(redirected from governor-generals)
Also found in: Dictionary.



(1) The highest official of local administration in tsarist Russia; the head of a governor-generalship consisting of one or several provinces. Until the provincial reform of 1775 the post of governor-general was honorary and was not distinguished from that of governor. After the peasant war of 1773-75, which was led by E. I. Pugachev, had been suppressed, the governors-general received emergency powers.

According to the Statute on the Government of Provinces of 1775, governors-general (or so-called tsar’s vicegerents), who were under the direct control of the empress and the Senate, supervised administration, observed the political mood of the estates, and suppressed revolts of serfs and oppressed nationalities of tsarist Russia. The power of the governors-general had the character of a military dictatorship, especially in the border provinces.

Governor-generalships were usually awarded to the most reactionary generals, who enjoyed the special confidence of the tsar. The emergency powers of the governors-general were extended as the revolutionary movement grew in the country. Making use of these powers and relying on the support of military and police autocratic machinery, the governors-general ruthlessly suppressed every manifestation of dissatisfaction, especially the revolutionary movement of the working class. Under the Regulations of 1892 on Localities Declared Under Martial Law, a military regime was introduced in the governor-generalships. The governors-general played a role in suppressing the Revolution of 1905-07, when temporary governor-generalships were established particularly often. The post of governor-general was abolished by the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution of 1917 (excluding the Finnish governor-generalship, which lasted until October 1917).

(2) In the Commonwealth of Nations, a representative of the crown appointed by the head of state (that is, the king or queen).


Gradovskii, A. D. “Istoricheskii ocherk uchrezhdeniia general-gubernatorstva v Rossii.” Sobr. soch., vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1899.
Blinov, I. A. Gubernatory: Istoriko-iuridicheskii ocherk. St. Petersburg, 1905.
Eroshkin, N. P. Istoriia gosudarstvennykh uchrezhdenii dorevolu-tsionnoi Rossii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.


References in classic literature ?
These licenses were granted in writing by the governor-general, and at first were given only to persons of respectability; to gentlemen of broken fortunes; to old officers of the army who had families to provide for; or to their widows.
Toasts and jokes were discharged freely, but no speeches were made save one thanking the Emperor and the Grand Duke, through the Governor-General, for our hospitable reception, and one by the Governor-General in reply, in which he returned the Emperor's thanks for the speech, etc.
The MoU was signed by governor-generals of Kermanshah and Diyala provinces on Friday.
TEHRAN (FNA)- A joint forum of the Iranian and Iraqi governor-generals is due to be held in the Western province of Kermanshah in Iran in the near future, an official said on Sunday.
The forum of governor-generals of the (Iranian and Iraqi) bordering provinces will be held in Kermanshah province in the next few months," he added.
The agreement signed by five Iranian and six Iraqi governor-generals in the presence of Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar touches economic, political, cultural, social and trade exchanges and cooperation.
The agreement was signed by the governor-generals of Iraq's Diyala, Wasit, Soleymanieh, Erbil, Basra and Mosul provinces and Iran's Khuzestan, Ilam, Kermanshah, Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan provinces.
Today, three governor-generals, eight parliament members and a presidential advisor from Turkey will arrive in Hamedan (the province's capital city) to pursue the case with investments," Head of Hamedan's Industries and Mines Organization Khosrow Sammeri told FNA.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the implementation of Iran-Turkey border market construction project will be signed tomorrow by Governor-General of (Iran's northwestern province of) West Azarbaijan and governor-generals of five Turkish provinces which share borders with Iran," West Azarbaijan's Customs Supervisor Parviz Taqavi told FNA.

Full browser ?