The Evolution of the Governor's Office, 1727-64

In: Canadian-American Slavic Studies
Author: JOHN P. LEDONNE
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  • 1. I shall consider here only the central provinces of European Russia, thus excluding the Baltic lands, Little Russia, Astrakhan' and Siberia. The advantage is to make possible a more concentrated study within a relatively smaller and more homogeneous territory. 2. The basic work on seventeenth-century local administration is still B. Chicherin, Oblastnyia uchrezhdeniia Rossii v XVII-m veke (Moscow: A. Semen, 1856). See also G. Rozman, Urban Networks in Russia 1750-1800 and Pre-Modern Periodicization (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1976), p. 33-40, 86-92.

  • 3. Siberia was the eighth guberniia. Two major works are P. Mrochek-Drozdovskii, Oblastnoe upravlenie Rossii XVIII veka do Uchrezhdeniia o Guberniiakh 7 noiabr'ia 1775 goda, chast' I (Opisanie dokumentov i bumag, khraniashchikhsia v Moskovskom arkhive Ministerstva iustitsii, 21 vols. [Moscow, Tip. Pravitel'stvuiushchago Senata, 1867-1915 ], III), (Min. Prosveshcheniia, 1960), is also useful. 4. Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi Imperii 1649-1913 [hereafter PSZ], 234 vols. (St. Petersburg: Tip II ordeleniia Sobstvennoi Ego Imperatorskago Velichestva Kan- tseliarii, 1830-1916), 1719, No. 3294.

  • 5.PSZ, 1727, No. 5017. Iu. Got'e, Istoriia oblastnago upravleniia v Rossii ot Petra I do Ekateriny II, Vol. I (G. Lissner i D. Sobko, 1913), p. 18-32. Got'e's two volumes (the second was published in 1941) remain the major work on the subject for the period of the Interregnum. I plan to discuss here only topics to which Got'e devotes little attention. 6. PSZ, 1727, No. 5017 and 5039. For a general background of the reforms of 1727, see also N. P. Pavlov-Sil'vanskii, "Mneniia verkhovnikov o reformakh Petra Velikago," in Ocherki po russkoi istorii XVIII-XIX vv. (Sobranie Sochinenii, 3 vols [St. Petersburg: M. M. Stasiulevich, 1909-10]), II, 373-401, esp. 378-79 and 388-93.

  • 7.PSZ, 1728, No. 5333, especially articles 6-8, 11. Following the creation of Bel- gorod and Novgorod gubernii in 1727, there were nine guberniia capitals in central Russia: Petersburg and Moscow, Arkhangel'sk, Smolensk, Novgorod, Nizhnii-Novgorod, Kazan', Belgorod and Voronezh. They were divided into thirty-nine provinces. 8. This section is based on the following works: P. Dolgorukov, Rossiiskaia rodo- slovnaia kniga, 4 chasti (St. Petersburg: K. Vingeber, 1854-57); V. Rummel' & V. Golub- tsov, Rodoslovnii sbornik russkikh dvorianskikh familii, 2 vols. (St. Petersburg: A. S. Suvorin, 1886-87); A. Lobanov-Rostovskii, Russkaia rodoslovnaia kniga, 2nd ed., 2 vols. (St. Petersburg: A. S. Suvorin, 1895). Russkii biografzcheskii slovar' [hereafter RBS], 25 vols. (St. Petersburg: Imp. Russk. Istor. Obshchetvo, 1866-1916); it contains data on very few governors. P.Baranov, ed., Opis'Vysochaishim ukazam i poveleniiam, khran- iashchimsia v S.-Peterburgskom Senatskom Arkhive za XVIII vek [hereafter Opis'], 3 vols. (St. Petersburg: Tip. Prav. Senata, 1872-78). For brief data on the social and economic standing of some governors, see S. Troitskii, Russkii absoliutizm i dvorianstvo v XVIII v. (Moscow: Nauka, 1974), pp. 218,260, 284. See Appendices I and II for the list of governors. A word about the distinction between governors and vice-governors. When Peter appointed his first governors, Kurbatov, appointed to Arkhangel'sk, was given the title of vice-governor. This has been explained by the fact that he was a former serf. The choice of title may also have been a pointed reminder of the reduced status of the northern port. Later, a vice-governor was either, as in the case of Kurbatov, a full- fledged governor bearing a more modest title, or a deputy governor serving under a governor and replacing him when necessary. I shall be concerned here only with vice- governors who served as head of a guberniia, not the deputy governors. See Mrochek- Drozdovskii, p. 43-46. On Kurbatov see RBS, IX (1903), 583-85 and S. M. Solov'ev, Istoriia Rossii s drevneishikh vremen, 15 vols. (Moscow: Izd-vo Sotsial'no-ekono- micheskoi literatury, 1959-66), VIII (1962), 328-29.

