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.....As for the decision... the smart heads in Sweden will likely choose merchants, but the irrational (and popular) voices will likely choose to beef up the army for round 2.

Given two wars just ended, those mercenaries might even be cheaper. Though if I was Sweden, I’d go for just the Danes, bribing Russia with Ships or such.

Russia will target P-L for sure...after they improve their economic situation (which will take some time). Besides, there will be a war within a few decades that will either accelerate or delay a Russo-Polish war.

Since I’m no expert: does Russia produce enough usable materials & transport capability to trade via these ports? And do they have the shipping from those ports?

And how’s Britain responding to the vastly different European map?
 

Oddball

Monthly Donor
First was Denmark-Norway, who intended for Sweden to suffer for centuries of conflict. The first term (which surprised nobody) was the return of Scania to Danish rule. However, Denmark then made a rather bold demand of the return of the Jämtland region which had been taken from Norway roughly 7 decades prior. It then demanded the annexation of Schleswig-Holstein, along with Swedish Pomerania and Bremen-Verden (and all other German territories that Sweden owned). Sweden also forfeited her right to duty-free passage of Øresund. In return for all this, Denmark-Norway would pay 1.2 million Riksdaler to Sweden.

Not to be greedy, but all this, and then not Bohuslän, Halland & Blekinge?

All of them would in its own would be highly preferable before Jämtland...
 
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Not to be greedy, but all this, and then not Bohuslän, Halland & Blekinge?

All of them would in its own would be highly preferable before Jämtland...
I'm assuming by Scania they mean the Scaneland of Halland, Skåne, and Blekinge, rather than just Skåne.
 
Venice in the early 18th century until 1730
1593367254795.png


As of the early 18th century, the city-state of Venice was (while still being one of Europe's richest nations per-capita) on a decline, the past few centuries having seen them gradually lose their economic might to the western powers thanks to their colonial empires in the New World. But despite their decline, they still possessed a respectable merchant fleet with an economic far larger than any other Italian state, and their territory stretching from Greece to Northern Italy.

The problem facing them now was if they could hold on to this land with hungry neighbors looking for an opportunity. The likeliest nation to attack in the near future was the Ottoman Empire, and the Venetians knew it. However, not all the Ottomans were in the mood for a conflict (especially after the nations of Europe had routed them 3 decades earlier). Besides, the pro-war party had lost a lot of political power in 1710 when Charles XII had been given as a prisoner to the Russians, causing Sultan Baltacı Mehmet Pasha [1] to decide against a war with Venice.

The pro-war party tried pushing it again a few years later, only to once again be rejected when Russian forces on the Ottoman border increased after the end of the Great Northern War. Venetian Crete and Morea would be safe, for now at least.

Venice, of course, did not plan to just sit still and wait until the Ottomans eventually did strike. They decided to sign a defense agreement in February of 1715 with the Russian Empire, as both of them wanted to contain the Ottoman Empire and prevent any expansion into Europe. After all, neither of them wanted to see the Ottoman hordes besiege Vienna or take over the Ukraine again (with Russia desiring to take the Crimea for itself in the future).

In addition to an alliance with Russia, the Venetian Senate in 1724 decided to improve their military after seeing the warfare displayed by the later years of the Great Northern War [2] by accepting the reforms of Marshal Count Schulenburg, who was in effect Venice's most successful commander (he later retired to the city and became a noted art collector). Under this reform, the peacetime army was composed of 20,460 men, as follows:

  • Infantry (18,500 men)
    • 12 Regiments of Italian Infantry (named Veneto Real and II to XII) 9,600 men
    • 4 Regiments "presidiali" Italian Infantry (di Padova, di Verona, di Brescia, di Rovigo) 4,000 men
    • 3 Companies of "Veterani Benemeriti" ("metitorius veterens) 360 men
    • 3 Companies of "Presidio alla piazza" Italian Infantry of the fortress at Palma Nova 240 men
    • 5 companies of " presidiali di fanteria greca per le piazze" of Prevesa, Vonizza & Butrinto 300 men. These were the three towns Venice owned in Epirus, Greece.
  • Cavalry (1,600 men)
    • 1 Regiment of Cuirassiers 300 men
    • 1 Regiment of Dragoons 300 men
    • 2 regiments of Croatian cavalry 600 men
    • 1 regiment of Cimariotti cavalry 400 men The Stradioti, irregular cavalry hired from Albania, Dalmatia and northern Greece, had a long history in the Venetian army, and were one of the characteristics that separated it from other Italian armies.
  • Artillery (200 men)
    • 2 companies of artillery
  • Engineers (160 men)
    • 2 Companies of miners (80 men)
    • 2 Companies of engineers (80 men)

In case of war the militia would be called up, producing, in theory, a total of 48,000 men. In addition there were the eleven Regiments of Marines in the Navy, the Oltremarini (also called Schiavoni) with a further 8,800 men.

Of course, it would take quite some time to reform the army (and likely 1 or 2 decades before the army reforms were finished), but it would turn Venice's army from being completely made of mercenaries into a true military force.

