19. Putting House in order (cont. 1)
19.3. Meet the unicorns!
One of the lessons learned during the LNW was that the Russian artillery tends to be too heavy (aka, requires too many horses and creates too many problems when being transported by the lousy roads and has to use the unreliable bridges) and, while being able to produce a loud “boom!”, its kicking power is not too impressive even for the modified pieces. The howitzers capable of firing explosives were seemingly an answer but they had a fundamental problem: due to the cylindrical camera with a diameter smaller than one of a barrel, the gunpowder has to be pushed into it by hand. Which means that a length of a barrel had been defined by a length of a human arm and that the loading process was slow and a range (defined by a short barrel) was low. Finding solution for this problem became one of the top priorities for feldzheichmeister-general Jacob Bruce  and he (or his subordinates) came with a brand new type of a cannon which was somewhere between the long- and short-barrel artillery. the unicorn
So far, the cannons had a barrel 18-25 calibers long and howitzers - 6-8 calibers. The unicorns had a barrel of 7.5-12.5 calibers with a conic
camera. It could be loaded faster than a standard howitzer and had a better ballistics (range almost two times greater than for a howitzer) while being noticeable lighter than a long-barreled cannon and being able to fire the explosives. For example, barrel of 12-pounder cannon weighted 112 poods and the gun required 15 horses for transportation while a half-pood unicorn could fire 24-pound solid shot or 20-pound grenades and its barrel weighted 4 times less so the gun required only 5 horses. Unlike the conventional cannons, it could shoot at a high elevation (which allowed firing from behind the infantry formations).
Bruce proposed to add 1/2 pood (20 pounds) and 1/4 pood (10 pounds) unicorns to the 6- and 12-pounder guns as a base of the Russian field artillery . Other calibers had to be used in the siege artillery, to use in the fortifications or simply being melted and used for a new production.
19.4. Commission at work and Ukrainian business
The Polish-Russian Compensation Commission, quite predictably, started its work by dealing with the VIP cases out of which VIP’s VIP was Józef Potocki, voyevoda of województwo kijowskie, the richest man in the PLC and owner, among many other estates, of Nemirov which ended up being on the Russian side of a border . During the LNW he sided with August , which secured an appeal from the “Formerly ‘the Bad Doggie’ but now ‘The Favorite Pet’”, also known as King August. Mostly preserved wealth guaranteed an ability (and willingness) to “back words with the deeds”. Of course, even Menshikov would not risk to make a decision on his own so he brought the case to Peter’s attention. Besides the purely theoretical assumption that Peter may go out of his way just to please August, there were some practical considerations:
(a) with the estates on both
sides of the border, Potocki would be inclined to follow a pro-Russian course (a big part of his Polish estates had been close enough to the border to make them an easy object for the “friendly visits” from the other side).
(b) In 1703 he did Peter a huge favor
by almost completely crushing the Ukrainian uprising before Mazepa crossed the Dnieper with his army. Most of the leaders had been captured and executed and the surviving peasants learned in a practical way that rebellion against their masters is wrong. Taking into an account that by this time the Catholic
Polish nobility in both voyevodships acquired by Russia was also mostly gone (either to the safer areas or forever), Peter’s ongoing task of establishing proper order on the Right Bank was greatly simplified and Peter was (almost) always willing to award the good services, especially when this cost him nothing .
As a result, Menshikov was permitted to receive “gratitude” and Pototcki had been allowed to keep his estate in Nemirov without becoming Peter’s subject. The details of his rights as the Russian estate owner (pretty much the same except that he lost a right to impale
his “subjects” but gained a right to send them to Siberia, address the “ultimate” cases to the Russian authorities for the due process ) and related obligations (his serfs became subjects to the Russian taxation system) had been duly discussed leaving both sides quite happy.
Prince Wiśniowiecki and few other got the same treatment (guaranteeing a strong pro-Russian party in the Sejm) while the lesser fish was handled according to the rules.
The second part of the task assigned to Menshikov, as Governor-General of the Right Bank Ukraine) was to establish a strong Russian administration and local support base while not, yet
, openly offending Hetman Mazepa who officially became Hetman on both sides of the Dnieper.
A little bit of a background:
During the LNW Peter found the Ukrainian Cossacks
being pretty much useless in anything but looting.
On a battlefield they could not stand up not only to the regular Saxon troops but to the Polish cavalry well ( hussars, armored cavalry, dragoons, reitars and all the way down to the irregular militia) unless there were overwhelming numeric odds. Even worse, by their “attack fast and run even faster” behavior they, more than once endangered the Russian troops to which they had been assigned, leaving infantry alone (fortunately, the battalion columns took care of these situations).
They could leave at will and disobey orders of the Russian commanders because formally
they were subordinated to the Hetman. Orders not to loot
some specific estate (see above regarding the “special cases”) were simply ignored.
