Monday, May 24, 2010

Volume II, Book III, Chapter IV

August 1809. Andrei returns to Petersburg.

He has some ideas about the military, but the sovereign doesn’t like Andrei, or so Andrei thinks. It turns out the sovereign is displeased that Andrei hasn’t served since 1805, but then again, a near-death experience, being left for dead, and the death of one’s wife could do that to you.
Andrei has a plan for revising military regulations. He tells an old field marshall, a friend of his father’s, and soon he is summoned to meet with Arakcheev, who is the head of the military. Russia is carrying about sweeping reforms, based on the ideas of Arakcheev and Speransky, who has the ear of the sovereign. They change the inheritance of title ages, as well as requirements for diplomatic service.
Andrei meets Arakcheev, after waiting in his anteroom with many terrified men. Through Andrei’s eyes, we see the power plays, how people deal with not being the person in power and trying to get what they want.
Andrei meets Arakcheev, who declines his offer of regulation, saying no one even carries out the old one. On them is stamped that they are stolen from the French and deviate from policy. But, most importantly, he appoints Andrei to a commission on military regulations, with no salary. Andrei said he would have declined a salary.

Andrei asks to whom the memo has been passed, and he is told the committee for military regulations.

Score one for Andrei.

Great stuff in here describing the offices, the people in power, and how they maneuver - especially how terrified everyone is of Arakcheev. Andrei, clearly, is not. The politics I’m sure will get very interesting.

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