The Figure of Distrust: Prince A.S. Menshikov in the Maritime Department during ...

The Figure of Distrust: Prince A.S. Menshikov in the Maritime Department during the Period of Reforms, 1826–1828

Kseniya V. Donik
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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.
Kseniya V. Donik
Student of additional professional education course,
European University at St Petersburg, St Petersburg, Russia
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For citation:
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,

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