No GNW (or “Peter goes South”)

Good TL on Russia. I must admit i was baffled with Russia not planning to go after the Ottoman's beyond Crimea given Peters focus south, but when I look at it again entire Russian otl Balkan policy can be summed nicely at Berlin congress. Russia making massive sacrifice and gains only for them to get mostly reversed and Austria getting Bosnia/Serbia in it's sphere of influence.

Who would have thought that creating bunch of small states on the Balkans wouldn't increase Russian influence there? Anyway i agree that not expanding further in the Balkans is probably good call for Russia as it saves resources, plus Ottomans are far better buffer opposed to various Balkan states and Balkans being in Ottoman hands just means that Russia has convenient place it can invade the Ottoman's if they think about reversing Russian gains , or if it decides to go for more trade concessions . Plus Balkans are nice source of population for Russia to settle it's eastern lands ...
In OTL neither Charles nor Peter had been a fool but both of them had been obsessed with their own ideas so why not to readjust these ideas a little bit to make them compatible instead of clashing? BTW, a pretty much pointless conflict lasted not for few decades but for more than a century and could last longer if the Swedes did not chose my favorite Napoleonic marshal. So why not cut it short?

That was actually biggest hype for me in this TL, Swedish Empire maintaining it's Great power status, as much as I like to see good Russian TL what i look forward more is to see what is happening in Sweden, i hope to see a update that gives closer look in internal policies of Sweden given that Charles has more free time to focus his energy internally.

As of now external situation for them is quite favorable from my understanding, they managed to reaffirm their great power status in quick war, get some good profitable territories , resolve potential territorial dispute with Russia and secure the eastern rear , improved economic situation a great deal and from European perspective Sweden is senior ally to Russia while pretty much vassalizing PLC.

If Charles manages to win against potential Danish/Prussian coalition (as i personally don't see Danes being crazy enough to go at it alone despite Russia not being taken seriously, Sweden appears to be quite formidable after all ) i could see him being called the Great as well. That is if he decides to exchange some notes with French philosophers on how great their works are. Though i wonder will Russia participate in future war? On one side they can't gain a lot territorially wise directly , on other side money (reforms are expensive), Danish concessions regarding the trade through Strait's, plus potential territorial exchange with PLC at expense of their rivals are all in the box.

Though i must say that most impressive person so far is August the wise , it takes a lot to start a war to secure PLC throne for your son, only to lose said war and still achieve wanted original objective.

Hopefully his son takes after his father and learnes how to be good pet to his future master's.
 
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Enjoying peaceful life… New
39. Enjoying the peaceful life

“War was the only entertainment of the kings in which their subjects also participated” (Fanfan the Tulip).​

While I’m a great admirer of this movie (1952 version) [1], I somewhat disagree with this specific statement because there was at least one more royal entertainment in which the subjects had been directly involved: financing creation of the royal residencies and direct participation in the construction process. There is no need for the artificial limiting the nation-wide entertainments. 😂

«За досаду боярину сталося, за великую обиду показалося» (Boyarin was greatly aggravated)
This is from the XVIII song about Prince Gagarin being envious of the palace being built by a “traitor” Prince Vasily Golitsyn and ordering construction of his own palace.

The impromptus must be well-rehearsed”
common knowledge​



Monplesir’s construction was not complete, yet, when it came to Peter’s attention that by building a modest summer residence he is somehow underselling his newly-acquired imperial status [2]. Surely, all these foreign ambassadors are already making condescending remarks about his modest residence in Kremlin and now this “parochial” summer residence…. Isn’t it enough that the Danish ambassador Just Juel keeps criticizing pretty much each and every aspect of the Russian state for not being an exact replica of Denmark and, as such, barbaric [3].
1642101656653.jpeg


So, how about something bigger and greater, worthy of a great monarch? Le Blond immediately presented a sketch of his vision of a new Big Kremlin Palace [4], which would require demolition of the half of Kremlin but was going to be truly majestic (Menshikov made one of his “I’m a honest guy and have nothing to do with it” faces, which Peter knew quite well and to which a standard reaction was promise to renew his stick’s familiarity with Menshikov’s backside). As much as Peter disliked the old Kremlin, the very scope of its destruction look excessive and politically unsound [5].
But a proposal to expand the summer residence by making it truly imperial found a much warmer reception, especially when it was underscored that the new palace may overlook the Gulf of Finland in a much more majestic (and cheaper) way than Versailles’s pathetic Brand Canal. Now, this Peter really liked, especially after an opportunity of an easy direct communication with Charles was brought in: a short sail across the Baltic and either you are in Stockholm or he is in your …. should we call it “Peterhof”? No, Le Blond does not have ready plans for, yet, but he knows the area quite well and is ready to travel to it immediately and return fast with some outlines for a general idea which you can overview. It also looks like there are nearby water sources on a higher level which would allow a lot of the fountains without the laughable water shortage problems which King Louis faces in his Versailles [6]: we’ll be able to have them functioning around the clock. Peter, who loved the fountains almost as much as he liked the fireworks and pulling the teeth [7], was sold and just expressed a wish for few “surprise” fountains to satisfy what passed for his sense of humor [8].

Now came the practical part. It was obvious without saying that for Menshikov the goal of the whole exercise was to place himself if not directly in charge then at least in a position in which he is capable to control the contracts (and to take bribes, of course). Peter was quite willing to accommodate him on this because, with all his faults, Menshikov was probably a single person who could guarantee the result being to Peter’s liking. Of course, he will take bribes (who cares) and most probably will “confuse” some of the state money with his own but against this specific disease Peter had (and Menshikov knew it quite well) a miracle medicine called Pavel Yaguzhinsky, supervisor of Peter’ assemblies and one of his drinking buddies but, more relevant in this case, Prosecutor-General of the Senate [9] who "was distinguished by directness, honesty and integrity, tirelessness in the work".
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“Aleksashka” will try to steal, Yaguzhinsky (who was not his friend) will try to catch him. Of course, when caught, Menshikov will not be executed but he will be forced to return a big part of the sum he embezzled. So this was fine and Menshikov got his appointment as an overseer construction of Peterhof with an additional task of creating «тракт» (the improved quality road with the postal stations and accommodations along it ) between Moscow and St. Petersburg with an equally good quality branch to Peterhof: Peter was planning to use this road frequently and did not want to suffer from the potholes, broken bridges and cockroaches [10].


