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(province), a major administrative division and unit of local government in Russia, established in the 18th century under Peter I the Great, as part of the process of organizing the absolutist state.
By the Ukase of 1708, the country was divided into eight provinces: St. Petersburg (prior to 1710, Ingermanland), Moscow, Arkhangelogorod, Smolensk, Kiev, Kazan, Azov, and Siberia. Between 1713 and 1719 the provinces of Nizhny Novgorod, Astrakhan, and Riga were created, and the province of Smolensk was divided between Moscow and Riga provinces. During these years the provincial administrative system was given formal organization. The provinces were first divided into parts called dolt. From 1719 each gubernia was divided into 47 provintsii (subprovinces) and the latter into distrikty (districts). The province was headed by a gubernator (governor), the subprovince by a voevoda, and the district by a zemskii komissar. An extensive administrative and bureaucratic apparatus was created under the direction of the governor.
The next step in establishing a system of local administration, in accordance with the principles of the Petrine reform program, was the Statute on the Administration of the Provinces of the All-Russian Empire of 1775 (completed 1780). Additional impetus was provided by the need to strengthen on the local level the authority of the central government after the uprising (Peasant War) headed by E. I. Pugachev. By the beginning of the reign of Catherine II the number of provinces had increased from 20 to 40, with 300,000–400,000 census-registered persons (the male taxable population) in each province; as a result of annexations, there were 51 provinces by the end of the reign. The provinces were combined into vicegerencies (usually two or three provinces) and were divided into okrugs or into uezdy (districts) with 20,000–30,000 persons (12–15 okrugs or uezdy per province and in all about 500 uezdy). The vicegerents and the governors were directly responsible to the Senate and subject to supervision by the procurator-general. At the head of the district was the kapitan-ispravnik (chief of police), who was chosen once every three years by the district assembly of noblemen. The immediate assistant of the governor was the vice-governor. The statute of 1775 created a complex bureaucratic system of provincial administration in which the leading role was given to the nobility. This system was reinforced by the development of a system of administrative autonomy based on the nobility. Some offices held by noblemen were elective. The statute of 1775 established the principles for the entire subsequent system of local administration in the empire.
In the 19th century two groups of administrative organizations were distinguished. In most parts of European Russia, the general provincial organization was retained; there were 51 provinces in the 1860’s. In the border regions a system of governor-generalships was established, with the exception of the Baltic region which was made up of three provinces. Moreover, in the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century 20 oblasts—administrative units corresponding to the province—were created. As a rule, the oblasts were located in the border territories. The centralization and bureaucratization of local administration was continued. As the local administration became more directly subordinate to the governor, its administrative machinery was increasingly simplified.
The reforms of the 1860’s and 1870’s and particularly the zemstvo (district assembly), municipal, and court reforms, introduced into the local administration and the courts the bourgeois principle of elected representation of all estates. The elected bodies of zemstvo self-government (in 34 provinces) managed the local economy, and the same functions were performed in the towns and cities by the dumas and councils. The zemstvo (1890) and municipal (1892) counter-reforms strengthened the nobility’s representation in local self-government and further subordinated local self-government to the administration. The institution of zemstvo heads was introduced in 1889. These officials represented noble and landlord interests (they were appointed from among the nobility), and their administrative, court, and financial functions nullified peasant self-government.
The provincial apparatus of local administration remained in effect until the 20th century. During the Stolypin reaction (1907–10), harsh methods of administration were restored. The role of the police organs (okhranka) and of the organizations of the nobility (the Council of United Nobility) was strengthened. After the February Revolution of 1917 the bourgeois Provisional Government retained the entire system of provincial institutions. Only the governors were replaced by provincial commissioners (correspondingly, districts also received commissioners). Nevertheless, the nobility and landlords continued to dominate the local administration. At the same time, the system of soviets was formed in opposition to the local authorities of the Provisional Government. The October Revolution, which initially preserved the provincial divisions, abolished the entire old provincial apparatus and established new bodies of Soviet power. These bodies were headed by the provincial executive committee, which was elected at the provincial congress of soviets. The provincial territorial division was abolished in 1924–29 as part of the zoning of the USSR and was replaced by oblasts and krais and. later, by okrugs.
