1E Russia in the Age of Absolutism and Enlightenment, 1682–1796 (A-level only)
This option allows students to study in breadth issues of change, continuity, cause and consequence in this period through the following key questions:
- How far were the rulers of Russia able to establish and maintain authority?
- How and why did Russian society and the economy develop?
- How important were ideology and ideas?
- How far were objectives in foreign policy achieved?
- How significant was opposition and how effectively was it dealt with?
- How important was the role of key individuals and groups and how were they affected by developments?
Part one: Peter the Great and Russia, 1682–1725
Establishing authority, 1682–1707
- The political, economic and social position of Russia in 1682: the Tsars and the nobility; economic backwardness and serfdom; Russia as a traditional, Slav society
- The Regency; the role of the Streltsy; Peter as joint ruler and the establishment of sole rule
- Westernisation; influences on Peter as a child; the Great Embassy; the reasons for and significance of the development of St Petersburg
- Early reforms: economic and financial; political; military; changes in society
- Opposition: the Church; the Streltsy
- Foreign affairs and wars: wars against Turkey and Sweden
Increasing the glory of Russia, 1707–1725
- Economic and financial reforms and their success
- Orthodoxy and developments in the Church: attempts to increase the power of the Tsar
- Changes to central and local government; the reform of the army and the introduction of the Table of Ranks and the Service State
- Social developments, Westernisation and extent of change by 1725
- Opposition: Astrakhan; Bashkir; Don Cossacks; Tsarevich Alexis
- Foreign affairs and wars: wars with Sweden and Turkey; involvement in European conflicts
Part two: Enlightenment Russia, 1725–1796
The epoch of palace coups, 1725–1762
- The legacy of Peter the Great: the Service State; the role of the Church; the gentry and serfdom; Russia’s involvement in international affairs
- Disputed successions and the role of the Supreme State Council and the Preobrazhensky Regiment
- Tsarina Elizabeth: accession to the throne; education and Westernisation; legal reforms; taxation
- Social developments: the redefinition of the Service State; serfdom and serf unrest
- Foreign affairs: intervention in Poland; failure to secure the Crimea; involvement in the Seven Years War
- Russia by 1762: the extent to which Petrine reforms survived; the accession of Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great and Russia, 1762–1796
- Catherine: character and aims; extent of influence of the Enlightenment and the impact of the French Revolution on Catherine
- Developments in central and local government: codification of the law; the Great Commission; reform of the Senate; changes to local government in towns and rural areas
- Changes to society: the importance of landownership and the gentry; Enlightenment and education; reforms to religion
- The economy and the persistence of serfdom and its impact on economic development
- Opposition and rebellion; plots against her and Catherine’s reaction; the Pugachev Revolt and its consequences
- Foreign affairs and wars: Sweden; Turkey and Crimea; wars with Poland and its partition