Slovo i Delo Gosudarevo

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Slovo i Delo Gosudarevo


(literally, “sovereign’s word and deed”), a system of political investigation in Russia in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially extensive from the reign of Mikhail Fedorovich (1613–45). Anyone who learned of evil designs on the tsar, insults to the person of the tsar, high treason, or similar offense was obliged, on pain of death, to denounce such offenses to the authorities by uttering the phrase slovo i delo gosudarevo. Defendants and witnesses were imprisoned and tortured during interrogations; cases were sent to Moscow for final disposition.

In the 17th century, political crimes came under the purview primarily of the Razriadnyi Prikaz (War Office), Razboinyi Pri-kaz (Justice Office), and Streletskii Prikaz (Musketeers’ Prikaz). The results of the investigations were forwarded to the tsar or to the Prikaz Tainykh Del (Bureau of Secret Affairs; 1654–76). From 1695, all those under investigation in such cases were directed to the Preobrazhenskii Prikaz for final disposition. From 1702 political cases were the exclusive purview of the Preobrazhenskii Prikaz. From 1721 to 1726 political crimes were also investigated by the Secret Chancellery, and from 1731 to 1762 by the Chancellery of Secret Investigations. A ukase of Feb. 21, 1762, abolished the slovo i delo gosudarevo.


Novombergskii, N. Slovo i delo gosudarevy, vols. 1–2. Moscow-Tomsk. 1909-1911.
Golikova, N. B. Politicheskie protsessy pri Petre I. Moscow. 1957.

V. I. SERGEEV [23–1730–]

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