With new deals struck, armies reformed, and rivalries strengthened, it seemed that the stage for Europe's next war was already being set.

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[1] ITTL, the pro-war party is weaker as a result of there not being any war against Russia (IOTL, the pro-war party was powerful due to them spanking Russia, which was a large factor in them declaring war on Venice), so they will decide ITTL to not declare war on Venice just yet. As for the future, I make no promises. Also, Sultan Baltacı Mehmet Pasha does not get overthrown by the pro-war party and as of 1715 is still Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

On the bright side for the Ottomans, the absence of a war with Venice means no war with Austria, which means that they don't lose their Serbian territories, though that won't be the only thing this war changes...

[2] The Venetian army ITTL approves of the army reforms 5 years before OTL due to a minor butterfly effect caused by the different style of warfare at the end of the Great Northern War, which will very much help them better withstand the wars in the coming decades.
 
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@dunHozzie
1. Funny you should mention Russia and Denmark because I have something interesting planned in one of the next chapters, mwahaha!
2. Just like IOTL, Russia will need time to build and properly use the new port cities (along with Saint Petersburg), but the war ending almost 7 years earlier allows it to begin development earlier, which might not seem significant now but will have big effects on Russia's future.
3. I wouldn’t say it is “vastly” different (yet), but Britain is now going to keep an eye on the rising power of Denmark. This will have HUGE ramifications in a century or so, as the 2 of them build a rivalry that will end up ripping Europe apart.

@Kurd Gossemer I wish I could do a map but I have zero map-making skills. I am trying to find someone but I do apologize.

@Oddball I changed it so Bohuslän was also taken (as to cut the Swedish off from the Skagerrak), but like @The Professor said, I mean the historical Scania region and not just Skane.

@The Professor Yes, thank you for clarifying that.
 
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Big gains for Russia, Denmark and France in the previous update. I really like this TL because it goes with some ideas that I haven't seen much in other TLs focusing on this time period; weaker Sweden, stronger Russia & Denmark. Also really cool seeing that France will be far stronger than IOTL by 1900! I'm eager to see what's next for Denmark and Russia soon.
 
@dunHozzie
1. Funny you should mention Russia and Denmark because I have something interesting planned in one of the next chapters, mwahaha!
2. Just like IOTL, Russia will need time to build and properly use the new port cities (along with Saint Petersburg), but the war ending almost 7 years earlier allows it to begin development earlier, which might not seem significant now but will have big effects on Russia's future.

A shorter GNW would be, in theory, beneficial for Russia if Peter was not going to look for a new sources of problems like happened in OTL ( war with the Ottomans which he lost and successful war with Persia which proved to be worse than a defeat: his successors had been desperately looking for a reasonably stable regime in Persia to return these gains and cut the losses). It seems that in your scenario this is still the case and, just as in the GNW, he picked out the least useful (for him) ally possible (congratulations for reflecting his thinking process so perfectly 🤗).

As far as “containment” of the Ottomans is involved, I have serious doubts that this was Peter’s major consideration at any point because they were not trying to expand anywhere close to the Russian borders. Just as during Sophia’s regency, his activities were a pure aggression. However, if in the case of Sophia it is rather hard to tell what was the ..er.. “realistic goal” (I doubt that at that time conquest of the Crimea was realistic, at least in the attempted way), with Peter we have a beautiful clarity: he wanted a port using which he could build a navy. These goals were accomplished as a result of the Azov campaigns: he built Taganrog and Azov Fleet. From this point on we are in the area of “the Great Unknown” because it is absolutely unclear how he was planning to use this fleet. In OTL after the Peace of Constantinople it was just “being there” doing nothing and when Peter embarked on the Pruth lunacy he clearly planned it as a single theater campaign in which fleet was useless (surely, it could launch an attack on Kerch or conduct some operations along the Crimea coast in a hope to distract some Tatar and Ottoman forces).

When you are taking about the new ports, which area do you have in mind? If you are talking about the Baltic coast, there were numerous existing ports including major ones of Riga and Revel. He tried to found a new military port atRågervik but it proved to be impractical (construction stopped in 1726, renewed by CII in 1762 and finally stopped in 1768 as being too expensive and lacking a practical sense). Perhaps ironically, Peter was trying to “kill” the existing trade ports by forcing imports/exports flow through St. Petersburg. He was not fully successful with the established Baltic ports but AFAIK for few years he closed Archangelsk. Here goes the same question: he built a big and expensive Baltic fleet to which purpose? During the GNW most of the naval engagements had been conducted by the Russian galleys. And between Peter’s death and the 1st Archipelago Expedition the Baltic “ship” fleet did not see too much of an action. During the Russian-Swedish War of 1741-43 it was avoiding any encounter with the Swedes. During the 7YW it was used during the 2nd and 3rd sieges of Kolberg (naval bombardment and supplies) and that was pretty much it.

It does not look like Peter was excessively busy with promoting creation of the Russian merchant fleet and the same goes for the Russian merchant class. Even close to the end of the CII reign according to the French Ambassador, Count Segur, Russian naval trade was almost non-existent due to the absence of both credit institutions and general interest. So building the new ports on the Baltic coast would cost money but hardly going to be conductive to the Russian economic development.

