The personality of Alexander. Accession to the throne
Alexander I Pavlovich Romanov was born (12) 23 December 1777, in St. Petersburg. The eldest son of Emperor Paul I, he was brought up under the guardianship of N. I. Saltykov, who introduced him to the traditions of the Russian aristocracy. In childhood, the boy was under the great influence of his grandmother, Empress Catherine II. Catherine, who did not love her son Pavel and feared that he would destroy her legacy, pinned great hopes on her grandchildren. One of her grandsons Catherine II named Constantine in honor of Constantine the Great, the other - Alexander in honor of Alexander Nevsky and Alexander the Great. Catherine planned the liberation of Constantinople (the Greek project) and Constantine was to head the new Greek (Byzantine) empire, and Alexander the sovereign of the new empire.
Therefore, the fate of Alexander put the grandmother and father. When Alexander was born, Catherine actually took him away from his parents for her own care and raised him herself, calling him "my Alexander", admiring the health, beauty and kind nature of a tender and cheerful child. As a result, the prince became a spoiled young man. Yes, and the manners of the court of Catherine, very free, could not affect the character of Alexander. The future king became a good actor who perfectly hid his feelings and skillfully pretended to please everyone. “I am accustomed to counter-feelings, in the face and life of the harlequin,” Pushkin wrote about him. The luxurious courtyard of Catherine and Paul’s modest Gatchina circle left their mark on Alexander’s entire reign. Alexander was both a liberal and a reactionary. From the father took over the love of ceremonial tinsel, Prussian military order.
If court life turned Alexander into a hypocrite, then mental education made his worldview ambivalent. Empress Catherine tried to give Alexander education at the highest level of that era. Therefore, she entrusted him to the “foremost” tutor, the Swiss citizen Lagharp. In the mental setting created by Lagarp, the young prince really went to the level of a century. However, he became the “victim” of the great breakthrough that occurred in the spiritual life of mankind at the turn of the XVIII and XIX centuries. On the one hand, he became a liberal and "revolutionary". In his young letters, we see traces of political dreams of an extreme hue: he wants free institutions for Russia (the constitution!) And even the abolition of the dynastic continuity of power; he sees his task in bringing the state to an ideal order by the force of lawful power and then from that power to refuse voluntarily. He dreamed of ending his life as a simple philistine in Germany, on the banks of the Rhine. When Catherine wants to transfer the throne by Pavel to Alexander, he said behind the backs of both of them that he would be able to evade the transfer of power to him, and was even going to “be saved in America.” That is, here we see in Alexander a supporter of the utopias of the 18th century, which eventually led to the French Revolution. All these "dreams" and became the main first half of the reign of Alexander. On the other hand, Alexander inherited the “militarism” of his father and grandfather, religiosity and an understanding of the need for order.
Thus, the influence of two worldviews is already felt in the early days on the personality of Alexander and deprives her of certainty and internal integrity. The whole reign of Alexander, we will see the uncertainty and duality of his mental inclinations and seemingly obscure transitions from religious indifference to religious mysticism, from liberalism to reaction, from Speransky to Arakcheev, etc.
Alexander received the throne by a palace coup. Its members were dignitaries and guards officers, offended by Paul. The high society was displeased with the knightly manners of Paul, his desire to discipline the nobility, which, after the death of Peter the Great, was greatly decomposed (The myth of the "mad emperor" Paul I; Knight on the throne. Foreign policy and military activities of Paul I). In addition, London acted as the organizer and banker of the coup. England feared the union of Napoleon and Paul, Russia and France, since this union could crush the power of Britain and destroy plans to create the Anglo-Saxon world order.
At the time of Paul's death, his two eldest sons, Alexander and Konstantin, were in the Mikhailovsky Castle. Alexander knew about the plot against his father, but did not inform Paul, and apparently did not know that the conspirators were planning to kill the emperor. Therefore, when Palen informed him about the death of Paul, Alexander was in despair. He did not want to be considered a member of the murder.
