbers of new recruits to fill the expanding ranks of civil service. Disregarding an important privilege of the wellborn, officials sanctioned a new open-door policy for talented students from less privileged social formations. Young people, the likes of which had been largely excluded from educational opportunity in earlier times, now filled seats in imperial universities (particularly in Petersburg and Kazan), gymnasia, lyceums, cadet corps, and other special schools. An imperial system of higher education with a few hundred students now had to deal with several thousand students. Through the half decade after 1849, enrollment at Petersburg University hovered in the range of 300-400. After enrollment restrictions were lifted in 1856, the numbers grew. By January 1859, there were 1000. In the 1860-61 academic year, on the eve of the state assault on the universities, there were 1442.

{_{ Girgor'ev,VV:305. See also Berkov, "Iz rannei...":95-6.}_}

For the most part, the new students were of severely limited financial means and were familiar with an unsavory option: endure the miserable life of the impoverished student and prepare for a career appropriate to a university degree or return home, often to the provincial glush' where levels of misery exceeded by wide margins even those in the dreary student neighborhoods of the capital cities.

{_{ Leikina-Svirskaia, "Formirovanie...":84-5. See also Daniel R. Brower, Training the Nihilists: Education and Radicalism in Tsarist Russia (Ithaca NY: 1975). Some figures for the year 1864 in the Volga and Ural regions illustrate this point. One-third of the students in the twelve ostensibly exclusive gymnasia were from the commoner classes [VR-D:99].}_}

Enrollments expanded, organized student life became a force in the university like never before, professors also bestirred themselves in new efforts at self-management, and it seemed the administration of the whole educational system might be transformed in such a way as to free it from exclusive governmental control and to allow authority to devolve into the hands of the schools themselves, as semi-independent corporations. Professors and students in the higher educational institutions, like those in the key universities of Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Kiev, and Khar'kov, in the Central Pedagogical Institute, the School of Jurisprudence, and the Alexander Lyceum, jumped at this unique opportunity at self rule. They sought to redefine the university, to remove it as far as possible from the old state guardianship and relocate it in the heart of civil society. Faculty and students sensed that they were stealing the march on the state and grew bolder with that realization. Like the intellectual elite at Lamanskii’s presentation, like the gentry assemblies, like even those peasants who bowed their heads to the wishes of tsar-batiushka, students also felt "invited" by their tsar to question the old ways and to work to change them.

{_{ R. G. Eimontova, "Professora starye i novye na rubezhe 50--60-kh godov XIX v." in PIR; and Russkie universitety na grani dvukh epokh: Ot Rossii krepostnoi k Rossii kapitalisticheskoi (MVA:1985). Samuel D. Kassow, Students, Professors, and the State in Tsarist Russia (Berkeley CA:1989):14-15 explores the question of how the universities, as institutions, were a threat to the principles of the autocratic state, concentrating on the period from the 1899 to the 1905 Revolution.}_}

Not only were enrollments in these critical educational institutions expanding like never before, and not only was the social composition of the student body changing dramatically from the old aristocratic norm, but also the assumptions made by students from all social classes about the meaning of their degree were changing as well. Increasingly students aimed at careers independent of the state bureaucracy, and they began as students, even prior to graduation, to conduct themselves in a "liberal" professional way.

At Petersburg University Viktor Ostrogorskii found a professional career. In my capacity as a teacher, he wrote, I "firmly decided to dedicate my life to the service of obshchestvo".

{_{ OKak:79.}_}

This was a small personal decision with large political implications in the Russian setting, directly echoing the sentiment that Dmitrii Miliutin deplored among cadets in his War Ministry and paralleling the pervasive atmosphere in the seminaries and spiritual academies under the authority of the Holy Synod.

These trends disturbed Dolgorukov and other loyal sanovniki. Pirogov provoked one of the earliest sharp intramural clashes among state servitors of different vision about reform. Pirogov seemed to students the very embodiment of a new generation of progressive bureaucrats, picking up where the aging Nicholas progressives left off. His views were in close harmony with those of the central educational administration. He supported a more spontaneous and independent system of higher education. The upward course of his career was a clear inspiration to all who shared these views. Then came the shock when Khar’kov and Kiev university students were arrested in February, 1860. These arrests appeared to be a power play on the part of the Governor General Vasil’chikov, underscoring his discomfort with "liberal" educational administration. In his struggle against military/bureaucratic intervention into the life of the universities under his administration, Pirogov felt compelled to put hand to heart and swear that university groups represented no threat to the power of autocracy. After heroic service in the medical corps in the Crimean War, Pirogov seemed on the verge of a second heroic career as the battle lines were drawn between him and Prince Illarion Vasil'chikov, the Governor General of Kiev Province, military governor of Podolia and Volhynia provinces, and Commander of the Kiev military district.

Pirogov's correspondence with Vasil’chikov in the early months of 1860 is a record of growing tension on several fronts: civilian vs. military styles of administration, pedagogical vs. police assumptions about those under their authority, reformist hopes for the future vs. reactionary defense of the past, glasnost vs. secretiveness, and finally social service vs. state service orientations toward the performance of one's governmental assignment.

Much of the heat the rose from the one-sided conflict between Vasil'chikov and Pirogov derived from the broader issue of central control vs. greater independence of imperial universities and other educational institutions. Were these institutions to remain the moral and political instruments of state power or where they to be allowed to expand toward fulfilling the needs of an independent civil society? Vasil'chikov and his subordinates, particularly those in the police administration, perceived how Pirogov and university administrators were moving toward greater organizational autonomy, and they perceived the importance in this process of the new links which the university was forging with civil society and the people at large.

{_{ V63U,1:29-37, 41, 44-7, and 49-53.}_}

Vasil'chikov and his police apparatus responded with counter-measures designed to insinuate police and clerical authority between students and their new champions in the university administration and faculty, in civil society, and among the people.

Pirogov responded to Vasil'chikov's countermeasures in a memo which stressed that he was no different than Vasil'chikov in his dedication "to the good of society". Pirogov, the Moscow and Derpt trained surgeon, son of a successful treasury official, cut to the heart of the differences between him and Governor-General Prince Vasil’chikov. Universities have immense influence on civil society, he reminded Vasil'chikov, because it is the university that trains "the productive people [deiatelei] of the future". And the public in its turn influences the university, particularly in so far as the "spirit of the youth" is shaped in a social environment long before any student enters the university. Like Vasil'chikov, Pirogov was concerned about the struggle between various nationalities, particularly between Ukrainians and Poles at Khar'kov University. Pirogov's policy was to encourage the development of student libraries, lecture series, and other organizations like the Sunday schools. These helped create a more generalized sense of identity as "students" and members of a larger national citizenship.

{_{ V63U,1:60-4.}_}

The emergence of student societies was in Pirogov’s mind an antidote to more narrow natal forms of ethnic identity.

