- Peterburg v epokhu Petra I: Dokumenty v fondakh i kollektsiiakh Nauchno-istoricheskogo arkhiva Sankt-Peterburgskogo instituta istorii. Katalog, and: Pis’ma i bumagi imperatora Petra Velikogo, and: Biblioteka Petra I: Opisanie rukopisnykh knig
The last ten years or so have been good to students of Peter the Great (1689–1725) and his Russia, as tercentenaries come and go, leaving a wealth of publications in their wake. Much of what has appeared in Russian is pitched at a general readership on the populiarno-nauchnyilevel—guide books and catalogues, 1collections of anecdotes, compilations of Peter's "wit and wisdom," 2and biographies 3—but a few new scholarly, [End Page 123]non-commercial works of reference that might not otherwise have seen the light of day have slipped onto the bandwagon and grabbed a share of the limelight cast, in particular, by the tercentenary of St. Petersburg in 2003. All three of the publications under review fall into this last category, bringing complete texts, extracts, and descriptions of primary source material into circulation for the use of serious scholars.
The most directly linked to the St. Petersburg anniversary is Peterburg v epokhu Petra I,which contains short descriptions of 3,952 documents—original manuscripts, printed edicts, and copies made at various times—from the years 1703–25. All refer in whole or in part to St. Petersburg and are drawn from the Archive for Historical Scholarship, St. Petersburg Institute of History, Russian Academy of Sciences (SPbII RAN), which was heir to, among other things, the collections of the Imperial Archeographical Commission. The richest repositories on the St. Petersburg theme are fond 270 (files of the Commission on the Publication of the Letters and Papers of Peter the Great) and fond83 (the pokhodnaia kantseliariiaof Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov), 4but in total 18 fondyand 32 kollektsiiare listed. Each entry is dated, its contents are briefly described, and its status (original or copy) and shifryare noted.
The publication's prime purpose is to allow researchers to locate items, for which there are excellent indices (names, places, subjects), but armchair browsers can also gain some insights. Many of the earliest materials, for example, are drawn from the correspondence between Menshikov and Roman Vilimovich Brius, respectively governor and ober-komendantof St. Petersburg. The topics of these and other letters include orders for goods (building and naval supplies, oats, fragrant grasses and flowers, tobacco, a map of Ingria), the dispatch of personnel (apothecaries, bricklayers, and laborers, with frequent references to the shortage [ nekhvatok] of workers), Swedish military operations around the fort at Kantsy (Nienskans), the comings and goings of friendly vessels (e.g., the arrival of an English ship in July 1704: see nos. 99, 101), and celebratory prayers and gun salutes for the capture of Narva in the late summer of 1704, all of which offer tantalizing glimpses of life in the early city.
Peter's boast after Poltava that victory had laid the "final stone" of St. Petersburg—"nyne uzhe sovershennoi kamen´ vo osnovanie Peterburga polozhen" (27 June 1709, no. 602, copies in several fondy)—is borne out by the increased...