114. Time for peace and relaxation
“Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer”1748.
the old wisdom
“Free cheese available only in a mousetrap.”
another old wisdom
“I begin by taking. I shall find scholars later to demonstrate my perfect right.”
Frederick the Great
“Iron hand in a velvet glove.”
“A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me.”
George III of the United Kingdom
“If it is not broken, don’t fix it”
An old rule for software development
The war of Austrian Succession was, finally, over and so were the wars in the CA. The domestic economic reforms had been introduced and now it was a time to slow down the administrative activities and to see how (and if) they will work. A relatively new area was creation of a state bank (to a great degree inspired by the Bank of England) that loaned money mainly to the state but to the nobility and merchants and was accepting deposits from the population. A set of the strict rules had been introduce to exclude (or at least minimize) a possibility of abuse by the powerful personages. Another state-held lending institution with the seemingly
more lender friendly rules, the Land Bank was created to attend to the money needs of a landed nobility: getting loan in it was relatively easy with the lans as a collateral
.  The borrowers could even get the second loan on the same estate (with the recomputed percentage payments) and all this at a reasonably low percentage of payments on a debt. Everybody was happy, including the emperor and his financial advisors: by accumulating their debts to the state
nobility was slowly but steadily making the state
(aka, the emperor) a de jure owner of their estates because most of the noble borrowers would never be able to repay the loan itself (they usually needed cash
to support their life style, not to make the profitable investments ) and as a result their power as a meaningful class was steadily diminishing being replaced by a growing power of a service
nobility, which was completely dependent upon the state.  For all practical purposes, this was a “velvet glove” implementation of Peter’s plan to achieve a full imperial control over the Russian state: with a steadily diminishing economic independence, the landed nobility could be even allowed to talk freely in its Noble Assemblies: there will be no need in inventing the political cases when an excessively loud and inconvenient talker could have his estate sold on auction for the debts. An additional advantage of this “soft” solution was that, unlike the Peter’s times with their mandatory military service and resulting unhappiness, the new system was making the landed nobility quite ecstatic (it would take few decades for its full implementation and as of here and now the estate owners enjoyed an easy access to the free cash).
This action wad followed by permission to open the privately-held “commercial” banks. As with everything, the results were had to be seen.
The most important thing, at least for a while, was to let the Russian Empire to absorb its new acquisitions and to start getting returns on the military “investments” and Bukhara proved to be the major bonus in this area. Russian exports into the emirate started growing in a fast rate. The most significant part of Russian goods here were cast iron kettles and jugs from the Urals, raw iron, brass, chintz-mitkal, small iron and copper products, lollipops, samovars, porcelain teapots and bowls, checkered wool, hemp and gauze turbans and the timber of which the emirate was short. The main item of Bukhara’s export to Russia was cotton: most of its production was going to Russia and, as a result, the area of its cultivation kept growing and so was consumption of the fabrics made in Russia from Bukhara’s cotton.
In addition, Bukhara was annually exporting 750 thousand Karakul skins to Russia, 320 tons of wool, raw silk, silk products, dried fruits, yarn, lamb guts, carpets and the dyes imported from India. Kashgar became a smaller but not insignificant additional cotton supplier.
For a while both Europe and Asia are going to be reasonably quiet.
The greatest potential source of trouble in Asia, Qianlong Emperor, was busy fighting his wars in the South, suppressing the rebellions, writing his literary works, introducing a fundamental censorship review of the whole Chinese literature, expanding the imperial residencies, including construction of the western-style palace Xiyang Lou
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One more war on the North was not in his plans and he even allowed to open one more trade outlet through Hama.
Persia, after Nader Shah was assassinated in 1747, quietened down and was open to the trade negotiations, which, unfortunately, had been handicapped by its internal turmoil: after a short rule of less than a year Adel Shah Afshar was overthrown, blinded and replaced by his brother Ebrahim Shah Afshar who, two months later was overthrown by his own troops and replaced by Shahrokh Shah who seemingly had a lot of trouble with various tribal chieftains.