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More of the merry peaceful life….

As far as Peter was concerned, if there is a peace, then everybody must enjoy it. And, of course, the form of enjoyment must be “European” [11], well-regulated [12] and properly overseen. For the last function he appointed “Tsar of the balls”, Paul Yaguzhinsky, who took this duty just as seriously as his diplomatic missions or position of Prosecutor-General: “If Yaguzhinsky ordered to drink, everybody had to drink even if a number of the drained glasses was exceeding everything that could be considered realistic. If Yaguzhinsky, after such a dinner, became “active” and ordered to dance, you can be assured that all doors are locked and guarded and that the guests will have to dance until they drop.” Which is what you can call a properly organized entertainment. These “assemblies” had to happen three times per week in the private residencies and Peter ordered to print “Explanation how to conduct the assemblies”: “Assemblee is a French word which is impossible to explain in a single word in Russian - it is a voluntary meeting in a private house, not just for fun but for business as well because you can meet here a friend and discuss whichever business you want, to hear the news and still have a fun”. The rules followed:
1. Owner of the house in which an assembly is going to happen must declare, by a letter or other sign, about the coming event which any make and female may freely attend.
2. It should nor start before 4 or 5PM and should not continue after 10AM.
3. The host should not greet his guests, wish them farewell or force them to eat and drink but he must clear few rooms and provide the tables, candles, drinks and the games played at the tables.

One of the “cleared” rooms was allocated for the dances, another for the checkers, chess and cards, the third one for the smoking and male discussions and the fourth for the women. A host also had to provide a music for the dances (either his own orchestra or a borrowed one). Breaking of the rules was punished by drinking a goblet of “Big Eagle” (something like 1 liter). When they became a tradition, the winter season was opened and closed by the assemblies in Menshikov’s palace.

All this was augmented by the banquets and masquerades and had been taken quite seriously: during one of the multi-day masquerade the Senators had been attending the Senate meetings in masks [13].


As a side note, many rich aristocrats in Moscow had been keeping an open table: anybody decently dressed could come in, be seated and served food. Small wonder that some of them ended with all their wealth being “eaten”.
______________
[1] What sense does it make to produce a remake of a pretty much perfect movie is beyond me. Well, never mind.
[2] Quite occassionally, when visiting Menshikov’s new residence, Peter saw the plans and engravings of the Verssailles. It was, of course, a pure coincidence that these specific sheets had been laying on the top of a pile of other graphic materials placed on the table for the guests’ entertainment (a new practice introduced by Peter himself as a part of the new social life). It was also a pure coincidence that at the same time architect Le Blond had been visiting General-Governor of Moscow to discuss some business related to the “westernization” of the capital. And most definitely all the above had absolutely nothing to do with anything else that may come to your mind. Honi soit qui mal y pense (Shame on him who thinks evil of it). Ah yes, and I have a really nice bridge to sell. 😂
[3] In his descriptions of Russia he, indeed, projected a condescending attitude. How justified or unjustified was it in each specific item is besides the point.
[4] Actually, this was Bajenov’s plan presented during the reign of CII.
[5] Kremlin being a semi-sacred place, why step on too many toes without a real necessity. Not to mention that it was not quite clear how to use this monstrosity.
[6] The problems did exist. IIRC, the fountains (which are really beautiful) had been functioning only when the Louis was approaching.
[7] Among other things, he left 3 big bags with the teeth which he personally extracted.
[8] You are walking along a path and suddenly a hidden fountain jumps into action leaving you wet. Peter, who sits on a nearby bench and presses a hidden pedal, is laughing. Much less harmless than forcing you to drink a vinegar, having a candle pushed up your ass, forcing you to sit on a bucket of eggs and many other types of his favorite jokes.
[9] Something like AG. Actually, he was assigned to this position much later.
[10] Ne was afraid of them.
[11] Aka, no fistfights, no domesticated bear attacking the guests who refused to drink and no other traditional forms of an entertainment like those favored by “Prince-Caesar” Romodanovsky.
[12] This had nothing to do with Europe: Peter just loved to write the instructions. In the earlier chapters I reproduced some related to the simple social visits: he obviously did not trust ability and willingness of his subjects to find a toilet in the house they are visiting.
[13] No, this is not a current politics and has nothing to do withnyou-know-what: really did happen.
 
Good TL on Russia. I must admit i was baffled with Russia not planning to go after the Ottoman's beyond Crimea given Peters focus south, but when I look at it again entire Russian otl Balkan policy can be summed nicely at Berlin congress. Russia making massive sacrifice and gains only for them to get mostly reversed and Austria getting Bosnia/Serbia in it's sphere of influence.

Who would have thought that creating bunch of small states on the Balkans wouldn't increase Russian influence there? Anyway i agree that not expanding further in the Balkans is probably good call for Russia as it saves resources, plus Ottomans are far better buffer opposed to various Balkan states and Balkans being in Ottoman hands just means that Russia has convenient place it can invade the Ottoman's if they think about reversing Russian gains , or if it decides to go for more trade concessions . Plus Balkans are nice source of population for Russia to settle it's eastern lands ...


That was actually biggest hype for me in this TL, Swedish Empire maintaining it's Great power status, as much as I like to see good Russian TL what i look forward more is to see what is happening in Sweden, i hope to see a update that gives closer look in internal policies of Sweden given that Charles has more free time to focus his energy internally.

