Novitzkaya, Tatiana Evgenievna – Doctor of Science (Law), Professor of the Department of History of State and Law of the Law Faculty of the M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University; Laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation in the sphere of Science and Technology.
This paper considers the issues of succession to the throne; attempts to restrict the power of the monarch; the rights of the sovereign in the sphere of legislation, governance and court; and the significance of coronation. Accession to the throne in accordance with the tradition which had been established in the middle of the 16th century was accompanied by crowning to reign. Crowning to reign as a ceremony aimed at showing the divinity of the Tsar's power was substituted by the coronation in the 18th century. This was initiated by Peter I (the Great), when the titles of Father of the Fatherland, Emperor, and the Great were conferred upon him in accordance with the petition of the Senate and Synod. The procedure of coronation, though it took place in the Trinity Cathedral, was of a purely secular character and was not accompanied by consecration to office. However this was not necessary as the Tsar had already been consecrated to office when he accessed to the throne. Nevertheless, later on, the procedures of the coronation of subsequent monarchs retained the Church ceremonies, anointing in particular. The author agrees with the opinion that the introduction of the title of Emperor made changes in both the state symbols and the subsequent procedure of coronation of Peter's I wife, Catherine. The most important changes occurred on the level of ideology. Peter's acceptance of the Emperor's title and the subsequent coronation of Catherine resulted in the situation that Russia agreed with the European view of the former Tsar-Cesar's title as equal to the title of King, which was in Russia considered to be of lower rank. This infringed the national interests of the Russian side and devalued the idea of the Byzantine succession which was of no significance in the West. In addition to that, the acceptance of the Senate and Synod's proposal to change the title code of the monarch agreed with the social contract theory that had spread in Western Europe. This, to a certain degree, belittled the idea of the divine origin of the Russian autocracy rooted in the Eastern Rome Empire.
Key words: Russia, the 18th century, legislation, succession to the throne, heritage, coronation.