The Ruling Elite and Patronage System in Russia in the 18th Century: an Overview of the English-Language Historiography
Table of contents
The Ruling Elite and Patronage System in Russia in the 18th Century: an Overview of the English-Language Historiography
Publication type
Anastasia Lyscova 
Affiliation: Ural Federal University
Address: Russian Federation, Ekaterinburg

The main idea behind this article is to look at English-language literature about patronage relationship in the 18th-century Russian ruling elite. The works of 9 American and British historians who wrote between 1970 and 2000 are analyzed in the article. The emergence of such kind of investigations in this period coincided with a general trend in Western historiography to investigate the history of European elites and their relationships. It is impossible to reconstruct the patron-client networks of 18th-century Russia without discussing Peter I’s policy regarding the elite. Due to this fact, the beginning of the 18th century has provoked stirred especial interest among historians. Over almost 30 years (1970—2000), British and Americans scholars came to the general conclusion in accordance with the Russian ruling elite in large extent consisted of old boyar families’ successors in the 18th-century. At the end of the 1990s, scholars began to renew this thesis, taking into account the existence of the friendship ties and personal career strategies.

patron-client relations, Boyar Duma, aristocracy, Russian imperial court, Russian elite, Peter’s the Great reforms
Publication date
Number of characters
Number of purchasers
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
Cite Download pdf 200 RUB / 1.0 SU

To download PDF you should sign in

Full text is available to subscribers only
Subscribe right now
Only article and additional services
Whole issue and additional services
All issues and additional services for 2019


1. Bugrov K. D., Kiselev M. A. Estestvennoe pravo i dobrodetel': Integratsiya evropejskogo vliyaniya v rossijskuyu politicheskuyu kul'turu XVIII v. Ekaterinburg, 2016.

2. Bushkovich P. Petr Velikij: Bor'ba za vlast' (1671—1725). SPb., 2008.

3. Zitser Eh. Tsarstvo Preobrazheniya: Svyaschennaya parodiya i tsarskaya kharizma pri dvore Petra Velikogo. M., 2008.

4. Kurukin I. V. Artemij Volynskij i ego klienty // Problemy istorii Rossii. Vyp. 9: Rossiya i Zapad v perekhodnuyu ehpokhu ot srednevekov'ya k novomu vremeni. Ekaterinburg, 2011. S. 246—249.

5. Kurukin I. V. Platon Zubov — «ministr vsekh chastej pravleniya»: favoritizm na iskhode XVIII stoletiya // Quaestio Rossica. 2015. № 3. S. 200—226.

6. Lavrinovich M. B. Kak possorilis' Nikolaj Petrovich s Alekseem Fyodorovichem: patron-klientskie otnosheniya v russkom obschestve rubezha XVIII—XIX vv. // Rossijskaya istoriya. 2016. № 3. S. 91—110.

7. Nastavlenie znatnomu molodomu gospodinu ili voobrazhenie o svetskom cheloveke. SPb., 1778.

8. Pis'movnik, soderzhaschij raznye pis'ma. SPb., 1789.

9. Pravyaschie ehlity i dvoryanstvo Rossii vo vremya i posle petrovskikh reform (1682—1750). M., 2013.

10. De Madariaga I. The Russian Nobility in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries // The European Nobilities in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. London, 1995. Vol. II. P. 223—273.

11. Dixon S. The Modernisation of Russia 1676—1825. Oxford, 1999.

12. Hosking G. Patronage and the Russian State // The Slavonic and East European Review. Vol. 78. № 2 (April, 2000). P. 301—320.

13. Hosking G. Trust: A History. Oxford, 2014.

14. Le Donn J. P. Absolutism and Ruling Class. Oxford, 1991.

15. Le Donne J. P. Ruling Families in the Russian Political Order, 1689—1825 // Cahiers du Monde Russe. 28. 3—4. 1987. P. 233—322.

16. Lemarchand R., Legg K. Political Clientelism and Development // Comparative Politics. Vol. 4. № 2 (1972). P. 151—152.

17. Lieven D. Russia’s Rulers under the Old Regime. New Haven; London, 1989.

18. Meehan-Waters B. Autocracy & Aristocracy. The Russian Service Elite of 1730. New Brunswick; New Jersey, 1982.

19. Ransel D. Bureaucracy and Patronage: The View from an Eighteenth-Century Russian Letter-Writer // The Rich, the Well Born, and the Powerful. Elites and Upper Classes in History. Urbana; Chicago; London, 1973. P. 154—178.

20. Ransel D. The Politics of Catherinian Russia. The Panin Party. New Haven; London, 1975.


No posts found

Write a review