Crisis came to Russia on January 19, 1730; Peter II, grandson of Peter the Great died suddenly without leaving an heir apparent. This lack of knowledgeable succession only became more complex because there were not any males who remained that could make any higher claims than other boyars in Russia. In need of leadership before the different boyar clans resulted to violence, the Supreme Privy Council choose to offer the throne to Countess Anna. This succession combined with the conditions that Tsarina Anna acquiesced to, have lead some scholars to believe that the 1730s was an opportune time for democracy to take hold in Russia. While it was possible for the ideals of democracy and limited monarchy to gain ground in Russia it is a fallacy to believe that western Democracy and all of the details of government that it would entail, could have taken hold in Russia.
In order to understand both sides of the presented argument, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of the Russian form of government as it stood on the day that Anna accepted the throne. As late as 1727 “…the (Supreme Privy) Council abandoned Peter’s system of local government with its highly articulated separation of functions and responsibilities and returned to the unified system…in which all power was concentrated in the hands of the governor…” There remained in place, and in the same state of affairs as was established by Peter the Great; the Senate and the independent College of Justice. The Senate having been lowered in prestige by the creation of the Supreme Privy Council by Catherine I still retained its original composition and functions. While the Supreme Privy Council had grown in power due to the succession void left by Peter II, it was still officially responsible for advising the monarchy. Lastly while not officially part of the government their support was crucial for any boyar who wanted to take the throne; the Semyonovsky and the Preobrazhensky Guards. 
Neither the proponents of the ability of Russia to gain Democracy and a limited monarchy nor the scholars who believe that Russia could only have hoped to gain the ideals of Democracy and a limited monarchy can overlook the importance of the eight conditions given to Anna, by the Supreme Privy Council, to accept before becoming Tsarina. The conditions set forth by the Supreme Privy Council included; the need to obtain consent of the Supreme Privy Council before waging war, concluding peace, “…imposing new taxes, making important appointments in either the civil or military administration, deprive the nobility of life, property or honor without trial, grant estates or villages, and make promotions to court offices or spend state revenues”. There are proponents of democracy in Russia during the 1730s who point towards these conditions as a sign that the Russian nobility was indeed trying to transform the autocracy into a limited monarchy. Valerie Kivelson partially supports their claims in her Imperial Russia New Histories for the Empire by writing that “In the second half of the century (17th century), new Western ideas of government and state slowly percolated into the highest educated Moscow circles…”.(p11)
While it was impossible for the influence of western ideas and culture to not have influenced the Russian nobility under Peter the Great, it is a mistake to believe that a majority of the Russian people and lesser nobles were influenced by the western ideas that the foreign workers brought with them. One important western institution that had become subservient to the western secular governments by the late 17th century was that of the Church and the different religions, which dominated western countries. While it is true that the Russian autocrat appointed the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church, it is equally true that the Orthodox Church had not accepted its subservient role. Upon reading Anna’s letter of acceptance of the conditions primary source Prokopovich states that the “Supreme Privy Council, Synod, Senate… and others of these ranks…. unanimously declare that they are content with it.” The positions of institutions in a historical account are important; their placement correlates to their power and prestige. As is clearly shown by Prokopovich, not only did the Synod have a great amount of input into the conditions set forth to Anna, but also was ranked in prestige only second to that of the Supreme Privy Council, a body of men that consisted of the most important and powerful men in Russia. It is accepted by European historians that the Church’s loss of power and prestige during the Renaissance led to the acceptance of limited monarchies and in some cases direct Democracy. Russia had not gone through a Renaissance and thus had neither removed the barriers to a broadly elected government nor a limited monarchy.
Conversely in Tatishchev’s Unrestrained and Concerted Discourse and Opinion of the Assembled Russian Gentry on State Government he poses and answers four questions; “…at the end of an inherited government, who has the power to rule over the people? Second, to whom does legislative power belong? If a single-rule government (monarchy) must be changed, which form of government is proper for the customs and situation of the nation? And fourth, how is that government is established?” Widely recognized as the only credible thesis written about the 1730’s succession crisis by a primary source, Tatishchev’s thesis offers support to the proponents of Democracy and a limited monarchy. In it, Tatishchev admits of the need for Russian laws to be codified and for a statute to resolve succession problems. Due to the lack of a constitution or an established code of laws in Russia, the codification of Russian laws (to include how succession of the monarchy would be handled) would had to have taken precedent over any other democratic initiative, since without a code of laws, Democracy and a limited monarchy are impossible to establish.
Unfortunately for Democracy, Tatishchev states in the same thesis Unrestrained and Concerted Discourse and Opinion of the Assembled Russian Gentry on State Government that “…democracy was good only where there was safety from foreign invasion and where everyone was able to congregate to make decisions…he thought that only an autocracy was feasible.” More importantly than Tatischev’s belief of the size restrictions of democracy was his belief that the Russian ruler should have advisors but need not necessarily heed their advice, his authority must be enforced throughout his domain, and that the Privy Council should be established in “…the Roman tradition in order to provide ‘security’ for the monarch.” None of Tatischev’s conclusions lead towards democracy or a limited monarchy.
