Money, Banks and Finance in Economic Thought

Cameralism in Eighteenth-Century Russia: Translations and Academic Mobility

Raskov Danila, St. Petersburg State University

The paper aims to study cameralist texts in the Russian context. Most famously, Catherine II mentioned Justi in her Nakaz. The paper begins by tracing, deconstructing and putting into context the Russian translations of Justi, Bielefeld and Sonnenfels. Comparing the translated texts with the originals helps reflect the extent to which the translations were direct or modified. Justi in the 18th century had been translated in the Russian Empire – Saint Petersburg and Moscow – more often than anywhere else. It was revealed that the translations and publishing had been more stipulated by political motives, often supported by Catherine II, Count Nikita Panin, or Ivan Melissino. The lack of academic comments, extensions or addendums shows the symbolic function of these editions that would rather bear hierarchical meaning, although they would be presented as advance of Enlightenment. The influence of cameralism is then pursued in projects, public speeches, courses taught at Moscow University during the century, many of whose professors had received their education in Germany. The reexamination of the 1763 curriculum of the University of Moscow and the suggestion to establish a professor of oeconomia, cameral sciences and mining affairs at the Philosophy Faculty had been dismissed. Ii is remarkable that the treaties published by professors Kerstens, Rost, Reichel, Schaden, Langer and Erasmus signed the project of re-examination were of distinctive cameralist content. They speculated on population growth, rural and urban development, improvement of laws. The paper thus indicates conclusions about the trajectories and influence of German cameralism on academic, intellectual and administrative life in Russia, particularly during the second half of the eighteenth century.

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Keywords: Cameralism, Russia, Justi, Bielfeld, Sonnenfels, translations, Moscow University

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