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in Russia a body for urban administration based on a social-estate principle. The first magistraty were created in 1720. The staffs were chosen from the gosti (the elite of the merchants) and the gostinaia sotnia (privileged group of the merchant class), from the lesser tradesmen (deti gostinye), and from outstanding citizens.
The magistraty were each composed of a president, from two to four burmistry, and from two to eight ratmany (councilmen) and had responsibility for judicial, police, economic, and financial matters. From 1727 to 1743 they were known as ratushi and were under the authority of the governors and voevody (military governors). They were reformed in 1743 with restricted functions (in charge mostly of judicial and treasury levies) and existed in this form until 1775, when they were transformed into courts for the urban classes. Beginning in the 1860’s, as the bourgeois judicial reforms were put into effect, they were gradually abolished.