77. Life in Moscow
«что за тузы в Москве живут и умирают!» 
“You and me are the only two people in Russia who don’t take the bribes”
Nicholas I to Cesarevich Alexander
«Надо ждать» 
Being somewhat off the epicenter of Petrian whirlwind of activities Moscow and its inhabitants were enjoying life, …. each according to his or her social status.
On the administrative level there were definitely plenty of activities. While Peter’s order to build exclusively stone/brick houses facing the street was not officially cancelled, practicality took over: it was simply impossible to change a predominantly wooden city into a stone one because majority of its population did not have needed money and there were not enough materiel and specialists. So a mandatory stone construction was limited to the Kremlin and Kitay-gorod (a district adjacent to the Kremlin, the most prestigious trade area).
The rest of the city was left with a formula “кто какое строение похочет”  with a freedom to built houses facing a street or placed inside of a yard. However, construction of a new house required permission from the local police (see the 3rd epigraph regarding …er… waiting so here you have a category of people enjoying
Actually, even most of the nobility palaces had some kind of a front yard, if only to accommodate the arriving carriages, so Peter’s order order was lacking a practicality. However, this freedom of action was not absolute: the administration developed a reconstruction plan which was straightening streets and the lanes and regulating their width: the big streets to 21.3 meters, the lanes to 12.8 meters. These straightened streets became a part of the ring-radial Moscow plan. Needless to say that the “ideal” initial plan had been modified more than once to accommodate the existing city estates of the important people. Gradually, the big streets had been paved with a stone, leaving the less important streets and lanes in their initial dirt road condition , sometimes with the wooden sidewalks and the rains would be turning many of them into the pools of a clayish mud dangerous even for the carts. On a positive side, the geese and ducks definitely enjoyed
(no need to discriminate against the livestock
) the resulting pools. But these were the places never visited by the officials above the level of a local constabulary which, understandably, had been using situation for the personal benefit  (one more category of those enjoying
the situation). The main visible
problem was the Neglinnaya River flowing right through the center. It spilled in the area of Okhotny Ryad (pretty much under the Kremlin’s walls) forming along the banks landfills and stink swamps.
Since the only transport was carts and carriages, there was a lot of manure on the streets, and dirt from them went to fertilize the royal gardens, where several wagons were transported annually. At night, as in the Middle Ages, the streets were locked with slingshots, which had watchmen from city ordinary people. In the evening they boarded at ten o'clock, and in the morning they opened an hour before dawn. The watchmen were armed mainly with clubs and sticks, and in case of danger they were beaten in ratchets.
Now, what was
Moscow? Funny as it may sound, its official border was defined by a need to prevent unlicensed selling of an alcohol.
Traditionally, there was a system of “otkup”: the merchants (“otkupschiks”) had been buying a license from the state allowing to sell a certain amount of vodka. Wine (that is, vodka, which was called "bread wine") was received by otkupschiks from the treasury, some could have their own production. Kabaki was ordered to be called "drinking houses" and put state coats of arms on them, "as in houses under our protection." Vodka for otkupschiki was prepared by the state chamber from state or private factories, depending on what is more profitable. Of course, they did not want anybody to break their monopoly so, with the permission of Kamer Collegium, they built a rampart around Moscow called, first, “the Company rampart” and then “Kamer Collegium rampart”. This was a purely commercial fortification: a high earth mound on the outside of it there was a moat, on the inside there was a passage where horse guard patrols periodically passed. The construction had 18 guarded openings, by a number of the roads coming to Moscow. Kamer Collegium soon kicked in by started using it for collecting the custom dues (Russia still had plenty of the internal customs).
Needless to say that Peter’s fatherly concerns were not limited to only those above the grounds. During the funerals of “Prince-Caesar” Fyodor Romodanovsky he noticed that procession was impeded by the graves placed on a monastery territory. This caused the decree of April 12, 1722, which ordered "the tombstones at churches and in monasteries to lower level with the ground; to make inscriptions on the stones from above; which stones are inconvenient to place in this way, to use them in a church structure." Unlike his many other decrees, this one was implemented. The next year he issued a decree forbidding the funerals within city limits except for those of the “important people”, which broke the existing tradition of burials near the churches and led to creation of the city-wide cemeteries on city outskirts.
As for those above the ground, Moscow had population of approximately and was an extensive city consisting of several parts. It was so striking that someone  called Moscow "the concentration of several worlds." In addition to the stone Kremlin, Kitay-gorod and the White-City (Белый город)
the houses of rich people were stone, to which most of the wooden, small houses covered with bast and straw were adjacent. The Moscow authorities tried to fight the "wooden structure", prescribing to cover the roofs with tiles to protect against fires. Not that this was very productive due to the shortage of the tiles and their high cost.