REFERENCESEroshkin, N. P. Istoriia gosudarstvennykh uchrezhdenii dorevoliu-tsionnoi Rossii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.
Eroshkin. N. P., Iu. V. Kulikov, and A. V. Chernov. Istoriia gosudarstvennykh uchrezhdenii Rossii do Velikoi Oktiabr’skoi sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii. Moscow, 1965.
N. L. RUBINSHTEIN
Listed below are the provinces and oblasts of the Russian Empire in 1914, with their districts, okrugs, and other subdivisions (not including the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Finland). The dates indicate the formation, abolition, and reestablishment of provinces and oblasts. When the names of district or okrug capitals differ from the names of the districts or okrugs, they appear in parenthesis.
Arkhangel’sk (1708–80, 1796): Aleksandrovsk, Arkhangel’sk, Kern’, Mezen’, Onega, Pechora (Ust’-Tsil’ma), Pinega, Kholmogory, and Shenkursk.
Astrakhan (1717–85, 1796): Astrakhan, Enotaevka, Kras-nyi lar Tsarev, and Chernyi lar.
Baku (1859): Baku, Geokchai, Dzhevat (Sal’iany), Kuba, Lenkoran’, and Shemakha.
Bessarabia (1873; capital, Kishinev): Akkerman, Bel’tsy, Bendery, Izmail, Kishinev, Orgeev, Soroki, and Khotin.
Black Sea (1896; capital, Novorossiisk); okrugs: Novorossiisk, Sochi, and Tuapse.
Chernigov (1796): Borzna, Glukhov, Gorodnia, Kozelets, Konotop, Krolevets, Mglin, Nezhin, Novgorod-Severskii, Novozybkov, Oster, Sosnitsa, Starodub, Surazh, and Chernigov.
Courland (1796; capital, Mitava): Bauska, Vindava, Gazenpot, Goldingen, Grobina, Ilukste, Mitava, Talsi, Tukums, Friedrichstadt, and Jakobstadt.
Ekaterinoslav (1802): Aleksandrovka, Bakhmut, Ver-khnedneprovsk, Ekaterinoslav, Mariupol’, Novomoskovsk, Pavlograd, and Slavianoserbsk (Lugansk).
Elizavetpol’ (1868): Areshskii (Agdash), Dzhevanshir (Ter-ter), Elizavetpol’, Zangezur (Geriusy), Kazakh, Kariagino, Nukha, and Shusha.
Eniseisk (1822; capital, Krasnoiarsk): Achinsk, Eniseisk, Kansk, Krasnoiarsk, Minusinsk, and the Turukhansk Separate Administration.
Estonia (1783; capital, Revel): Wesenberg, Weissenstein, Hapsal, and Revel.
Grodno (1801): Belostok, Bel’sk, Brest Litovsk, Vol-kovysk, Grodno, Kobrin, Pruzhany, Slonim, Sokolka.
Irkutsk (1764): Balagansk, Verkholensk, Irkutsk, Kirensk, and Nizhneudinsk.
Kaluga (1796): Borovsk, Zhizdra, Kaluga, Kozel’sk, Likhvin, Maloiaroslavets, Medyn’, Meshchovsk, Mosal’sk, Peremyshl’, and Tarusa.
Kazan (1708–81, 1796): Kazan, Kozmodem’iansk, Laish-ev, Mamadysh, Sviazhsk, Spasskii, Tetiushi, Tsarevokok-shaisk, Tsivil’sk, Cheboksary, Chistopol’, and Iadrin.
Kharkov (1835): Akhtyrka, Bogodukhov, Valki, Vol-chansk, Zmiev, Izium, Kupiansk, Lebedin, Starobel’sk, Sumy, and Kharkov.
Kherson (1803): Aleksandriia, Anan’ev, Elizavetgrad, Odessa, Tiraspol’, and Kherson.