That is why Pirogov saw nothing but benefit in the Sunday schools, literary societies, and the various student assemblies. These were extending the mission of the modern university to shape "the productive people of the future". Pirogov’s schools and universities would forge a new national citizenship. Pirogov stressed how many students were being inspired to careers in teaching as a result of Sunday school work.

{_{ V63U,1:61.}_}

He chided Vasil'chikov's witch-hunt and spoke out against exclusion of the so-called Khar'kov-Kiev society and Jews from the staffs of the Sunday schools.

{_{ While defending the Sunday schools and university independence as far as he could, Pirogov complied with state efforts to allow greater official and church control over Sunday schools, and he cooperated with the December 1858 order which allowed deacons of the Orthodox Church to watch over the conduct of professors [V63U,1:62,64].}_}

Pirogov made some effort to resist the state's efforts to purge the Sunday schools of every teacher in the Kiev region who had any dealings at all with the arrested youths. He thought the trumped up arrests and the connection of the arrests to the Sunday schools were an official provocation. He saw behind that front to the fact that the state could not tolerate university students, largely from the ranks of the raznochintsy, teaching sensitive topics like history to students from the lower classes.

{_{ Pirogov, "O voskresnykh shkol": 466.}_}

A long and probing report of Third Section official Ivan Vasilevich Annenkov, signed on April 12, 1860, vindicated Pirogov's faith in the innocence of those around the so-called "Khar'kov-Kiev Society", but he saw beyond this narrow and insignificant legal point to the larger issues. Annenkov emphasized how student self-organization represented a falling away from defined assignments. Students were pulled away from the "calling to fulfill their obligations faithfully". He reified the tensions between the old assigned qualities of student life and the recent voluntarism there, and he generalized on the meaning of recent dissent in the relationship of old-fashioned officials on the scene and lax officials in the Education Ministry. Annenkov perceived the dangers of the new "bridged" quality of imperial higher education as it sought to serve the old statist functions as well as new social and professional functions. He expressed concern about the "commitments of university youth". "Thus students at both universities see before their very eyes two different administrative tendencies and two systems of rule which in no way facilitate the creation for youths of a proper understanding of the obligations and behavior appropriate to them." He warned that independent universities and schools contradicted the standard imperial notions of censorship. Like the emigre publishing houses and the new domestic press, where journalists felt free to discuss things just as they pleased, so also were students and teachers being misled by notions of unbridled freedom. At the foundation of all this, he detected the flow of marginal social types into the university.

{_{ V63U,1:55-60.}_}

Annenkov discovered family unhappiness beneath the surface of student disorder, but exerted himself to minimize and isolate the problem. These troublemakers, he said, do not represent "the majority of their comrades"; their efforts to organize failed to attract many associates; their societies in Khar'kov and in Kiev remained "fully isolated societies".

{_{ V63U,1:59.}_}

Annenkov tried to exculpate the system, both the Education Ministry and its students, and the broader imperial institutional/social structure. The problem is caused by a few social types of "mixed soslovie", of mongrel family backgrounds. The members of the student society were an expression of the lamentable qualities of a "disordered elementary education" which a small number of students in Russian universities experience. These youths matriculated "with their outlook already perverted, blaming the whole civil structure of society [grazhdanskoe ustroistvo vsego obshchestva] for everything they saw in their families and experienced in the period of their youth, most of which derived from the absolute absence of domestic supervision".


Thus Annenkov saw a truth and blinded himself to it. He saw into the heart of the social problem faced by provincial youths, then sought to marginalize, to place outside normal life, to "outlaw" social disorder and political opposition. The police desired the body politic to be healthy and sound. Activists and critics therefore had to be the disease, even if those activists and critics saw themselves as doctors and their antics as therapy. But traditional family "relationships" were in a deeper crisis than Annenkov could allow himself to admit. Like Vasil'chikov, Annenkov reacted against intellectual and social mobility out of the control of the state.

Here under the microscope is a paradigmatic moment in the political crisis of the 1860s. Pirogov thought of student organizations as voluntary associations, more like professional societies than like military postings or bureaucratic assignments. In this way Pirogov reflected the views of students, many professors, and society at large. To them the university provided vital new voluntary and avocational opportunities, where the virtues of the liberal professions predominated.

Vasil'chikov, like most of his police and military-government associates, thought that universities, lyceums, institutes, and academies derived their official justification from their role as training grounds for state service. In the official eye enrollment in educational institutions was identical to state service. Professors and students were not thought properly to be a part of civil society; professors in the Table of Ranks were as military officers, students were as soldiers, or at least cadets in training for a civilian commission. Most officials continued to perceive students in these various institutions as fledgling servitors, whose prime virtues ought to be ability to follow instructions and get their work done. Vasil'chikov did not hesitate to go around university officials when he sent police in to investigate Kiev University. In disdain for Education Ministry officials, he unilaterally established police surveillance over the universities, stooping only to inform Pirogov, in one case with a long memo in which he explained his intention to crush corporate life among students, even though these student associations were sanctioned by the Education Ministry.

{_{ V63U,1:29-30, 46-7, 49-53.}_}

Governor Generals had armed police; Education Ministers had clerks.

The Russian university represented one of the most spectacular examples of the crumbling of established definitions and procedures, and of intramural disorder among tsarist ministries. Different points of view could be taken on the matter: one faction worked to pull the Nicholas university down, either to build anew and better, or for the malicious joy of destruction; another faction sought to shore it up, either to protect traditional quality, or to preserve corruption and incompetence from reform, but mainly to shore up conventional autocratic political culture. In the defense of conventional autocratic political culture Vasil'chikov did not resist the opportunity to exaggerate political dangers in his region and to stir up hysteria back in Saint Petersburg. He sought to heighten the atmosphere surrounding his investigation of student life and his contest with Pirogov by dispatching an urgent telegram to Dolgorukov warning that an assassination attempt on the life of Alexander II was in the planning.

{_{ V63U,1:40-1.}_}

After Pirogov was fired, the "liberal" Education Minister, Evgraf Kovalevskii, ordered the Kiev Educational Region to comply with the Governor-General's demand that closer control be established over student life. At the same time Kovalevskii insisted that the old lines of authority and control in the universities should be re-established and that closer surveillance of professors should be maintained. He finally ordered the Kiev Region to halt the independent expansion of the Sunday-school movement and subordinate the schools to the official educational hierarchy. Before any new schools were to be authorized, officials should received a detailed statement of all financial and other support, official or public. The curriculum was henceforward to be strictly limited. And university students were to be allowed almost no role.

{_{ V63U,1:54-5.}_}

The way was being cleared for more decisive counter-measures, but these were not to follow for another year. Educational institutions continued to drift further from state control until the power ministers organized their counter-offensive in the spring of 1861. Filled to overflow, and more, by officially expanded admissions policies in the early reform era, universities became training grounds for public activism and a battle ground within the tsarist administration. Pirogov’s dismissal in March 1861, as Emancipation got under way, might be the earliest harbinger of the reactionary counter measures against social mobilization.