As of now external situation for them is quite favorable from my understanding, they managed to reaffirm their great power status in quick war, get some good profitable territories , resolve potential territorial dispute with Russia and secure the eastern rear , improved economic situation a great deal and from European perspective Sweden is senior ally to Russia while pretty much vassalizing PLC.

If Charles manages to win against potential Danish/Prussian coalition (as i personally don't see Danes being crazy enough to go at it alone despite Russia not being taken seriously, Sweden appears to be quite formidable after all ) i could see him being called the Great as well. That is if he decides to exchange some notes with French philosophers on how great their works are. Though i wonder will Russia participate in future war? On one side they can't gain a lot territorially wise directly , on other side money (reforms are expensive), Danish concessions regarding the trade through Strait's, plus potential territorial exchange with PLC at expense of their rivals are all in the box.

Though i must say that most impressive person so far is August the wise , it takes a lot to start a war to secure PLC throne for your son, only to lose said war and still achieve wanted original objective.

Hopefully his son takes after his father and learnes how to be good pet to his future master's.
Can’t promise a lot on Sweden simply because I don’t know too much.

But you got the Balkan idea correctly: it is much more profitable for the imperial Russia to be on the good terms with the Ottomans, which allows a profitable trade with them and even more profitable trade due to the open access to the Mediterranean than to pursue the fantastic ideas regarding conquests which were simply technically impossible and the failed attempts to implement which had been extremely costly.

I’m still not sure about the anti-Swedish war of Denmark-Prussia-whatever coalition: probably a lot depends upon the “whatever”. If this happens, Peter is definitely in (and probably August in his electoral capacity) but let him create a Baltic squadron first. 😜

Not sure about Charles and the philosophers but, according to @von Adler (my greatest
authority on the things Swedish just as @Jürgen is on the things Danish 😜), even in OTL he was quite dedicated to his duties as a monarch so probably, if not “disturbed”, he could just try to be a good ruler of a peaceful and prosperous country, which is, of course, less exciting then to be permanently at war but probably is going to be appreciated by his subjects. 😂 The main problem for me (due to the shortage of the needed information) is what’s next: marriage or OTL-like passage of the throne to the Holstein, skipping his younger sister (who is now an Orthodox) and her children?
What to do with Peter’s nieces?
 
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Not sure about Charles and the philosophers but, according to @von Adler (my greatest
authority on the things Swedish just as @Jürgen is on the things Danish 😜), even in OTL he was quite dedicated to his duties as a monarch so probably, if not “disturbed”, he could just try to be a good ruler of a peaceful and prosperous country, which is, of course, less exciting then to be permanently at war but probably is going to be appreciated by his subjects. 😂 The main problem for me (due to the shortage of the needed information) is what’s next: marriage or OTL-like passage of the throne to the Holstein, skipping his younger sister (who is now an Orthodox) and her children?
What to do with Peter’s nieces?
Yeah, Karl XII had a few bouts with drinking and debauchery, especially when visited by his brother-in-law Duke Fredrik IV of Holstein-Gottorp, but had by 1699 promised his complaining grandmother to not drink anymore (which in the times meant not drinking hard spirits and not too much wine), which he kept during his life.

He did like his father take an active role as the supreme judge of the realm. Sweden had three levels of courts - the häradsrätt (härad court, a härad was usually two parishes), staffed by 12 reliable peasants elected by their peers at the parish council and chaired by the appointed häradshövding (bailiff) appointed by the King, but it was common for the often noble häradshövding to consider this duty less important (or beneath them) and let the elder among the elected peasants fill his role. This level of court was to sentence according to the strictest interpretation of the law and was not allowed to consider any mitigating circumstances. In the cities, the rådhusrätt filled the same role with 12 elected burghers instead. The second level was the hovrätt, which was staffed by (most often) noblemen selected by the King. These were allowed to consider mitigating circumstances, and almost any case that resulted in really severe punishment was taken up in the hovrätt. And after that the highest court was the King himself.

Karl is probably busying himself like his father did with quick travels and inspections - the last few years of his father's reign, he often followed on these trips, in which the King travelled light, with no official ceremonies, dressed very practically and with a minimal following (in the legends he travels alone in a simple grey coat) to catch officials, officers and civil servants unawares. In one of these legends, Karl XI arrives at a city too late to wake up the burghmeister and resolves to sleep in the city square. The night watchman finds him, wakes him up and sends him out of the city, as it is not allowed to loiter and sleep in the streets, unawares that it is the King he's ousting. The King leaves a letter of recommendation and a silver coin for the watchman as an appreciation for his dedication to his duty.

When it comes to marriage, Karl would probably marry. His father and mother had what seemed for the time a loving marriage and he did state that he wanted to marry for love. Whether he was asexual, homosexual or simply had a low libido and a strong dedication to duty has been heavily debated by historians, but most agree that there are no real evidence of any sexual affairs beyond some of the early rumours peddled by diplomats in Stockholm (which could very well be made up gossip they included in their reports to have something to write about). But marrying and having an heir is one of the main duties of his office, and I don't think he would shirk it, especially as his experience of royal marriages (his mother's and father's) is that they can be happy if done right. He would be one of the most sought after bachelors in Europe, I think.

OTL Karl attempted to get Sweden on the Gregorian calendar, tried to reform the tax system and introduce an income tax to replace tolls and land rent (but this one was mostly due to the economical hardships and might not happen if Sweden is not close to bankrupcy due to the war), worked the traffic system (introducing right hand driving for carts). If he wants to, he could get himself busy in trying to reform the Swedish currency - which at the time was divided into daler kopparmynt, and daler silvermynt and daler with the first being copper, and the second two being silver, but riksdaler being so high in silver content that it had long since disappeared from circulation and mostly being a bookkeeping unit. Then there were Swedish doucat gold coins, but they were generally only used by the crown to reward officers, civil servants and officials and not in general circulation.