Thus, the beginning of Alexander's rule only strengthened his loneliness and secrecy. The pangs of conscience, the suspicion of the mother, the impossibility of punishing the conspirators, all this hung heavily on the emperor. Later, in one way or another, he would remove the conspirators from himself.
“The days of Alexandrov wonderful start” was marked by universal optimism. All pinned great hopes on the king. A tall, slim, handsome man with blond hair and blue eyes was the sovereign of the hearts of women and many men. And this was the time of the domination of salon beauties, which had a serious impact on the mood of society.
The murder of Paul immediately hushed. The manifesto of Emperor Alexander I, promulgated by 12 in March, was characteristic: “The Fate of Vyshnyago pleased to end the life of the most gracious parent of Our Sovereign Emperor Pavel Petrovich, who died suddenly during the night with 11 on 12 the number of this month. We, perceiving the hereditary Imperial All-Russian throne, will accept the duty and the duty to control God to us, the people handed over, according to the laws and the heart in Boz, the deceased Augustus Grandmother of our Empress Catherine the Great, some memory for us and the whole Fatherland will always be kind, yes, for Her wise thoughts, Yes, for Her wise thoughts, and for the whole Fatherland will always be kind, Yes, for Her wise thoughts, Yes, for Her eternal wisdom we’ll reach Russia to the top of fame, ”etc. Alexander said that he did not agree with the just ended power of Paul, he wanted to return the country to the orders of Catherine. The conspirators were not pursued, they did not even fall into disgrace. It seemed that the “grandmother's century” (the expression of Alexander himself) of the noble Queen Catherine II was resurrected. However, this was not the case; Alexander was a completely different person.
During the month, Alexander gave a number of liberal orders, bestowing freedom and forgiveness on prisoners and exiled during Emperor Paul, abolishing various restrictions and prohibitions, etc. In particular, the king lifted the ban on the import of various goods and products to Russia, announced an amnesty the fugitives who had taken refuge abroad restored the nobility elections, freed the priests and deacons from corporal punishment. Alexander restored the action granted letters to the nobility and cities. Affectionate and charming behavior of Alexander, his first orders have won him amazing popularity. No wonder he was called the Blessed.
However, Alexander did not repeat the policy of Catherine. He cruelly and mockingly criticized Catherine’s court and despised her courtiers. He entrusted current affairs to the most experienced officials of the older generation; he tried to formulate a program of future changes in the circle of “young friends”. The Secret Committee included Count P. A. Stroganov, Count V. P. Kochubei, Prince A. A. Chartoryi, N. N. Novosiltsev. The reforms of the early years were associated with this unofficial institution.
Under the emperor, a legislative body was created, which until 1810 was called the Permanent Council, and then transformed into the State Council. The manifesto “On the establishment of ministries” of September 8 1802 was proclaimed a ministerial reform. At first, eight ministries were created to replace the Petrine colleges: foreign affairs, military, maritime, internal affairs, finance, justice, commerce, and public education. A committee of ministers was established to jointly discuss cases. In an attempt to weaken serfdom, the Secret Committee prepared in 1803 a “decree on free bread-growers”, according to which landowners received the right to liberate serfs separately and in villages with the issuance of a land plot. For their will, the peasants paid a ransom or performed duties, the landowner could release the peasant and free of charge. In addition, on behalf of Alexander, work was under way on the projects of the abolition of serfdom, but they were not implemented.
Much attention was paid to public education. In 1803, a new provision was made on the design of educational institutions, which introduced new principles into the educational system: the imputedness of educational institutions, free education at lower levels, continuity of educational programs. The levels of the education system have been introduced: in the largest cities there is a university, in every provincial city there is a gymnasium, in counties there are colleges, in church parishes there are single-school colleges. The entire education system was in charge of the General Directorate of the schools. The empire was divided into six educational districts. A network of universities is being created: Derpt (1802), Vilensky (1803), Kharkov and Kazan (both are 1804). Opened in 1804, the St. Petersburg Pedagogical Institute was transformed into the University in 1819. Russia's first University Charter provided universities with significant autonomy. In Yaroslavl, with the help of private funds, the Demidov School opened in 1803. In the second half of Alexander's rule, privileged secondary schools appeared - lyceums (Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, etc.)