A word of a warning. In your coming Russian-Venetian-Ottoman War please keep in mind that Peter’s army by its tactics and logistics was ill-suited for the war against the Ottomans unless it is either purely defensive or conducted somewhere on the remote end of the Ottoman Empire so that sending reinforcements would be difficult while the Russian supply lines remain rather short and secure. Theater of the Pruth Campaign was pretty much the worst case scenario for Peter. The region remained a major theater for the next century (and nightmare logistically, getting supplies remained a major issue) but at least starting from the 1730s Russian army had a clear tactical advantage: even the cumbersome Munnich Squares had been a huge step forward. A idea of a square or columnar infantry formation acting offensively simply was not there, yet during Peter’s reign and weakness of the cavalry would not allow to copy methods of Prince Eugene (well, absence of his military genius also would be important 😢). But, besides the “objective” factors, there was also a psychological one: fear of the Ottomans. With the odds that Peter faced at Pruth any decent Russian general of the 2nd half of the XVIII would attack without a hesitation and win a victory (as Segur pointed out, by that time Russian perception was that the Ottomans are going to be beaten no matter what) but Peter freaked out and basically played Crassus: remained in a camp without access to the water and suffering from the heat and food shortage.

So if you are intended to stick to your wank Russia scenario and Peter is still going to war then probably you need to start with “wanking” him into a decent general (and to make some reasonable reforms prior to the campaign like introduction of the cuirassiers and hussars). Not to deviate too far from a reality, you may want to look at the Battle of Stavuchany (I suppose that the Battle of Kagul, not to mention the later Suvorov’s victories, would be slightly too much of a jump). Perhaps he can even be absent in an active army trusting command by his generals. Sheremetev was perhaps too cautious but in OTL Menshikov proved to be a decent and energetic field commander and Prince Michael Golitsyn was already on his way up (commander of the Guards at Poltava and lieutenant-general) and could get an independent command. And of course, Prince Anikita Repnin ( a lot of experience, even if somewhat uneven, commander of the Russian center at Poltava). Then there were good cavalry commanders like Carl Ewald von Rönne (the only one who acted with a remarkable success during the Pruth campaign forcin* capitulation of Brailov fortress) and Bauer.

And, of course, there is no need for the whole thing to go along the OTL lines strategically. There were enough forces for a multi-prong campaign in which the Azov flotilla could make a meaningful contribution. Perhaps a minimized version of the war of 1735-39 can be useful in the terms of ideas.
1593449895273.png
 
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You left Latvia within the PLC. Should be in Russia. 😜

Actually OP mentioned in some previous post that during the peace treaty, PLC demanded for Swedish Livonia and Swedish Courland (non-existent though, because Sweden did not own any part of Courland, as far as I know), so it seems like this demand was fullfilled. Not sure why Russia had given up Latvia to PLC nearing total military and political decline, but maybe Augustus II the Strong in this timeline is a better schemer and convinced Peter to fulfill initial plan and give Latvia to him. And Latvia/Livonia won't be incorporated anyway, the plan was to make this PLC's fief with Augustus II as a hereditary prince of Livonia paying homage to king of Poland (himself).
 
Actually OP mentioned in some previous post that during the peace treaty, PLC demanded for Swedish Livonia and Swedish Courland (non-existent though, because Sweden did not own any part of Courland, as far as I know), so it seems like this demand was fullfilled. Not sure why Russia had given up Latvia to PLC nearing total military and political decline, but maybe Augustus II the Strong in this timeline is a better schemer and convinced Peter to fulfill initial plan and give Latvia to him. And Latvia/Livonia won't be incorporated anyway, the plan was to make this PLC's fief with Augustus II as a hereditary prince of Livonia paying homage to king of Poland (himself).
To quote from @Israel_Dan the Man, “Livonia was taken IOTL before the POD occurred, so that was not one of my changes.”

A chance for Peter giving away the most valuable part of his Baltic conquest would be too small to discuss it seriously. In OTL he even agreed to pay Sweden a considerable compensation providing a Neystadt Treaty wording explicitly tells about the direct transfer of the provinces to Russia forever thus giving Peter a good excuse for ignoring his treaty with August. August being a better schemer would not help much: by the time of POD he is already defeated and Peter was considered his restoration on the PLC throne as enough of a reward. The PLC was not in a position to demand anything by the time of Neystadt: the treaty was strictly between Russia and Sweden.


I also doubt that the Estates of Livonia would prefer August: Peter confirmed all their privileges, they swore loyalty to him and Russian Empire was providing defnitely much better employment opportunities for the nobility and probably better economic situation for the burghers than the PLC or August’s personal domain. Definitely, a much greater security.
 
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A chance for Peter giving away the most valuable part of his Baltic conquest would be too small to discuss it seriously. In OTL he even agreed to pay Sweden a considerable compensation providing a Neystadt Treaty wording explicitly tells about the direct transfer of the provinces to Russia thus giving Peter a good excuse for ignoring his treaty with August. August being a better schemer would not help much: by the time of POD he is already defeated and Peter was considered his restoration on the PLC throne as enough of a reward. The PLC was not in a position to demand anything by the time of Neystadt: the treaty was strictly between Russia and Sweden.