Then there's the construction of Stockholm's castle, which I could see Karl XII busy himself with a bit. OTL the construction work was but on the backburner when the war broke out, and ceased completely 1709 only to be resumed 1726 not to be completely finished until 1795. ITTL, the King has time to devote to the project, and the Swedish state has far, far more money to put on it. Originally, the architect Nicomedus Thessin expected a 6 year building period, but the Little Nordic War surely delayed things, as would the War of Spanish Succession (making it hard to get French and Italian sculptors and artists), but by 1710 or so, perhaps Peter, Alexei and Ulrika Eleonora will be invited to a grand housewarming party?
 
What to do with Peter’s nieces?

Well he could try to marry Catherine to Carl (nine year difference isn't so big ). While it was stated that he doesn't want to be entangled in dinastic troubles that come with dinastic marriages his alliance with Sweden appears to be long-term thing and making it even stronger is in his interest.
 
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Well he could try to marry Catherine to Carl (nine year difference isn't so big ). While it was stated that he doesn't want to be entangled in dinastic troubles that come with dinastic marriages his alliance with Sweden appears to be long-term thing and making it even stronger is in his interest.
The problem is that generally, Russian princesses did not marry non-orthodox. Then again, they did marry Anna to Karl Fredrik and Catherine to Karl Leopold so I suppose it is possible - Peter seems to have been fine with it like previous and later Russian heads of the Romanov dynasty were not.

Dynastic problems were really not much of a thing for Sweden - Swedish monarchs married Danish princesses several times, despite the two countries being arch-enemies. Karl's mother, Ulrika Eleonora (the elder) was a Danish princess.
 
Yeah, Karl XII had a few bouts with drinking and debauchery, especially when visited by his brother-in-law Duke Fredrik IV of Holstein-Gottorp, but had by 1699 promised his complaining grandmother to not drink anymore (which in the times meant not drinking hard spirits and not too much wine), which he kept during his life.

He did like his father take an active role as the supreme judge of the realm. Sweden had three levels of courts - the häradsrätt (härad court, a härad was usually two parishes), staffed by 12 reliable peasants elected by their peers at the parish council and chaired by the appointed häradshövding (bailiff) appointed by the King, but it was common for the often noble häradshövding to consider this duty less important (or beneath them) and let the elder among the elected peasants fill his role. This level of court was to sentence according to the strictest interpretation of the law and was not allowed to consider any mitigating circumstances. In the cities, the rådhusrätt filled the same role with 12 elected burghers instead. The second level was the hovrätt, which was staffed by (most often) noblemen selected by the King. These were allowed to consider mitigating circumstances, and almost any case that resulted in really severe punishment was taken up in the hovrätt. And after that the highest court was the King himself.

Karl is probably busying himself like his father did with quick travels and inspections - the last few years of his father's reign, he often followed on these trips, in which the King travelled light, with no official ceremonies, dressed very practically and with a minimal following (in the legends he travels alone in a simple grey coat) to catch officials, officers and civil servants unawares. In one of these legends, Karl XI arrives at a city too late to wake up the burghmeister and resolves to sleep in the city square. The night watchman finds him, wakes him up and sends him out of the city, as it is not allowed to loiter and sleep in the streets, unawares that it is the King he's ousting. The King leaves a letter of recommendation and a silver coin for the watchman as an appreciation for his dedication to his duty.

When it comes to marriage, Karl would probably marry. His father and mother had what seemed for the time a loving marriage and he did state that he wanted to marry for love. Whether he was asexual, homosexual or simply had a low libido and a strong dedication to duty has been heavily debated by historians, but most agree that there are no real evidence of any sexual affairs beyond some of the early rumours peddled by diplomats in Stockholm (which could very well be made up gossip they included in their reports to have something to write about). But marrying and having an heir is one of the main duties of his office, and I don't think he would shirk it, especially as his experience of royal marriages (his mother's and father's) is that they can be happy if done right. He would be one of the most sought after bachelors in Europe, I think.

OTL Karl attempted to get Sweden on the Gregorian calendar, tried to reform the tax system and introduce an income tax to replace tolls and land rent (but this one was mostly due to the economical hardships and might not happen if Sweden is not close to bankrupcy due to the war), worked the traffic system (introducing right hand driving for carts). If he wants to, he could get himself busy in trying to reform the Swedish currency - which at the time was divided into daler kopparmynt, and daler silvermynt and daler with the first being copper, and the second two being silver, but riksdaler being so high in silver content that it had long since disappeared from circulation and mostly being a bookkeeping unit. Then there were Swedish doucat gold coins, but they were generally only used by the crown to reward officers, civil servants and officials and not in general circulation.

Then there's the construction of Stockholm's castle, which I could see Karl XII busy himself with a bit. OTL the construction work was but on the backburner when the war broke out, and ceased completely 1709 only to be resumed 1726 not to be completely finished until 1795. ITTL, the King has time to devote to the project, and the Swedish state has far, far more money to put on it. Originally, the architect Nicomedus Thessin expected a 6 year building period, but the Little Nordic War surely delayed things, as would the War of Spanish Succession (making it hard to get French and Italian sculptors and artists), but by 1710 or so, perhaps Peter, Alexei and Ulrika Eleonora will be invited to a grand housewarming party?
And to whom can he get married? The royal marriages are not exactly my favorite area so perhaps you can point a potential candidate?

If he marries and has children, this puts Swedish history on a seriously different track preserving a direct line (what to do with the Holstein line and a final settlement of the territorial issues with Denmark? OTOH, I’m not sure that this TL will last that long)?

Thanks for info.
 
