Aleksei Mikhailovich

Aleksei Mikhailovich

 

Born Mar. 19, 1629; died Jan. 29, 1676. Russian tsar from 1645; son of Mikhail Fedorovich.

In the first years of Aleksei Mikhailovich’s reign, the state was actually governed by his tutor (“manservant”), the boyar B. I. Morozov. However, by the early 1650’s, Aleksei Mikhailovich began to take an important part in state affairs himself. He created the Prikaz (Office) of Privy Affairs (1654–76), which was directly responsible to him and was his means of control over the state administration. Aleksei Mikhailovich read petitions and other documents himself. He wrote or edited many important edicts and was the first Russian tsar to sign them personally. He participated directly in many military campaigns (at Smolensk, Vilno, and Riga); directed diplomatic talks with the Swedes, Poles, and others; and strengthened control over the activity of Russian ambassadors. Aleksei Mikhailovich was an educated man for his times.

He was married twice. The future tsars Fedor and Ivan and Sofia, a future ruler, were born of his first marriage to Maria Il’inichna Miloslavskaia; the future tsar Peter I was born of his second marriage to Natal’ia Kirillovna Narysh-kina.

The period of Aleksei Mikhailovich’s reign was characterized by more intensive feudal exploitation of the peasants and increased economic oppression. This policy produced a number of urban uprisings even in the early years of his reign: in Moscow, Tomsk, Sol’ Vychegodsk, Ustiug Velikii, and elsewhere in 1648 and in Pskov and Novgorod in 1650. In this context, the Zemskii Sobor (National Assembly) was summoned. In 1649, it adopted a new Ulozhenie (code), which satisfied the fundamental demands of the nobility (removal of a time limit on the recapture of fugitive peasants, etc.) and the artisan and merchant upper classes (the liquidation of untaxed settlements, etc.). The masses responded with an antifeudal struggle, which assumed particularly broad dimensions in this period (Moscow Uprising of 1662; Peasant War under the leadership of S. T. Razin, 1670–71). The popular uprisings were cruelly suppressed by Aleksei Mikhailovich.

In economics, Aleksei Mikhailovich’s government encouraged industrial activity and supported the native merchant class, protecting it against foreign competition. The Customs Statute (1653) and New Trade Statute (1667) aided the development of domestic and foreign trade.

Aleksei Mikhailovich persistently developed and realized the concept of the unlimited nature and divine origin of tsarist authority. He struggled successfully against Patriarch Nikon’s attempts to place the power of the church over that of the tsar. Under Aleksei Mikhailovich, the activities of the Zemskii Sobors ceased, the role of the Boyar Duma was curtailed, and so forth.

In foreign policy, his greatest success was the reunification of the Ukraine with Russia (1654) and the return of some lands belonging to Russia from time immemorial—Smolensk, Seversk including Chernigov and Starodub, and so forth. On the whole, the role of Russia in international affairs grew markedly in this period. The “new-style regiments” were introduced in the army during Aleksei Mikhailovich’s reign.

REFERENCES

Istoriia SSSR. S drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei, vol. 3. Moscow, 1967.
Zaozerskii, A. I. Tsarskaia votchina XVII v., 2nd ed. Moscow, 1937.

I. A. BULYGIN

References in periodicals archive ?
(2) It was in this spirit that Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich, for instance, explored establishing domestic silk manufacture along the southern Volga River--importing mulberry trees, silk worms, and silk "masters" from across the Caspian Sea.
This decree (ukaz) issued by Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich to Prince A.
(41) Doctors Samuel Collins (1619-70) and Lavrentii Blumentrost (1692-1755), personal physicians to Tsars Aleksei Mikhailovich and Peter I, respectively, often used various juniper products in the recipes and prescriptions that they were required to submit to the chancellery.
126) invites speculation about the obvious theatrical precedent, the elaborate plays produced at the court of Peter's father, Aleksei Mikhailovich, in the mid-1670s; the later productions in this brief flurry of performances involved some sort, of dance and even a dance instructor or coordinator.
Its subject is the persecution of the Old Believers, who opposed the liturgical reforms imposed by Peter the Greats father, Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich, and the arrest of the noblewoman Morozova on a snowy day in 1672.
As the third of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich's sons to reach adulthood, Peter the Great (1672-1725) was not destined by birth or upbringing to rule Russia.
In 1656, on a visit to the town of Polotsk, Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich received solemn greetings from a local monk and his followers from one of the town's monasteries.
Di Salvo describes social life in the foreign quarter of Moscow under Aleksei Mikhailovich and Peter, providing "additional information about the presence of Italians in the Nemetskaia Sloboda" (98), enriching but not trying to challenge the accepted view of the district.
Zhivov refer to the clash over this image as evidence for the sacralization of the monarch; see their "Tsar' i Bog: Semioticheskie aspekty sakralizatsii monarkha v Rossli," in Uspenskii, Izbrannye trudy (Moscow: Gnozis, 1994), 1:110-218; on the Image of Aleksei Mikhailovich, see 1:120.
Richard Hellie's exhaustive compilation of price data sheds light on the market for horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, and other varieties of fowl but turned up no sales records for dogs and only one entry that apparently records some kind of kennel expenses, probably the sum Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich spent for dog food in 1676.
A 1676 inventory of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich's property counted 203 Tatar (ordyn) sheep and 1,690 Russian sheep.
One of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich's experiments aimed at Muscovite economic improvement was a project to introduce new varieties of livestock.