May 01, 2010

From St. Petersburg to Moscow

1790: Alexander Radishchev reports

alexander nikolayevich Radishchev was born and came of age at a time when, strange as it may seem from a modern perspective, educated society fully supported its rulers and wanted nothing better than to serve them heart and soul.

The appellation applied to the era of Catherine the Great, “the Golden Age of the Russian Nobility,” is remarkably accurate. The nobility rightly felt itself to be the foundation on which the throne rested, with all the rights and obligations this implied. While a half century earlier Peter the Great had felt that his subjects’ sole obligation was to fight for him, serve him, and pay taxes to him, after his reign the nobility gradually acquired greater and greater freedom.

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