Special Session of the Senate

Special Session of the Senate

 

(Osoboe Prisutstvie Pravitel’stvuiushchego Senata, OPPS; full name, Special Session of the Senate for Trying Cases Involving Illegal Societies and Political Crimes Against the State), a judicial tribunal established on June 7, 1872, as a result of Emperor Alexander II’s dissatisfaction with the verdict of the St. Petersburg court in the trial of Nechaev and his followers.

The tribunal consisted of six senators (a presiding chairman and five members), as well as three representatives of the estates (the marshal of the nobility and the elected heads of municipal and rural administrative units). All of the major political trials of the 1870’s and 1880’s—including the Trial of 193, the Trial of the 50, and the trials of the Southern Union of Russian Workers—were tried by the OPPS. After the enactment of the law of Aug. 9, 1878, On the Temporary Transfer of Cases Involving Crimes Against the State and Certain Crimes Against Officials to the Jurisdiction of Military Courts Established for Times of War, the operations of the OPPS ceased. It became active once again during the Revolution of 1905–07 and the Stolypin reaction (the I. P. Kaliaev case and the case of the Social Democratic faction in the State Duma). The OPPS remained in existence until the February Revolution of 1917.

REFERENCES

Istoriia Pravitel’stvuiushchego Senata za dvesti let (1711–1911), vol. 4. St. Petersburg, 1911.
Eroshkin, N. P. Istoriia gosudarstvennykh uchrezhdenii dorevoliutsionnoi Rossii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.
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