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(in Russian, tainyi sovetnik), in pre revolutionary Russia, the civilian rank of the third class of the Table of Ranks. A person holding the rank of privy councillor was addressed as vashe prevoskhoditel’stvo (“your excellency”). Actual privy councillor (deistvitel’nyi tainyi sovetnik) was the civilian rank of the second class. A person holding this rank was addressed as vashe vysokoprevoskhoditel’stvo (“your high excellency”). A few civilian officials had the rank of actual privy councillor of the first class. In the course of 200 years, only nine persons were granted this rank of actual privy councillor.
Persons were promoted to the rank of privy councillor first through third classes by the grace of the emperor. These ranks corresponded to the position of minister (usually deputy minister), governor-general, senator, and member of the State Council. In 1903 there were 99 actual privy councillors and 553 privy councillors. The rank of privy councillor was abolished on Nov. 10 (23), 1917, by the decree of the Soviet government On the Abolition of Estates and Ranks.