By Frederick W. W. Kagan
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Extra resources for The Military Reforms of Nicholas I: The Origins of the Modern Russian Army
He was able to collect and print volumes of the decrees promulgated after 1816 on an annual basis, but he found it difficult to compile more than a few of the regulations established before that time. ”14 This section of Zakrevskii’s final report was intended to justify his “codifying” activities and to convince his superiors to continue and extend them. He assiduously tried to show that he was simply implementing the tsar’s will, previously expressed but left unfulfilled. He pointed out that Alexander had established a commission in 1811 to codify all laws relating to the military, but that this commission “had confined itself only to the establishment of the large active army.
Plans for their formation had not been worked out before the war [of 1812]. In consequence of this several concentration points of reserve units had no magazines; in others, supplies on hand of provisions and forage were insufficient for fulfilling current needs. 59 The Provisions Department scrambled to keep these forces supplied. The problem intensified when the armies crossed the frontier in 1813, requiring the Commissariat Department to supply several hundred thousand Russian troops spread out across Europe.
He remained, in 1820 as he had been in 1810, aware of the acute crisis in Russia’s finances, and he recognized that Russia’s vast army was a large part of the problem. The establishment of military colonies under A. A. Arakcheev, beginning in 1809, was a central part of his solution to the military-financial crisis he faced. Military colonists, who were to feed and supply themselves completely in peacetime, would thus entirely relieve the state of the burden of supporting them, while still providing (in theory) hundreds of thousands of fit and trained soldiers in the event of war.