Provincial reform of 1775

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Provincial reform of 1775
Provincial reform of 1775
Provincial reform of 1775
Provincial reform of 1775

240 years ago, on November 18, 1775, a manifesto was issued on the new regional division of Russia. The Russian Empire was divided into 50 provinces. The first 8 provinces were formed by order of Peter I in 1708. Empress Catherine II continued the reform. Instead of provinces, counties and provinces, the country was divided into provinces (300-400 thousand people) and counties (20-30 thousand people), based on the principle of the number of taxable population.

The administration was headed by the governor general or governor general, subordinate to the Senate and the prosecutor's supervision, headed by the prosecutor general. At the head of the county there was a police captain who was elected once every 3 years by the county noble assembly. The provincial division existed in Russia until the 1920s, when the provinces were replaced by regions, territories and districts.

Regional reform of Peter

From the end of 1708, Peter began to implement the provincial reform. The implementation of this reform was caused by the need to improve the system of administrative division, which was largely outdated by the beginning of the 18th century. In the 17th century, the territory of the Moscow state was divided into districts - districts that had close economic ties with the city. At the head of the district was a voivode sent from Moscow. The counties were extremely uneven in size - sometimes very large, sometimes very small. In 1625, the number of counties was 146, in addition to which there were volosts. By the 18th century, relations between the center and the province had become extremely complex and confusing, and the administration of counties from the center became extremely cumbersome. Another important reason for the regional reform of Peter I was the need to create a new system of financing and material support of the armed forces for a successful war.

In addition, it was necessary to strengthen the “vertical of power”. The Astrakhan uprising and the uprising on the Don showed the weakness of the local government, it needed to be strengthened so that the heads of the provinces could solve such problems without the large-scale intervention of the center. The governors had all the military power and the necessary military contingent to suppress the unrest in the bud without involving troops from the front line. The governors had to ensure the timely collection of taxes and taxes, recruitment, mobilize the local population for labor service.

The decree of December 18 (29), 1708 announced the intention "to create 8 provinces for the benefit of all and to assign cities to them." Initially, the Moscow, Ingermanland (later St. Petersburg), Smolensk, Kiev, Azov, Arkhangelsk and Siberian provinces were created. In 1714, the Nizhny Novgorod and Astrakhan provinces were separated from the Kazan, and in 1713 the Riga province arose. The essence of the reform was that between the old counties and the central institutions in the capital, to which the district administration was directly subordinate, an intermediate instance appeared - the provincial institutions. This was supposed to increase the manageability of the territories. The provinces were headed by governors, endowed with full administrative, judicial, financial and military power. The tsar appointed people close to him as governors. In particular, the St. Petersburg province was ruled by Menshikov, the Kazan and Azov provinces were headed by the Apraksin brothers, the Moscow province - by Streshnev.

Peter's reform was crude, hasty. Thus, the principle of recruiting the provinces was not defined. It is not known what the tsar was guided by when he attributed this or that city to this or that province: the size of the province, population or economic, geographical factors, etc. The provinces were too large for the provincial governments to effectively manage them. The regional reform did not clearly define the place of the provincial administration in the government mechanism of Russia, that is, its relation to central institutions and the district administration.

In 1719, Tsar Peter carried out another reform of the administrative division. The provinces were divided into provinces, and the provinces, in turn, into districts. The province was headed by the voivode, and the district was headed by the zemstvo commissar. According to this reform, the province became the highest regional unit of the Russian Empire, and the provinces played the role of military districts. In 1719, the Revel province was established. 1725 Azov province was renamed into Voronezh province.

In 1727, the administrative-territorial division was revised. Districts were abolished, counties were re-introduced in their place. The boundaries of the "old" districts and "new" counties in many cases coincided or almost coincided. Belgorod (separated from Kiev) and Novgorod (separated from St. Petersburg) provinces were formed.

Subsequently, up to 1775, the administrative structure remained relatively stable with a tendency towards disaggregation. So, in 1744, two new provinces were formed - Vyborg and Orenburg. Provinces were formed mainly in new territories, in a number of cases, several provinces of the old provinces were separated into new ones. By October 1775, the territory of Russia was divided into 23 provinces, 62 provinces and 276 counties.