In a time of peace they were organized into “regiments” (usually, few hundreds each) named after the places around which they lived. For all practical purposes, these
Cossacks were just privileged ill-regulated mounted military settlers of a questionable experience.
The Cossacks of the Zaporozhian Sich
were a different story in the terms of their fighting qualities and, especially, as far as the coastal raiding was involved: they had the boats, knowledge of the coastal line and experience of raiding it. However, there was a big, fat “but
”: they were absolutely uncontrollable
, considering themselves to be pretty much an independent stratocratic state
policy of which was at each specific moment decided, formally, by the universal vote and, more realistically, by the military leaders elected by such a vote with a possibility of being replaced by the same procedure at any moment. While the women were not permitted in a capital called “Sich”, there were plenty of them around and in the land-based campaigns they’d follow the host  with the obvious impact upon size of a baggage train. Painting below depicts their host on a march and their camp. There was an additional political
problem: the serfs had been routinely escaping to the Sich.
However, time of the getting rid of both did not come, yet.
The first Russian administrative step on the Right Bank were along the following lines:
1. The estates of the nobility
which accepted the Russian rule were preserved (with the serfs).
2. Freed territories which Peter decided to distribute among the Russian nobility became typical Russian estates with the serfs.
3. The Cossack officer class was incorporated into the Russian nobility
and given estates with the serfs. As the Russian nobles they were not subordinated to the Hetmanate.
4. The rank and file Cossacks had been socially
converted into “odnodvortsy”: personally free military settlers who had been receiving unalienable land grant for their service, could not
be turned into the serfs and could
have the serfs and eventually made it into the Russian nobility. In the terms of organization
they were arranged into the regiments of a mounted Landsmilitia (based upon the existing “regiments”) subordinated to the Russian military administration. Potentially, this was not excluding conscription into the regular army but they would be getting the privileged terms in the areas of promotion into the non-coms and a limited term of service.
5. The serfs who lived in the areas which were not given to anybody got status of the “state peasants” a category which were not exactly the serfs but could be turned into them if the state
land on which they lived is given to a private person.
6. The Hetman got a big personal
estate on the Right Bank, even bigger estate near Baturin, the Kleinodes of the Right Bank Hetmanship, blue ribbon of St. Andrew (as shown on his portrait), estate near Moscow, newly constructed palace on renovated Tverskaya Street and a very insistent
invitation to spend more of his time there so that the Tsar can benefit from his wise advices.
When Mazepa attempted to utter an unhappy noise, it was hinted that, of course, he can spend all
of his time in
the Solovetsky Monastery
or some other religious institution of his choice located in the same area. Surely, this will be very good for his soul. Being of the pragmatic persuasion Mazepa did not waste too much time on thinking and took the first option. Peter duly appreciated his mental abilities and upped the bonus by making him a fieldmarshal and a member of the newly-created Senate.
With this issue being settled, similar reform had been conducted on the Left Bank thus leaving only the Sich unattended for the time being.
Formally, Baturin (with the fortifications removed) remained Hetmanate’s capital and Mazepa was allowed to have a small “court” there and couple hundreds of the Hetman’s Guards in really nice uniforms. Taking into an account that Mazepa did not have children, probably tge issue of the Hetmanate was going to be completely resolved in not too remote furure.
 To quote from wiki, “Bruce was one of the best educated people in Russia at the time, a naturalist and astronomer
. In 1701 he founded the first Russian observatory
; it was located in Moscow in the upper story of the Sukharev Tower
. Bruce's scientific library
of more than 1,500 volumes became a substantial part of the Russian Academy of Sciences
library.Among Muscovites, Bruce gained fame as an alchemist
, due in part to the innovative design of the Sukharev Tower
, which was very unusual in 18th century Moscow.” He is also credited with the creation of “Bruce’s calendar” which, besides huge volume of the data related to the Russian geography, contained predictions regarding climate, economy, politics and astrology-based recommendations on the …er… “private matters”. Calendar was republished numerous times over the XVIII -XIX centuries with the proper corrections in the “predictions” part. It was enormously popular.
 Actually, invented during the reign of Elizabeth I but technologically there was nothing preventing its earlier apoearance.
 In OTL Arakcheev in 1805.
 The most important (IMO) thing related to him is that he is credited with starting production of the flavored “Nemiroff” vodkas (even if officially this brand appeared in mid-XVIII). Personally, I did not like “honey-pepper” variety but it is just my personal taste and I’m not going to change history fundamentally,
based strictly on this criteria.
 In OTL until 1705 so in this TL he is deprived of the opportunity to change sides.
 “а вам, мой господин, то обойдётся лишь в стоимость чернил” - “you’ll have to pay only for the ink” from “Inquisitor” by Konofalsky. Why the witty things always had been written by somebody else?
 I was told that by this time Tsardom had something like 50 types of a death penalty, don’t ask me for the details: I never wanted to find them out.
 In OTL they made such a repulsive impression on Charles that he refused to use them for anything except digging the trenches during siege of Poltava.