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The Ottomans were seemingly enjoying the peace and both Austria and Prussia had been exhausted enough by the War of Austrian Succession to somewhat relax and not too look for the new military adventures in a near future.
Relations with Frederick had been restored to the level of a superficial friendliness fitting for a big extended family. This “peace and tranquility” landscape allowed Alexey to return the Young Court to the capital: the end of the hostilities minimized a potential importance of the correspondence sent by the Grand Duchess to her brother and, both his Foreign Minister Bestuzev-Rumin and his new head of the Secret Chancellery general Andrey Ushakov
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assured him that it will be much easier to watch over the Young Court (including perlustration of its correspondence) if it is located in Moscow. They were given a palace in Lefortovo (a new name for the former German Settlement)
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and an “army” of the Grand Duke got itself an exercise area between the Sinichka River and the German Cemetery, just outside the Hospital rampart  .
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The Grand Duchess was back at the court and quite happy with a renewed access to the capital’s social life and the Grand Duke was, at least for a while, quite busy with organizing the new quarters of his troops. After visiting their parade ground exercise Munnich commented to the Emperor that, “with a good division commander His Imerial Highness may make a descent commander of a cavalry brigade”  which, of course, could be taken as some kind of a compliment even if it was not . Alexey swallowed his unhappiness but the Grand Duke, to whom the comment was reported by the “good wishers” actually had been delighted by a compliment from the empire’s greatest military authority.
The military matters.
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- To start from the top, Alexey ordered creation of “His Majesty’s Own Escort” which at the time of its creation included 200 hundred Cossacks from the Terek and Kuban hosts, 100 Tekinsky (Turkmen) horsemen, 100 Kalmuks and 100 Oirats. The unit became a part of the Guards and special instructions had been issued forbidding the nobles serving in the Guards regiments to show any disrespect or to interrupt prayers of the Muslims and Buddhists serving in the convoy. The members of convoy had been exempt from the physical punishment and a need to learn a standard parade ground marching routine.
In the terms of “closeness” to the monarch’s person the convoy somewhat pushed aside other Life-Guards regiments leaving them with the posts in the imperial palaces and various ceremonial functions while the convoy had been following
the emperor and guarding his private appartaments.
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- Based upon the experience of the previous and especially “Asiatic wars”, it was decided to fully incorporate the Kalmyk and Oirat (Dzungar) cavalry into the imperial army on the same base as the Cossack hosts. The traditional armor was gone but they retained traditional very long lances.
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- Based upon the same experience, Russian regular cavalry had to pass through the rigorous training in an individual and group horsemanship. For the heavy cavalry a big number of the Mecklenburger horses had been bough both for the immediate service and for the horse breeding farms.
The light cavalry had been using smaller Don horses (the lucky or rich ones could get the Akhal-Teki ones).
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 In OTL the first banking institutions appeared in 1754 (the Noble Loan banks and the Merchant bank); needless to say that the Noble Loan banks was immediately abused by the high-ranking clientele, which had been forcing
bank to borrow the huge amounts of money which the debtors had no intention to return (basically, the same schema as with getting the state mines and manufactures for free, squeeze them dry and return to the state which was paying off the incurred debts).
Small wonder that this and some following state-sponsored financial institutions were going belly up until the much stricter rules had been enforced in the XIX century. IITL, these rules are in place from the very beginning.
 In OTL at the beginning of the XIX century, 5 percent of serfs were “mortgaged” to the state bank, by 1830 - 42 percent, and by 1859 - 65 percent and the total debt of landlords who mortgaged estates only in state credit institutions reached 425 million rubles. This amount was twice as much as the annual budget revenue. In 1833, out of 127,000 noble families, 18,000 no longer owned serfs, and by 1859 the number of nobles who had no peasants had increased to 27,000. The share of serfs in the population of the country as of 1858 was 37 percent (under Peter I, more than half of all Russians were serfs).
 A part of Kamer-Kollezhsky rampart which was defining Moscow’s border.
 As everybody knows, this was said about NII but who said that the family is limited to having a single idiot?
 Munnich was a very experienced courtier and would never say something that could not be interpreted in more than one way.