Initially, Alexander thought about the constitution. Alexander I, in 1809, approved the wide autonomy of the Grand Duchy of Finland with the preservation of the constitutional law 1772 of the year and the representative body - the Sejm. In November 1815, Alexander I granted the constitution to the Kingdom of Poland. Constitutional projects for Russia were worked out by Speransky and Novosiltsev. However, in the second half of his reign, Alexander already parted ways with many of the illusions of youth, and a conservative turn began. In addition, Alexander was concerned about the revolutionary events in Europe, where he performed the mission of preserving legal regimes. He feared that if Russia was “defrosted”, then he could cause confusion. Therefore, the draft abolition of serfdom (very cautious) and the draft constitutional reform remained on paper. I must say that Alexander knowingly feared distemper in Russia. The influence of Western ideas and the predominance of Western culture in the nobility environment eventually led to the movement of the so-called. "Decembrists."
In the military sphere, Alexander and the War Minister Arakcheev attempted to carry out military reform (military settlements), which had to solve a number of tasks: 1) to create a trained reserve, which would allow the army to quickly increase in military time; 2) quietly reduce the army in peacetime; 3) reduce the burden on the budget and free the population of the country from the constant duty of maintaining the army, 4) cover the western strategic direction. To this end, Arakcheev planned to create a new military-agricultural estate, like the Cossacks, which could itself maintain and recruit a standing army. The idea was interesting, but it was never fully realized, largely due to bureaucracy and bureaucracy. Up to the end of the reign of Alexander I, the number of districts of military settlements continued to grow, gradually surrounding the border of the Russian Empire from the Baltic to the Black Sea. By 1825, in military settlements there were about 170 thousand soldiers of the regular army and 374 thousand state peasants and Cossacks. These settlements, which provoked sharp criticism at the top and irritation at the bottom, existed until 1857.
In foreign policy, Alexander I initially maneuvered between Britain and France, concluding simultaneously peace treaties with both powers (1801). However, then he succumbed to the tricks of England, which needed cannon fodder against Napoleon (England vs Russia. Dragging into a war with France; H. 2). Russia, to the detriment of national interests, became a member of four (!) Wars with Napoleon’s empire. First, the III anti-French coalition (1805), where the main instruments of England were Austria and Russia, which led to the disgrace of Ulm and the disaster of Austerlitz. The IV anti-French coalition (1806 — 1807) led to Prussia’s military catastrophe and the defeat of Russia. Napoleon did not hold the evil against Russia, which he wanted to make his strategic ally, so Tilsit was even beneficial to St. Petersburg.
Thanks to Napoleon’s foreign policy support, Russia defeated Sweden and incorporated Finland into its membership. However, then relations between Russia and France deteriorated, helped by the policy of Alexander, which led the Patriotic War 1812. Napoleon made a tragic mistake by launching an invasion of the lands of Russian civilization (in fact, he led the troops of all Europe) and not limited to fighting in the border zone. The march on Moscow caused the rise of the national spirit and the people's war. The great army of Napoleon disappeared in the open spaces of Russia.
Alexander, as suggested by Kutuzov, could save weakened France, as opposed to England, Austria and Prussia. France has already exhausted human resources and could not claim dominance in Europe and the world. It was enough for Russia to withdraw Prussia and Austria from the alliance with the French, without continuing the war on the borders of France and in France itself. However, Alexander, insulted by Napoleon and desiring fame, continued the war. Alexander at the head of the Russian troops, together with the allies in the spring of 1814, entered Paris. Napoleon's empire was destroyed, England received complete freedom of hands.
At the same time, Alexander undertook the mission of the “gendarme of Europe”, while maintaining the principle of legitimacy. So, Alexander was one of the leaders of the Vienna Congress 1814-1815. In an effort to establish a new European community based on religious and political principles, he participated in the creation of the “Holy Union”. Russia's resources were again used to maintain order in Europe, instead of using them for internal development. Later, Russia would be “thanked” during the Eastern (Crimean) War.