Kiev (1708–81, 1796): Berdichev, Vasil’kov, Zvenigorod-ka, Kanev, Kiev, Lipovets, Radomysl’, Skvira, Tarashcha, Uman’, Cherkasy, and Chigirin.
Kostroma (1778): Bui, Varnavin, Vetluga, Galich, Kineshma, Kologriv, Kostroma, Makar’ev, Nerekhta, Soli-galich, Chukhloma, and Iur’evets.
Kovno (1842): Vilkomir, Kovno, Novoaleksandrovsk, Ponevezh, Rossieny, Tel’shi, and Shavli.
Kursk (1796): Belgorod, Graivoron, Dmitriev, Korocha, Kursk, L’gov, Novyi Oskol, Oboian’, Putivl’, Ryl’sk, Staryi Oskol, Sudzha, Tim, Fatezh, and Shchigry.
Kutaisi (1846): Zugdidi, Kutaisi, Lechkhum, Ozurgety, Rachinskii, Senak, and Shorapani.
Livonia (1783; capital, Riga): Valk, Wenden, Verro, Vol-mar, Pernov, Riga, Fellin, Iur’ev, and Ösel (Arensburg).
Minsk (1793–95, 1796): Bobruisk, Borisov, Igumen, Minsk, Mozyr’, Novogrudok, Pinsk, Rechitsa, and Slutsk.
Mogilev (1773–78, 1802): Bykhov, Gomel’, Gorki, Klimovichi, Mogilev, Mstislavl’, Orsha, Rogachev, Senno, Chausy, and Cherikov.
Moscow (1708): Bogorodsk, Bronnitsy, Vereia, Volokolamsk, Dmitrov, Zvenigorod, Klin, Kolomna, Mozhaisk, Moscow, Podol’sk, Ruza, and Serpukhov.
Nizhny Novgorod (1719–79, 1796): Ardatov, Arzamas, Balakhna, Vasil’sursk, Gorbatov, Kniaginin, Lukoianov, Makar’ev, Nizhny Novgorod, Semenov, and Sergach.
Novgorod (1727–76, 1796): Belozersk Borovichi, Valdai, Demiansk, Kirillov, Kresttsy, Novgorod, Staraia Russa, Tikhvin, Ustiuzhna, and Cherepovets.
Olonets (1801; capital, Petrozavodsk): Vytegra, Kar-gopol’, Lodeinoe Pole, Olonets, Petrozavodsk, Povenets, and Pudozh.
Orel (1796): Bolkhov, Briansk, Dmitrovsk, Elets, Karachev, Kromy, Livny, Maloarkhangel’sk, Mtsensk, Orel, Sevsk, and Trubchevsk.
Orenburg (1796): Verkhneural’sk, Orenburg, Orsk, Troitsk, and Cheliabinsk.
Penza (1796–97, 1801): Gorodishche, Insar, Kerensk, Krasnoslobodsk, Mokshan, Nizhniy Lomov, Narovchat, Penza, Saransk, and Chembar.
Perm’ (1796): Verkhniaia Tura, Ekaterinburg, Irbit, Kamyshlov, Krasnoufimsk, Kungur, Osa, Okhansk, Perm’, Solikamsk, Cherdyn’, and Shadrinsk.
Podol’sk (1796; capital, Kamenets-Podol’sk): Balta, Bratslav, Vinnitsa, Gaisin, Kamenets-Podol’sk, Letichev, Litin, Mogilev, Novaia Ushitsa, Ol’gopol’, Proskurov, and Iampol’.
Poltava (1802): Gadiach, Zen’kov, Zolotonosha, Kobe-liaki, Konstantinograd, Kremenchug, Lokhvitsa, Lubny, Mirgorod, Pereiaslav, Piriatin, Poltava, Priluki, Romny, and Khorol.
Pskov (1772–77, 1796): Velikie Luki, Novorzhev, Opo-chka, Ostrov, Porkhov, Pskov, Toropets, and Kholm.
