Guba Charters

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Guba Charters


grand princely (later tsarist) charters issued in the Russian state during the 16th and 17th centuries, outlining the organization and jurisdiction of the agencies of guba self-administration. The earliest extant charters are those that were granted to Belozero and Kargopol’ in 1539. A total of 21 charters are known.

Cuba charters may be classified as administrative charters, which were granted to the inhabitants of an area for the introduction of guba administration, and as guba instructions, which were sent to localities at the time of the election of new guba elders. Guba instructions were also sent for the introduction of special measures against banditry, which often represented a form of class struggle. Guba charters were usually drawn up and sent out by the Razboinyi prikaz (Justice Office). Brigandage and stealing were dealt with by the guba elders. Torture and general investigations (interrogation of the local inhabitants under oath) were obligatory. If the guilty party was a professional criminal or rebel (a so-called “evil man”), he would be executed. This form of justice and punishment strengthened the dictatorship of the gentry serfholders.


Namestnich’i gubnye i zemskie ustavnye gramoty Moskovskogo gosudarstva. Moscow, 1909. [Collection.]
Zimin, A. A. “Gubnye gramoty XVI v. iz Muzeinogo sobraniia.” In the collection Zapiski Otdela rukopisei Gosudarstvennoi bib-lioleki im. V. I. Lenina, issue 18. Moscow, 1956.
Nosov, N. E. “Gubnoi nakaz Novgorodskoi zemle 1559 g.” Is-toricheskii arkhiv, no. 4, 1959.
Leont’ev, A. K. “Ustiuzhskaia gubnaia gramota, 1540 g.” Istoricheskii arkhiv, no. 4, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.