In addition to France, Russia during the reign of Alexander defeated three more great powers. The wars with Sweden, Turkey and Persia generally met national interests. Russian-Persian War 1804 — 1813 It was caused by the confrontation of Russia and Persia (Iran) in the Caucasus, and was also part of the Great Game between the British and Russian empires. Persia was forced to recognize the transition to Russia of Dagestan, Kartli, Kakheti, Megrelia, Imereti, Guria, Abkhazia and parts of modern Azerbaijan (Baku, Karabakh, Ganja, Shirvan, Sheki, Derbent, Cuban Khanate). The Caspian Sea has moved into the sphere of influence of Russia.
Russian-Turkish war 1806 — 1812 was part of the longstanding confrontation of Russia and Turkey in the Black Sea and the Balkans, was also part of the Great Game between England, France and Russia. The war with the Ottomans was delayed due to the fact that Alexander kept the best and most of the army in the western strategic direction, where he feared France. Only Kutuzov at the last moment was able to snatch the victory, and before the invasion of the Great Army of Napoleon, Russia could not fear the blow of the numerous Turkish army. Territorial changes were small, due to the threat of war with Napoleon. The eastern part of the Moldavian principality, the territory of the Prut-Dniester interfluve (Bessarabia), passed to Russia. The border in Europe was transferred from the Dniester to the Prut before its connection with the Danube, provided the freedom of the Russian merchant shipping on this river. Porta recognized the expansion of Russia in the Caucasus. Serbia was granted internal autonomy.
Russian-Swedish War 1808 — 1809 was caused by the long-standing disputes of Russia and Sweden in the Baltic and in Finland, as well as the geopolitical interests of England and France. Napoleon set Russia on Sweden, as it was an ally of England and to distract the Russians. England used Sweden as cannon fodder during the Anglo-Russian war of the 1807-1812, as it did not have a common border with Russia. Sweden wanted to take revenge for the previous defeat and use the apparent weakness of Russia, which at that time was fighting a heavy and exhausting struggle against Turkey and at the same time holding the best forces on the western border. The war ended with the victory of Russian weapons. Sweden ceded the eternal possession of Russia to Finland, the Aland Islands, which solved the security problem of the capital of the Russian Empire from the north-western direction, and also put an end to the centuries-old confrontation between the Russians and the Swedes in the struggle for Finland and the Baltic States.
In addition, the Grand Duchy of Warsaw became a part of Russia. The Duchy of Warsaw was a protectorate of Napoleonic France and existed until the 1813 year, when it was occupied by Russian troops. According to the decisions of the Congress of Vienna, most of the duchy was annexed to the Russian Empire as an autonomous Kingdom of Poland. Alexander granted the Poles, although they were the most loyal allies of Napoleon, wide autonomy. Many former associates of Napoleon occupied high positions in the Kingdom of Poland. As a result, the kindness of the Russian emperor in the future will lead to the growth of Polish great-power nationalism, the uprisings of 1830-1831, 1863.
Thus, Alexander's domestic and foreign policy are very contradictory, as is his personality as a whole. Alexander’s largest foreign policy error, by all appearances, was the course towards a tough confrontation with Napoleon. A wiser policy would be an alliance with France (Paul took a course on it) or friendly neutrality, since, in the absence of common borders with Napoleon’s empire, the brunt of the struggle against the French emperor fell on Austria, Prussia and England. Russia could get a big head start for solving a variety of domestic problems, developing the economy, transport infrastructure, developing Siberia, the Far East and Russian America. In foreign policy, it was possible to continue the Greek project of Catherine the Great and once and for all solve the problem of the straits and Constantinople by making the Russian (Black) Sea internal. At the same time, Russia could support Napoleon in the struggle for Egypt, which England claimed. Then Russia and France could jointly oust England from India.
According to official data, Alexander Pavlovich died suddenly (November 19) December 1 1825 in Taganrog. True, there is a version that Alexander was tired of the board and spread a false message about his death, and in fact lived in Siberia as a hermit under the name of Fyodor Kuzmich.