Riazan’ (1796): Dankov, Egor’evsk, Zaraisk, Kasimov, Mikhailov, Pronsk, Ranenburg, Riazhsk, Riazan’, Sapozhok, Skopin, and Spassk.
St. Petersburg (1708): Gdov, Luga, Novaia Ladoga, Peter-gof, St. Petersburg, Tsarskoe Selo, Shlissel’burg, and Iam-burg.
Samara (1850): Bugul’ma, Buguruslan, Buzuluk, Niko-laevsk, Novouzensk, Samara, and Stavropol’.
Saratov (1797): Atkarsk, Balashov, Vol’sk, Kamyshin, Kuznetsk, Petrovsk, Saratov, Serdobsk, Khvalynsk, and Tsaritsyn.
Simbirsk (1796): Alatyr’, Ardatov, Buinsk, Karsun, Kur-mysh, Sengilei, Simbirsk, and Syzran’.
Smolensk (1708–13, 1776): Belyi, Viaz’ma, Gzhatsk, Dorogobuzh, Dukhovshchina, El’nia, Krasnnyi, Porech’e, Roslavl’, Smolensk, Sychevka, and Iukhnov.
Stavropol’ (1847): Aleksandrovskoe, Blagodarnoe, Med-vezh’e, Sviatoi Krest, and Stavropol’.
Tambov (1796): Borisoglebsk, Elat’ma, Kirsanov, Kozlov, Lebedian’, Lipetsk, Morshansk, Spassk, Tambov, Tem-nikov, Usman’, and Shatsk.
Tavrida (1802; capital, Simferopol’): Berdiansk, Dnepr (Aleshki), Evpatoriia, Melitopol’, Perekop, Simferopl’, Feodosiia, and Yalta.
Tiflis (1849): Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe, Borchala (Shulav-ery), Gori, Dusheti, Signakhi, Telavi, Tionety, and Tiflis.
Tobol’sk (1796): Berezov, Ishim, Kurgan, Surgut, Tara, Tobol’sk, Turinsk, Tiukalinsk, Tiumen’, and Ialutorovsk.
Tomsk (1804): Barnaul, Biisk, Zmeinogorsk, Kainsk, Kuznetsk, Mariinsk, and Tomsk.
Tula (1796): Aleksin, Belev, Bogoroditsk, Venev, Epifan’, Efremov, Kashira, Krapivna, Novosil’, Odoev, Tula, and Chern’.
Tver’ (1796): Bezhetsk, Ves’egonsk, Vyshnii Volochek, Zubtsov, Kaliazin, Kashin, Korcheva, Novotorzhok (Tor-zhok), Ostashkov, Rzhev, Staritsa, and Tver’.
Ufa (1865): Belebei, Birsk, Zlatoust, Menzelinsk, Ster-litamak, and Ufa.
Viatka (1796): Viatka, Glazov, Elabuga, Kotel’nich, Mal-myzh, Nolinsk, Orlov, Sarapul, Slobodskoi, Urzhum, and Iaransk.
Vil’na (1795–97, 1802): Vileika, Vil’na, Disra, Lida, Oshmiany, Sventsiany, and Trok.
Vitebsk (1802): Velizh, Vitebsk, Gorodok, Dvinsk, Drissa, Lepel’, Liutsin, Nevel’, Polotsk, Rezhitsa, and Sebezh.
Vladimir (1778, 1796): Aleksandrov, Vladimir, Viazniki, Gorokhovets, Kovrov, Melenki, Murom, Pereslavl’, Pokrov, Sudogda, Suzdal’, Shuia, and Iur’ev.
Vologda (1796): Vel’sk, Vologda, Griazovets, Kadnikov, Nikol’sk, Sol’vychegodsk, Tot’ma, Ust’-Sysol’sk, Ustiuzh-skii (Velikii Ustiug), and Iarensk.
Volyn’ (1796; capital, Zhitomir): Vladimir-Volynskii, Dubno, Zhitomir, Iziaslav, Kovel’, Kremenets, Lutsk, Novograd-Volynskii, Ovruch, Ostrog, Rovno, and Staro-konstantinov.