I also doubt that the Estates of Livonia would prefer August: Peter confirmed all their privileges, they swore loyalty to him and Russian Empire was providing defnitely much better employment opportunities for the nobility and probably better economic situation for the burghers than the PLC or August’s personal domain. Definitely, a much greater security.

Allegedly, around 1710 Peter toyed with that idea (although according to this source he intended to give Livonia to PLC, which is contradictory to Augustus's intention). Augustus being a better schemer and somehow managing to convince Peter to give him Livonia is the only chance to get something like initial agreement between Augustus and Peter witht this POD (and this is a flimsy chance, at best, so I wrote about this to express my great doubt in Peter giving Livonia away). I didn't also mention anything about Livonian estates's opinion.
 
A Danish-Russian alliance and Russia after the GNW: 1715 to 1730
Russian-Danish Marriage Alliance
1593984488700.png
1593984429381.png
After the Great War, the powers of Russia and Denmark-Norway had a surprising amount of similarities: Both had new lands to integrate, both desired to expand their influence in Europe, and both wished to keep Sweden in check and dominate the Baltic Sea. However, since neither one wanted to fight the other for Baltic dominance for a plethora of reasons and both wanted to focus on containing Sweden, the best way for them to do this was via alliance, and the best way to secure an alliance was by marriage. Peter's daughter, Anna, was to marry Prince Christian VI of Denmark once she was of age. Alexei was Peter's eldest child, but was already married to Princess Charlotte of Brunswick by the time the Great Northern War ended.

Once Anna had reached 17, she was deemed of age and married Christian on May 21, 1725, making her the Princess of the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway. The prince was a shy but kind man who vowed never to cheat on her with any other woman (a large factor in this being his disgust at his father's infidelity, which brought Christian's mother great sorrow), and Princess Anna was rather happy to be living in Copenhagen, even if she terribly missed her home (as shown by the tearful letters she sent to her sister).

This alliance by marriage had positive and negative results. On the one hand, it had ensured that the 2 kingdoms could unite against any Swedish threat in the future. On the other hand, it made many nations across Europe alarmed and more suspicious of both nations, with quite a few states in the Holy Roman Empire along with others like Britain keeping a watchful eye on the 2 nations.


Russia begins to rise.
1593981834776.png
1593981863647.png
Russia had come out of the Great War with by far the most land gained, and had established itself as a rising power in Eastern Europe and the Baltic Seas. Now the main issue was how to advance the nation forward now that they'd won the war. Peter "the Great" decided to focus as much funding as possible into the construction of the new capital, Saint Petersburg. With the use of tens of thousands of forced laborers, Peter eventually built the city which would help open up Russia to the rest of Europe. He hired many professionals from Germany, Denmark, and the Dutch Republic to help build the infrastructure of the new capital and make the city look "western" with German style architecture. He made Saint Petersburg the capital of Russia in 1717.

Also, he encouraged the immigration of settlers from Germany and Denmark to settle in Russia in order to improve the country's economy (he promised them many privileges including citizenship and tax breaks for them to move). By 1730, an estimated 17,000 Danish and 45,000 Germans had moved to Russia since 1715, mainly settling in the Baltic provinces and Saint Petersburg. The sizable Danish immigration was helped in large part due to the recent alliance with Russia, along with the land expansion of Denmark post-GNW putting it closer to Russia's northern provinces (making immigration easier).

Peter reorganized his government based on the latest Western models, molding Russia into an absolutist state. He replaced the old boyar Duma (council of nobles) with a nine-member senate, in effect a supreme council of state. The countryside was also divided into new provinces and districts. Peter told the senate that its mission was to collect tax revenues. In turn tax revenues tripled over the course of his reign.

Administrative Collegia (ministries) were established in St. Petersburg, to replace the old governmental departments. As part of the government reform, the Orthodox Church was partially incorporated into the country's administrative structure, in effect making it a tool of the state. Peter abolished the patriarchate and replaced it with a collective body, the Holy Synod, led by a lay government official. Peter continued and intensified his predecessors' requirement of state service for all nobles.

After 1718, Peter established colleges in place of the old central agencies of government, including foreign affairs, war, navy, expense, income, justice, and inspection. Later others were added. Each college consisted of a president, a vice-president, a number of councilors and assessors, and a procurator. Some foreigners were included in various colleges but not as president. Peter believed he did not have enough loyal and talented persons to put in full charge of the various departments. Peter preferred to rely on groups of individuals who would keep check on one another. Decisions depended on the majority vote.

In 1722, Peter created a new order of precedence known as the Table of Ranks. Formerly, precedence had been determined by birth. To deprive the Boyars of their high positions, Peter directed that precedence should be determined by merit and service to the Emperor.

Peter decided that all of the children of the nobility should have some early education, especially in the areas of sciences. Therefore, on 28 February 1715, he issued a decree calling for compulsory education, which dictated that all Russian 10- to 15-year-old children of the nobility, government clerks, and lesser-ranked officials must learn basic mathematics and geometry, and should be tested on the subjects at the end of their studies.