  • 9.Opis', II, 1726, No. 1879, 1735, No. 5337, 1739, No. 7287, 7320, 7581; PSZ, 1728, No. 5333 [hereafter Instruction], art. 3. A number of general works may be con- sulted with profit to gain some perspective on the political, administrative, and social context in which the governors operated: A. V. Chernov, Gosudarstvenye uchrezhdeniia Rossii v XVIII veke (Zakonodatel'nye materialyJ. Spravochnoe posobie, ed. N.P. Erosh- kin (Moscow: Ministerstvo vysshego i srednego spersial'nogo obrazovaniia RSFSR, 1960) andKhrestomatiia po istorii SSSR XVIII veka, eds. L. G. Beskrovnyi and B. B. Kafengauz (Moscow: Izd-vo Sotsial'no-ekonomicheskoi literatury, 1963); A. S. Para- monov, 0 zakonodatel'stve Anny Ivanovny St. Petersburg: A. M. Lesman, 1904) and D. Korsakov, Yotsarenie Imperatritsy Anny Ivanovny (Kazan': Tip. Imp. Universiteta, 1880); V. Vodovozov, Ocherki iz russkoi istorii XYlll-go veka (St. Petersburg: F. S. Sushchinskii, 1882), pp. 140-239, P. E. Mel'gunova et al., Russkii byt po vospinaniiam sovremennikov XVIII veka, 2 vols. (St. Petersburg: 1914 and Moscow: "Zadruga," 1922), I; and last but not least, M. M. Shcherbatov, Opovrezhdenii nravov v Rossii (London: Triibner & Co., 1858) (English edition: On the Corruption of Morals in Russia, ed. and trans. A. Lentin [Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1969].

  • 10.PSZ, 1733, No. 6475; V. Grigor'ev, Reforma mestnago upravleniia pri Ekaterine II (St. Petersburg: Russkaia Skoropechatnia, 1910), p. 87; I. Blinov, Gubernatory (St. Petersburg: Pentkovskii, 1905), pp. 46-47, 50; Got'e, 11, 7-11. 11. PSZ, 1712, No. 2483.

  • 12.PSZ, 1727, No. 5033, pt. 2; see also 1714, No. 2758. 13. PSZ, 1737, No. 7240; 1. Andreevskii, 0 namestnikakh, voevodakh i gubernator- akh (St. Petersburg: Eduard Prats, 1864), pp. 109-10; 1. Blinov, "Nadzor za deiatel'- nost'iu gubernatorov," Vestnik prava [hereafter VP], 32, No. 7 (Sept. 1902), 41-43. The ukaz on the assignment of peasants is in PSZ, 1710, No. 2253.

  • 14.PSZ, 1731, No. 5890. This was probably the first application of the new Reg- lament of the College of Revenue (1731, No. 5789), art. 31, pt. 5, which developed implicitly Peter's ukaz of 1712 (No. 2483). 15. Grigor'ev, pp. 82-82. The parallel with the use of gendarmes under Nicholas I is striking. 16. PSZ, 1732, No. 6198. S. Troitskii, Finansovaia politika russkago absoliutizma v XVIII veke (Moscow: Nauka, 1966), p. 224. The Reglament of the College of Audit (1733, No. 6391) imposed a fine of 100 rubles for each month following the deadline to send accounts; after four months the penalty was loss of property and hard labor, but this required the confirmation of the empress. See also PSZ, 1735, No. 6855 and 1754, No. 10278. The other ukaz was PSZ, 1732, No. 6221; see also Troitskii, Finansovaia politika, p. 214. By miscellaneous revenue I mean the so-called kantseliarskie sbory imposed on a variety of establishments and activities: ibid., pp. 191-97. The collection of arrears was vested in the Doimochnyi prikaz upon whose recommendation the Senate fined delinquent governors 10 percent of the amount uncollected. The fine was divided among the governor and his assistants: see PSZ, 1734, No. 6587. Even this, apparently, had little effect as can be seen from PSZ, 1736, No. 7037 and 1743, No. 8709. For various projects to reform the tax structure, see ibid., pp. 45-52.

