The reign of Paul 1 briefly: years, domestic and foreign policy, results
Pavel Petrovich was born on October 1, 1754, an unwanted and unloved child of Catherine and always felt it. He was not given to rule long. The reign of Paul 1 is only four years.
Fears and claims of childhood and adolescence
Pavel recognized himself as an emperor all the time, while his mother, who killed his father, Emperor Peter Fedorovich, illegally ruled, and usurped the throne. The murder occurred in the summer of 1762. And the Empress Catherine died in 1796. That is, a huge period passed during which the grown-up, matured Pavel Petrovich, a well-trained, very cultured and thin person, understood that he could be killed every day by his own mother. It was a reality, because Empress Catherine was a cruel ruler. She killed another aspirant to the throne, Ivan Antonovich, in the Shlisserburg fortress. And for himself, Paul did not exclude this.Second: he saw his mother ignoring the memory of his father in every way, that she literally despises Peter Fedorovich. When the murdered sovereign was to be buried in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, the Empress Catherine did not even come to say goodbye to her husband. This is a personal moment. Third: Pavel Petrovich knew very well that the Empress had written a will in which she ordered to transfer the throne, not to him, but to his eldest son Alexander, born in 1777.Alexandra and Konstantin, two older children, Catherine took from him and raised herself, believing that she could not teach anything good to her son.
Hatred of a mother is a feeling that has permeated his whole life.
On the other hand, he saw what was going on at the court of his mother. It was an orgy. Yes, the empress made laws, suited city self-government, gave freedom to the nobility, but the immorality that was going on at her court was terrifying. And not only in terms of personal relationships, but also in relation to embezzlement, theft, which flourished. Catherine thought only of expanding the borders of the country. All this saw Pavel Petrovich. He suffered terribly and dreamed, if God would let him become sovereign, correct these shortcomings of management. The reign of Paul 1, he assumed, would be beautiful.
Death of Catherine
And when his mother, Empress Catherine, died, Pavel Petrovich first took Tsarskoe Selo, occupied him and burned in the fireplace the testament of his mother with the transfer of the throne to Alexander. The second thing he does is ordering the ceremonial reburial of his father Peter III with his mother Catherine the Great. And Catherine who killed her husband, by the will of her son, lay with him on one deathbed. They were buried together. So begins the reign of Paul 1.
Burden of power
After that, he issued a decree on the succession to the throne, which operated until the abdication of Nicholas II (and which he violated by his abdication). Prior to this, this act of succession, which was published on April 5, 1797, was always respected. In it, in contrast to the chaotic 18th century, when the king accepted the throne as his property and transferred to whom he wanted, a strict principle was introduced that the king cannot transfer the throne to anyone at all. It is inherited automatically. Everything was painted very clearly, and there was no doubt about who could rule the Russian empire. And that was the most important thing: at the moment when the coronation was performed, the king had to take an oath before the altar, an oath on the cross, that he would faithfully observe the act of coronation. He was no longer the absolute monarch from that moment.That was another great act of Pavel Petrovich. This continues the reign of Paul 1.
If you look at the whole XVIII century - this is a complete chaos of murder and unrest, and the XIX century - a period of very stable Russian statehood. The regicides were also there, but they were not a struggle for the throne, but they came from outside.
The reign of Paul 1 is fanatical absolutism. Pavel Petrovich himself was a deeply religious man, but he perceived absolutism as a form bestowed by God, which proceeded from the fact that God appoints one person as a “watchmaker” and ruler of that “clockwork”, which the state is. By imposing order, Paul made the “clockwork” the first years of government. His "debugging", his management, his "plant" should be managed by himself. Therefore, his will is absolute. Paul 1 was absolutely certain of this. And, trying to restore order, he introduced a huge number of laws.
Stormy activity Paul 1 years of rule, and even every day marked the introduction of a new state decree. And this, of course, brought chaos to the state administration, because it is impossible to fulfill such a number of laws. He led everything.He issued a law on succession and at the same time on how long pants should be worn, issued a law that nannies had to walk with children entrusted to them no less than such and such time in winter and such and such time in summer, forbade waltz and say certain words. This is to characterize the reign of Paul 1 briefly.That is, he believed that people can do nothing at all if he doesn’t say that to them. But if he speaks of it, then everyone will do so. It is not by chance that the words of Paul, which he told Prince Repnin, always recall that “in Russia a person means something when he speaks to me, and only as long as he speaks to me”.
