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The Epoch of Palace Revolutions
The Reign of Catherine I (1725-1727)
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The Reign of Elizabeth Petrovna (1741-1761)
The Reign of Peter III (December 25, 1761 - June 28, 1762)
Social and Economical Development of Russia in 1725-1762
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The Reign of Elizabeth Petrovna (1741-1761)

Immediately the new government faced difficult problems, left by predecessors: finances, the state of which made foreign diplomats consider Russia to be 'the weak state', confusing laws and management, mass escapes of serfs. The government tried to relieve the tension by easing the burden of taxes: according to the Decree of 1741 all debts for 17-year period were remitted, and in 1742 and 1743 the poll tax was temporarily reduced by 10 kopeks.

In the following years the government tried to increase the profit of the country by rising prices of salt and wine. The way of reorientation of budget revenue from direct to indirect taxation, which was being used in the countries of Western Europe, promoted the development of commodity-money relations. The government took the other measures in the same direction: in 1754 in-country customs were abolished; the institute of the City and General Magistrates was restored. In 1754-1762 the special commission was working out the new Code of Laws.

The distinguished statesman P.I. Shuvalov was the initiator of most progressive projects of that time. That was he who called the government's attention to the needs and necessities of merchants. However, being a big land and factory owner, tax-farmer and eager fast liver, Shuvalov was a contradictive figure and it called the hostile attitude to him in the Palace, what made his position of the reformer difficult.

Elizabeth recovered the importance of Senate, which it had in the time of Peter I, and it became the center of working out the main bills and of other more or less important events in 1741-1761. To add to this, Elizabeth Petrovna didn't refuse the practice of the Empress Councils. Since 1741 so called 'Meeting of ministers and generals' consisting of 11 people had been periodically gathered. In 1756 the new higher organ - the Conference at the Highest Court was established. It was to work out and conduct the measures of counteraction Prussia, which Russia faced in the Seven-year War. At the same time the activity of the Conference covered a number of other spheres: managing the Army, finances, personnel, and questions beyond the competence of Senate. The conference consisted of the most important persons of the government: the leaders of foreign policy department M.I. Vorontsov and A.P. Bestuzhev-Rumin, the prosecutor-general of Senate N. Yu. Trubetskoy, the head of Artillery general P.I. Shuvalov and the head of Secret Office A.I.Shuvalov.

The course of domestic policy, being directed by the limited circle of the higher state officials, was characterized by the increasing amount of privileges for the nobles, especially in 1750s. At that time the Credit Banks for the nobles were established, they lend money (for the household and other needs) to landowners on the small rate of interest. The nobility received the exclusive rights on winemaking. Having begun in the middle of the decade, the surveying of the lands was accompanied by the considerable extension of the nobles' land property (on the whole the square of the noble's land had became 50 million desyatins more (1 desyatin = 2.7 acres))

At last, in 1760 the Decree was issued, according to which landowners have the right to exile their serfs to Siberia with the following reckoning it towards giving a recruit to the state. However, together with pro-noble and pro-serf tendency of the sovereign power policy there were features of 'enlightened absolutism'. For example, in 1755 according to M.V. Lomonosov's project Moscow University was established. Elizabeth Petrovna's favourite, the educated grandee and the patron of arts, I.I. Shuvalov was assigned to its supervision.

On December 25, 1761 Elizabeth Petrovna died. Her nepnep (the son of the elder sister Anna Petrovna and the Holstein Duke Carl Fridrich) Carl-Peter-Ulrich became her successor and was enthroned under the name of Peter III.
Peter Pheodorovich, though being declared the successor of the Russian throne at the end of 1741 and brought up at the aunt's court, wasn't prepared enough for his historic role. Superficial education and poor knowledge about Russia together with his impulsive character and inclination to the military drilling and parades did bad to his reputation and prevented from performing his good intentions.

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