Reform of Catherine II

On November 7 (18), 1775, the decree of Empress Catherine II "Institutions for the administration of provinces" was issued, according to which in 1775-1785. a radical reform of the administrative-territorial division of the Russian Empire was carried out. The reform led to the disaggregation of the provinces, their number was doubled, twenty years after its beginning, the number of provinces reached fifty. It must be said that under Catherine the gubernias were usually called “governorships”.

The need for reform was associated with the same reasons as in the time of Peter. Peter's reform was incomplete. It was necessary to strengthen the local government, to create a clear system. The peasant war led by Pugachev also showed the need to strengthen local power. The nobles complained about the weakness of the local authorities.

The division into provinces and counties was carried out according to a strictly administrative principle, without taking into account geographical, national and economic characteristics. The main purpose of the division was to solve tax and police matters. In addition, the division was based on a purely quantitative criterion - population size. About three hundred to four hundred thousand souls lived on the territory of the province, about twenty to thirty thousand souls on the territory of the district. The old territorial bodies were liquidated. Provinces were abolished as territorial units.

The governor was at the head of the province, appointed and removed by the emperor. He relied on the provincial government, which included the provincial prosecutor and two centurions. Financial and fiscal issues in the province were decided by the treasury chamber. The order of public charity was in charge of health care and education.

The supervision of legality in the province was carried out by the provincial prosecutor and two provincial solicitors. In the county, the same problems were solved by the county solicitor. At the head of the district administration was the district police officer (police captain), elected by the district nobility, and the collegial governing body - the lower district court (in which, in addition to the police officer, there were two assessors). Zemsky court led the zemstvo police, oversaw the implementation of laws and decisions of provincial governments. In the cities, the position of the mayor was established. The leadership of several provinces was transferred to the governor-general. The governors obeyed him, he was recognized as the commander-in-chief on the territory of the general-governorship, if the monarch was absent there at the moment, he could introduce a state of emergency, directly report to the king.

Thus, the provincial reform of 1775 strengthened the power of the governors and divided the territories, strengthened the position of the administrative apparatus at the local level. For the same purpose, under Catherine II, other reforms were carried out: special police, punitive bodies were created and the judicial system was transformed. On the negative side, one can note the lack of economic significance, the growth of the bureaucratic apparatus and a strong increase in spending on it. In general, the costs of maintaining the bureaucratic apparatus during the reign of Catherine II increased 5.6 times (from 6.5 million rubles in 1762 to 36.5 million rubles in 1796) - much more than, for example, the cost of the army (2, 6 times). This was more than in any other reign during the 18th and 19th centuries. Therefore, in the future, the system of provincial government was constantly improved.

It must be said that the provincial (regional) division of Russia according to territorial and demographic principles has more advantages than the division of the USSR and the Russian Federation into autonomous republics, territories and regions. The national character of many republics carries a "time bomb" that leads to the destruction of Russia. The first such catastrophe happened in 1991. If it is still possible to put up with the separation of Central Asia and the Transcaucasus, although our ancestors paid a great price for these lands, and their loss hurt the military-strategic stability of Russia, then the loss of such parts of Great Russia as the Baltic States, White Russia, Little Russia and Bessarabia cannot be justified by anything. The military-strategic situation in the western and northwestern directions has deteriorated sharply, in fact, the achievements and victories of several centuries have been lost. The ancestral lands of the Russian super-ethnos have been lost. The superethnos of the Rus (Russians) became the world's largest divided people.

Trotskyists-internationalists, creating national republics, planted a "mine" of enormous destructive power under the Russian civilization. And the process is not complete. The national republics within the Russian Federation are a blow to the Russian people, who have been denied the privilege of developing their own characteristics in special, "hothouse" conditions and the threat of further disintegration. The economic crisis in Russia and the beginning of the Third World War, with the involvement of Russia in the conflict along the South-North fault, lead to the aggravation of internal contradictions in the Russian Federation, and the ambitions of ethnocratic elites and national intelligentsia, which are supported from abroad, can be very dangerous for unity country. Therefore, in the future in Russia it is necessary to return to territorial division, with the preservation of only the cultural autonomy of small peoples.

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