  • 17.PSZ, 1742, No. 8609, 1746, No. 9355, 1758, No. 10810. 18. The governor of Smolensk, Buturlin, complained to the Cabinet in 1739 about the large number of central agencies to which the governors had to report and about the fines to which they were too often and unjustly subjected: see Sbornik Imperatorskago rasskago istoricheskago obshchestva [hereafter SIRIO] 148 vols. (St. Petersburg-Petro- grad: Tip. M. M. Staisivlevicha, 1867-1916), CXXX (1909), 610-12, and A. Filippov, "Polozhenie gubernatora v tridtsatykh godakh XVIII veka," in Sbornik statei, pos- viashchennykh Vasil'iu Osipovichu Kliuchevskomu (Moscow: S. P. lakovlev, 1909), p. 43-56.

  • 19. Projects submitted in the 1740s and 1750s to increase the revenue do indeed reveal different motivations: Troitskii, Finansovaia politika, p. 52-101. A recent book, rich in insights, throws some light on these changing attitudes toward the economic context of policy making: E. Donnert, Politische Ideologie der russischen Gesellschaft zu Beginn der Regierungszeit Katharinas II (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1976), pp. 11, 78-80, 135, 150-52.

  • 20. Andreevskii, p. 108-09, 112-23; S. Korf, "Ocherk istoricheskago razvitiia guber- natorskoi dolzhnosti v Rossii," VP, 31, No. 9 (Nov. 1901), 136-37; Grigor'ev, pp. 58-60, 54. 21. Troitskii, Finansovaia politika, p. 214. 22. The capitation was collected in three installments: in January-February, in March-April, and in October-November: see the so-called Plakat in PSZ, 1724, No. 4533, II2, and after 1732 in January-March and September-December: Troitskii, Finansovaia politika, p. 28. For the procedures of collection and delivery see PSZ, 1727, No. 5017, art. 2, 1727, No. 5037, 1728, No. 5221, Instruction, art. 20; Andreevskii, p. 116-19, C�ot'e, I. 37-42.

  • 23.PSZ, 1731, No. 5789, art. 33, 1734, No. 6649, 1743, No. 8709. See also the zapiska of the governor of Moscow, lusupov, in SIRIO, CXXVI (1907), 429-46 and PSZ, 1739, No. 7815. 24. PSZ, 1731, No. 5803, 1737, No. 7159, esp. 1761, No. 11347; Instruction, art. 5. L. Beskrovnyi, Russkaia armiia i flot v XVIII veke (Moscow: Izd-vo Akademii nauk SSSR, 1958), pp. 37, 51-52, 71-72. 25. Instruction, art. 9, 11-16, 19, 37; PSZ, 1727, No. 5218, 1730, No. 5546; An- dreevskii, pp. 129-31; F. Dmitriev, Istoriia sudebnykh instantsii i grazhdanskago appel- liatsionnago sudoproizvodstva ot Sudebnika do Uchrezhdeniia o Cuberniiakh (Moscow: Universitetskaia Tipografiia, 1859), pp. 462-63; Bogoslovskii, p. 504. Until 1744 death

  • sentences were confirmed in last instance by the governor. After that date they had to be sent to the empress. For comments on this famous decision of Elizabeth, see Got'e, I, 400-O1, 405-07, and PSZ, 1744, No. 8944, 1753, No. 10087, 10101,1754, No. 10306.

