Statute on the Imperial Family

Statute on the Imperial Family

 

(Uchrezhdenie ob Imperatorskoi Familii), the name given to the laws of Apr. 5, 1797, and July 2, 1886, that fixed the rights and responsibilities of members of the imperial family.

The Statute of 1797 defined the makeup of the imperial family and the order of succession. It also regulated the size of the family members’ allowances and determined the titles and coats of arms the members were to bear. In addition, the statute dealt with such matters as marriage and inheritance and created a special department—the Department of Appanages—to administer the lands and peasants belonging to the imperial family. The statute defined the imperial family to include children, brothers, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren of the emperor. These members of the family were given the title grand duke or grand duchess. They were to be addressed as imperatorskoe vysochestvo (imperial highness). The heir to the throne also received the title tsesarevich (crown prince), more commonly rendered in English as tsarevich.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the imperial family consisted only of the nine children of Paul I. By 1885, however, the imperial family had grown so large that there were 24 grand dukes. As a result, the Statute of 1886 was introduced to modify the Statute of 1797. Membership in the imperial family was redefined and allowances were altered accordingly. Great-grandchildren of an emperor, their eldest sons, and the eldest sons’ descendants in the male line were reduced to the title prince or princess of the blood imperial and were given the form of address vysochestvo (highness). The younger children of an emperor’s great-grandchildren and their descendants in the male line were also to be called prince or princess of the blood imperial but were to be addressed with the form svetlost’ (serenity).

References in periodicals archive ?
But, as Boris Nolde noted, this tradition was unknown in Russia, and both the succession law and the Statute on the Imperial Family were issued not as private agreements arrived at by a family council but as state decrees.
On the same day as Paul promulgated his succession law, he decreed the Statute on the Imperial Family and specified that the laws regulating the family be placed "among the fundamental laws [fundamental 'nye zakony] of Our Empire.
But Paul's Statute on the Imperial Family indicated merely that only legitimate children of marriages approved by the ruling emperor could receive material support as members of the imperial family.
But Nicholas sought to reaffirm Paul's view of fundamental laws as those presenting the dynasty as the immutable basis of the Russian state, and he insisted that the Succession Law and Statute on the Imperial Family appear among a body of fundamental laws (osnovnye zakony) to be printed at the beginning of the Digest of Laws and titled the collection The Digest of Laws of the Russian Empire, Compiled at the Command of Emperor Nicholas the First.
He declared, "My Imperial Father, of Blessed Memory, for the first time established the succession on firm bases of law and published the Statute on the Imperial Family, which he, so to say, consecrated at the altar of the Assumption Cathedral.
Part 2, a revised version of Paul's Statute on the Imperial Family, consists of 121 articles.
Article 1 of the Fundamental Laws thus based the tsar's governmental authority on his absolute power as head of the imperial family, while article 71 from the Statute on the Imperial Family drew his absolute authority over the family from his definition as autocratic power in Part 1.
The 34 state laws that sought to define the parameters of monarchical power in relation to governmental officials and institutions are sandwiched between the laws on succession and accession and the Statute on the Imperial Family.
Alexander dealt with the moral crisis of the imperial family by vigorously exercising his paternal powers as defined in article 71 of the Statute on the Imperial Family.