46. Putting house to order (start of a new era)
“It does not matter if the state was created by the honest people or the bandits, it still will be ruled by the bureaucrats.”
“Bureaucratism is an inevitable element of any form of a statehood”
With the military activities being temporarily over, Peter finally got an opportunity to assess his activities as a ruler of the state and assessment was rather scary . There was a mess of the constantly changing administrative divisions, types of a local and central administration, absence of the clear laws  and never ending attempts to regulate everything without worrying about communicating these initiatives to the intended recipients. How the peasants were supposed to learn about ukaz ordering them to increase production of the hemp?
So far, the main goal of all these reforms was to find a way of the more efficient squeezing the money for covering the war expenses but now there was a time to review this approach: even with the ongoing military reforms and naval construction, these expenses were under relative control, shrinking from the 90% to under 65% of the budget and, with the growing exports  and other sources , there was no immediate need for increasing the tax burden on a population and attention can be paid to organizing things properly.
As of now, functions of a supposedly highest state organ, the Governing Senate, had been reflecting the typical Peter’s wartime approach:
1. Provide true justice and punish the unjust justices and authors of the false accusations with confiscation of their property.
2. Check the state expenses and eliminate the unnecessary ones.
3. Collect as much money as possible because the money are an artery of a war.
4. Assemble the young nobles as the officer cadres, find out those who are hiding; also assemble 1,000 literate serfs for the same purpose.
5. Keep the financial papers in order and in the same place.
6. Conduct revision of the goods stored in various state institutions.
7. Sell salt trade licenses and try to get a profit out of them.
8. Create a reliable company for trade with China.
9. Increase volume of trade with Persia and give reasonable privileges to the Armenians.
As you can see, things of all kinds had been put in the same basket and some of the tasks had been clearly meaningless. For example, how could a Senate, which had 9 members and a minimal staff, conduct revision of the goods stored all over the Empire? By sending instructions to the relevant officials. Obviously, these instructions either would be ignored or the responses would contain the fake data which the Senate would not be able to check, etc.
At that point Peter found a completely unexpected asset, his own son. So far, Alexey did not have any permanent function within the state and was something of a high-ranking errant boy. Following father’s orders he was raising the new troops, overseeing the border fortifications, accompanying Peter in his travels, etc. But his marriage to the Swedish princess made him an important figure with certain political and international weight. As a zero risk experiment Peter made him a member of the Senate and soon enough got a cause for a serious aggravation because Alexey came with something Peter was not capable of, a systematic plan
 of how to make Senate’s work more productive. Number of it members had to be increased up to 20 and it should be divided by the departments: I - internal and political affairs, II - judicial, III - military and naval, IV - administrative. Within the departments the the issues had to be resolved by a consensus and only of this was not achieved, on the general meeting of all senators . However, the laws
had to be initiated only by an emperor: the Senate had a right to review them and to report about potential problems in these laws and a law was considered active only after it was duly confirmed and registered by the Senate.
This was a serious deviation from Peter’s initial idea and, of course, initially father was not happy with his son’s hidden criticism. However, after making an expected amount of the unhappy noises, Peter acknowledged that proposal does make sense (by that time he himself already was fed up with Senate’s slowness and got certain doubts about his own wisdom of creating an institution co-equal to himself in power) and adopted it.
After the Senate restructure was adopted and implemented, Alexey was ordered to review the newly-established system of the “Collegiums” (ministries) which Peter also based upon the Swedish model framed into his personal style by creating 6 collegiums without definition of their functions: Justice, Foreign Affairs, Admiralty, Military, “Kamer” and Commerce. His order was short and unclear: “All collegiums must provide itemized lists of their functions based upon the Swedish model; the Swedish items unsuitable for the Russian specifics can be replaced and reported.” Bureaucrat’s dream: being allowed to define his own functions. It did not take long to produce a complete mess and Peter had to issue a new extended list with some clarifications:
1. Foreign affair (Posolsky Prikaz) - all foreign and diplomatic affairs, correspondence with other states, arrival of the ambassadors and envoys, couriers and other foreigners.