{_{ See A. Z. Baraboi, "O prichinakh uvol'neniia Pirogova s posta popechitelia Kievskogo uchebnogo okruga", 1959se-oc:ISSR:108-13. Also see Mathes"VSH:43-4. Mathes devotes proper attention to the struggle between Vasil'chikov and Pirogov, and the tendency of the state to exaggerate the political meaning of Sunday schools, though it seems to me that he is wrong to call this case "typical". Nothing like this had yet happened in the reform era. Better to call the action against Pirogov a chilling premonition of things to come.}_}

After his dismissal, Pirogov was described on the pages of Kolokol [The Bell] as one committed to "serving society by deeds, Pirogov served society openly". The emigre journal took some delight in the internecine struggles within the higher bureaucracy. Pirogov challenged the ruling governor-general in his region without recourse to chancery secretiveness, and thus revealed the divisions within the state administration.

{_{ 1862ja01:Kolokol#118:988, "N. I. Pirogov".}_}

But Herzen's delight hardly compensated the Russian public for the loss of Pirogov. Finally, Pirogov lost and was fired; Vasil'chikov won a minor but portentous skirmish.



Tensions in the bureaus of state administration were building toward the higher-educational crisis of 1861. The state was very slow to make up its mind about social initiatives in the realm of education. At least in the early months of reform, the state was compelled to run with the hare and hunt with the hound. At first its inability to catch up was interpreted as encouragement and support for private efforts to establish schools, book distributorships, public libraries, and a variety of pedagogical societies. In much the same way, state inaction with respect to new, reform-era university policy to license faculty and student initiatives. In a six month period, from December 1960 to April 1861, the state took a stand against social initiatives in public education and then launched a counterattack against university students, the main source of pedagogical activity among the folk and the most vigorous force for public mobilization within the universities. By the summer of 1862, with British and Rothschild loans in pocket, the state was ready to bite the rabbit.

In March, 1860, the Interior and Education ministers informed all provincial governors to take notice of Sunday schools and support them. "They are certain to be of real benefit to urban society."

{_{ Petr Valuev, "O voskresnykh shkolakh i o deistviiakh Sledstvennoi kommisii Vysochaishe uchrezhdenoi dlia izsled. deistvii lits zavedyvavshikh nekotorymi shkolami v SPb-e", RGIA (Russian State Historical Archive), f. 1275, op. 1, ed. khr. 41, pp. 49 ob. [1862 September 11]. For Interior Minister Lanskoi's circular, see LOD:402; see also Stasov,Stasova:104.}_}

Even Dolgorukov was relatively sanguine about the movement through the first half of 1860. In the spring he reported to the Tsar that the movement to establish "private Sunday schools for lower-class people of both sexes" had received remarkable acceptance in society. In a very short while many such schools opened not only in the capital but also in the provinces and districts. The higher clergy, young people from the schools and several officers were among the managers of these schools. Dolgorukov assured the Emperor that the schools were not altogether "private". They were under the jurisdiction of educational authorities. And just to make sure that there were no "harmful consequences" local officials were keeping a sharp eye on them.

{_{ OD3 za 1860 g., ed. khr. 25, pp. 76-77.}_}

Tensions mounted as the pedagogical networks extended themselves into the life of the great mass of the people at a time of temperance unrest and anxiety about impending emancipation. The political implications of the paired trends, public activism and peasant discontent, promised serious crisis. Where city-centered ferment reached furthest into the provinces and the countryside, there the state became most alarmed. The proclamations were one form of reach, but rather flimsy; the Sunday schools and other pedagogical endeavors were another matter. These were substantial, organized, persistent, intimate, and very successful. Activists from all over the Empire broadcast Petersburg and Muscovite ferment into the lives of the vast population. Competition with the state was most clear here.

Many felt that the competition was good, and that it showed the superiority of publicly supported schooling. Pirogov personally observed the workings of the Sunday schools in the Kiev region and remarked on their success in comparison with he other "state schools" [kazennye shkoly, i.e., the government schools in the districts and the church or parochial schools]. Sunday school students met only a couple of hours once a week, yet they learned to read two or three times faster than similar students who attended state schools every day. Students fled from the state schools into the Sunday schools and quickly overcrowded them. The success of the Sunday schools was in part a judgment against the quality of the official school system.

{_{ Pirogov, "O voskresnykh shkol":466-7.}_}

With all their insufficiencies--lack of teacher training, lack of budget, lack of experience, lack of books and materials--the Sunday schools were better than church and state schools.

Few officials were ready to go as far as Pirogov in their praise. Education Minister Evgraf Kovalevskii tried to keep up his good credentials in society and the bureaucracy. In May 1860, as the Sunday schools swelled and the various publishing houses and book dealerships extended their operations throughout the land, Kovalevskii called for closer monitoring of the teachers and curricula of the Sunday schools, and insisted that they teach only reading, writing and arithmetic out of books approved by the state.

{_{ Mathes"VSH":43.}_}

An editor of Dukh Khristianina, Father A. V. Gumilovskii, and other church figures saw that these civilian and secular schools competed with church schools. Responsible church leaders felt pressure also from a state that had severely limited the church's role in these matters. Polemicists of less responsibility, first of all Askochenskii, answered the challenge with venomous invective. The public schools drew students away from timeless truths and taught a modern, diabolical, secular science. It was not difficult to frame this institutional competition in doctrinal terms: the Sunday schools were not just educational institutions competing with success and by implication shaming the church curriculum; they were demons undermining Orthodox Christianity.

{_{ Florovsky, WRT,1; Mathes"VSH:43. The struggle between secular & religious education is discussed in
Eklof, Russian Peasant Schools, ch6:155-68.}_}

Church officials urged the state to attach a priest to each school to protect true Christianity.

The worldly Dolgorukov was not swayed by these church complaints, but as he got to know more about the character and extent of the national movement in which Pavlov was beginning to play an acknowledged role, he changed his earlier sanguine opinion of the Sunday schools. Vasil’chikov’s struggle with Pirogov down in the Kiev District must also have played a role in Dolgorukov’s new alertness to the Sunday schools. On 18 December 1860, he presented a report to the Emperor which for the first time laid out the nearly conspiratorial vision which came to dominate the state's thinking on this matter: Pavlov started them, following the emigre Herzen’s directions and based on the failed dreams of the criminal Petrashevtsy. But with an almost naïve bluntness, Dolgorukov summarized the situation in this way: "The state cannot allow a situation to develop in which one half of the national population becomes dependent for its education not on the state but on its own efforts or the private, beneficent effort make by one of the other sosloviia". Teachers become even more important "on the solid basis of trust and gratitude bestowed upon them by the popular masses".

{_{ LOD:403. Ionova:194-5, citing TsGIAM, f. 109, 1 eksp., 1859 g., d. 230, pp. 45-45 ob., identifies Adjutant General N. N. Annenkov, serving then as Governor-General of the Kiev District, as the author of this zapiski, and she presents it as if it were two documents, the first half Annenkov's personal communiqué to Alexander I and the second half a statement of governmental policy. She is not interested in the divisions within the higher bureaucracy over these questions or the place of these zapiski in the struggle between the Third Section and the Education Ministry.}_}

The state did not have the resources to take full control over the pedagogical movement. It did not have the will or resources to initiate an equal national literacy project. Yet it was unwilling to let the project move forward on its own. Dolgorukov drew nine conclusions from the situation as of the end of 1860.