  • 1. 470 verst through Vladimir, 634 through Riazan. 2. The distance from St. Petersburg is almost the same: 1136 versts. 3. Through Iaroslavl'. 4. Since the governor resided in Vologda part of the year, I assume here that the gu- berniia capital is Vologda: the curtailing of distances is considerable. By way of comparison here are some American distances: New York-Pittsburgh- 580 versts (1 verst = .66 mile); New York-Chicago-1157 versts; New York-Washington- 345 versts.

  • 26.PSZ, 1730, No. 5585.

  • 27.PSZ, 1727, No. 5017, art. 2, Instruction, art. 5, 8, 11, 20, pt. 12, art. 51. Exam- ples of investigations of voevody conducted on orders of the governor may be found in Iu. Got'e, "Sledstvenniaia komissii po zloupotrebleniiam oblastnykh vlastei v XVIII veke," in Sbornik . , . Kliuchevskomu, pp. 103-52. The case of the Penza voevoda Zhukov, however, shows that such investigations could be ineffective unless the Senate intervened and appointed its own investigators: see N. Neelov, "Sledstvennaia kom- missiia o zlouptrebleniiakh Penzenskago voevody Zhukvoa (1752-1756)," Chteniia v Imperatorskom Obshchestve Istorii i Drevnostei Rossiiskikh pri Mos.kovskom Univer- sitete, 264 vols. (Moscow: Universitetskaia Tipogratiia, 1846-1918), (1888), kn. 1, pp. 1-40, and Dvorianstvo i krepostnoi stroi Rossii 16-18 vekov. Sbornik statei, pos- viashchennykh pamiati prof A. A. Novosel'skogo, ed. N. I. Pavlenko, (Moscow: Nauka, 1975), pp. 213-15, 221-26. 28. PSZ, 1732, No. 6104 and 7240. 29. PSZ, 1732, No. 6036. 30. The case involved the voevoda of Tambov who was suspended pending the completion of an investigation. His deputy, appointed to replace him, died in office and the Tambov administration came to a standstill: PSZ, 1737, No. 7328; SIRIO, CXVII (1904), 100. 31. PSZ, 1744, No. 8865 and 9084.

  • 32.PSZ, 1734, No. 6633 and 6649. This last ukaz asked the governor to send the reports "for his province," thus identifying him in the realm of fiscal accounting with a provincial voevoda. These new procedures were in fact established by the Reglament of the College of Audit: (1733, No. 6391), IV2. 33. See, for example, two cases (both in 1732) in which 1) an appeal was made against the decision of the Shatsk provincial voevoda directly to the empress and 2) the investigation of the Toropets and Velikie Luki voevody seems to have bypassed the governor altogether: SIRIO, CIV (1898), 449, 516-20.

  • * Vice-governors ** Governors-general (Drutskoi) indicates a second appointment. 1. The two Panins were brothers: Aleksei Ivanovich served in Smolensk, Aleksandr in Nizhnii-Novgorod.

  • 1. This list includes only the governors and vice-governors who served in the post of governor. Those who served merely as deputy-governors are listed in the following notes under each guberniia. An asterisk indicates a vice-governor, a double asterisk a governor-general. A question mark indicates uncertainty about the date of leaving office and a date in parentheses means that the governor was in office in that year but the date of appointment is uncertain. The source for this list is Baranov's Opis'. 2. Gagarin was vice-governor from April, 1727 to August, 1728, then governor. 3. Obolenskii was vice-governor from March, 1740 to March, 1741, then governor. Other appointees to the post of governor who never assumed their posts were Pushkin in 1740 and S. Lopukhin in 1742. 4. Dupre died in 1730. The RBS (XIII [1902], 178) makes Aleksei Panin vice- governor from about 1720 to 1726, then governor from 1727 to 1730, but this is impos- sible because there is an ukaz referring to Dupre still being governor in 1728. Shamordin was interim governor when Buturlin was away in the army. Another vice-governor was Brimmer, appointed in February, 1741. Filosofov died in 1748 and I have not found the ukaz appointing his successor. But RBS (III [1908], 339-40) refers to Bredikhin as Smolensk governor in 1743: this is impossible, but there might be a typographical error; Bredikhin would then fit in between Filosofov and Obolenskii.

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