Voronezh (1725–79, 1796): Biriuch, Bobrov, Boguchar, Valuiki, Voronezh, Zadonsk, Zemliansk, Korotoiak, Nizhnedevitsk, Novokhopersk, Ostrogozhsk, and Pavlovsk.
Yaroslavl (1796): Danilov, Liubim, Mologa, Myshkin, Poshekhon’e, Romanovo-Borisoglebsk, Rostov, Rybinsk, Uglich, and Yaroslavl.
Yerevan (1849): Aleksandropol’, Nakhichevan’, Novo-Baiazet, Surmalin, Sharur-Daralagez, Yerevan, and Echmiadzin.
Akmolinsk (1868; capital Omsk); districts: Akmolinsk, At-basar, Kokchetav, Omsk, and Petropavlovsk.
Amur (1858; capital Blagoveshchensk): Amur District and Okrug of the Amur Cossack Host.
Batumi (1878); okrugs: Artvin and Batumi.
Dagestan (1860; capital, Temir-Khan-Shura); okrugs: Avarskii, Andiiskii, Gunib, Darghinskii, Kazikumukhskii, Kaitago-Tabasaranskii, Kiurinskii, Samur, Temir-Khan-Shura.
Fergana (1876; capital, Skobelev); districts: Andizhan, Kokand, Margelan, Namangan, and Osh.
Kamchatka (1849–56, 1909; capital, Petropavlovsk); districts: Anadyr’, Gizhiga, Komandorskie Islands, and Petropavlovsk.
Kuban’ (1860; capital, Ekaterinodar); otdely: Batal-pashinsk, Eisk, Ekaterinodar, Kavkazskii, Labinsk, Maikop, and Taman’.
Oblast of the Don Host (1870; capital, Novocherkassk); okrugs: Donetsk (Kamenskaia), First Don (Konstan-tinovskaia), Second Don (Nizhnechirskaia), Rostov, Sal’sk (Velikokniazheskaia), Taganrog, Ust’-Medveditskaia, Khoper (Uriupinskaia), and Cherkasskii (Novocherkassk).
Primor’e (1856; capital, Khabarovsk); districts: Iman, Nikolaevsk, Nikol’sk-Ussuriisk, Ol’ga, Udsk (Nikolaevsk), and Khabarovsk.
Sakhalin (1909; capital, Aleksandrovsk); uchastki: Alek-sandrovsk and Tymovskoe.
Samarkand (1887); districts: Dzhizak, Kattakurgan, Samarkand, and Khodzhent.
Semipalatinsk (1854); districts: Zaisan, Karkaralinsk, Pav-lodar, Semipalatinsk, and Ust’-Kamenogorsk.
Semirech’e (1867, capital, Vernyi); districts: Vernyi, Dzharkent, Kopal, Lepsinsk, Pishpek, and Przheval’sk.
Syr Darya (1867; capital, Tashkent); districts: Aulie-Ata, Kazalinsk, Perovsk, Tashkent, and Chimkent; Amu Darya Otdel.
Terek (1860; capital, Vladikavkaz); okrugs: Vedenskii, Vladikavkaz, Groznyï, Nal’chik, Nazranovskii, and Kha-sav’’iurt.
Transbaikalia (1851; capital, Chita), districts: Aksha, Barguzin, Verkhneudinsk, Nerchinsk, Seleginsk, Troitsko-savsk, and Chita.
Transcaspian (1882; capital, Askhabad); districts: Askh-abad, Krasnovodsk, Mangyshlak, Merv, and Tedzhen.
Turgai (1868; capital, Kustanai); districts: Aktiubinsk, Irgiz, Kustanai, and Turgai.
Ural’sk (1868); districts: Gur’ev, Lbishchensk, Temir, and Ural’sk.
Yakutsk (1851); okrugs: Verkhoiansk, Viliuisk, Kolyma, Olekminsk, Yakutsk.