Well he could try to marry Catherine to Carl (nine year difference isn't so big ). While it was stated that he doesn't want to be entangled in dinastic troubles that come with dinastic marriages his alliance with Sweden appears to be long-term thing and making it even stronger is in his interest.
But here goes a potential problem: she is from the “wrong” branch of the family. This did not look critical in OTL because (a) at the time of her marriage Peter just got a brand new son and kept breeding like a rabbit and (b) she was marrying pretty much a nobody with a good pedigree. But a King of Sweden is a different kettle of fish and in this TL Peter is fully relying upon Alexey and his procreative abilities. He is a friend with Charles but in a not so far removed future there can be potentially a conflicting claim to the Russian throne coming from the senior branch of the Romanov family and backed by the power of Sweden.

Of course, instead of the OTL idiotic law he could adopt an earlier version of the Pauline law, which would fit existing Russian traditions and allow to avoid a century of the palace coups. This way Swedish Vasa are in the line of the Russian succession but only if Peter’s male line gets extinct. The issue of the religion still there preventing the union: King of Sweden must be a Lutheran, Emperor of Russia must be Orthodox. So there will be a need for something like OTL arrangement for the future Peter III.

Other than this consideration, the idea seems quite attractive. Thanks.
 
Of course, instead of the OTL idiotic law he could adopt an earlier version of the Pauline law, which would fit existing Russian traditions and allow to avoid a century of the palace coups. This way Swedish Vasa are in the line of the Russian succession but only if Peter’s male line gets extinct. The issue of the religion still there preventing the union: King of Sweden must be a Lutheran, Emperor of Russia must be Orthodox. So there will be a need for something like OTL arrangement for the future Peter III.
Agree. For "Peter I and the Methods of Rationality" this is a good idea.
 
The problem is that generally, Russian princesses did not marry non-orthodox.

At that time they rarely married at all. But a niece of Ivan IV did not marry a Danish prince and a daughter of Boris Godunov was engaged to a Danish (?) prince.

Not sure how it would work in the 1700s but Desire (who was even crowned) and Josephine Bernadotte had been Catholics so perhaps an Orthodox would be OK.
Then again, they did marry Anna to Karl Fredrik and Catherine to Karl Leopold so I suppose it is possible - Peter seems to have been fine with it like previous and later Russian heads of the Romanov dynasty were not.

Dynastic problems were really not much of a thing for Sweden - Swedish monarchs married Danish princesses several times, despite the two countries being arch-enemies. Karl's mother, Ulrika Eleonora (the elder) was a Danish princess.
 
If Karl has male heirs that raises some very interesting possibilities. He is a member of the House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken and actually rules some territory in the Palatinate. His line is senior to the Birkenfeld and Sulzbach lines, so assuming Wittelsbach family sees the die-out it did OTL, he and his sons will be the natural heirs to Julich-Berg and the Palantinate in 1742 and Bavaria in 1777.

Obviously the German states will be reluctant for this to happen. However, Sweden is a great power so ignoring it will result in war. If there are multiple sons, maybe a younger one gets the Wittelsbach lands with a rule against inheriting. Sort of like the France and the Spanish succession, just on a smaller scale. Another possibility would be territory swaps. For instance Julich and Berg for Prussian Pomerania would be a fair trade. Maybe Mecklenburg wishes they were the Elector of the Rhine. Maybe Augustus dies and the Austrians recognizing further Swedish dominance of Poland-Lithuania is a concession in return for Sweden dropping some claims. That only deals with the first die-out, however. It is always possible the Wittlesbachs figure out the art of having male heirs. But if that doesn't happen, Sweden and the German lands are going to be one of the great dynamics of 1700s politics. Assuming Sweden doesn't lose badly, which is a lot easier if Poland-Lithuania is a puppet and Russia is friendly, it is going to be a major player in Germany until the French Revolution, assuming that happens ATL.
 
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At that time they rarely married at all. But a niece of Ivan IV did not marry a Danish prince and a daughter of Boris Godunov was engaged to a Danish (?) prince.
Danish, yes.
Ivan IV precedent would likely be used - the bride did not convert, but two ceremonies (Orthodox and Lutheran) were held.
John of Denmark & Xenia Godunova is a bad example as John agreed to convert to Orthodoxy IIRC.
 
Of course, instead of the OTL idiotic law he could adopt an earlier version of the Pauline law, which would fit existing Russian traditions and allow to avoid a century of the palace coups. This way Swedish Vasa are in the line of the Russian succession but only if Peter’s male line gets extinct. The issue of the religion still there preventing the union: King of Sweden must be a Lutheran, Emperor of Russia must be Orthodox. So there will be a need for something like OTL arrangement for the future Peter III.

Other than this consideration, the idea seems quite attractive. Thanks.

No prob, if it happens Peter will at least have an excuse to think about changing succession law.

Otherwise, other potential match is with Fredrick II, aka August the III, aka son of August the Strong/Wise.

As for why? Well Peter did mention that Austria, or France would try to gain foothold in PLC, plus Fredrick was married to Hasburg princess otl so it isn't beyond him to preempt that and try to increase his own influence in the PLC .

As for the candidate, well it's up to Peter Anna, or Praskovya .

And the last candidate for marriage is Karl Leopold , Duke of Mecklenburg Schwerin , otl husband of Catherine. Small dutchy in northern Germany which Peter planned to use for war against Sweden, could potentially be reused for war against Denmark, or Prussia. Otherwise, well good for increasing the influence in Baltic sea.

Karl originally proposed to Anna .
 
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No prob, if it happens Peter will at least have an excuse to think about changing succession law.

Otherwise, other potential match is with Fredrick II, aka August the III, aka son of August the Strong/Wise.

As for why? Well Peter did mention that Austria, or France would try to gain foothold in PLC, plus Fredrick was married to Hasburg princess otl so it isn't beyond him to preempt that and try to increase his own influence in the PLC .

It does not make sense to care too much about August II or III: after the LNW the royal power within the PLC fell to the level zero and ramains this way due to the combined efforts of Sweden, Russia and the Polish nobility. Of course, it is nice to have a king who is not trying to change this arrangement but such an attempt would fail anyway even without the direct military intervention of the Big Brothers. Actually, a marriage to one of their houses will be inconvenient, causing a need to support the potential ideas about changing the status quo in the PLC.

