Peter the Great, Reformer or Revolutionary?

By Marc Raeff | Go to book overview

Timeliness and Revolutionary Pace of the Reforms

P. N. MILIUKOV

The selection below is from an article written on the occasion of the second
centenary of Peter's death at a time when Miliukov was living in Paris as an
émigré from the Soviet régime (he had served briefly as Foreign Minister of
the Provisional Government and had been most active in organizing the opposi-
tion to the Soviet government during the Russian Civil War). The Russian
Revolution and the Bolshevik seizure of power had shattered Miliukov's hopes
and his faith in Russia's unavoidable evolution towards democracy and social
progress. He came to realize how tormented and violent Russia's historical
development had been and how unavoidable this violence in a country as back-
ward (with respect to the West) as Russia. Miliukov became reconciled to
Peter's methods, their historical necessity, and to the hardships his reign had
brought to the Russian people. Without abandoning his generally negative esti-
mate of Peter's accomplishments, Miliukov came to see Peter's personal role
in a new and more sympathetic light.

FOR us [Russians] Peter is not only a subject for historical research. He is part and parcel of contemporary Russian life. The historian M. Pogodin [ 1800- 1875] quite rightly said that Peter casts his shadows on all activities of our every-day life. Rising in the morning we put on our every-day clothes: was it not Peter who had accustomed us to "French" dress and deprived us of our national Muscovite costume? We buy a newspaper -- it was Peter who gave Russia its first daily. We are reading and before our eyes we see Peter's letters and numerals, for it was he who gave currency to the "civil" script and arabic numerals in replacement of the old "church" alphabet and the representation of numbers through letters, which made it impossible for us to benefit from the decimal system. "What day is it today" and "what year"? It was Peter who introduced the method of reckoning dates from the birth of Christ and to begin the year in January, replacing the old "Church" calendar that reckoned the years from the creation of the world and began the year in September.

By all these and many more things, Peter had secularized the external manifestations of Russian life and in so doing he had laid the foundation for the secularization of the people's mind: he introduced Russia to secular thought and modern science. One can say that in this respect he was the "father" of the Russian intellectuals. This alone clearly separates him from Russia's past and binds him closely to the Russia of today and tomorrow. . . .

It is obviously impossible within the limits of the present article to go into the detail of all scholarly research on Peter and his reforms. I would like only to summarize here the conclusions to which my own work has led me.

I began to study [ Peter's] reform at a time when historical materialism was the prevailing fashion (about 1890): What were the consequences of the reform on Russia's economy, on its financial history, on its institutions? What were its results in

From P. N. Miliukov, "Pierre le Grand et sa réforme," Le Monde Slave, Février, 1925, pp. 157- 58, 163-64, 166-76, 178-83. [Editor's translation]

-95-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Peter the Great, Reformer or Revolutionary?
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 110

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.