What then should be made by historians of the Supreme Privy Council? Was this not an assembly of men that had used its power to limit that of the monarchy and if so does that not constitute the first steps towards democracy and a limited monarchy? While the Supreme Privy Council had indeed established conditions through which Tsarina Anna had limited powers, the Council’s motives were not the establishment of democracy but rather an oligarchy.  The Supreme Privy Council did not make constitutional overtures to either the Senate or the lesser nobility. In fact even in the upper echelons of the boyars that had taken on the bulk of the western ideals, still believed in “…either security under the autocracy or an anarchic freedom in which the strong tyrannized the weak”.  In a culture that saw the autocracy as the defender of their civilization, there was no movement for the creation of democracy. Lastly it is important to note that those who controlled the Russian government despised the foreign ideals that Peter the Great had allowed to influence the monarchy and Russia. According to Christof Herman von Manstein “The council of state, the senate, and such of the principal generals of the army…Russia had suffered extremely by the despotic power, to the prevalence of which the great number of foreigners brought in by Peter I had greatly contributed…” Since the upper echelons of Russia did not see western ideals as either liberating or valuable, why would they want to embrace a western form of government?
The last vestige of hope for democracy or a limited monarchy was Tsarina Anna. The general top down rule of change, which governed the movements of Russia, would have had the force to change Russia’s culture and form of government. Yet Tsarina Anna did not intend to limit her monarchy nor expand her subjects’ power. According to von Manstein, an advisor to Anna, Yaguzhinksky, promised her that “…he would use his best endeavours to increase the party of such as were not at all please at this government by the council of state,… and that on the arrival of her majesty everything would turn out according to her wish.” Tsarina Anna accepted her title (as did all Tsars and Tsarinas had before her): “Sovereign, Tsar, and Grand Prince, Autocrat of All Russia” and kept with the understanding of the day that “…relations of power were broadly understood as personal, intimate ones, and political might was exercised in the form of intercession and protection”.
Tsarina Anna’s guard regiments accepted this understanding of the Tsarina’s power by forcing the Supreme Privy Council to accept Tsarina Anna’s rejection of the Conditions that they had given to her.
In order for democracy to have been borne or a monarchy to have been limited, the foundations of both movements would have had to been laid in advance. In Russia, not only had the foundations for these two movements not been made, but also there were not sufficient individuals with the will power to lay the foundations. The lack of will combined with the general despising attitude of the boyar class towards foreigners and western values, leaves little doubt that the Russian boyars and nobles had no intention of creating a democracy and a monarchy that was limited by laws and Tsarina Anna had no intention of allowing either to happen.
 Walter Moss, A History of Russia Volume I: To 1917 (London: Anthem Press, 2005), 253
 David Ransel,. "The Government Crisis of 1730." Reform in Russia and the USSR: Past and Prospects. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989) 67
 Valeria Kivelson "Kinship Politics/Autocratic Politics." Imperial Russia New Histories for the Empire. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988) 10-26
 Rudolph Daniels "V.N. Tatishchev and the Succession Crisis of 1730." Slavonic and East European Review 49 (1971) 551
 James Cracraft. Peter the Great Transforms Russia. (Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1991) 64
 Rudolph Daniels "V.N. Tatishchev and the Succession Crisis of 1730." Slavonic and East European Review 49 (1971) 553-554
 Ibid., p. 557
 The ability to congregate directly correlated to the size of the area where democracy was to rule. Tatischev (as did many political philosophers of the time) believed that democracy could not effectively rule over large regions.
 Rudolph Daniels "V.N. Tatishchev and the Succession Crisis of 1730." Slavonic and East European Review 49 (1971) 553
 Ibid., p. 555
 Anna had been chosen to become Tsarina according to Rudolph Daniels because she was “a widow and submissive”.
 David Ransel,. "The Government Crisis of 1730." Reform in Russia and the USSR: Past and Prospects. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989) 68
 Christof Herman von Manstein,. Memoirs of Russia: Historical, Political, Military from the Year 1727-1744. (London, 1770) 25-26
 Peter the Great had revolutionized Russia’s culture, economics, industry, and government over the protests of the boyars.
 Christof Herman von Manstein,. Memoirs of Russia: Historical, Political, Military from the Year 1727-1744. (London, 1770) 30
 Valeria Kivelson "Kinship Politics/Autocratic Politics." Imperial Russia New Histories for the Empire. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988)
Cracraft, James. Peter the Great Transforms Russia. Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1991.
Daniels, Rudolph L. "V.N. Tatishchev and the Succession Crisis of 1730." Slavonic and East European Review 49 (1971): 550-559.
Kivelson, Valerie A. "Kinship Politics/Autocratic Politics." Imperial Russia New Histories for the Empire. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988.
Moss, Walter. A History of Russia Volume I: To 1917. London: Anthem Press, 2005.
Ransel, David L. "The Government Crisis of 1730." Reform in Russia and the USSR:
Past and Prospects. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989. von Manstein, Christof Herman. Memoirs of Russia: Historical, Political, Military from the Year 1727-1744. London, 1770.