  • It is impossible and even harmful to block the spread of Sunday schools.
  • But it is not necessary to let them fall into the hands of those who organize them according to their own arbitrary pedagogy.
  • Gradually and cautiously, the state should bring all schools under state control; "take those critical steps that are necessary to make them better and give the appearance of facilitating their rapid spread".
  • As an expression of the state's sympathy and support, create kruzhoks devoted to popular education in the churches, but do not expect much success from this.
  • Private donations to Sunday schools are now administered by those who run the schools. In the future this money should be handled through the district superintendents of education, who can see that it is distributed properly. After a while the modish and unnatural passion for Sunday schools will subside, and for lack of resources, the schools will close down. (In the margin, A-2 wrote that this was exactly what the Education Minister told him.)
  • We must strive to give proper form to this understandably disorderly business. We should strive imperceptibly to encourage the participation "of persons of the higher sosloviia whose loyalty is beyond doubt".
  • We must take decisive but covert measures to get military officers, students, and in general young people off the faculties of all schools for girls.
  • Carefully and calmly resist every effort to broaden the curriculum. Limit the curriculum to religion (taught only by priests), basic literacy, writing and arithmetic, taught only with textbooks approved by official agencies.
  • Quickly set about publishing improved textbooks, and keep this process under the control of responsible agencies.

{_{ Text of zapiska, LOD:403-5. See Vdnv,1:361; Alexander Herzen picked up on this mounting pressure against social initiative, "Zlodeistvo Dlgorukova", Klk (1861 February 1):91; and Herzen, SoS 15:25.}_}

Dolgorukov was reacting in part to the apparent mutual passion for these schools, shared by those who organized or taught in them and those who sought to study in them. The newspapers of both capitals were filled with stories of workers in the cities or peasants in the provinces requesting schools or seeking those who could organize such schools and teach them.

{_{ See, e.g., 1860no29:Svd, 1860au17:Mvd, and 1860oc09:Mvd.}_}

Dolgorukov was not so foolish as to ignore the great confluence of interests that drew widely different people together, beyond the controls of traditional soslovie and chin. He felt it prudent for the state to "give the appearance of facilitating their rapid spread", but his fondest hope was that this fad soon would pass. Any other policy at this point would only serve as a pretext for discontent among teachers and students.

Possibly on Dolgorukov's initiative, a second police report appeared four days after his report, repeating his formulas and reinforcing his message. Further "incriminating" details about Pavlov and the schools came into the narrative. Pavlov had recently been fired from the teaching post at the School of Jurisprudence, but he and his associates didn’t get the message. Since bringing the Sunday school movement to Petersburg, Pavlov and the Sunday school teachers met in open gatherings in the Summer Gardens. Police reports emphasized the non-authoritarian relationship among teachers and their indifference in their teaching to the principles of soslovie and chin. The report emphasized that the teachers were guided by the principle that "the only difference between the person of the distinguished aristocratic soslovie and the impoverished simple commoner is the literacy and education of the former, and once the simple commoner becomes educated, he will have made himself the equal of the well-born and distinguished person". Such a pernicious and laughable idea required no further comment from the police spies. Further obvious evidence of wrongheadedness was provided by the fact that teachers employed no compulsion in their classrooms. Individual students were invited to discover on their own the benefits of learning and the desirability of equality with the privileged sosloviia. All the teacher must do is make it clear that students must learn those things known by the educated sosloviia. Knowledge was the distinguishing feature of the ruling elite. Students were inspired by a natural desire to achieve "equality of status" by achievement of equality of knowledge.

Police also expressed revulsion at teachers’ meetings and the self administration implied in them. They presumed that meetings or any gatherings out of the range of state authority could be for one reason only, to plot the overthrow of the existing order. Once a month, the reports noted, teachers gathered under the chairmanship of Pavlov to discuss how things were going throughout Russia, and planned ways to insure unity in curriculum in all schools. Police expressed some astonishment at the fact that administrative measures taken against Pavlov and the mounting of police surveillance failed to discipline the Sunday school movement. They were not easily intimidated. As evidence of this, police reported that shortly after his dismissal Pavlov accompanied a crowd of Sunday school students to an art exhibit at the Imperial Academy of Art. There he delivered a lecture "in a communist spirit" about Ivanov’s famous painting of the appearance of Christ.

After the Ivanov episode the Third Section intensified its surveillance over Sunday schools, but reported that "so far nothing suspicious has been noted in them". Police thought that their actions should have been sufficient warning, but Sunday school teachers were nonetheless heard to express "an extremely free manner of thought" after school, and to express full agreement with Pavlov’s ideas. Those who knew Pavlov well informed the police that the "clandestine goal" of his undertaking (the creation of a national system of public education, which the police took to imply revolution) was known to many teachers. Pavlov himself was content for the time being to limit his activities to the mustering of support and expansion of Sunday schools. The police were for their part content to keep a close watch on him.

{_{ 1860de22: state report. Linkov, "Voskres...":178-9; Ionova:182.}_}

Since the spring of 1859 the state had been responding with sluggish measures designed to encourage but also restrain these startling educational initiatives. Now Dolgorukov, inspired by Vasil’chikov and then by Annenkov’s report on the arrested Khar’kov and Kiev students, brought the system to attention. In the process he antagonized Pirogov’s boss, Education Minister Evgraf Kovalevskii, who dispatched a hasty circular to superintendents of educational districts, saying "Sunday schools must serve only as supplement to parish schools" so long as parish schools were not sufficient to meet local needs. Sunday schools were thus only a temporary expedient. Local authorities were asked not to grant them any status of their own or recognition independent of standard parish practices. Kovalevskii expressed alarm that history was taught in Kiev and that German and French languages were taught in other localities. These and other subjects, like geography, were not authorized to be taught in Sunday schools. In an effort to consolidate his position and to show that he was not simply letting Sunday schools go their own way, Kovalevskii recommended six measures:

  • Sunday schools must restrict their curriculum to those subjects and units taught in the parish schools: religion [zakon bozhii], reading, writing, elementary arithmetic, and drawing and draftsmanship "where local requirements make that necessary"
  • Use only approved textbooks
  • Establish control of local education officials over appointment of principals and teachers
  • Impose regular inspection by local officials
  • If any sacrilege, treason or immorality is expressed or committed by principles or teachers, they should be removed at once
  • Do not allow any young men to teach girls; all teachers at schools for girls must be female

{_{ LOD:405-6. The circular is dated 1860 December 30. Ionova: 406-7, citing Abramova, appears to have confused a May circular with the December "Pravila dlia voskresnykh shkol", but she is right on the mark when she suggests that these efforts to control the curriculum were motivated by a desire to preserve soslovie distinctions. "Governmental repression of the Sunday schools in itself gives witness to the fact that the very organization of the schools and their independent teachings had great revolutionary significance" [194]. In line with the traditions of Soviet scholarship, she sees things much like Dolgorukov, placing main emphasis on the revolutionary intentions of the youthful teachers, as well as the "objective" contribution of those who participated even without knowing about, much less using in their classrooms, revolutionary literature [195].}_}

In preparation for a meeting of the Council of Ministers scheduled for January 5th, Dolgorukov shared his December report on Sunday Schools with Valuev.