A much more cheaper and reliable way to increase influence in the PLC would be distribution of few pensions and variously colored ribbons (depending upon the beneficiary’s importance) combined with a realistic threat of a wide variety of the personal inconveniences from being expelled (to France or some other nice place) with the estates confiscated and all the way to find himself in some rather uncomfortable place deep inside the Russian Empire: all these things had been practiced only few decades later.

As for the candidate, well it's up to Peter Anna, or Praskovya .

And the last candidate for marriage is Karl Leopold , Duke of Mecklenburg Schwerin , otl husband of Catherine. Small dutchy in northern Germany which Peter planned to use for war against Sweden, could potentially be reused for war against Denmark, or Prussia. Otherwise, well good for increasing the influence in Baltic sea.

You are getting somewhat ahead of the events. So far, I started getting some funny ideas on what such a war is going to look like. 😉
Karl originally proposed to Anna .
OK, this may work. Thanks.
 
Boring economics New
40. Boring economics

Prior to the LNW structure of the Baltic trade looked as following:
“The products of flax and hemp cultivation in the seventeenth century represented 70 to 80 per cent of Riga's exports. Out of the quantities of flax and hemp passing through the Sound to western Europe in the seventeenth century, as a rule considerably more than half consisted of cargoes from Riga. The other big port of export for these products was Konigsberg. Grain from the Livonian hinterland constituted 11.6 per cent of Riga's exports, while timber for shipbuilding formed 6.8 per cent. In Reval, grain from the Estonian-Livonian hinterland was the main item of export, while Narva's exports consisted of mixed Russian goods (mainly flax and hemp, along with skins, leather and furs). Thus flax and hemp appear to have formed the chief items exported from Sweden's Baltic ports (also from Konigsberg), On the other hand, the principal port of export for grain was Danzig, whence the Polish grain surplus was sent in enormous quantities to western Europe…..
While the Dutch ruled the sea for most of the seventeenth century, a marked change took place at the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, from which England emerged as the leading trading nation.
The goods most needed by England were raw materials for the shipbuilding industry: flax and hemp, timberg, tar and iron. Of these, flax and hemp were practically unobtainable anywhere else except from Russia and to some extent Poland; tar came from Russia, Sweden and the American colonies, timber from Norway, the Baltic ports and America, and iron only from Sweden and Russia, these two countries having sufficient forest resources for producing charcoal iron. Thus, England's naval and mercantile fleets were manifestly almost totally dependent on the Russian market for the most essential raw materials. While the Dutch had the greatest influence on Russian trade during the seventeenth century, it was the English who in the eighteenth century became by far the biggest consumers of Russian products.
Whereas Russian export goods had previously consisted of flax, hemp, tallow, wax, skins, leather, furs and ashes, from the time of Peter the Great onwards iron, timber and tar were included ….
Hemp and flax were of fundamental importance to the shipbuilding industry. As noted above, eastern Europe, or to all intents and purposes Russia, had virtually a natural monopoly of these articles and retained this position as long as sailing ships navigated the world's oceans. England was totally dependent on Russian flax and Russian hemp, taking more than two-thirds of Russia's hemp exports and half its flax exports. “ [1]

Now, the obvious task for the post-LNW arrangement was how to arrange the growing export of the Russian goods without seriously hurting the existing interests, especially trade through Riga. The end-result looked as following:
Riga preserved the existing levels of flax and hemp trade and other traditional items (mostly timber and rye) with a further expansion of the flax exports.
St-Petersburg became a major exporting port for the hemp (over 36,000 tons annually by 1715) with some flax and a growing amounts of the bar iron, timber (especially for tall ships’ masts), tar and tallow. Both iron and tar had been breaking the Swedish monopoly but this was happening as the additional supplies to the growing British market. The British annual imports of bar-iron since 1699 remained on the level slightly above 19,000 of which Sweden was supplying approximately 15,000 tons or approximately 80%. The Russian exports constituted meager 13 tons in 1706 growing to slightly over 1,000 tons by 1710 and kept steadily growing but so far were only a fraction of the Swedish [2].
Archangelsk - 29% tallow, 10.6% hemp- and flaxseed, 0.7% - hemp, 0.5% - flax, 1.8% - timber, 7.1% - grain and the rest some other goods.

The newly-founded Black Sea ports had been gradually growing in importance exporting increasing volumes of wheat, caviar, butter and, eventually, iron. For a while, the main markets remained within the Black Sea: Constantinople was a traditional consumer of the Khanate’s exports and could digest (figuratively and literally) more, especially of the grain and meat. But soon enough the Greeks, who migrated into Russia, started expanding the naval trade all the way to Italy (mostly Livorno and Messina) and to the Mediterranean possessions of the Ottoman Empire (Alexandria and Smyrna). Volume of that trade was relatively small but it kept growing.

Approximately 9% of the exports had been coming exclusively by land. In Europe the destination point was Leipzig market in which furs and leather predominated.

The most important part, as far as Peter was concerned, had been to maintain a positive trade balance and to keep it growing: with not too much of the gold and silver being found so far on the Russian territory (there were few findings but their output was almost negligibly small), a bullion was of a primary importance to keep the domestic economy growing. Well, and for some other things as well…

Exports to the Asiatic markets consisted mostly of furs and leather with China being the main customer. This made it necessary to secure the trade route, which was exposed to the very unstable situation in the Central Asia where Dzungar Khanate was in seemingly never-ending wars with all its neighbors including the Qing Empire, which was Russian important trade partner, and Kazakh Khanate, which was on the Russian Southern border.
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One of the first actions taken to deal with this issue was to fortify Irkutsk and to provide it with a strong garrison: after abolishment of the monopoly on fur trade it became a major flourishing trade center.
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Russian expedition up the Irtysh River and foundation of the fortresses Yamysh and Omsk provoked Dzungar reaction: 10,000 Dzungars besieged the small Yamysh fortress and kept it under the siege for few months after which garrison abandoned it and destroyed fortifications (in a couple years a new fort had been built on its site). Omsk fortress was much stronger and grew up in the important town.

