The article considers the role of Prince A. Menshikov as a specific type of agent of supreme authority in the process of reforming the maritime administration. The problem context of
reforms resulted from the involvement of the naval generals and officials in abuses, which was a consequence of nepotism and unrest in the navy. The involvement of sailors in the Decembrist revolt significantly affected the attitude of the tsar to the general situation in the naval environment. Distrustful of the existing naval administration, Nicholas I needed an intermediary who would implement his idea of the arrangement of the navy on the one hand, and provide him with an objective “impartial” account of maritime problems, on the other hand. As a result of that, Adjutant General Prince A. Menshikov, who had had nothing to do with the naval service earlier, joined the navy to become the monarch’s agent in charge of the naval issues in the bodies of autocratic authority. The objective of the article is to identify the functions of such an agent based on the example of the Maritime Department. The sources of the article include official records and personal documents, some of which are introduced into scientific circulation for the first time. The principal methodological approach to the problem under study is an attempt to bring the appointment of Menshikov beyond the scope of narrow departmental history which was based on the unmotivated decision of the emperor and to propose an interpretation of the events in the context of tsarist government via agents, which has already been described in historiography. The author makes a conclusion about the interconnection between the crisis in the naval department, the attitude of the supreme authority towards it, and the appearance of the monarch’s agent with a
number of his own functional characteristics.
Anan'ich, B.V., ed. Vlast' i reformy: ot samoderzhavnoi k sovetskoi Rossii [Power and reforms. From autocratic to Soviet Russia]. St Petersburg: Dmitrii Bulanin, 1996. (In Russian)
Andreeva, E.A., T.V. Andreeva, A.S. Kosopkin et al. Upravlencheskaya elita Rossiiskoi imperii. Istoriya ministerstv. 1802–1917 [Administrative Elite of the Russian Empire. The history
of ministries. 1802–1917]. St Petersburg: Liki Rossii, 2008. (In Russian)
Blau, P.M. “Issledovaniya formal'nykh organizatsii” [Studies of formal organizations]. In Amerikanskaya sotsiologiya. Perspektivy. Problemy. Metody [American sociology. Prospects. Problems. Methods], 93–105. Moscow: Progress, 1972. (In Russian)
Butenin, A.V. “A.S. Menshikov – gosudarstvennyi deyatel', tsaredvorets i chelovek” [A.S. Menshikov, a statesman, a courtier, and a person]. In Iz glubiny vremen: al'manakh [From the
depths of time: an almanac], iss. 5, 112–22. St Petersburg: Redaktsiya al'manakha “Iz glubiny vremen”, 1995. (In Russian)
Chubinskii, V.G. Istoricheskoe obozrenie ustroistva upravleniya Morskim vedomstvom v Rossii [Historical review of the management of the Maritime Department in Russia]. St Petersburg: Tipografiya Morskogo ministerstva, 1869. (In Russian)
Donik, K.V. “Knyaz' A.S. Menshikov i administrativnye preobrazovaniya v Morskom vedomstve v kontse 50-kh gg. XIX stoletiya” [Prince A.S. Menshikov and administrative transformations in the Maritime Department in the late 1850s]. In Aleksandr II i ego vremya. K 200-letiyu so dnya rozhdeniya: sbornik statei [Alexander II and his time. To the 200th anniversary of his birth], edited by V.V. Yakovlev, 143–55. St Petersburg: RGPU im. A.I. Gertsena, 2019. (In Russian)
Donik, K.V. “Kronshtadtskoe sledstvie 1827 g. i knyaz' A.S. Menshikov: k voprosu reformirovaniya flota v nachale tsarstvovaniya Nikolaya I” [The Kronstadt investigation of 1827
and Prince A.S. Menshikov: on the issue of reforming the fleet at the beginning of the reign of Nicholas I]. In Istoricheskaya pamyat' Rossii i dekabristy. 1825–2015. Sbornik materialov
mezhdunarodnoi nauchnoi konferentsii (Sankt-Peterburg, 14–16 dekabrya 2015 g.) [Historical memory of Russia and the Decembrists. 1825–2015. Collected papers of the international scientific conference (St Petersburg, December 14–16, 2015)], 426–35. Irkutsk: Irkutskii oblastnoi istorikomemorial'nyi muzei dekabristov: Artizdat, 2015. (In Russian)
Florinskii, M.F. “Samoderzhavie, byurokratiya i problema bezotvetstvennosti monarkha v XIX – nachale XX veka” [Autocracy, bureaucracy and the problem of the monarch’s irresponsibility in the 19th – early 20th centuries]. In Istoricheskoe poznanie: traditsii i novatsii: materialy Mezhdunarodnoi teoreticheskoi konferentsii. Izhevsk, 26–28 oktyabrya 1993 g. Pt. 2 [Historical Knowledge: Traditions and Innovations: Materials of the International Theoretical Conference. Izhevsk, October 26–28, 1993], 5–14. Izhevsk: Udmurtskii universitet, 1996. Accessed April 25, 2020. http://annales.info/rus/19/florinskiy.htm. (In Russian).