However, it was not so simple. Neither in Russia, nor in any other country will strange and illogical laws be enforced. The big problems of the country were the situation with serfdom and noble liberties. They are clearly connected to each other. The results of the reign of Paul 1 did not fundamentally change anything. The fact is that Peter III himself, the father of Paul, in February 1762 issued a decree on the liberties of the nobility. It must be recalled that, starting with the tax of Alexei Mikhailovich from the seventeenth century, all the estates of the Russian state were to serve, and Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich himself called himself the same kind of peasant.Only he had a royal czar, a nobleman - a military, a priest - a spiritual, the peasant - a peasant. But all the burden of all - the workers of one state. It was the idea of the XVII century. With this idea, Peter I inherited the state, and Peter III, under pressure from the nobility, signed a decree on the freedom of the nobility. This decree meant that the nobles could no longer serve. But the peasants, whom they were given as payment in kind for their work to the sovereign, and their lands remained in the ownership of the nobles, who did not serve the state and the tsar. The lands and the very identity of the peasant were and remained the property of a nobleman. Catherine adopted a number of decrees extending the rights of nobles over their serfs. The results of the reign of Paul 1 show that the state has not yet departed from the schemes of the seventeenth century.
Since 1798, Paul sought to crack down on the ideas of the French Revolution and the expansion of the "usurper". Together with a coalition of European states, military actions were conducted on the territory of Italy, Switzerland, in the Ionian and Mediterranean seas. But the treacherous actions within the coalition led to the rapprochement of Russia and France. This meant a break with England - a major buyer of grain and bread, which caused discontent among the nobles. During the reign of Paul 1, this turned out to be imprudent.
To reduce the English possessions, Paul I and Napoleon were planning a joint campaign in India. And the Don Army Paul sent to the conquest of Bukhara and Khiva. After the death of Paul I, the army was recalled from there.
The reduction of noble liberties
Pavel Petrovich, being a supporter of absolutism, absolutely did not want the nobles to be independent of him. During the reign of Paul 1, domestic policy towards the nobility was tightened. It amends and limits the laws on the liberties of the nobility, in particular, imposes corporal punishments for criminal offenses on the nobles and at the same time limits their rights to peasants. Not in the sense that it abolishes serfdom. He was very fond of serfdom, believing that it introduced order, certainty, and the right relationship between the older and the younger. But the peasants are people too. This means that he issues a decree that they should be free from work for a gentleman on Sundays and public holidays, and the rest of the week should be divided equally between the master and the needs of the peasants themselves. For three days the peasants work for themselves, for three days - for the master. No one has ever complied with this law.
Fear of violent death - the eternal nightmare of the Romanovs
Meanwhile, life unfolded for him very hard. Suffering in his youth, he began to suspect that they wanted to do the same with his unfortunate father. He began to suspect his second wife, Maria Fedorovna, that she wanted, like Catherine, to remove him from the throne.Emperor Pavel Petrovich ceases all relations with her and converges with the Lopukhins family. But in any case, he now listens to his barber Kutaisov and the Lopukhins and completely removes his family from himself. Alexander I in the last years of his father said that he “felt under an ax,” that now some terrible fate awaits him. Because of this, a plot was woven. People were dissatisfied with the fact that Pavel Petrovich practically abolished all the laws of his mother, limited the rights of the nobility. Nobles and aristocrats agree with Alexander Pavlovich, the eldest son, that if he does not mind, then Paul I should be forced to leave the throne and retire into exile. Then Alexander I will occupy the throne of the father according to the law of succession, introduced by Paul himself. Alexander, apparently, did not refuse.
The last act of the tragedy
What happened on March 11, 1801 at the Engineering Castle in St. Petersburg did not at all coincide with these preliminary proposals.For some reason, some say because the conspirators were drunk, others claim that Paul resisted. He was killed that night at the Engineering Castle, which he built with all the precautions, expecting an assassination attempt on him. The farther, the more he manically waited for a violent death, tried to prevent it, but could not.Such is the reign of Paul 1 (summary). It is unlikely that his life can be called happy.
During the reign of Paul 1, domestic and foreign policy was evaluated by his contemporaries very negatively, negatively. Indeed, it was a lot of spontaneous, rash. But it grew out of those traits that the mother had laid in him, and out of fear for her life.