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The process evolved into creation of a fortified “Siberian Line” on the Kazakh-Dzungar border with a goal to protect the Russian possessions in Southern Siberia (and support the future expansion into the area). Besides the regular troops in the main fortresses, there were fortified settlements populated by the Siberian Cossack Host, which was in existence since the XVII century but now got its official status. To strengthen the new host, not only the old-timers but the newly-arriving peasants had been listed into it.

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At the time of its official establishment the host included approximately 5,000 who were under the obligation to serve since the age of 17 for the whole life. Each male was getting 6 hectares of land, a salary, certain amounts of flour and oats, a right to collect the hay and to do fishing on the Irtysh River.

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____________________
[1] From Artur Attman (1981) “The Russian market in world trade, 1500–1860” The quote is long but it provides a comprehensive overview of the market.
[2] In OTL the British imports jumped dramatically in the 1750s. Till the rest of the century the Swedish exports were pretty much on the same level (15-18,000 tons) with the Russian exports filling the “gap” jumping to 27-27,800 tons.
 
Peaceful entertainments New
41. Peaceful entertainments (Мирные забавы)

Before going further, completely forgot to mention in the previous chapter that, to avoid any shadow of a suspicion that he may be trying to take advantage of his dear brother Charles, Peter established the export tariffs in St. Petersburg and Archangelsk at the same 6% level as in Riga [1]. Why not to use your position of a monopolist when you can get away with it? 😜

************************************​

Before the boring economic stuff we had been on a much more interesting issue which turned into the royal competition. As soon as the LNW was over, Charles ordered to continue construction of a new Royal Palace in Stockholm, which was going to be one of the biggest royal palaces in Europe.
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He also ordered major renovations of the royal summer residence, The Drottningholm Palace.
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Now, the brotherly love is fine but it goes only so far and Peter was already pointed out that his Monplesir on the Baltic coast and a small new palace in Kremlin make him look inferior and that sticking to his preferred modest style is «невместно» [2]. Peter already sanctioned construction of a bigger summer residence but now the instructions were clarified: “make it really majestic”. Unwillingness to break half of the Kremlin still was there but something slightly less monstrous but still huge became a must. And both projects must go ahead full speed.

The Peterhof part of a plan was obvious: a big palace with the formal gardens on a land side and on a sea side cascade of the fountains with the steps on the sides, leading to the canal which ends at the Gulf of Finland (screw Louis and brother Carl with their dead-end canals) so that from the top of the stairs one may see the sea.

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Interior must correspond to the exterior
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Any questions? … No questions. Good. Arbaiten!

Of course, when Peter started getting the …er… “well thought” ideas, it was close to impossible to move him off the track. Especially, when there was a loud chorus cheering these ideas and elaborating on how great they are. Of course, not to be outdone by anybody, Menshikov immediately jumped into the bandwagon asking for the permission to buy a piece of land nearby and to build on it his own summer palace. Well, this was pretty much expected, especially taking into an account that he was put in charge and obviously expected to “appropriate” some of the materials [3]. But, as soon as the news became public, the distinguished personages joined the chorus lauding Peter’s intention to upheld Russian imperial dignity and expressing desire to build their own summer residencies nearby. And when you hear the praises coming from Sheremetev, Apraksin, Vasily and Boris Golitsyns, your son (expected but nice to hear ), your daughter-in-law (not unexpected but also nice to hear) and even from the extremaly old-fashioned “Prince-Caesar” Fedor Romodanovsky, you are definitely on a right track.

This left Peter to contemplate the Kremlin palace issue. Of course, such a palace could be built on the nice outskirts of Moscow: in Kolomenskoe, in Izmailovo or near the German Settlement on Yausa. In the terms of available space each of these areas provided a much greater opportunity with no need of a major destruction [4] and location near the German Settlement had benefit of a shorter route to some of the Peter’s favorite whores and drinking establishments but for an emperor sticking to the old good habits was «невместно» so he had to start using …er… “resources” of his own court even of his daughter-in-law was a little bit prudish [5]…. Well, never mind. The point was that placing the main official imperial residence outside the capital, no mater how pleasant was the site, was not a very good idea. Kremlin was a symbol of the state power and a religious center of Moscow as well. It was fitting to have the main imperial palace there.

Plan approved by Peter assumed a building 125 meters long and 47 meters high overlooking the Moskva River at front
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and having an exit to the Cathedrals Square on its back.


To minimize the destruction, it was going to incorporate some of the historic buildings and its interiors had to be, well, “majestic”.
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As usually, construction (and especially demolition) started immediately after the plan was approved and while the tight schedule and budget had been established, nobody had doubts that it will end up being more expensive and behind the schedule. Why to set the unrealistic estimates, to start with? A naive question. If you start with a greater budget and a longer schedule, the construction will be more expensive and longer than these numbers, etc. Can the realistic budget and schedule be defined and followed? Are you kidding? 😂

Well, the construction itch is a contagious disease. Menshikov already got his brand new palace, which made palaces of Vasily Golitsyn and Gagarin look shabby, and everybody who was somebody had to have a residence fitting owner’s status. As a result, the numerous new constructions started popping up in and around Moscow. The wealthiest personages often had a (winter) palace in Moscow and one or more summer residencies right outside it. While there could be some space problems with the city residencies, even those directly outside the city border usually had substantial parks. Why not if the produce of their huge estates finally started being sold for gold and the incomes kept growing while the labor force used to build and maintain the mansions were their own. [6]

Of course, those below the top level found themselves in a tough spot: even being the remote seconds to the richest aristocrats implied a very expensive life style which could financially destroy them or just push them one step down their present level. So, in a long term the trend was quite dangerous but, without advantage of a hindsight, everybody was enjoying peace and prosperity. And if the Russian and Swedish rulers are going to compete in building their residences, it is much better than if they would start competing on a battlefield and, anyway, now this was all “in the family” and should not result in any hostility, providing none of them is not suddenly going to loss his mind.