{_{ Vdnv,1:56-7.}_}

Dolgorukov planted the seeds of significant policy in Valuev’s mind, still one season before Valuev became Interior Minister. The key power ministers were beginning to build consensus for decisive counter-measures against unbridled social initiative. Valuev studied the situation with the care of a young government official ambitious to find just the right path for career advancement. At the meeting, N. P. Ignat’ev described the dangers of unregulated schools and asserted that the notorious fat journals were used as textbooks. Kovalevskii defended the Sunday schools and the conduct of his Education Ministry. Sunday schools, he argued, were not unnatural; they had their cause and reason, very much in harmony with the very forces that gave rise to the reform era itself. Kovalevskii was confidant that sufficient state regulation was already in place. He reminded the Council that the state was itself unable to perform this vital task. He scoffed at Dolgorukov's suggestion that teachers come only from the noble soslovie. In effect, he advised the Tsar and his ministers to trust local forces at work in this critical area of national concern, and to expect good things to come of public initiatives.

{_{ LOD:406-7.}_}

Valuev recorded his impressions of the meeting in his diary. Dolgorukov suggested assigning permanent, on-sight observers to each school. Sukhozanet cautioned against adult education. N. N. Annenkov, Governor-General of the Kiev District, suggested that all directors and observers should be priests. The Minister of State Domains defended his own schools. Panin was dismayed to report that when one Sunday school raised the question "Who was Abraham", the answer was "a myth". Kniazhevich, Adlerberg, Prianishnikov & Bludov were silent. Lanskoi said two or three words of unclear meaning, with which nonetheless Grand Prince Konstantin Nikolaevich and General Chevkin found themselves in agreement. Gorchakov spoke with emphasis, but in essence said nothing. Panin spoke smoothly; his voice seemed quite fine to Valuev, but his ability to pull things together feeble. Kovalevskii handled himself well, but he spoke too plaintively, in Valuev’s view, as if overburdened by the weight of Ignat’ev and Dolgorukov’s unjust reproaches.

{_{ Vdnv,1:57.}_}

For the time being, the Tsar supported Kovalevskii and resisted Dolgorukov’s more aggressive line. On the basis of Kovalevskii's December circular, new "Pravila dlia voskresnykh shkol" [Regulations for Sunday schools] were issued, though their publication was delayed a month, and many activists in the literacy movement learned of them only through rumor.



In the days immediately following emancipation, in part under the impulse of wide-spread peasant and growing landlord opposition, and in part under the impulse of purely internal differences of vision within the central government, the state apparatus drifted in a daze of uncertainty about the further direction of reform. Were there to be further social reforms or reforms of the central administration, a constitution perhaps? On 13 April 1861, the Council of Ministers, with the Emperor in the chair, made a fateful decision to move against social independence, first and most decisively as expressed in the universities. On the agenda were restrictive new administrative regulations for the universities.

A report written by E. V. Putiatin was the basis of the Council discussion of the need for more restrictive regulation of higher education. Putiatin was an Admiral and, like other leading figures in this drama (Kovalevskii, Ignat’ev), had recent success in the field of imperialist diplomacy, contributing to the reversal of the 17th-century Treaty of Nerchinsk and extension of Russian power in the direction of China and Japan. He was no specialist on education, high or low, but that was not really why the sanovniki asked him to report to the Council. Education was not the center of his attention. He spoke for those who sought to restore discipline to a Russian society thought to be out of control. His report opened with the expectation that rebellion was on the horizon. Its source "does not appear exclusively in the soslovie of students, unfortunately it belongs to obshchestvo.... It does not transmit itself from students to obshchestvo but the other way around".

{_{ Putiatin’s report is found in RGIA f. 908#125:8. Snytko, V63K:180, found a report in Third Section archives that suggests Putiatin was speaking for Dolgorukov at this fateful meeting. The report emphasized that Moscow University students were unable on their own to spark a wider social conflagration; the university was "only an expression of things transpiring beyond it, in obshchestvo".}_}

Isolation from society might protect the students, but "corporate" distinctiveness of universities was not at all desirable policy. The Council considered the Putiatin recommendations which became the basis for a solution of the defined dilemma based on the faith in the loyalty and uncorruptibility of the soslovie elite, and on the power of a little payroll bribery:

  • All students must pay 50r tuition
  • These funds must be used to increase professorial pay
  • The student body must not be allowed to form a distinct corporate identity. Only soslovie and level of gymnazium preparation should distinguish students from the main body of the population

The report emphasized that speedy action was called for. All these measures should be introduced at the beginning of the coming academic year "and published at an appropriate time". The school year was winding down, students were heading off for the summer soon. The question of timing played a big role in the tactic of Putiatin and those who thought like him.  They anticipated and perhaps even welcomed an open clash with the student segment of this new and brash Russian obshchestvo.

Sergei Stroganov, an old hand in imperial politics, active in school administration since just after the Decembrist Revolt, and a great landowner-entrepreneur much affronted by emancipation, brushed aside the draft university regulations under deliberation. Measures to restrict access to higher education and to restrain student self-organization, he said, are here taken in a vacuum, they are vague and don't touch on the root of the problem. Only in the course of the discussion did his meaning become clear.

We do not know what our government is directing us toward. Well-intentioned representatives of conservative principles are unable to speak out so long as preventive censorship exists along side repressive legislation with respect to the press. In order to achieve further historically rooted development, the central principles must be firmly and formally stated and sustained in practice. Right now no one is willing to write in defense of the principles of unlimited autocracy. We must know whether Your Majesty has in mind to lead us to a constitutional form of government or not.

{_{ Vdnv,1:98.}_}

At first Alexander seemed not to perceive that the Council was maneuvering carefully around the fundamental political or institutional issue of the day. Apparently no one at this most elevated meeting was yet clear as to the direction of state policy in this regard. Finally the Emperor caught the point, smiled and said that no one should have any doubts at all about the form of government. He explained that he had no plans to introduce a constitution. The minister of transportation hurried to affirm his view that the autocracy must remain inviolable, that the laws must not be broken, and that "autocratic principles are offended by any failure to obey a law which we firmly authorize". The minister's words grabbed Alexander's attention more firmly than any of the previous discussion. Not without a touch of spitefulness, Alexander broke in to ask, "What do you mean we? It is I who authorizes laws".

