Methodology: in addition to traditional historical methods of research, this work employs some methods of social sciences that assume the studying of a society through the activities of various actors and social groups. The project focuses on the role of elites in decision making while taking into account that decisions are often a result of spontaneous competition between different elite groups, of their struggle for resources and influence rather than of deliberation and conscious planning. The analysis of these processes demands turning to both personal and mass sources, as well as combining qualitative with quantitative sources with subsequent use of the regression method.
Empirical base of research: On this stage of the project its realization was centered on the following empirical case-studies, or directions of the research: 1) education and reproduction of elites in post-Petrine Russia; 2) mechanisms of policy-making and communication of elite groups with a monarch as a political resource (on the basis of Catherine’s II letters and papers); 3) mechanisms of formation of elected and crown local administrative bodies (in Riazan province, late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries); 4) professional communities and state policy (the case of economists and government’s economic policy, 1820s-1870s); 5) development of methods of decoding the language of historical sources into the scientific meta-language. The sources of the study came mainly from various Russian historical archives: RGIA, RGADA, RGVIA, State archive of Riazan province, and others.
Results of research: The members of the team delivered a series of open research seminars in Higher School of Economics and elsewhere, presented 19 papers on international research conferences, and published several articles and preprints on the topic. They continue to form a number of databases within the project’s thematic.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results: The results of the research could be used in preparing and teaching courses on Russia’s and world history, on the history of Russia’s reforms, public administration, economic thought and policy. They also can serve as expert materials while studying the state building and government in past and present.