Russian Administrative History of Modern Times and Unofficial Correspondence: Source Analysis

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Abstract. The initial message of the article is a reflection of approaches to the study of the history of power and management in Russia of the Modern Age, mainly of the 17th–first third of the 18th century. The author follows the trends in modern scientific practice that aim at studying the anthropological component of the administration process, shift the focus of research interest from studying power structures to the phenomenological aspects of power, from explaining the functioning of institutions to understanding the meanings of making power decisions and designing power models. Such an approach requires the search for adequate sources suitable for historical and anthropological interpretations of this plot. A large information potential in this sense belongs to a wide range of sources attributed to the historical and philological tradition as private correspondence. But with all the apparent clarity of the classification source characteristics of the concept of “private correspondence”, they, according to the author, do not quite correctly determine the place of private correspondence in the system of primary sources of the Early Modern Time and do not fully reflect its informative and social-communicative component. Based on a number of criteria that allow reconciling the principles of various classification systems with the characteristics of this kind of sources and the needs of specific historical studies, the article proposes a refined idea of the role and place of this correspondence in research practice, the concepts of “private correspondence” and “personal correspondence” are separated and the concept of “informal correspondence” as a generalizing one for them is introduced. The article is of applied source study nature.

Keywords: power, management, Modern Age, Russia, sources of personal origin, private correspondence, personal correspondence, informal correspondence, source studies.

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