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Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825
1453 Through the Reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) The Time of Troubles to the First Romanovs (1598-1682) Peter the Great and His Legacy (1682-1762) The Age of Catherine the Great (1762-1801) The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825)


Explore this Section:

A Magistrate’s Duties in the ‘Regulated’ State of Peter the Great
Mikhail Lomonosov on Peter’s Greatness

Russia's Globalization:
A Key

Events marked Russia Symbol are specific to Muscovy/Russia's internal development.
Those marked World Symbol are important world historical or cultural events.
Engagement Symbol indicates specific points of sociocultural or military engagement between Muscovy/Russia and foreign powers or individuals.




As Peter the Great (r. 1682–1725) pursued the westernization of Russia and the Russians, he valued rules that would regulate every aspect of behavior, in keeping with the current theories of statecraft. A “regulated” state was opposed to a “barbaric” or “unregulated” one. Magistrates had functions that went far beyond law and order to include what we call social services.

[He is to] assist in rights and justice; further good order and moral instruction; provide every security against brigands, thieves, assailants, swindlers, and other similar types; drive out dishonor and incompetence from life and force everyone into work and into an honest trade; provide good inspectors and careful and good subordinates; maintain cities and their streets regularly; keep prices down and let prosper everything needed for human life; take all precautions against disease; ensure cleanliness on the streets and in homes; forbid extravagance and all clear transgressions in household expenditures; look after beggars, the poor, the sick, the crippled and other have-nots; protect widows, orphans and foreigners; instruct the young in the commandments of God on chaste purity and honest study; in short, the police is, in every area, the moving spirit of citizenship and of all good customs and the fundamental support of individual security and comfort.

From: Polnoe sobranie zakonov [Complete Collection of Laws]. Vol. 6, no. 3708 (February 16, 1721). Translated by Cynthia Hyla Whittaker.
Reprinted courtesy of Cynthia Hyla Whittaker