Bogdanov S. V. The court staff of emperor Nicholas II (.pdf)


The paper is devoted to the social structure of the court staff of Emperor Nicholas II (1894-1917). Due to the nature of the state system, the institute of the Court was an integral part of the power structures, and its members were the most elite group of the Russian society of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The author analyzed the funds of the Ministry of the Imperial Court and the funds of other state institutions and summarized the personal data of more than 2500 courtiers. Most of the archival materials from the fund of the Chancellery of the Ministry of the Imperial Court, used in the paper, are introduced into academic circulation for the first time. The generalization helped to create the social portrait of a member of the bureaucratic elite of Nicholas’s reign. The results confirm the preservation of traditional qualifications for inclusion in the ruling elite, such as education, career, and family relations. Evaluation of the main criteria for entering the court staff, such as social origin, education, previous career and wealth, demonstrates some of the changes that led to the displacement of the old local aristocracy, for whom the service was an element of socialization, by highly educated professional bureaucrats, for whom the service was the only source of their wealth. The author analyzes how the members of the court staff were incorporated in it or excluded from it, how such decisions were made and what was the nature of the requirements for social and professional qualities of courtiers. It helps to represent the topology of the social space of the ruling elite of the Russian Empire.


Key words: Russian Imperial court of the early 20th century, court ranks and titles, bureaucratic elite, the ruling class, honours of nobility of the Russian Empire, social composition of the ruling class of the Russian Empire.


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