Bureau of Censorship (Russian Empire)

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The Bureau of Censorship (Russian: Цензурный комитет) was a bureau set up in the Ministry of Education of the Russian Empire following the passage of an enabling law on July 9, 1804.

The censorship statute read, in part:[1]

1. The Censor has the duty to consider all manner of books and essays that are presented for public consumption.
2. The primary object of this consideration to bring to the public books and essays that contribute to true education of the mind and the formation of manners, and to remove books and essays of ill intent.
3. Pursuant to this end, no book or essay shall be printed in the Russian Empire except following review by the Censor.

— Statues of Censorship, July 9, 1804

The central committee of censorship was the St. Petersburg Censorship Committee, which reported directly to the trustees of the St. Petersburg school district. Censorship committees were also established in Moscow, Vilnius, and Tartu, and later in other districts. All printed material and manuscripts were subject to the bureau's oversight and approval.

The Ministry of Education's Bureau of Censorship, in addition to censoring certain material, reported the authors to the Third Section of His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery – "Section Three", the secret police, who monitored potential subversives. (Section Three also had the power to censor authors and writings even if they had been approved by the Bureau of Censorship.)


  1. ^ "Statutes of Censorship". Imperial Russian Government. July 9, 1804. Retrieved February 26, 2011.  (in Russian)