The transportation minister's slip of tongue triggered an autocratic reaction which was a perfect expression of one of the most deep-rooted problems of autocracy, the very quandary that inspired Uvarov's fear of the bureaucracy, Nicholas I's creation of the chanceries, and Dolgorukov's faithful reports. The Council of Ministers itself was created by autocratic decree in 1857 to serve as yet another extraordinary institutional expression of autocratic power in the implementation of statist reforms. It would eventually function much as the Emperor’s personal Suite and His Majesty’s Own Chanceries. True autocracy cannot be limited even by the standard structures and procedures of its own government.

In this April meeting, the transportation minister stuttered and answered that he was referring to "all of us together". Another foolish eructation, but the Emperor decided to let the matter rest. That night Petr Valuev recorded the symbolic moment in his diary with an appropriate English word: "The incident was closed."

{_{ Vdnv,1:99.}_}

But it was not closed, it was in a sense only now opening. Within hours of this meeting, hundreds of miles into the provincial interior at Bezdna not far from Kazan, troops opened fire on an unarmed village of striking peasants, confused and angry about the character of the emancipation. Still unaware of the violence at Bezdna, back in the capital Dolgorukov approached Valuev about the possibility of his taking some as yet unnamed ministerial post.

It was clear enough that Dolgorukov and the Emperor wanted to strip away the "red" element from the Interior Ministry, represented by Nikolai Miliutin, but Valuev was at first coy. He informed Dolgorukov that without strong and clear central leadership no one in the world could be a good minister of interior. Perhaps when Valuev edited his memoirs later, he made himself seem very bold at this moment, but he claims to have asserted that the Emperor is autocrat in name only. In the currently bureaucratic system, even important state questions slip away from the ruler's direct control. "Our system of government is a ministerial oligarchy." Valuev stated an equally bold pair of objectives if he were minister: "the educated classes" must be given some measure of participation at least in provincial affairs, and ministers must be given some degree of independence from the autocrat.

{_{ Vdnv,1:100.}_}

These reported words correspond to Valuev’s fondest self image.

On 22 April 1861, Valuev was appointed minister of interior. Sergei Lanskoi and Nikolai Miliutin were asked to step down. These two had done their part to loosen old structures for reform, now the Tsar needed ministers to tighten them again. In his first audience with the Emperor, Valuev learned that his mission was to achieve "de l'ordre et des améliorations qui ne changent point les bases du gouvernement".

{_{ Vdnv,1:104.}_}

In other words, achieve order first, a better life second, and all this without fundamental institutional or political change. Valuev was no reactionary, but his appointment did seem to signal the end of the first, most hopeful, but disordered, phase of Alexander's reign.

{_{ On Valuev's political ideology, see Orlovsky, Limits:70-80.}_}

Valuev’s own program of action implied significant reforms, including ministerial independence, a startling innovation in the way the highest state business was conducted. In addition he sought to grant a controlled measure of independence to reliable elements in the countryside. He succeeded in the latter and failed in the former program. He eventually took credit for overseeing the zemstvo reforms, which allowed limited public participation in provincial affairs, but he graciously accepted Alexander's refusal to support his plan for the decentralization of ministerial power or any other limitation on autocratic power.

In Valuev, Alexander had found just the man for his program of "order and reform", and in just that sequence. In a few months Dmitrii Miliutin became minister of war, so that Dolgorukov and Valuev were joined at the highest levels of imperial administration by a third and decisive opponent of wavering and disorder within the government, and of pressure from obshchestvo.

In May, the State Council continued its discussion of university regulations. A new committee made up of Stroganov, Panin and Dolgorukov took over the project but built directly on Putiatin’s report. Soon, additional recommendations were drafted.

  • Recreate the classical gymnasium
  • Administer university entrance exams in these gymnasiums
  • "Re-establish full subordination of students to university authorities, suppressing absolutely all assemblies and presentations to authorities via deputies or communiqués" [vosprewwaya polojitel'no vsyaki sxodki i ob"yasneniya s naqal'stvom qrez deputatov ili soobwweniem]
  • No noisy gatherings at lecture
  • Place direct responsibility for order on university authorities
  • Don't authorize any auditors except state servitors or known scholars or teachers
  • Allow students to advance from the freshman to the sophomore year only on basis of exams
  • No young students
  • Exempt only very few from tuition
  • Offer aid or stipends only to most outstanding gymnasium students
  • Use increased tuition to increase professors’ pay

{_{ RGIA f.908#125,pp.26-30.}_}

Several further recommendations followed, indicating some disagreement on whether rectors and prorectors should be elected or appointed. It was fully decided at this time that the 1828/1835 Statutes would be strictly enforced. Those were the very same disgusting and oppressive Nicholas-era statutes that had fallen by the wayside everywhere since 1856, and with evident conscious approval of all parties involved in higher education. The Council focused on students described as not belonging in the university, students described as "immoral" or "of harmful political outlooks". Put this together with the accent on privileged and exclusive gymnasia as the path into the university (and thus to careers) and it becomes clear that the reactionary policies of Dmitrii Tolstoy, thought to be the product of a much later period, were very much in evidence at this early time. Toward the end of the committee list of recommendations, the central concern popped out: strengthen the ties between university degrees and the preparation of young people for service in the Table of Ranks.

The new regulations were issued on May 31, but were not to be published until the June issue of the official journal of the Education Ministry. The regulations destroyed student organizational life by suppressing assemblies, treasuries, and libraries. Students were disallowed to gather any sort of funds to support fellow students, except under the control of the rector’s office. Exemption from tuition (50r) was abolished along with all but a small handful of state scholarships. Sixty-five percent of Russian university students were on scholarship, now only one percent would be. Entrance exams were to be administered by the gymnasia. Stricter exams were introduced, including the test before advancement from freshman to sophomore year. The student uniform was obligatory for all students. The wearing of clothing suggesting "particular nationalities or clubs or societies" was strictly forbidden.

{_{ 861je:JMNP#10 | ROGBL f. 169 (D. Miliutin), carton 13.4, pp. 106-106 ob. Only twelve scholarships were to be offered at Petersburg University and eighteen at Moscow [Awv:69] | BJP,18:210-91 covers whole epoch of university disturbances | RSR.KM:200-1 provides a summary of official measures taken against universities.}_}

The timing of the publication of the regulations could not have been more cunningly designed by officials dedicated to the provocation of student rebellion. The timing assured that the new regulations were not available to students or other interested members of the public until early June. As if to signal the general desire of the state to control such information as it saw fit, Alexander II informed the Main Administration of the Press (the main censorship bureau) in late August that "from henceforward, do not permit any articles to be published on topics that relate to issues of state policy that have already come under deliberation within the higher state bureaus or have been finally decided".

{_{ RGIA, f. 772, op. 1, ed. khr. 4899, pp. 52 ob.}_}

In the Soviet period, such a thought would be associated with the Leninist concept of democratic centralism. Students were off on summer vacation, so it was certain that nearly all of them would be in the dark until school took up again in the fall. Half of those from Moscow University and two-thirds from Saint Petersburg University would return to school in September, some of the poorest walking hundreds of miles, to learn that they had been in effect expelled as a result of the state’s precipitous and malicious withdrawal of scholarships.