Hosking, G. “Patronage and the Russian State.” The Slavonic and East European Review, vol. 78, no. 2 (2000): 301–20.
Lapin, V.V. “Neudachnaya pogonya” [Unfortunate chase], in Nikolai Pervyi. Molodye gody. Vospominaniya. Dnevniki. Pis'ma [Nicholas I of Russia. Early years. Reminiscences. Diaries. Letters], 5–27. St Petersburg: Pushkinskii fond, 2008. (In Russian)
Linkoln, W.B. Nicholas I, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russians, 1796–1855. Bloomington; London: Indiana University Press, 1978.
Mustonen, P. Sobstvennaya ego imperatorskogo velichestva kantselyariya v mekhanizme vlastvovaniya instituta samoderzhtsa, 1812–1858: k tipologii osnov imperskogo upravleniya [His Imperial Majesty’s Own Chancery in the mechanism of autocrat rule, 1812–1858: on the typology of the foundations of imperial government]. [Helsinki]: Aleksanteri inst., 1998. (In Russian)
Ogorodnikov, S.F. Istoricheskii obzor razvitiya i deyatel'nosti Morskogo ministerstva za sto let ego sushchestvovaniya [Historical review of the development and activities of the naval ministry for a hundred years of its existence]. St Petersburg: Tipografiya Morskogo Ministerstva, 1902. (In Russian)
Orlovsky, D.T. “Political Clientelism in Russia: the Historical Perspective.” In Leadership Selection and Patron-client Relations in the USSR and Yugoslavia: Selected Papers from the Second World congress for Soviet and East European Studies (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 1980), 174–99. London: Allen & Unwin, 1983.
Presnyakov, A.E. “Apogei samoderzhaviya” [The apogee of autocracy]. In Rossiiskie samoderzhtsy [Russian Autocrats], comp. A.F. Smirnov, 261–319. Moscow: Kniga, 1990. (In Russian)
Tarle, E.V. Krymskaya voina [The Crimean War]. 2 vols., vol. 2. St Petersburg: Nauka, 2011. (In Russian)
Volkov, V. “Patrimonialism versus Rational Bureaucracy: On the Historical Relativity of Corruption.” In Bribery and Blat in Russia: Negotiating Reciprocity from the Middle Ages to the 1990s, edited by St. Lovell, 35–47. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan Press; New York: St. Martin's Press, in association with School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London, 2000.
Yaney, G.L. The Systematization of Russian Government: Social Evolution in the Domestic Administration of Imperial Russia, 1711–1905. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1973.
Menshikov, Nicholas I, navy, administration, ministry, bureaucracy
Donik, K. “The Figure of Distrust: Prince A.S. Menshikov in the Maritime Department during the Period of Reforms, 1826–1828.” Historia Provinciae – The Journal of Regional History, vol. 4, no. 3 (2020): 702–33, http://doi.org/10.23859/2587-8344-2020-4-3-1