The Governing Senate (Правительствующий сенат) was a legislative, judicial, and executive body of the Russian Emperors, instituted by Peter the Great to replace the Boyar Duma and lasted until the very end of the Russian Empire. It was chaired by the Procurator General, who served as the link between the sovereign and the Senate and acted, in the emperor's own words, as "the sovereign's eye".
Originally established only for the time of Peter's absence, it became a permanent body after his return. The number of senators was first set at nine and in 1712 increased to ten. Any disagreements between the Ober-Procurator and the Senate were to be settled by the monarch. Certain other officials and a chancellery were also attached to the senate. While it underwent many subsequent changes, the Senate became one of the most important institutions of imperial Russia, especially in administration and law.
The State Council created by Alexander I was supposed to inherit the executive power of the Senate, and an envisioned parliament was to inherit legislative power; however, the reform was never finished.
In the 19th century the Senate evolved into the highest judicial body in Russia. As such, it exercised control over all legal institutions and officials throughout the country.
The Senate was composed of several departments, two of which were Courts of Cassation (one for criminal and the other for civil cases). It also included a Department of Heraldry, which managed matters relating to the rights of the nobles and honorary citizens.
- 1722 - 1735 Pavel Yaguzhinsky
- 1740 - 1760 Nikita Trubetskoy
- 1760 - 1761 Yakov Shakhovskoy
- 1761 - 1764 Aleksandr Glebov
- 1764 - 1792 Aleksandr Vyazemsky
- 1792 - 1796 Alexander Samoylov
- 1796 - 1798 Aleksei Kurakin
- 1798 - 1799 Pyotr Lopukhin
- 1799 - 1800 Aleksandr Bekleshov
- 1800 - 1801 Pyotr Obolianinov
Procurator Generals and Ministers of Justice
- 1802 - 1803 Gavrila Derzhavin
- 1803 - 1810 Pyotr Lopukhin
- 1810 - 1814 Ivan Dmitriev
- 1814 - 1817 Dmitriy Troshchinsky
- 1817 - 1827 Dmitry Lobanov-Rostovsky
- 1827 - 1829 Aleksei Dolgorukov
- 1829 - 1839 Dmitriy Dashkov
- 1839 - 1839 Dmitry Bludov
- 1839 - 1862 Viktor Panin
- 1862 - 1867 Dmitriy Zamyatnin
- 1867 - 1867 Sergei Urusov
Sources and references
- Steinberg, Mark D.; Riasanovsky, Nicholas Valentine (2005). A History of Russia. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515394-4.
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