Those who lived closest to the ministries that plotted this attack learned first of the emerging crisis. Litfond stepped up its formal institutional involvement in student life, taking on a new active role in settling problems that had arisen in the newly created student treasury (one of the student initiatives that the new regulations sought to terminate).

{_{ Pvsp:156f.}_}

At this time the first issue of the troublesome underground political tract "Velikorus" appeared, produced by activists within the government bureaus, several of them Litfond members and even more of them soon to join Chess Club. The tract circulated by regular post to administrators in the major capitals and the provinces. It seemed almost in direct response to the decisions taken since the April 13 meeting of the State Council. It can be seen as an appeal of government servitors opposed to the newly decided counter attack on social initiative. By mid-August, the activist take-over of the Chess Club was first initiated.

Kovalevskii felt pressured to resign, and Putiatin was appointed Minister of Education.

{_{ Dmitrii Miliutin’s archival memoirs savage Putiatin as a man known among sailors as extremely severe, strict to the extent of cruelty, ill prepared for ministerial post in the Education Ministry, or for any sort of civilian state service. He was a martinet and a member of the old guard whose career had advanced solely as a result of insider favoritism. He was given only one goal: "restore discipline among the disordered crowd of students" [ROGBL f. 169 (D. Miliutin):106]. Given Miliutin’s detailed grasp of events, which must include the knowledge of the role of Putiatin in the months prior to his appointment, most notably at the April 13 meeting of the State Council, it cannot be said with any certainty that he referred only to students or professors when he blamed the university disorders on zloumywlenniki [ROGBL f. 169 (D. Miliutin), carton 13.4, p. 101].}_}

Not only students, but also faculty were affected by new assault policy of the State Council. These reactionary measures were also aimed at the programs of those faculty members who had been moving toward greater independence of the university from the state. In the broadest terms, the reversal of university policy seemed a serious slap in the face of social and intellectual progress as perceived by some of the most important supporters of reform in society, among faculty, and among the students. The manner of deliberation in tsarist ministries and the timing of the announcement of the reversals were obvious affronts to civil society. The issues cut through all strata of civil society. We remember that this was Putiatin’s initial statement of premise: disorder comes from obshchestvo into the universities. The new university regulations were an indirect assault on obshchestvo.

Working with the Petersburg superintendent of education, General Filipson, Putiatin opened his ministerial career by gutting the recommendations of the "Kavelin Commission", a most promising expression of the trends in higher education which Putiatin was attacking. Kavelin was professor at Petersburg, a prominent reformist, and executive within Litfond. He had worked with other progressives at Petersburg University to bring some ordered reform measures into existence, better to reflect actual changes in the daily behavior of the institutions of higher learning since Alexander became Tsar. It was not until the end of July that Admiral Putiatin sent "orders" to all his professors. They balked, and this represented the first direct resistance to new state regulations.

{_{ ROGBL f. 169 (D. Miliutin), carton 13.4 accounts professorial resistance.}_}



Over the eighteen months that followed Valuev’s appointment as Interior Minister, the state made no concessions to those who dreamt of reform in the central imperial administration, assumed a certain posture of conciliation with its gentry, and mainly hunkered down for the coming struggle against the predictable outbursts of disappointment. Peasant disorder mounted in the countryside; tension in the cities was palpable.

Unexpectedly, as the counter-reform was launched in April, the state took an unexpected, bold step. To moderate the negotiations between landlords and ex-serfs, the state created a hybrid institution, the Peace Arbitrators [Mirovye posredniki] that bridged state and society in some ways like the taxation commissions and even, in principle, the gentry committees. The Arbitrators however represented a much greater concession to society. The evident difficulties of implementing serf emancipation forced the state further than ever onto the shaky bridged realm of assignment and voluntarism. It was a gamble. After one significant midterm adjustment, between the first and second convocations, the gamble paid off.

{_{ Easley dissertation. Also see N. F. Ust’iantseva, P. A. Zaionchkovskii, Provedenie v zhizn' krest'ianskoi reformy 1861 g. (Moscow: 1958), ch. 2, esp. pp. 88-113; A. A. Kornilov, "Deiatel'nost' mirovykh posrednikov", in DVR 5:237-252; and Jerman W. Rose, "The Russian Peasant Emancipation and the Problem of Rural Administration; the Institution of the Mirovoi Posrednik" (PhD dissertation, University of Kansas, 1976).}_}

In a move which must be in the exact opposite direction from the move that created the Peace Arbitrators--and thus it was a move intended to hedge bets--on 6 August 1861 Alexander secretly asked Grand Prince Mikhail Nikolaevich to convene around him a special gathering which came to be called the Secret Supreme Council [Neglasnyi Vysshii Sovet or NVS]. This irregular body was convened at least three times during the reform era and was also known as Comité du salut publique, Gouvernement provisoire, Komitet obshchestvennogo spaseniia, and Osoboe soveshchanie. In this first instance, Valuev and Miliutin joined Petersburg Governor-General P. N. Ignat'ev, Shuvalov, Chevkin, and other regional military commanders as necessary. In explaining the NVS mission, Dolgorukov told Valuev they were to deal with "la fermentation qui régne en général dans toutes les classes".

{_{ Vdnv,1:319.}_}

When they communicated in French, these high dignitaries often spoke blunt truths. Dolgorukov went with Alexander to the Crimea and thus was not a member.

NVS met secretly in the Winter Palace under the Hermitage on the Neva River. No protocols were kept, nor were usual formalities observed. Meetings often continued around tea and cigars. They met rarely in August, but that fall, with public protests, proclamations, student rebellion at Saint-Petersburg University, and the first large street demonstrations, things picked up.

{_{ ROGBL f. 169 (D. Miliutin), carton 13.4, p. 102.}_}

Miliutin took measures to prepare the army for future "éventualités".

{_{ Vdnv,1:108.}_}

On 4 September 1861, he circulated a memorandum within the War Ministry on the great dangers of revolutionary propaganda. He recommended that precautionary measures be taken and recommended that military discipline be sharpened. "It is particularly necessary to strengthen the supervision of the young officers, the Junkers."

{_{ ROGBL f. 169 (D. Miliutin), carton 13.4, p. 101 ob.}_}

Tsarist institutions like the aides-de-camp, the Secret Supreme Conference, the later Comité du salut publique, Peace Arbitrators, and the Editorial Commission and State Council themselves represented a judgment, in practice, against the reliability of standard governmental institutions. They were however institutional innovations every bit as necessary to the state as the associational innovations were to the public, the voluntary societies. These tsarist innovations were expressions of the same political situation that created the peasant temperance societies, the gentry agricultural societies, and the major voluntary societies of civil society: Litfond, Chess Club, and eventually Land and Liberty. These innovations were instruments of interest group mobilization in unprecedented struggle for control over the process of mid-century change. NVS was an innovation designed to deal with disorders that were expected from public innovations, especially from students and their organizations provoked by state action in the spring.

