This can’t have been funny when Colonel Puchkov wrote it in 1760. And Elizabeth Roberts in her book Realm of the Black Mountain: A History of Montenegro may not have thought it funny. But she’s pretty worldly and nuanced in this Cornell UP book. So, maybe she smiled. It’s Puchkov’s quote, delivered before a grim and disgusted collegium, that’s priceless.
…the Russians themselves, conscious of the large sums already disbursed, decided to send an envoy, Colonel Puchkov, to assess the situation in Montenegro itself. In March 1760, after spending some weeks travelling the country, Puchkov presented his report to the Russian Collegium for Foreign Affairs…. “The people are wild; they live in disorder; heads roll for the least offence; the clergy are grasping; the churches are deserted; Russian assistance distributed among the Bishop’s cousins.”
I’ll bet that was one glum collegium!