“Will Be Arranged by His Imperial Majesty's Decree”: The Little Russian Collegium’s Responses to A. D. Menshikov: November – December 1722

Print PDF

Document publication

УДК 94(470)+093

DOI 10.28995/2073-0101-2021-3-852-865

Yakov A. Lazarev

First President of Russia B. N. Eltsin Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation

“Will Be Arranged by His Imperial Majesty's Decree”: The Little Russian Collegium’s Responses to A. D. Menshikov: November – December 1722


Official responses of the Little Russian Collegium to A. D. Menshikov (November – December 1722) are being published for the first time. These documents (responses to a private and influential person) are a unique and previously unknown type of source. In total, three such documents have been discovered. According to the documents, A. D. Menshikov sought the Collegium’s assistance in realization of his private interests that violated the rights of local class groups and contradicted official practices. The Collegium of Little Russia -— One of the Peter the Great’s innovations in the system of public administration -— was a great obstacle in his way. It was a unique institution of territorial administration located outside the imperial capitals, in the town of Glukhov (1722–27). The establishment of the Collegium was an administrative experiment, as Peter I believed in streamlining the management of Little Russia. The creation of the new Collegium did not imply replacing local institutions of Cossack and municipal self-government or diminishing their role. Actually, this is clearly articulated in the official responses of members of the Little Russian Collegium. In their response to his inquiries, the officials gave Menshikov a negative answer, detailing the limits of their competence. The Collegium could not ignore mandatory procedure approved by Senate decrees and special instructions. In short, all affairs concerning local population were to be solved by the Cossack authorities, and only in case of delay, the Collegium was to check the legality of procedure. Thus, the documents allow us to clarify to what extent the activities of the Little Russian Collegium complied with its normative provisions, whether or not its members observed its mandatory practices and how its work reflected on the institutions of Cossack self-government and the situation of the local population. The value of the published official answers lies in the fact that A. D. Menshikov received virtually the same answers from the president of the Collegium in their private correspondence. Thus, the identified sources permit to outline important elements of the process of formation of modern state, in which corrupt private interest (even on the part of a super-powerful nobleman) could be suppressed through official procedures. Despite complex political conjunctures, the Collegium was able to defend its administrative autonomy. The documents also show that the establishment of the Little Russian Collegium gave certain guarantees and protection to local estate groups and individuals who did not have political influence, and protection against abuses of the Cossack elite in particular.


Historical sources, Little Russian Collegium, A. D. Menshikov, Hetmanate, Little Russia, Cossacks, Peter I, collegiate reform.

Download the article: pdf


GOROBETS', V. M. Prismerk Get'manshhini: Ukraina v roki reform Petra І [Twilight of the Hetmanate: Ukraine in the days of Peter I's reforms. In Ukr.]. Ki?v, Іnstitut іstorії Ukraїni NAN Ukraїni publ., 1998, 324 p.

LAZAREV, Ya. A. Rossiiskoe pravitel'stvo i ukrainskaya kazatskaya elita: osobennosti vzaimootnoshenii v period funktsionirovaniya Malorossiiskoi kollegii (1722–1727) [The Russian Government and the Ukrainian Cossack Elite: Peculiarities of Relationships during the Functioning of the Little Russian Collegium (1722–27). In Russ.] IN: Slavyanovedenie, 2016, no. 4, pp. 41–51.

SEROV, D. O., FEDOROV, A. Sledovateli Petra Velikogo [Investigators of Peter the Great. In Russ.]. Moscow, Molodaya gvardiya publ., 2018, 347 p.

About the authors

Lazarev Yakov Anantolievich, PhD in History, First President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin Ural Federal University, laboratory of primary sources, research fellow, Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation, +7-961-776-44-07, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Grant information

The study has been funded by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 20-09-42022 (Peter the Great’s “Mental state” and experiments of regional administration: The 1st quarter of the 18th century).

Submitted 4.12.2020, published (for citation):

LAZAREV, Ya. A. “Uchineno budet po ego imperatorskogo velichestva ukazu”. Otvety Malorossiiskoi kollegii A. D. Menshikovu. Noyabr'–dekabr' 1722 g. [“Will Be Arranged by His Imperial Majesty's Decree”: The Little Russian Collegium’s Responses to A. D. Menshikov: November – December 1722. In Russ.]. IN: Vestnik arhivista / Herald of an Archivist, 2021, no. 3, pp. 852-865. doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2021-3-852-865

You can read completely article in the russian historic-archival magazine “The Herald of an Archivist”. Read more about terms of subscription here.

Полностью материал публикуется в российском историко-архивоведческом журнале ВЕСТНИК АРХИВИСТА. Ознакомьтесь с условиями подписки здесь.