SINCE THE BEGINNINGS of its history Russia was—and still is—a vastly diversified and multi-ethnic polity. Yet, its historiography has barely reflected this fact, leaving not only a gap in our knowledge but also influencing the views and actions of the ruling elites. It is, therefore, both of interest and importance to see how the cultural-human diversity and the physical size were dealt with administratively by the imperial government. In the present article I shall focus my attention on the reign of Catherine II which was a significant period in this respect, as in so many others.