On August 29, Valuev learned that the prosecution of the Zaichnevskii case would be given over to the Interior Ministry, rather than to the Third Section. This ministerial victory pleased him. Valuev had already started thinking about the "Khar’kov-Kiev Society" and was now working closely with P. A. Shuvalov, Governor General of the Petersburg District, who assured Valuev that Zaichnevskii would not be the end of it. Shuvalov was already planning massive action, involving the arrest of a significant number of people "of various social rank [zvanii]".

{_{ Vdnv,1:110}_}

Within the first two weeks of September, the inflammatory proclamation "To the Young Generation" circulated in Petersburg, confirming and justifying the state’s expectation of confrontation. Mikhail Mikhailov was quickly arrested in this connection. The second "Velikorus" appeared. From a purely administrative point of view, these events all added up to some great opportunities for the Interior Ministry.

Returning to campus in the fall, students and many faculty for the first time learned of the radical changes made by the new university regulations. They protested en masse. The state responded harshly; it closed Saint Petersburg University and arrested hundreds of students there and in other university cities.

Until Peter Valuev became Interior Minister, Dolgorukov was relatively alone among the central state officials in his fear of the Sunday school movement. Valuev later conceded that Ignat'ev's dire warnings about the schools, which had gone unheeded in January of 1861 had proven correct.

{_{ Vdnv,1:310.}_}

Valuev's personal crusade against the literacy movement played an important role eventually in the state's decision to bring an end to it. The arrest and interrogation of those students whom we have come to call the "Khar'kov-Kiev Society" had animated Vasil’chikov, who in turn tried to provoke animosity back in Petersburg, working against the moderate views of Pirogov in Kiev and Annenkov in Petersburg. Dolgorukov took Vasil’chikov’s point, and now handed the matter over to Valuev. It took several months, but by the spring of 1862, Valuev had worked the dossiers of the several Khar’kov and Kiev students into a "Khar’kov-Kiev Secret Society" and produced an analytical narrative that strengthened his Interior Ministry’s hand for action against the whole Sunday school movement. Valuev’s formula also linked Sunday school conspirators with the movement for university autonomy.



Throughout this crisis, the forces of "order and reform" felt surrounded. Events threatened to break in on them from any of several directions; anything from a massive peasant war to a swift palace coup d'état seemed possible. Valuev heard from a visiting Frenchman, Lord Napier, who moved in very high circles, that "over the six months that I have been here, it has been difficult to find more than a few persons, members of the German party, as it is described here, who would take the side of the government in my presence". Within the year, scores would be arrested, and some sent into exile, for statements of that sort. The Grand Princess Mariia Nikolaevna predicted to Valuev that "before the year is out, they will chase us all out of here". It is hard to tell just who she meant by "they".

In September, as the newly appointed minister of war Dmitrii Miliutin began the reorganization of the Russkii invalid journal staff, he was asked directly if he intended to oppose "the preparation of ministries for a constitution". Miliutin came to dislike the editorial policy of Nikolai Pisarevskii and preferred to call it socialism.

{_{ Brooks"Military; Fedorov, Obshch.dvizh.:75-76.}_}

At that time Valuev observed that Minister of State Domains Mikhail Murav'ev "has already reset his sails to shifting winds and prepares himself to become a member of a constitutional ministry". Murav'ev told Valuev that current roster of ministers should be dismissed in order to form a new cabinet (and Valuev used the English word). He went even further, saying that the aristocracy "as a caste" cannot exist much longer and that it would be better to form an "aristocracy on the principle of land ownership".

{_{ Vdnv,1:114, 117.}_}

We can presume he meant that the compromised assigned and natal gentry-style aristocracy had outlived itself. Earlier Pogodin risked his career, and later dozens of others would be arrested and exiled, for saying what Murav'ev could say with impunity. Murav'ev further adhered to a popular, but equally illegal, view that the current gentry soslovie ought to be replaced by an aristocracy of those who held land in the countryside, a nobility that might include ex-serfs along with ex-serfowners. These were conversations among the highest state servitors about the need for significant political and social reform to complete the larger inventory of "Great Reforms". This Murav'ev was, after all, brother of the Decembrist constitutionalist Aleksandr and himself earlier a member of Soiuz blagodenstviia. Some Russians had been hanged for thoughts like these thoughts that were discussed up and down the halls of state power in 1861.

Political reform beyond the trace embodied in Zemstvo reform and social reform beyond the unanticipated consequences of the other "Great Reforms" did not happen. Thus, Murav'ev was destined, not for a cabinet post, but fame as "hangman" of Lithuanian independence fighters and, in his last year, 1866, his final loyal appointment as president of a special tsarist Commission which carried out the ruthless suppression of some of the most noteworthy members of Russian civil society who had somehow survived the 1862 suppression which was earlier being designed in the power ministries at the very time he spoke rashly of the need for a cabinet. Murav'ev reset his sails over and again.



In October, as public disorders raged, Valuev sensed that "a crisis in government approaches".

{_{ Vdnv,1:109, 119, 121.}_}

In his late-night diary entries, Valuev fretted over many strange inner struggles and competitions among ministers and within the imperial court. Grand Princes Alexandra Iosifovna spread the word about Grant Prince Konstantin Nikolaevich’s favorite, Aleksandr Golovnin (now Education Minister). She warned, "cette araigneé a une constitution dans sa bosse" [That spider's spinning a constitution].

{_{ Vdnv,1:156.}_}

That fall, conversation around the dinner table among imperial grandees turned to history, particularly to the European experiences of 1830 and 1848 when the "bourgeoisie" or "tiers état" came to power. One of the several eventualities, of which Valuev was much aware, was a transfer of power from the ineffective oligarchy [the "German party"] to another, fresher and more effective government, which might very well include himself.

Valuev had "views", but he was no ideologue; he was not strapped by a narrow vision of desired outcome. He was a crafty politico who had carefully considered the many possible outcomes. He positioned himself to do as well as possible, whatever should come. With informative dispatches he assiduously cultivated Alexander and Dolgorukov on vacation in Crimea through the late summer. When they returned, they thought of him as one of theirs, which he was, in his fashion. At the same time, reform-oriented colleagues had no reason to think of him as an outright enemy. He had good ties with obshchestvo; he was a member of the Imperial Geographic Society and attended the meetings of its unruly Political-Economic Committee. The gentry heard regularly that Valuev was their friend. On the eve of Alexander's return from Crimea in mid-October, leading figures in the administration said it was inevitable: "either revolution or change of policy". Valuev held to a cautious middle position in these open discussions, but he stayed up half the night with Samuel Grieg, a high-ranking servitor in the Finance Ministry, experimentally designing membership lists and programs of action for a new "cabinet", and he used the English expression because he and Grieg were talking about something like the English institution.

{_{ Vdnv,1:119-121.}_}

While perhaps not a "man for all seasons", Valuev was just the man for this season.

{_{ Go to an account of the crisis of 1862 [TXT].}_}