Administrative reform of Catherine the Great

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Administrative reform of Catherine the Great was a major administrative territorial restructuring of the Russian Empire after vast land acquisition from the Ottoman Empire and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the late 18th century. The reform saw introduction of the office of viceroy (gosudarev namestnik) which later were transformed into a general governor. Gosudarev namestnik literally means an imperial representative to the land.


During the reform several already existing governments (guberniya) were combined together under the office of the Russian viceroy and were called namestnichestvo. Those namestnichestvo were introduced onto the expanded territory as well, the only exclusion were the governments of Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

In 1796 all namestnichetvo were officially renamed into general governments. General governments exercised a small degree of autonomy as certain laws varied from general government to another.

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