Peter the great’s management of the Labor resources of the central volga region


  • Anton K. Salmin


18th century; Peter I; peoples of the Central Volga Region; labor resources; shipbuilding


The great reformer Peter I was in the habit of taking a political approach to everything, including Russia’s people. This article analyzes actions taken by Peter the Great with regard to the use of labor resources -- i.e., the population of Russia -- in the construction of the city of St. Petersburg and in shipbuilding. Despite the difficulties involved, local authorities did all they could to follow the orders given by the country’s last tsar and first emperor. The Kazan Governorate permanently sent several thousands of skilled craftspeople and other workers to St. Petersburg each year, along with high-quality wood (mostly oak) and finished ships and boats. Those sent to the forests to prepare the shipbuilding timber were known as lashmany. One of the first neighborhoods in the new capital was Tatarskaya Sloboda, where the Tatars, Chuvashes, Maris, Urdmurts, Bashkirs, and Kalmyks who had come to the new capital lived in temporary housing. Those involved in the city’s construction were given personal attention and protection by the tsar, who would sometimes personally handle complaints from the neighborhood. The Kazan Governorate made a huge contribution to feeding the workers as well; those who left for St. Petersburg were provided with all they would need by their home communities