Statute on the Provinces of 1775

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Statute on the Provinces of 1775

 

(also Statute on the Administration of the Provinces of the All-Russian Empire), an ukase of Nov. 7 (18), 1775, on the reform of local government in Russia.

The Statute on the Provinces partially decentralized local government, separated the judicial and executive bodies, and established the provinces (gubernii) so that each had a population of 300,000–400,000. It subdivided the provinces into districts (uezdy) of 20,000–30,000 people each.

In the districts, administrative and police authority was vested in a zemskii (land) court presided over by an ispravnik. In the cities this authority belonged to the town chief (gorodnichii), and at the province level it was vested in an administrative board consisting of a governor and two councillors. Governors-general or vicegerents presided over two or three provinces at the same time.

The judicial system had a three-level structure. The two lower levels were set up along estate lines, with separate courts for the nobility, townspeople, and peasants. The courts of third instance (criminal and civil) were imperial courts with jurisdiction over all classes. Nobiliary trusteeship boards were established under the courts, and municipal orphans’ courts under the city councils. The central administrative offices for community service in the provinces ran such institutions as schools and hospitals. Finances were overseen by district treasurers and financial boards.

The reason for the reforms was the breakdown of local government in the areas affected by the Peasant War of 1773–75. In drafting the law, Catherine II and her associates (J. E. Sievers, G.-R. von Ulrich, and others) took into account the demands of the nobility as expressed in the recommendations and instructions to the deputies to the Legislative Commission of 1767. The reform strengthened the autocracy in the provinces and reinforced serfdom in the country.

REFERENCES

Got’e, Iu. V. Istoriia oblastnogo upravleniia Rossii ot Petra I do Ekateriny II, vol. 2. Moscow, 1941.
Pavlova-Sil’vanskaia, M. P. “Sotsial’naia sushchnost’ oblastnoi reformy Ekateriny II.” In the collection Absoliutizm v Rossii. Moscow, 1964.

M. P. PAVLOVA-SIL’VANSKAIA

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