Topic: Nicholas I
Monument to Emperor Nicholas I, St. Issac's Square in St. Petersburg
In honour of the 219th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas I, celebrated on July 6, 2015, the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in St. Petersburg presented on its website the Code of Laws of the Russian Empire, and other unique materials about the Russian autocrat who ruled from 1825-1855, with whose name the location of the first electronic national library of the country is now associated with.
The Code of Laws is a massive work in 15 volumes undertaken to restore order in the country and the state administration. Upon his accession to the throne in 1825 Nicholas I began to address a serious problem of law and order. He ordered Mikhail Speransky to prepare a new code of laws and order of the Russian empire. After four years of tireless work it was published, comprising some 30 thousand acts under the name Complete Collection of Laws of the Russian Empire. These documents are now available at the Presidential Library website.
Many rarities, digitized by the library and placed in the collections, tell us about the nature of the emperor. December 14, 1825, Nicholas I accedes to the throne. "Gifted by major intelligence Tsar did not bother to challenge the first steps immediately felt under him a firm and reliable basis", - says the essay "The Emperor Nicholas", published in 1894. The first test of the newly made monarch awaited him on the day of his accession to the throne - the revolt of the Decembrists, which was intended to prevent the troops and the Senate to take the oath to the new emperor, and to prevent the accession of Nicholas I to the throne. The unrest was quickly suppressed, and if many of the court at first were seemed that the new emperor was not ready to state affairs, after the first decisions of Nicholas I people spoke as a strong ruler. The Presidential Library collection has accumulated a large number of electronic copies of documents, handwritten by Nicholas I. Among them there is the study of Emperor Nicholas I, General Yermolov, Project of the charter of Emperor Nicholas I, Emperor of Japan to send to Japan Vice Admiral E. V. Putyatin and the desire to establish trade relations and others.
As contemporaries unanimously claim, "from the first minute the decisions of the supreme authority the Emperor Nicholas I started addressing public affairs with the greatest energy, patience and precision". It is written in the publication "The word in memory of Emperor Nicholas I" in 1896. Tsar often told others that duty forbids him to treat slightly even to an unimportant matter; that placing the crown, he made a vow to dedicate every minute of his life to the state and welfare of citizens.
Nicholas I highly valued literature, painting, poetry, created by talented people. "Do you know" – the Tsar once said - "I just talked with the smartest man in Russia". And to the question: "Who was that man?" he replied: "Pushkin". Nicholas I "carefully read Pushkin’s works, not only as a "censor", but as a friendly expert, often making notes in the margins of manuscripts and corrections on the content and style, with which Pushkin sometimes quite sincerely agreed", - said in the book of Eugene Petukhov "On the relations of Emperor Nicholas I and A. S. Pushkin" 1897.
Great advances were made during his reign in Russianu universities, science, and art. During this period in St. Petersburg there were established the Military Academy, the School of Engineering, the School of Law, the Institute of Technology, two cadet corps, the Women's Institute in Kazan and the first teachers' seminary in the Baltic region. Also in Kiev it was opened the University of St. Vladimir.
The Emperor connected Petersburg with Moscow with the first major railroad. Under Nicholas I, the architecture was enriched by such buildings as the St. Isaac's Cathedral, the Verebinsky Bridge, the Nicholas Bridge and the Alexander Column. In 1835, during his reign, the construction was completed on the building of the Holy Governing Synod. Before completing works the emperor visited the architectural complex and by his recommendations there were made some refinements in the engineering project. When the synod was opened and the meeting began, the Emperor arrived at one of them, and did not take the throne, but one of the chairs and had a long talk with the clergy. The reconstruction of the building of the Synod, which lasted from 2007 to 2009, the Hall of Presence, where it occurred, has been restored, and now they provide official events of the Presidential Library.
© Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 02 July, 2015