Peter introduced new taxes to fund improvements in Saint Petersburg. He abolished the land tax and household tax and replaced them with a poll tax. The taxes on land and on households were payable only by individuals who owned property or maintained families; the new head taxes, however, were payable by serfs and paupers. In 1725 the construction of Peterhof, a palace near Saint Petersburg, was completed. Peterhof (Dutch for "Peter's Court") was a grand residence, becoming known as the "Russian Versailles".

Peter also formed a modern regular army built on the German model, but with a new aspect: officers not necessarily from nobility, as talented commoners were given promotions that eventually included a noble title at the attainment of an officer's rank. Conscription of peasants and townspeople was based on quota system, per settlement. Initially it was based on the number of households, later it would be based on the population numbers. In the 1722-1723 Russo-Persian War, this military (which had been given 8 years to develop) was quite successful and easily defeated the Safavid armies, resulting in Russia permanently annexing Derbent, Baku, and the province of Shirvan. Persia would've suffered worse, but fortunately the Ottomans didn't join due to heavy Russo-Ottoman tensions.

While many the reforms Peter made would either take years or decades to be fully installed (to say nothing of resistance from conservative members of government), his reforms would help modernize Russia's economy, military, and society, aiding it immensely for centuries to come. The military aspect in particular would be crucial once Russia went to war again in 1730.

As for the modernizing tsar himself, he managed to keep a close relationship with his sister-in law, Tsarevna Natalya Alexeyevna, due to him managing to reconnect with her soon after the Great Northern War had ended. She'd nearly died from a catarrh in 1716, but she was saved by Peter the Great's doctors (and it had been a close thing, since she might not have survived had she not been in Saint Petersburg with her brother in-law). Despite the illness, she managed to recover and continue her pre-war habit of performing plays to support Peter the Great's reforms and oppose the conservative "old guard". Because of this, he named her his heir in 1725 after nearly dying from his illnesses, but he would succumb to a gangrenous bladder just one year later. [1]

This left Natalya Alexeyevna as the Tsarina of the Russian Empire. The first 4 years would see her continue her late brother in-law's reforms and gradually modernize the nation, but her first test would come in 1730, when war would consume Europe for the first time in 15 years...

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[1] Multiple minor butterfly effects are created by the war ending earlier, which leads to Peter living one year more (though a death scare causes him to name his sister in-law as an heir due to her supporting his reforms), and Natalya Alexeyevna survives her catarrh due to staying in the city with Peter, which let the best Russian doctors save her (which they could not have done had she gone to visit Eudoxia like she did IOTL. On that note, Peter living longer and Natalya continuing her pro-reform plays will be small but helpful pushes in Russia's reformation. Nothing major, just a little btw.
 
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Great chapter! Peter managed some very important reforms here and named a successor with out a hassle and even a marriage to cement his alliance, very interested for the next chapter about this war, keep up the good work!
 
Russian-Danish Marriage Alliance
View attachment 563441View attachment 563440
After the Great War, the powers of Russia and Denmark-Norway had a surprising amount of similarities: Both had new lands to integrate, both desired to expand their influence in Europe, and both wished to keep Sweden in check and dominate the Baltic Sea. However, since neither one wanted to fight the other for Baltic dominance for a plethora of reasons and both wanted to focus on containing Sweden, the best way for them to do this was via alliance, and the best way to secure an alliance was by marriage. Peter's daughter, Anna, was to marry Prince Christian VI of Denmark once she was of age. Alexei was Peter's eldest child, but was already married to Princess Charlotte of Brunswick by the time the Great Northern War ended.

Once Anna had reached 17, she was deemed of age and married Christian on May 21, 1725, making her the Princess of the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway. The prince was a shy but kind man who vowed never to cheat on her with any other woman (a large factor in this being his disgust at his father's infidelity, which brought Christian's mother great sorrow), and Princess Anna was rather happy to be living in Copenhagen, even if she terribly missed her home (as shown by the tearful letters she sent to her sister).

This alliance by marriage had positive and negative results. On the one hand, it had ensured that the 2 kingdoms could unite against any Swedish threat in the future. On the other hand, it made many nations across Europe alarmed and more suspicious of both nations, with quite a few states in the Holy Roman Empire along with others like Britain keeping a watchful eye on the 2 nations.


Russia had come out of the Great War with by far the most land gained, and had established itself as a rising power in Eastern Europe and the Baltic Seas. Now the main issue was how to advance the nation forward now that they'd won the war. Peter "the Great" decided to focus as much funding as possible into the construction of the new capital, Saint Petersburg. With the use of tens of thousands of forced laborers, Peter eventually built the city which would help open up Russia to the rest of Europe. He hired many professionals from Germany, Denmark, and the Dutch Republic to help build the infrastructure of the new capital and make the city look "western" with German style architecture. He made Saint Petersburg the capital of Russia in 1717.

