In 1774 the Magistrate (Municipal Council) was formed, and in 1786 it was transformed into the City Duma.
A monument to Catherine the Great was built in 1873 in a garden just off Nevsky Prospect
(by the Public Library and the Alexandrinsky Theatre). Thousands of people come to visit her tomb
in St. Peter's and Paul's Cathedral.
When Catherine the Great died in 1796, an entirely new period in Russian history has started. Catherine's son
Paul I has introduced some ultra-conservative policies, curtailed St. Petersburg's local administration
and made several major steps towards turning Russia into a bureaucratic state. The worst fear in Paul's
life was the fear of being assassinated.
Trying to hide from possible plots, he built a well-protected
palace for himself, called the Mikhailovsky Castle. However, that did not help, and on March 12, 1801 Paul I
was assassinated in the newly-built castle, in his own bedroom.
Ironically, the coup was engineered by his son Alexander, who had sworn to continue the policies of
his grandmother, Catherine the Great. Upon assuming power Alexander I had introduced a series of
reforms. A political reform brought to life a new government structure: in 1802 Alexander approved
a system of ministries with ministers reporting directly to the monarch; in 1810 the State Council
was formed. For better or for worse, bureaucracy flourished. Soon St. Petersburg became a very
bureaucratic, ordered city and its traditional regular street layout and heavy policing just
contributed to such an image.