2. Kamer or state revenues - everything related to the state incomes.
3. Justice - all court and investigative affairs and Pomestnyi Prikaz (Votchinnaya kontora) .
4. Revision - control of all state incomes and expenses.
5. Military - army, garrisons and all military business.
6. Admiralty - Navy with all its personnel and naval affairs.
7. Commerce - Control all trade
8. Stats-contor - All state expenses.
9. Berg and Manufacture - all industrial enterprises and artillery.
Alexey proposed some modifications which had been easily accepted:
1. Berg and Manufacture had been split into separate Berg and Manufacture
2. Votchinnaya kontora became a separate collegium.
3. Adaptation of the General Regalement defining composition of the collegiums and their functions.
This was a beginning of the “reign of bureaucracy” era in Russia.
The city population had been officially divided into 3 categories:
1st guild - the rich merchants and manufacturers
2nd guild - minor merchants, well-off artisans
3 - “подлый люд” (lower class) - everybody else.
Participate in the election in the city magistrate could the members of the guilds but only those of the 1st guild could be elected.
There were some changes in the peasantry status: institute of the “kholops” (slaves) was abolished - all of the became serfs who had at least some legal rights.
For the nobility separation between “votchina” (hereditary land owned mostly by aristocrats) and “pomestie” (land granted for service) was abolished turning nobility into a homogenous class. Some members of the old aristocracy were not happy but an overwhelming majority was enthusiastic because, indirectly, it made them equal to the members of the old families.
 Keep in mind that we are dealing with the alt-Peter capable of the objective assessment of the existing reality. The real Peter just kept generating the ideas and, even if he formally
copied the Swedish administrative system, he also did everything in his power to make it as chaotic as was physically possible. The first person who risked to at least systematize the legalistic Augean stables left by Peter and his successors was Nicholas I and the result was 45 volumes of the Complete Collection of the laws of Russian Empire for period from 1649 to 1825. It took 4 years to accomplish this work.
 Even if there was an old law, there was no guarantee that its was not superseded by one of the countless ukazes.
 In theory, the state was getting only the custom dues on imports/exports but in practice state had a monopoly on the exports of hemp and flax: the producers/merchants had been carrying them to the ports where they had been bought by the state officials and sold to the Brits and Dutch at a higher price (and, of course, nobody cancelled the export dues
 Confiscation of the Church lands and acquisition of the lands North of the Black Sea considerably increased number of the state peasants and free settlers all of which had been paying a head tax at a higher level (1.1 - 1.5 rubles) than the serfs (0.7 rubles) who could work for themselves only a part of a week. By 1710 the state peasants amounted to 19-20% of the population and their number kept growing. Situation with them was rather peculiar. On one hand, state could give land with the state peasants
to a noble thus turning them into the serfs. OTOH, formally
, they were considered as the people with the legal rights: they could be witnesses in a court, conduct business transactions, have property of their own, conduct trade and open the manufactures (but only with a hired labor). Their land was formally a state property which they had right to use and which they could buy and sell. They could also buy “unpopulated land” (one without the serfs).
 Peter was anything but stupid, however by his character (and perhaps due to a certain mental disease) he was ill-suited for a systematic analytical work, favoring the physical activities. He was generating a huge volume of paper but very little of it was a result of a serious study of a subject. Well, it would be rather naive to expect him to be fond of a reading: he got an absolutely minimal education and hardly could read and write. OTOH, Alexey got a reasonably good education and was quite fond of studying. Unlike Peter, he studied the Swedish system thoroughly.
 Strictly speaking, this decreased Senate’s political importance because most of the decisions had been coming from 4 persons only and as such had been more “lightweigthed”. But in a strictly practical sense this division was immensely useful because it greatly improved the speed with which the documents had been usually passing through the Senate.
 Prikaz in charge of all issues related to the land ownership and responsible for finding the escapee serfs.