Russian primary sources, 18th century:   databases, documents, books, articles

18th-Century Russia - RU

A big collection of historical documents at

Official documents, correspondence, memoirs and diaries. All material is in Russian.

Записки иностранцев о России - RU   

Foreigners' writings on Russia. 15th-19th century. A valuable collection of documents on

Русская литература XVIII века - RU 

Russian Literature in the 18th century

A broad online collection. Digitized texts are available in PDF format at

Источники по истории России XVIII - начала XX в. - RU

Primary sources for the study of Russian history in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries

A collection of valuable links provided on the website of the Faculty of History at the Moscow State University.


Петр I (1672-1725)  

Петр I в русской литературе XVIII века. Тексты и комментарии - RU

Peter I in Russian Literature of the 18th Century

The material is offered on the website of the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkinsky Dom).

Ведомости, газета (1703—1727)


Peter's newspaper contained little other than reports of military victories and diplomatic relations, either composed by the tsar himself or translated from Dutch newspapers according to his choice. Peter's Vedomosti was published quite irregularly, as important news arrived — sometimes as many as seventy issues appeared annually, sometimes only one. The circulation fluctuated from several dozen copies to four thousand. In 1719, the newspaper contained 22 pages.

With Peter's death in 1725, ownership of the paper was transferred to the Russian Academy of Sciences, which renamed it Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti (that is, Saint Petersburg News) in 1727.

Free PDF files can be downloaded at


Царевич Алексей Петрович (1690-1718)  

1. Письма царевича Алексея Петровича и И.И. Афанасьева к Д. Крюкову

    Letters from Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia, and I.I. Afanasiev to D. Kryukov (1713)

    Introductory article, texts of 3 short notes and comments at

2. К делу о царевиче Алексее Петровиче

    On the case of Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich (1718)

    A short introductory article and texts of 2 documents are available at


Екатерина I (1684-1727)

1. Происхождение Екатерины I

    [Ancestry of Catherine I of Russia]

    Introductory article, texts of 5 documents and comments at

2. Указ в Преображенскую канцелярию

    [Catherine's Ukaz to Preobrazhensky Cancellar] (1727)

    a short note on retirement of Adreyan Arsenyev from the Preobrazhensky Regiment

3. Записка о кончине Екатерины I

     [Death notice of Catherine I] (1727) In this document Peter II is announced as her successor.


Петр II (1715-1730)

Biography and selected historical documents are available at

1. Рождественское поздравление Петру I от внуков, Петра и Натальи

    [Christmas greetings to Peter the Great from his grandchildren Peter and Natalia]  

    This letter of December 1717 was definitely written on behalf of the children as Peter was only 2 year old and Natalia was 3.

2. Гувернантка императора Петра II

    A letter from the governess of Peter II Alekseyevich to Peter I in which she specifies salary and employment conditions.

    The text is available at

3. Обучение и воспитание Петра II     

    Upbringing and education of Peter II  

    9 documents including Peter's lessons schedule

4. Письма герцогини Голштинской цесаревны Анны Петровны Петру II из Киля

    Letters from tsesarevna Anna Petrovna, duchess of Holstein-Gottorp, to her nephew Peter II

    3 letters sent from Kiel, Germany, in 1727

5. Переписка Петра II с бабушкой, бывшей царицей Евдокией Федоровной (монахиней Еленой)

    Correspondence of Peter II with his grandmother

    8 short letters to nun Elena, the former tsarina Evdokiya Fyodorovna. 1727-1728

6. Подготовка коронации Петра II

    Preparations for the сoronation of Peter II

    6 documents (1727-1728)

7. Письма А. Д. Меншикова Петру II

    Letters of Alexandr Menshikov to Peter II

    2 letters available

8. Дело Антона Девиера

    Anton Devier's Case, 1727

    Count Anton Devier (António Manuel de Vieira) was one of Peter I's foreign associates,

    who proved to be an efficient administrator in St Petersburg and Siberia.