Also, he encouraged the immigration of settlers from Germany and Denmark to settle in Russia in order to improve the country's economy (he promised them many privileges including citizenship and tax breaks for them to move). By 1730, an estimated 17,000 Danish and 45,000 Germans had moved to Russia since 1715, mainly settling in the Baltic provinces and Saint Petersburg. The sizable Danish immigration was helped in large part due to the recent alliance with Russia, along with the land expansion of Denmark post-GNW putting it closer to Russia's northern provinces (making immigration easier).

Peter reorganized his government based on the latest Western models, molding Russia into an absolutist state. He replaced the old boyar Duma (council of nobles) with a nine-member senate, in effect a supreme council of state. The countryside was also divided into new provinces and districts. Peter told the senate that its mission was to collect tax revenues. In turn tax revenues tripled over the course of his reign.

Administrative Collegia (ministries) were established in St. Petersburg, to replace the old governmental departments. In 1722 Peter promulgated his famous Table of Ranks. As part of the government reform, the Orthodox Church was partially incorporated into the country's administrative structure, in effect making it a tool of the state. Peter abolished the patriarchate and replaced it with a collective body, the Holy Synod, led by a lay government official. Peter continued and intensified his predecessors' requirement of state service for all nobles.

After 1718, Peter established colleges in place of the old central agencies of government, including foreign affairs, war, navy, expense, income, justice, and inspection. Later others were added. Each college consisted of a president, a vice-president, a number of councilors and assessors, and a procurator. Some foreigners were included in various colleges but not as president. Peter believed he did not have enough loyal and talented persons to put in full charge of the various departments. Peter preferred to rely on groups of individuals who would keep check on one another. Decisions depended on the majority vote.

In 1722, Peter created a new order of precedence known as the Table of Ranks. Formerly, precedence had been determined by birth. To deprive the Boyars of their high positions, Peter directed that precedence should be determined by merit and service to the Emperor.

Peter decided that all of the children of the nobility should have some early education, especially in the areas of sciences. Therefore, on 28 February 1715, he issued a decree calling for compulsory education, which dictated that all Russian 10- to 15-year-old children of the nobility, government clerks, and lesser-ranked officials must learn basic mathematics and geometry, and should be tested on the subjects at the end of their studies.

Peter introduced new taxes to fund improvements in Saint Petersburg. He abolished the land tax and household tax and replaced them with a poll tax. The taxes on land and on households were payable only by individuals who owned property or maintained families; the new head taxes, however, were payable by serfs and paupers. In 1725 the construction of Peterhof, a palace near Saint Petersburg, was completed. Peterhof (Dutch for "Peter's Court") was a grand residence, becoming known as the "Russian Versailles".

Peter also formed a modern regular army built on the German model, but with a new aspect: officers not necessarily from nobility, as talented commoners were given promotions that eventually included a noble title at the attainment of an officer's rank. Conscription of peasants and townspeople was based on quota system, per settlement. Initially it was based on the number of households, later it would be based on the population numbers. In the 1722-1723 Russo-Persian War, this military (which had been given 8 years to develop) was quite successful and easily defeated the Safavid armies, resulting in Russia permanently annexing Derbent, Baku, and the province of Shirvan. Persia would've suffered worse, but fortunately the Ottomans didn't join due to heavy Russo-Ottoman tensions.

While many the reforms Peter made would either take years or decades to be fully installed (to say nothing of resistance from conservative members of government), his reforms would help modernize Russia's economy, military, and society, aiding it immensely for centuries to come. The military aspect in particular would be crucial once Russia went to war again in 1730.

As for the modernizing tsar himself, he managed to keep a close relationship with his sister-in law, Tsarevna Natalya Alexeyevna, due to him managing to reconnect with her soon after the Great Northern War had ended. She'd nearly died from a catarrh in 1716, but she was saved by Peter the Great's doctors (and it had been a close thing, since she might not have survived had she not been in Saint Petersburg with her brother in-law). Despite the illness, she managed to recover and continue her pre-war habit of performing plays to support Peter the Great's reforms and oppose the conservative "old guard". Because of this, he named her his heir in 1725 after nearly dying from his illnesses, but he would succumb to a gangrenous bladder just one year later. [1]

This left Natalya Alexeyevna as the Tsarina of the Russian Empire. The first 4 years would see her continue her late brother in-law's reforms and gradually modernize the nation, but her first test would come in 1730, when war would consume Europe for the first time in 15 years...