The sharp difference between the palaces of the nobility and the houses of poor citizens was striking to contemporaries. A visiting Brit wrote: "Pity shacks pile up near palaces, one-storey huts are built next to rich and majestic houses. Many stone buildings have wooden roofs, other wooden houses are painted, others have iron doors and roofs. Countless churches in each of their parts represent a special style of architecture, some domes are covered with copper, others are covered with tin, gilded or painted green. Some quarters of this huge city seem completely wasteland, others are densely populated, some look like poor villages, others look like a rich capital.”
The city had many extensive gardens and reservoirs, which, as in the old days, had baths. Repeatedly described by foreigners in the XVII century, the custom of ordinary citizens to wash in baths and reservoirs, not gender differences, was preserved in Moscow of the XVIII century, which is reflected in the famous engraving by J. Delabart "View of the Silver Baths and the surrounding area" (on the Yauza River). In the middle of the century, there were more than one and a half thousand baths in Moscow but all pf them private. The first public (commercial) baths only started to appear and there were few of them.
One more work on the same subject:
Now, after Peter revoke his decree regarding mandatory military service for the nobility, there was a whole social class enjoying
the newly obtained freedom with a great impact upon the external and internal appearance of Moscow, making it the center of the nobility, free from obligations to the state, often critical of the authorities and gladly indulged not only in entertainment, but also in sciences, literature, architecture, projects for the reconstruction of society  .
In 1722, out of 155 yards in Kitay-gorod, 26 belonged to nobles, 49 belonged to merchants and burghers, 80 to the commonersg and clergy. In the White City, the picture was as follows: out of 952 yards, 502 belonged to nobles, 82 to merchants and burghers, 368 to the commoners and clergy. In the Earth City («Земляной город»), 1,354 out of 3,225 yards were noble, 841 were merchant and petty bourgeois, 1,030 belonged to the commoners or clergy. Beyond the Earth City of 4,222 yards, 1,196 were owned by nobles, 971 by merchants and burghers, 2055 by commoners and clergy.
In total, out of 85,554 Moscow yards, 3,078 (36%), merchants and burghers belonged to 1943 (23%), commoners and clergy - 3,533 (41%).
Thus, in terms of the number of households, nobles were in second place after the dispensants and clergy. However, if among the commoners and priestly houses there were only 6% stone, then among the noble houses - 25%, which was 755 houses. There were 597 stone houses in the possession of merchants. Therefore, it was the noble mansions that determined the architectural face of the city. In the 1720s, the nobility moved from the congested Kremlin and Kitay-gorod to more peripheral White and Earth cities (Земляной город).
The main area of concentration of noble city estates was the space between Neglinnaya and the Moscow River, which strangely coincided with the territory taken by Ivan the Terrible in oprichnina.
The growing noble population of Moscow included the old aristocratic families like Golitsyns, Dolgorukovs, Sheremetevs, Volkonsky, Naryshkins, Yusupovs, Saltykovs, Cherkasy, Buturlins, the less aristocratic noble families like Rimsky-Korsakovs, Tatishchevs, Sokovnins, Musin-Pushkins, Eropkins, Izmailovs, Bakhmeteva, Golovins, Nashchokin and the new nobles like Demidovs and Stroganovs. Plus there was a big and growing number of the influential “service nobility” (the bureaucrats who got a noble status by raising to a certain level of a service ladder). Sooner or later many of these families got connected by the marriages forming a complicated and powerful web of a mutual protection and influence: even a remote family link had been deeply respected and valued. The Moscow nobility was characterized by a desire for constant communication and openness, but exclusively within the class. Anyone could come to the richest feasts arranged by Count Sheremetev in Kuskovo near Moscow - if only he were a nobleman. However, it could not be otherwise: so the upbringing and way of life of the nobility distinguished this estate from others. But at the same time, there were many criteria for belonging to full members of society. Not every nobleman could be accepted in all houses and enjoy the glory of an honest man. Marriage out of a social class would close the doors. It was difficult to win the favor of society and those for whom any "history" was drawn (cheating in cards, scandalous divorce).
Possessing huge fortunes, Moscow "aces"  led an open and hospitable life, hosting several hundred people. Many built huge palaces, built gardens with "wilds", maintained home and manor theaters. Considerable donations also went to charity.
Known for his huge wealth and incredible oddities, the heir of Peter's miners Prokofy Akinfievich Demidov  donated more than a million rubles to the needs of the Moscow Orphanage, 10,000 rubles to the building of Moscow University, 20,000 rubles to scholarships to poor students, 100,000 rubles to folk schools. In 1725, he opened the Demidov Commercial School at the Orhpanage, which existed at a percentage of its capital, the first educational institution in Russia in the field of commercial education. Demidov created a Botanical Garden in Moscow, arranged gardens behind Pokrovka and near the Donskoy Monastery (later part of the Neskuchny Garden).
