Secret Office of the Senate

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Secret Office of the Senate

 

(Tainaia Ekspeditsiia pri Senate), a central state institution in Russia, a body of political investigation that existed from 1762 to 1801. Established by a decree of Empress Catherine II to replace the Secret Chancellery, it was based in St. Petersburg and had a division in Moscow. The Secret Office was directed by the procurator-general of the Senate; the procurator-general’s assistant and the day-to-day administrator of the office was the ober-secretary of the Senate, a post held for more than 30 years by S. I. Sheshkovskii.

The Secret Office was in charge of the investigation and prosecution of major political cases. Catherine II confirmed several of its sentences—for example, those imposed on V. Ia. Mirovich, E. I. Pugachev, and A. N. Radishchev. Torture was often used during interrogations. In 1774 secret commissions of the office were in charge of the execution of Pugachev followers in Kazan, Orenburg, and other cities. When the Secret Office was abolished, its functions were transferred to the first and fifth departments of the Senate.

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