    In 1726 Vieira dared to oppose Menshikov's plan of marrying his daughter to the future Peter II,

    he was arrested and put to the torture.


Анна Иоанновна (1693-1740)

1. «Кондиции», подписанные Анной Иоанновной. Январь 1730

    The "Conditions" of Anna Ivanovna's Accession to the Throne, 1730       

    English translation at

2. Черновой рескрипт Анны Иоанновны членам Верховного Тайного Совета

    A draft rescript from Anna ioannovna to the Supreme Privy Council (1730)

    Written on behalf of Anna by prince Vasily Dolgoruky

3. Жалованная грамота купцу А. Еремееву на право заведения суконной фабрики в Москве

    Letters patent granting merchant A. Yeremeev the right to open a cloth factory in Moscow

    A short introductory article, the text of the document (1736) and comments

4. Указы Анны Иоанновны лейб-гвардии

    Anna Ioannovma's Ukazes to the Leib Guard, (the Russian Imperial Guard)

    3 documents (1736)

5. Секретный указ от имени императора Иоанна Антоновича главнокомандующему в Москве

    Secret Ukaz on behalf of Ivan (Ioann) VI Antonovich of Russia, to the Commander-in-Chief

    Anna Ioanovna had died 9 days before the date ot the Ukaz and Ivan VI Antonovich was only

    2,5 months old, so the document was most likely composed by Biron.


Елизавeта Петрoвна (1709-1762)

1. Елизавета : подборка документов

    [Elizabeth I of Russia: A selection of documents]

    16 documents published in various Russian historical journals.         

2. Протокол приемов Елизаветой Петровной руководства Коллегии иностранных дел в 1745 г.

    [Protokols of the meetings with Collegium of Foreign Affairs (Kollegiya inostrannykh del)]

    46 protocols, introductory article, comments

3. Скаски елизаветинской России

    Autobiographical Notes ('skaski') by the highest-ranking members of Elizabeth's court, see the

    introductory article for more information

    incl.109 documents, introductory article in Russian


Петр III (1728-1762)

1. Сочинение о поездке в Кронштадт

    Notes on the trip to Kronstadt (1743)

    A short document of May 1743 describing the trip to Peterhof and Kronstadt

2. Письма Фридриху II

    Letters to Frederick II, the King in Prussia

    The text is available at 1762

3. Указ Петра III сенату. 26.06.1762    

    Peter's Ukaz to the Senate

    a short note regading banks in St. Petersburg and Moscow

4. Указы об имениях графини Е. Р. Воронцовой

    Ukazes regarding the estates of Dutchess Elizaveta Vorontsova

    3 documents (1762)


Екатерина II (1729-1796)

1. Екатерина Вторая: Собрание сочинений

    Catherine the Great: Collected Works

    Historical documents, letters, articles, and more at

2. Екатерина II. Письма и труды

    Catherine the Great: Letters and writings

    Historical documents published in a number of Russian historical journals in the end of the 19th

    century. The texts are available at

3. Екатерина II и Г.А. Потемкин. Личная переписка (1769-1791)

    Private Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Grigory Potemkin. 1769-1791

    1162 letters and short notes in Russian and/ or French. Texts and comments.


Памфлет князя М.М.Щербатова "О повреждении нравов в России" (1787)


[On the Decline of Morals in Russia] - A pamflet by Prince M.M. Scherbatov

Other available documents:

Инструкция приказчикам ярославских имений (1758)

[Instruction to the countermen at Yaroslavl estates] (some amendments were added in 1762)

О приказах

[About Prikazes]

An unfinished document describing the work of the Ambassadorial Prikaz (Posolsky Prikaz) that was in charge of international affairs


Письма русских писателей XVIII века - RU

Letters of the 18th century Russian writers and introductory article at

Incl. letters of Trediakovsky (17), Sumarokov (177), Karzhavin (8), Bogdanovich (7), Muravyov (67), Fonvizin (5), Domashnev (1), Lvov (3), Emin (1), Derzhavin (2)