Committee of Ministers

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Committee of Ministers

 

at one time the supreme consultative body on lawmaking in Russia; a council of the tsar and the highest officials on all questions of state administration.

The Committee of Ministers was founded in 1802 under Alexander I. Its membership included ministers, the heads of the main administrations, and the state treasurer; after 1810 it also included the chairmen of departments in the State Council and, after 1812, individuals appointed by the tsar. The procurator general of the Holy Synod was invited to committee sessions. The post of chairman of the Committee of Ministers was created in 1810. Among the affairs the Committee dealt with were the drafts of new decrees, statutes, and rules; questions affecting more than one ministry; peasant disturbances and revolutionary outbursts; supervision of the state apparatus; the preservation and propagation of Orthodoxy; and the complaints of pomeshchiki (gentry landlords) and peasants.

From 1812 to 1865 the post of chairman of the Committee of Ministers was combined with the post of chairman of the State Council. From 1872, the Committee of Ministers was also the highest agency of the censorship system. The committee was abolished in April 1906, and its business was distributed between the Council of Ministers and the State Council.

The chairmen of the Committee of Ministers were N. P. Rumiantsev (1810–12), N. I. Saltykov (1812–16), P. V. Lopukhin (1816–27), V. P. Kochubei (1827–34), N. N. Novosil’tsev (1834–38), I. V. Vasil’chikov (1838–17), V. V. Levashev (1847–48), A. I. Chernyshev (1848–56), A. F. Orlov (1856–61), D. N. Bludov (1861–64), P. P. Gagarin (1864–72), P. N. Ignat’ev (1872–79), P. A. Valuev (1879–81), M. Kh. Reitern (1881–86), N. Kh. Bunge (1887–95), I. N. Durnovo (1895–1903), and S. Iu. Witte (1903–06).

REFERENCES

Zhurnaly Komiteta ministrov. . . 1802–1826, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1888–91.
Istoricheskii obzor deiatel’nosti Komiteta ministrov, vols. 1–5. St. Petersburg, 1902.
Eroshkin, N. P. Istoriia gosudarstvennykh uchrezhdenii dorevoliutsionnoi Rossii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.

N. P. EROSHKIN

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