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[1] Multiple minor butterfly effects are created by the war ending earlier, which leads to Peter living one year more (though a death scare causes him to name his sister in-law as an heir due to her supporting his reforms), and Natalya Alexeyevna survives her catarrh due to staying in the city with Peter, which let the best Russian doctors save her (which they could not have done had she gone to visit Eudoxia like she did IOTL. On that note, Peter living longer and Natalya continuing her pro-reform plays will be small but helpful pushes in Russia's reformation. Nothing major, just a little btw.
Couple comments:
1. Appointment by pedigree, местничество, had been abolished during the reign of Feodor III and Peter has nothing to do with that act. If anything, his military establishment looked as a combination of the Russian version of Almanach de Gotha (Sheremetev, Repnin, Golitsin, Dolgorukov, Apraxin, Buturlin, how can you be more aristocratic?) and the foreign mercenaries. Menshikov was “an exceptio; that confirms the rule”.
2. Peter’s “reforms” had problems not due to the resistance of the non-existent “conservative members of government” (why would he appoint such people to start with?) but because many of them had been impractical or even plain idiotic. Probably the most obvious example would be the poll tax. It was based upon the census conducted once and the numbers kept being used without adjustment to the deaths. Contrary to what the term implies, it was not paid by the individuals (including professional paupers): a collective responsibility had been placed upon the rural and urban communities with a resulting greater burden on the payers and inability to collect the projected amounts. The problem was near catastrophic by the reign of CI, aka, immediately after Peter’s death: while he was alive nobody dared to bring up that issue.
3. A big part of the Persian conquest proved to be a terrible burden because these territories had been brining nothing but the garrisons placed there had been dying out from the diseases in a rate which was quite disastrous. The problem was that due to the internal instability in Persia there was no government to which these lands could be returned. When finally Nader Shah came to power the territories had been given back to Persia with a huge sight of a relief.
4. Peter’s modernization of the Russian army did not come out of blue: during the reign of his father more than a half of the Russian military force had been “the regiments of the new style” built upon the Western model with the adjustments to the Russian specifics. Peter pretty much destroyed what was already there and just witlessly copied what he was considering “Western regular army” and what few decades later Potemkin summarily defindeed as “crap” (дрянь). He picked the worst available infantry and cavalry tactics, the uniforms absolutely unsuitable for the Russian climate thus causing big losses due to the health-related issues. Conscription system was brutal: the assembled recruits, prior to being sent to their regiments, had been held in the local prisons and then marched to the destination in chains to prevent a desertion. Army (plus navy) had been consuming over 80% of the state revenue in a peace time in a “regime of economy”: to save state’s money, there were no barracks and the military had been billeted in the civilians’ houses with an unlimited right of extortion.
5. So-called mandatory home education had been mocked in a famous play “Недоросль”.
6. Natalia as a successor is an interesting idea by just staging the plays in a home theater would not be enough of an experience to deal with the inherited mess. One would need a support from a powerful clique. And the options were limited and none of them too good:
(a) Menshikov & Co. Uncontrollable thief with the huge ambitions who would be (was in OTL) trying to get a maximum of power (and related opportunity to keep stealing). Was defending “the military interests” - continuation of the 80-85% budget spendings on army and billeting. No cancellation of the disastrous poll tax. The Guards are on his side.
(b) The ...er.. “aristocratic opposition”. Not the “reactionaries” or opponents of the “Westernization” (had been actively working in that direction under Peter and most of them were well-educated people). But wanted power for themselves.
Natalya does not have any backing base of her own and her experience in governing is zero.
 
Couple comments:
1. Appointment by pedigree, местничество, had been abolished during the reign of Feodor III and Peter has nothing to do with that act. If anything, his military establishment looked as a combination of the Russian version of Almanach de Gotha (Sheremetev, Repnin, Golitsin, Dolgorukov, Apraxin, Buturlin, how can you be more aristocratic?) and the foreign mercenaries. Menshikov was “an exceptio; that confirms the rule”.
2. Peter’s “reforms” had problems not due to the resistance of the non-existent “conservative members of government” (why would he appoint such people to start with?) but because many of them had been impractical or even plain idiotic. Probably the most obvious example would be the poll tax. It was based upon the census conducted once and the numbers kept being used without adjustment to the deaths. Contrary to what the term implies, it was not paid by the individuals (including professional paupers): a collective responsibility had been placed upon the rural and urban communities with a resulting greater burden on the payers and inability to collect the projected amounts. The problem was near catastrophic by the reign of CI, aka, immediately after Peter’s death: while he was alive nobody dared to bring up that issue.
3. A big part of the Persian conquest proved to be a terrible burden because these territories had been brining nothing but the garrisons placed there had been dying out from the diseases in a rate which was quite disastrous. The problem was that due to the internal instability in Persia there was no government to which these lands could be returned. When finally Nader Shah came to power the territories had been given back to Persia with a huge sight of a relief.
4. Peter’s modernization of the Russian army did not come out of blue: during the reign of his father more than a half of the Russian military force had been “the regiments of the new style” built upon the Western model with the adjustments to the Russian specifics. Peter pretty much destroyed what was already there and just witlessly copied what he was considering “Western regular army” and what few decades later Potemkin summarily defindeed as “crap” (дрянь). He picked the worst available infantry and cavalry tactics, the uniforms absolutely unsuitable for the Russian climate thus causing big losses due to the health-related issues. Conscription system was brutal: the assembled recruits, prior to being sent to their regiments, had been held in the local prisons and then marched to the destination in chains to prevent a desertion. Army (plus navy) had been consuming over 80% of the state revenue in a peace time in a “regime of economy”: to save state’s money, there were no barracks and the military had been billeted in the civilians’ houses with an unlimited right of extortion.
5. So-called mandatory home education had been mocked in a famous play “Недоросль”.
6. Natalia as a successor is an interesting idea by just staging the plays in a home theater would not be enough of an experience to deal with the inherited mess. One would need a support from a powerful clique. And the options were limited and none of them too good:
(a) Menshikov & Co. Uncontrollable thief with the huge ambitions who would be (was in OTL) trying to get a maximum of power (and related opportunity to keep stealing). Was defending “the military interests” - continuation of the 80-85% budget spendings on army and billeting. No cancellation of the disastrous poll tax. The Guards are on his side.
(b) The ...er.. “aristocratic opposition”. Not the “reactionaries” or opponents of the “Westernization” (had been actively working in that direction under Peter and most of them were well-educated people). But wanted power for themselves.
Natalya does not have any backing base of her own and her experience in governing is zero.
1. If you don’t mind me asking, who do you think is likeliest to succeed Peter ITTL? Anna? Alexei was killed just like IOTL, so he is a no go.
2. Good point. Unfortunately, there is nothing that would make him not do the poll tax ITTL since that is what he did IOTL. Though it will probably get removed quite a bit earlier than IOTL.
3. To be fair, the Russians captured far less land than IOTL, since IOTL they captured a lot of northern OTL Iran as well while ITTL they just annexed the northern part of Azerbaijan.
4. Ouch. I was just thinking that ITTL, the war ending earlier means that the army is somewhat better than IOTL, because while like you said the quality of the “new” army wasn’t great, it is still the first step on the path to a modern army and is definitely better than the army that existed before his father.
5. Interesting, but that is still what happened IOTL and there is nothing that would change it ITTL without being ASB.
6. Do you think it would be possible for her to side with the second clique you mentioned? Out of necessity?
 
