Drunken Caroling as a Form of Government

When talking about the reforms Peter the Great brought to his country we have to start with the Most Drunken Council, because that is literally the best name for anything in the history of ever.

The Most Drunken Council
Formed in the 1690’s, it was made up of about 100-200 of Peter’s buddies
– facebook wasn’t a thing yet, but if it was, Peter’s friend count would be so bitchin

Originally this group was actually a christmas caroling group that went around singin shit in the German quarter
– while ridiculously drunk
– and wearing insane costumes
– you really cannot make this shit up.

So anyway Peter and his drinking buddies decide what Russia needs is more western institutions!
– He starts totally getting his decrees on
• but before my professor will tell us what the decrees were we have to watch a movie about the most drunken council’s ludicrous shenanigans

Okay, Movie’s Over
Peter decreed that beards must be shaved within the city.
– haha what

Okay so apparently having like this huge dumbledore beard was serious and traditional in Russia

This goes double for the Old Believers, because it is actually against their religion to shave the beard
– like you straight up just GOTTA have this beard
– beard beard beard beard

Peter is basically like stop bitching and shave the beard.
– and the Old Believers are like well you can’t make us
– and Peter is like OH REALLY?
• oh shit son why’d you decide to get sassy with the emperor??

Peter then imposes serious fines on individuals with beards
– he can do that because he’s the god damn emperor of Russia
– so the Old Believers are like ohhh shit haha I guess you totally can make us :(

Most of them proceed to either flee the country or kill themselves.
– just in case there is any confusion here, they ended their lives over facial hair
• Russia, come on, man.

In the interest of westernizing, Peter also outlaws kaftans, which were those crazy huge floofy robes traditional Russians wore
– they were almost as ridiculous looking as the beards
– …. almost

okay, so, is that a russian dude... or an ~ice wizard~?

While he’s at it, Peter goes ahead and outlaws monks owning paper and pens as well. Apparently some of them were promoting dissention against him.
– so basically, the monks were the equivalent of gossipy teenagers passing notes in class, and Peter was the grumpy superintendent layin the smackdown on that bs

Less Silly Decrees
Not all of Peter’s reforms involved outdated fashion statements.

In 1711 a Senate is created which gets rid of all the other useless, random councils that were still floating around at this point.
– at first the Senate is only about 12 dudes, but it grows all the way up until the Bolshevik Revolution

Regardless, though, the Senate has very little power. Peter really treats them as a consulting group for all his sweet ass ideas.

In 1717, Peter also creates 12 “colleges”, which are like government ministries

The most kickass one is the College of WAR
– The College of War invents a draft, and so by the end of Peter’s reign they have an arm of like 200,000 professional soldiers
• the draft required around 20-25 years of service, so while it wasn’t for life, very few people survived that long anyway. If you were drafted, your family assumed they would never see you again.

Okay, so now that Russia has a draft, they need to have a census too! That way you know how many dudes you’ve got available.
– in order to handle this, Peter creates something called the Soul Tax
• my professor just spent like forever explaining what the soul tax is but I spaced out and missed it

If this was what the Soul Tax was actually about, I would have paid attention.

Anyway, the College of Navy is Peter’s fav, of course!
– he has like fifty warships

man what can I say! the dude liked his boats.

Russia also begins developing mines and manufacturing plants, plus they make some new territory reforms.
– this is so boring

Basically, the whole country is getting straight up organized!

Peter continues this organization by creating the Table of Ranks
– there are three branches to it: civilian, military, and nobility
– each branch has fourteen different ranks on it, and you move up based on how hard you work, your merit, etc.

So, unlike with the Mestnichestvo, the entire system is no longer based on lineage. People can become powerful and important simply by being smart competent.
– this pisses off all the old noble families, of course, but Peter is like man fuck you guys I’m the Emperor.

This new system motivates Russians to work hard and serve their government well.
– it lasts all the way until the Bolshevik Revolution

Oh also in 1711 they make their first newspaper
– whatever.

I do my best, but some parts of history are just boring as shit.

Other Cool Shit We Apparently Won’t Be Elaborating On
– peter established Russian embassies in European capitals
– 1699: they make a new calendar
– 1714: nobles have compulsory education
– 1714: primogeniture
• someone please explain to me what the hell that means
– Russian students are forced to study navigation
• haha Peter come on, not everyone is into boats
– 1721: factories can purchase villages

Just as a note, every single one of these reforms occur in a single generation!


Peter the Great is that sweet.

These notes are from a class named “History of Imperial Russia”. To read more notes from this class, just click one of the links below!

Day One – Super Early Russia Time!!
Day Two – Russian People Murder Each Other Like Way Too Often
Day Three – Peter the Motherfucking Great
Day Four – Russia Picks Some Fights for Shits and Giggles
Day Five – Drunken Caroling as a Form of Government

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    Comment — February 22, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

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    Comment — December 22, 2014 @ 6:21 am

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    Trackback — November 25, 2017 @ 3:50 am

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