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Maksimov V. A. V. N. Tatishchev: Prolegomena of the Russian modernization research program in the XVIII century (Institutional-evolutionary approach). Izv. Saratov Univ., Economics. Management. Law, 2021, vol. 21, iss. 4, pp. 373-379. DOI:

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V. N. Tatishchev: Prolegomena of the Russian modernization research program in the XVIII century (Institutional-evolutionary approach)

Introduction. V. N. Tatishchev, one of the founders of the Russian history studies, was notable for his broad views on the evolution of society and economic order. His economic views were not widely discussed during his lifetime and were not much in demand afterwards. Familiarity with his major works is hampered by the fact that they were almost never published in the form of notes, letters, and manuscripts. The ambiguity of his approaches, conclusions, recommendations and, accordingly, their evaluation was noted by many researchers who took diametrically opposed views. Deep erudition, reliance on Western European philosophy and Russian theology allowed the enlightener to create the conceptual milestones of the future institutional program. Theoretical analysis. Modernization of society should be based on constant changes in existing legislative and economic practices, ideological perceptions, and cultural patterns. This approach allows us to identify the most effective institutions (formal and informal rules), taking into account national specifics. Methodologically, the relationship between changes in public administration and social ethos “vertically and horizontally” is established; the importance of societal economic culture as a factor of sustainable development is emphasized. Empirical analysis. Considered chronologically consecutive works on purely economic topics and legal foundations of power are supported by a significant array of letters to Peter I, the Academy of Sciences, the Berg Collegium, and public figures of the first half of the 18th century. According to the thinker, economic policy, both at micro and macro levels, should be based on regulations, organizational adaptation and rational borrowing. The qualitative description of the structure of social relations of absolutist Russia, in the form of “physiology of society”, which resonates with the modern concepts in economic sociology and new institutional economic theory, is highlighted. Results. V. N. Tatishchev can reasonably be considered the conceptual forerunner of the modern theory of institutionalism. As an enlightener, in the spirit of eighteenth-century social thought, he created an introduction to the importance of permanent changes in Russian economic and social structures. The imperative of state construction of the economy at the macro level is supported by attention to micro-changes in the form of regular economic practices, combining elements of originality and creative borrowing of foreign innovations. Evolutionary approach of the thinker echoes the formation and development of economic views of the XIX and XX centuries, especially in the prerequisites of the theory of history periodization and the transition from one political order to another on the basis of changes in institutions (formal and informal rules).

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