Goal of research: The goal of this project is identifying, analyzing, and introducing into the academic domain new sets of mass sources that would allow to use quantitative methods for the study of formation and circulation of elites; of shifts in their educational strategies and practices; of competition among the elites for access to resources; of evolution of fiscal and budgetary policies; and other issues within the scope of selected thematic directions, as well as designing methodological approaches to studying these topics and conducting research on the basis of identified sources.
Methodology: Besides traditional methods of historical research, the project's methodology included the appropriately adapted methods of modern social sciences – most prominently, social history, sociology, economic history. Special emphasis was also made on combining quantitative methods with the study of the very process of creation of relevant data, including the channels of communication between the subjects and the government, as well as between different governmental agencies.
Empirical base of research: As per the the project’s technical specifications, research has been conducted in the following areas: evolution of rents and the fiscal and budgetary control in Russia in the 17th-19th centuries; fiscal alternatives and the role of information in budgetary policies and in the distribution of rents; education, social status, and the modes of social mobility in the post-Petrine period; intra-elite rivalries and competition for the right to interpret the monarch’s will; the modes of corporate consolidation and the interaction between professional and estate corporations and the government in the 17th-19th centuries. The work was geared towards identifying key empirical and thematic complexes, united by common methodological approaches and common efforts to introduce into the historical domain and employ for teaching purposes mass sources on early modern Russia. The study’s focus was on the “routine” everyday process and practices that reflect the emergence of competing groups and coalitions within the elites, their interaction with political and cultural institutes, and ideological and rhetorical expressions of these rivalries. That is why the empirical base for this study included, first and foremost, mass sources from the archives of central and local government agencies for the period under study, as well as a number of personal sources, including the narrative ones, and also numerous texts of legislative and policy projects. Among others, the archival material from the following archives have been used: Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Empire; Russian State Navy Archive; Russian State Historical Archive; Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts; Russian State Archive of Military History; Manuscript Departments of the Russian State Library and Russian National Library; St. Petersburg Section of the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Central State Archive of the City of Moscow; State Archive of the Riazan' Region; and a number of published sources.
Results of research: Project participants presented the results of their research at numerous seminars at the Higher School of Economic and other institutions and venues. Overall, in the course of the project’s duration, they made 27 presentations at national and international conferences, published 6 preprints, and prepared and submitted 21 articles based on the project’s results. Among other things, project participants co-organized the “WEAST: Understanding economic growth and development in Central and Eastern Europe” conference (jointly with the Faculty of Economic Science and the School of History at Higher School of Economics), September 2-3, 2016. Project participants continued working of building databases containing quantitative and qualitative data collected in the course of the project. N.A. Voskresenskii’s unpublished monograph “Peter the Great as a Lawmaker” came out at the “Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie” press (Moscow, 2017).
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results: Results of this research projects could be used for preparing undergraduate and graduate courses on Russian and world history; history of reforms; history of public administration in Russia, and economic history; serve as a foundation for working out the modern concepts of social history; as well as background materials for analyzing the problems in public administration today and in the past.