Methodology: critique of historical sources,concept analysis, prosopography.
Empirical base of research: published documents and archival sources from Russian State Archive for Ancient Acts (RGADA), Center for storage of documents before 1917 of Moscow Central State Archive, Pskov State Archive, Russian and foreign historiography.
Results of research: In 2014 the project was being developed in several directions. One of them was devoted to some remarkable aspects of Siberian social history (17th – 1st quarter of 18th centuries). The changes of peasant’s wealth in one of Siberian settlements (Irbitskaya settlement, 1642 - 1680) were investigated. The data collected (unique for the 17th century) proves that the changes were similar to those among peasants from Central Russia in 19th century. The differentiation among the peasants was not caused by market relation and was not stable. A study of religious visions which occurred in Verkhotursky district proved that religious beliefs of different social groups were homogenous. However, the impact of visionary stories promoting certain norms of pious life was relatively low. The analysis of Siberian gentry (deti boyarskie) careers in the second part of the 17th – first quarter of the 18th century proves their wide and diverse social connections and ability to become adapted to the state social policy. Whereas after Peter the Great reforms most of deti boyarskie turned out to be unable to save their high status without changing their lifestyle.
The second line of the research is related to the impact of the 18th century modernization processes on the social structure of Russian city. To figure out how many registered (zapisnye) Old Belivers lived in Russian towns and took part in the townsmen activities we explored the implementation of Peter’s the Great decree (1722) requiring Old Believers’representatives to keep taxation accounts for the central tax authorities. It was argued that the mutual responsibility of the townsmen community was essential for collecting taxes till 1775 so the decree could not be fully implemented because there were not enough registered Old Believers to compose separate communities. Special attention was paid to the concept of honor. The investigation of new archival documents have proved that after Peter the Great reforms this concept remained important for consolidation of Russian society. At the same time, in 18th century individual honor played more significant role (in comparison to collective one) than it had done earlier. There was also made an attempt to compare the data of census (revizii) and church records to reconstruct the social structure of a provincial town (Pskov). The unique corpus of documents connected with activities of former muscovite pickpocket, detective (syschik) Ivan Kain has been published.
The project has also been focused on the social processes of late imperial Russia. Current research was devoted to the formation of professional groups in the second part of the 19th – the beginning of the 20th century, namely the lawyers. The exploration of Moscow university documents relating to those students who became lawyers enables to define their social background. For some students the career of lawyer can be considered as downward mobility, for other – as upward mobility. A significant part of lawyers were sons of hereditary nobles (25%), almost the same part (23%) of this group consisted of non-noble officials descendants. The part of petty bourgeois (meschane) and merchants was also remarkable (17% and 10% respectively). The descendants of other groups were also presented. Despite its heterogeneity this group comprehended itself as “estate”. The affiliation to it imposed some restrictions (including prohibition of some kinds of earnings) but rewarded with freedom from official hierarchy and personal dignity of an educated person.
We also continue to collect European data for comparison. A particular investigation of a lawsuit examined by Parliament of Paris in 1586 and the subsequent fate of its participants proves a considerable uncertainty of relations among declared social identity, group interests and individual behavior.