1. If you don’t mind me asking, who do you think is likeliest to succeed Peter ITTL? Anna? Alexei was killed just like IOTL, so he is a no go.
2. Good point. Unfortunately, there is nothing that would make him not do the poll tax ITTL since that is what he did IOTL. Though it will probably get removed quite a bit earlier than IOTL.
3. To be fair, the Russians captured far less land than IOTL, since IOTL they captured a lot of northern OTL Iran as well while ITTL they just annexed the northern part of Azerbaijan.
4. Ouch. I was just thinking that ITTL, the war ending earlier means that the army is somewhat better than IOTL, because while like you said the quality of the “new” army wasn’t great, it is still the first step on the path to a modern army and is definitely better than the army that existed before his father.
5. Interesting, but that is still what happened IOTL and there is nothing that would change it ITTL without being ASB.
6. Do you think it would be possible for her to side with the second clique you mentioned? Out of necessity?
The main point was to explain that Peter left Russia in a very lousy shape practically in all areas and acquisition of few tiny provinces coul$ not change this sad fact.

To #1. Formally, anybody. Out of the realistic enemies (plus ATL Natalya) Peter Alexeevich (formally, the most eligible candidate), Elizabeth. What about Catherine? Is she around in your TL? She had a strong backing by the Guards. Then goes Anna Petrovna and the daughters of Ivan V.
#2. The comment was about not introducing that tax but about the general style of Peter’s reforms: they quite often had the disastrous results and their failure was not due to the conservative opposition (presumably, the long-bearded boyars hiding in the dark corners) but because they were foolish or plain idiotic like an order to use the western-style looms: most of the fabric production had been done by the individuals and the wide western devices did not fit into the small peasant houses (eventually, the industrial scale manufactures had been created and all their workers became serfs). Or the order to the shipbuilders of the North to build the Dutch-style ships instead of their traditional ones well suited for sailin* in the icy waters. Soldiers wearing the tricorner hats, stockings and shoes in the Russian winter or spring/fall mud ..... the old uniforms had been much better suited for the climate, etc.
#3. Even the limited conquest in that direction came too early: Russia did not need the area an$ could not afford conquest for the sake of conquest.
#4. The point was that instead of an evolution Peter, typically, chose a revolution and picked the worst possible practices. Of course, after years of fighting army developed certain experience but the related losses and expenses had been huge and the results not too impressive: an encounter with the Ottomans had been a disaster. Post-Petrian army was not well-suited for the European war and Munnich had to conduct a number of reforms including Introduction of the cuirassiers (for which Russia did not have its own horses, they had to be purchased abroad). Pretty much the same goes for the war with the Ottomans: by 1730 Russian army did not have a proper logistics and tactics. The war was won but the non-battle losses had been huge.
#5. It was not about what could be done but about the “education reform” being one more phony project. There were simply not enough qualified people to provide tutors for most of the Russian nobility.
#6. In OTL at the time of Peter’s death “opposition” was backing his grandson and had been defeated by the Guards. As a consolation prize CI added some of the top aristocrats to the Privy Council. So, unless there are some political shifts, the Guards are the decisive factor in the selection of a successor. However, if there is Peter’s will, the successor can start creating a party of his/her own and the rest depends upon the brains and luck. Anyway, the people I’m talking about had been mostly well-educated and experienced administrators, diplomats and military. If they are not given too much power, they can be quite useful.
 
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