Demidov's eccentricity was manifested even in what his departure looked like. Like other nobles, Demidov drove out in a carriage drawn by six horses. At the same time, the two front and two rear horses were small, and the middle pair was disproportionately large. The foreitor of a big horse was a dwarf, while foreitor of a small was a giant, and his legs were dragging on the ground. The footmen were dressed in strange liveries - one half was embroidered with golden galoons, the other was made of sermaga; one leg was wearing a lacquered shoe, on the other - a “lapot” (peasant’s footwear made of a bark).
Back in the second half of the XVII century, palace manufactories, paper mills and glass factories began to appear in the vicinity of Moscow. During the formation of a system of industry under Peter the Great, which worked for military needs, Moscow suffered the creation of light industry enterprises, primarily textile and manufactory.
The first manufactory that emerged in Moscow under Peter I was the new Khamovny Dvor, built in 1696-1697 on the bank of Yauza, in the village of Preobrazhensky. For the first time, water energy was used there to push the hemp, for which a large dam was erected on Yauza. This enterprise developed rapidly. If in 1700 there were 10 mills in Khamovny Dvor, in 1710 there were already 180 of them. The number of workers also grew: in 1710 - 400 people, and in 1719 - 1,362 people. By that year, the number of mills had increased to 383, and the production of different canvases amounted to about 180-190 thousand arshins. Almost at the same time, a rope factory was founded near the Danilov Monastery. It was significantly smaller than the Khamovny court. At different times, 35-40 people worked at the cable car factory. In 1712, a second rope factory was founded at Khamovny Dvor. Thanks to the efforts of these small enterprises, the Russian fleet was fully provided with ropes, the quality of which was recognized as high in Western Europe. The products of these plants were exported in significant quantities. Among other state manufactories of the Peter's era were the Leather Yard on Yauza (1701), Hat Yard (1701), Big Cloth Yard near the All Saints Stone Bridge (1704-1705), Button Yard. In the 1710s, a number of Moscow state-owned enterprises were leased to individuals (by the end of the reign of Peter I, most of the manufactories and factories in Moscow were in private hands). From 1714 to 1725, 21 enterprises were founded by Moscow nobles and merchants. Not sure if their workers enjoyed
their lives too much.
In 1720s Moscow gubernia amounted to more than 40% of the internal trade in Russia so the Moscow merchants and manufacturers definitely had reasons for enjoying
Now, the bureaucracy in and outside Moscow definitely enjoyed
it because the ever-growing aspects of life had been sucked under its umbrella. The bribe as a “gratitude for the services expected or rendered” was an old Russian tradition going centuries back. The officials were expected
to live on such donations simply because the state did not have money to pay them the descent salaries. Stealing from the state
was a crime and extortion
of the bribes, especially using force, also could be prosecuted. So, in general, a bribe was not considered as something shameful by a society, which pretty much doomed the official attempts to fight them. And how could such a fight be successful if both civilian and military administration were routinely underfunded? Yes, the foreign trade was picking up but a miracle was not going to happen overnight and the salaries still were a problem. Squeezing the tax-paying classes even more was not necessarily a good idea. Even implementation of Munnich’s proposal to stop paying the foreign mercenaries salaries three times higher than to their Russian counterparts was not enough to change situation dramatically. Of course, all this was happening within a framework of the increasing bureaucratic machine, which was consuming the growing amounts of money. So the “government” had to wait while trying to increase the revenues by increasing the exports and internal trade, keeping expenses under control avoiding the expensive wars and hoping that the state income is growing faster than the funds consumed by a bureaucratic swamp.
The court news (for those interested in the royal lines, marriages, etc. )
- After giving a birth to a healthy daughter named Elizabeth, Empress Maria had to more babies, each of whom died within a month.
- Alexey and Elena did not have more children leaving, so far, a single male succession line.
- Charles XII got a heir named Frederick
- Peter started considering matrimonial plans regarding his grandchildren.
- There were rumors regarding Peter paying too much of an attention to one of his wife’s ladies in waiting, Maria Rumyantseva.
 Such important people live and die in Moscow!
 Depending on how you pronounce it, this may mean “you have to wait” («надо ждать») or you have to give [a bribe] («надо ж дать»)
 Build whatever you want
 Peter’s ukaz ordering every home owner to pave a street in from of his house died from the natural causes.
 Ukaz about the paving was dead but still in existence. For a house owner a final destination of a fine did not make a difference except that one going into an individual pocket was smaller than officially prescribed.
 In OTL this was Catherine II.
 Usually, along the lines of “how to improve things without making any changes”. Most of these people had plenty of free time (few of them were ready to waste it on making management of their estates more efficient) and not all of them managed to spend all of it
on eating, drinking, carts, womanizing and hunting so “reconstruction of society” was a conversation topic as good as discussing the merits of a favorite wolfhound of a racing horse.
 “Ace” («туз»), as in the cards, was a definition of a VIP (socially or financially).
 Actually, he belonged to CII times but do you really care?