Useful acquisition and Charles is getting upset

It is 1710 and, besides the massive construction projects and other types of the peaceful entertainments, there were two more important events:

Russia:
  • A young (27 years old) Oldenburg-born military engineer, Burkhard Christoph von Münnich, who already had time to serve in the armies of France, Hessen-Darmstadt, Hessen-Cassel, and Saxony and participated in the ongoing WoSS was introduced to the Russian Ambassador in Warsaw and made a very good impression. He was offered Russian service with the colonel’s rank and impressed Peter with the result of his first assignment, plan of the Kronstadt fortifications. This was a promising opening for the future career.

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  • While the main shipbuilding effort had been on the Black Sea, the Baltic fleet was not forgotten. Cornelius Cruys was not a great or even good admiral but as a head of St. Petersburg Admiralty he was in his right place overseeing construction of the good quality ships. Taking into an account that size of this fleet was on a limited size 20-25 ships of the line plus smaller ships), the emphasis had been made on these ships having a lot of the heavy guns. Commander of the fleet, Naum Senyavin, was conducting regular join maneuvers with the Swedish fleet in the Eastern Baltic but nobody paid attention.

Sweden: In Sweden Charles was getting increasingly upset with the situation in which his troops “rented” to Britain found themselves. Time after time Stenbock was reporting about the inadequate supplies, bad winter quarters and wasteful assignments. In his opinion, intrigues of Prussia and Denmark had been to blame but, even putting them aside, the Duke of Marlborough, a supreme commander, either could not figure out how to use the unique Swedish tactics properly or simply did not care to make serious changes for the sake of the 10,000 Swedes. The final straw was Battle of Malplaquet. Placed under command of William of Orange, the Swedes participated in a ruinous attack on the French right flank and amounted to approximately 2,000 out of his 8,500 losses. Taking into an account the losses during the previous years, this left slightly more than a half of the original corps of 10,000. Charles had enough. The paid for year of 1709 expired in 3 months and Charles refused to prolong the contract and ordered Stenbock to march to Bremen-Verden. Which, of course, did not improve his relations with the Brits, Dutch, the Emperor, Brunswick-Lüneburg, Denmark and Prussia. Not that Denmark and Prussia really cared about the Hapsburg cause but everything possible had been done to emphasize the “perfidious” Swedish behavior. Charles remained seemingly unconcerned but ordered to strengthen fortifications of Stralsund and Rugen island. He also exchanged some letters with Peter and got the expected response. After which he started looking even more unconcerned…..







____________
[1] In Revel and Narva they were, IIRC, 3%.
[2] Something that hurts person’s social standing. For example, visiting your socially inferior before that person visits you.
[3] As Peter put it, “he was born a thief”.
[4] Well, for Peter this never was a problem.
[5] As was befitting her position, so she was not to be blamed for this and, anyway, “the young court” had their own palace so this was not a big problem.
[6] In OTL within a couple of generations Count Sheremetev had approximately 150,000 serfs and there were few more in the same “weight category”.
 
Other nations wage war due to their rivalry. Sweden and Russia build palaces, and the British (and Dutch) are paying for it. :D

Do I sense a Hannovrian plot? George is Prince-Elector of Hannover-Lübeck and heir to the throne of Britain after his mother (who is in ill health, so most will think it will be him), his influence in Britain is already substantial. If he is pulling strings to drive a wedge between Sweden and Britain and the Dutch in order to pave the way for a Dano-Hannovrian-Prussian alliance (perhaps with the benovelent ignorance of the Emperor) this could very well be the result.
 
Oh yeah, a war with Denmark could make Karl XII order the construction of Göta Kanal in order to have a transport route that could circumvent the Sound. OTL he ordered Cristopher Polhem to start construction in 1718, but the whole project floundered due to a lack of resources and money and focus as the King died and was not resumed until 1810.

Something to do once the palaces are done.
 
Other nations wage war due to their rivalry. Sweden and Russia build palaces, and the British (and Dutch) are paying for it. :D

Somebody has to pay for the royal follies. Better foreigners than the subjects. 😂

Do I sense a Hannovrian plot? George is Prince-Elector of Hannover-Lübeck and heir to the throne of Britain after his mother (who is in ill health, so most will think it will be him), his influence in Britain is already substantial. If he is pulling strings to drive a wedge between Sweden and Britain and the Dutch in order to pave the way for a Dano-Hannovrian-Prussian alliance (perhaps with the benovelent ignorance of the Emperor) this could very well be the result.
This will be the intention. The result will fit into a joke about the Russian PhDs in philology: two of them are doing crossword and hit the definition “major failure, 5 letters”. They look at each other: “do they now allow that type of words to be printed? It is obviously «п____ц»!” [1] The third PhD enters the room and comes with the same answer. Then the young student comes in and, when asked, gives the right answer: “Fiasco”.

His influence in Britain may be substantial but so are the British “national interests” (aka, being able to keep building the ships) and reluctance to get involved in a major war immediately after the WoSS. A war in which the worst thing that may happen to the opponent is a delay in the palaces’ construction. Well, actually, at least Prussia and Hanover, if such a war occurs, may end up actively contributing to such a construction (I have no clue about finances of the Hanover but have a very clear idea about at least one Prussian contribution). 😂

Well, perhaps the war still can be avoided (but not the Prussian contribution). I’m not going to try to replay the “Baltic Blunder” and presently in a process of trying to figure out the details.

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[1] Sorry, it is untranslatable but student’s version is correct.😂
 
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