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RUSSIA - GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL PARTIES (11)
cilien-Geschichte) (Freiburg 1851-73); Hergen- some because too centralized, complex because röther, Monumenta Græca ad Photium per- insufficiently specialized, and inefficient because tinentia (Regensburg 1869); id., Photius, irresponsible. Not only did the regular adminPatriarch von Constantinopel, sein Leben und istrative functions (legislative, executive, seine Schriften) (3 vols., ib. 1867–69); Hor- judiciary) overlap, as we shall see presently, ton, Students' History of the Greek Church but no consistent demarcation existed between (New York 1902); Howard, “The Schism Be- national, state, and local government. For tween the Oriental and Western Churches these and other reasons Russia's political in(London 1892); Malitzkii, P., Handbook of stitutions lagged centuries behind the times the History of the Russian Church' (Petro- and were long the laughing stock of the civilized grad 1898, 1902); Neale, History of the Holy world. In imperial days, however, absolutism, ,
, Eastern Church' (5 vols., London 1850–73); with all its concomitants, was considered necesPierling's Works on the Relations Between the sary for holding, in line the numerous and Tsar and the Popes; Palmieri, A., La chiesa diverse racial, social, and religious elements that russa (Florence 1908); Röhan, L'Eglise composed the colossal Russian Empire. orthodoxe gréco-russe? (Brussels 1897); The supreme authority in autocratic Russia Schaff, Creeds of Christendom? (4th ed., New was the tsar (from the Latin (Cæsar”), an York 1905); Silbernagel, Verfassung und absolute hereditary monarch, part of whose title gegenwärtiger Bestand sämmtlicher Kirchen des was «Tsar of All the Russias.” In him were Orients) (Landshut 1865); Dean Stanley, His- vested all legislative, executive, and judicial tory of the Eastern Church' (London 1861); powers, which, until the constitutional Tozer, The Church and the Eastern Empire above referred to, were exercised without let or (London 1888).
hindrance from any legal source. There were,
however, three departments of state, composed Washington, D. C.
of functionaries appointed by the tsar, and one 11. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL Special department the Holy Synod — which PARTIES. Many and varied are the defini- helped the monarch to administer his vast emtions given of Russia's form of government. pire. The difficulty of properly defining or charac- The oldest of these was the Senate, created terizing it is due, in large measure, to its by Peter the Great in 1711 and reorganized by changing and changeable nature — not only Alexander I in 1802. Its members were all apsince the Great Revolution, but even before that pointed by the tsar and held the rank of Privy event. If one were to treat the subject his- Councillors. Being the highest judicial institutorically and adequately, at least five separate tion of the empire, the Senate (a) heard apstages should be noted in the evolution of the peals in civil and criminal cases, (b) passed on Russian administrative machine.
the legality of new legislation and (c) held first, the pre-Mongolian free tribal government, disciplinary court for officials from the various which was decidedly democratic; then came the branches of government. For purposes of exlong period of Eastern despotism introduced by pedition, this large body of state was divided Russia's Mongolian conquerors, which destroyed into six separate departments, two of them every element of self-government already at- acting as courts of appeal, two exercising adtained; next followed another long period, ministrative jurisdiction, and the rest supervisushered in by Peter the Great, during which ing the collection of taxes, the appointment of Oriental absolutism was considerably tempered government officers, the preservation of the by Occidental democracy; then, again, the archives, etc. revolutionary demonstrations of 1905-06 brought Another important body concerned with ima short period of quasi-constitutional govern- perial administration was the Imperial Council, ment in which much real progress toward which exercised only advisory legislative audemocratic institutions was made; and, finally, thority in pre-constitutional times and consisted the two revolutions of 1917, the short-lived one of 196 members, half the number (including the of March and its more vigorous successor of president and the vice-president) appointed by October inaugurated many startling experiments the tsar and half elected for nine years. As its in class government, with seemingly disastrous function was greatly modified by law in 1905, results upon the Russian body politic.
we shall refer to this legislative branch later. Limitations of space preclude any such ex- The Council of Ministers, composed of the tended treatment of this interesting subject. 12 ministers of state, appointed and removable For present purposes, therefore, we shall adopt by the tsar, was a third great organ of imperial a simpler, if less scientific, scheme. Generally administration. Representing all the various speaking, Russia was an absolute monarchy up ministries – the ministries of Foreign Affairs, to 1905, a limited monarchy from 1905 to 1917, Finance, War, Navy, Justice, Education, Coma provisional democracy for some eight months merce and Industry, Ways of Communication, thereafter and a proletarian dictatorship since Internal Affairs, Agriculture, Imperial Court the Bolshevik coup d'état. Considering the and Government Control — the Council of last two forms of government as but different Ministers, or the Cabinet Council, was by far phases of the transitional period, we may con- the most important executive institution in tinue this brief study of Russia's government monarchial Russia. under three heads: (1) As it was under abso- For administrative purposes Russia was dilutism prior to the so-called revolution of 1905– vided into governments (guberni), provinces 06; (2) as it became during the quasi-constitu- (oblasti) and territories (okrugi). If there tional period of 1905-17; and (3) as it has been were such a thing as state rights in imperial in the present period of transition.
Russia, the governments might be said to Under Absolutism (to 1905). The govern- correspond to the American States. The rement machine of imperial Russia was cumber- semblance is closer, however, in the case of the some, complex and very inefficient -- cumber- territorial divisions. Before the World War,
RUSSIA - GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL PARTIES (11)
if not at the time the last tsar was deposed, authority of the tsar became more limited Russia had 98 governments, 21 provinces and through the introduction of a new representatwo territories. The governments, varying in tive assembly (The Imperial Duma) and the size and population, were themselves divided extension of the powers of an old one (The Iminto districts (uyezdi), which, in turn, were perial Council). The emperor still retained subdivided into still smaller administrative units his former executive powers, but in the field of called counties (utchástki). All these di- legislation he was henceforth to reckon with visions and subdivisions run into the thousands, the two assemblies just mentioned, which beand were not sufficiently graded or standardized. came Russia's legislative institutions. The new The governments were the more central and principle of government thus introduced transmore populated sections of the empire, most of formed Russia from an unlimited to a limited them lying within European Russia; while the monarchy and fairly started her on her way provinces, all but one of which lay in the re- toward representative, constitutional governmoter parts of the country (Siberia, Caucasia ment. and central Asia), were inhabited by the less The two legislative assemblies created in civilized and more nomadic elements. Every 1905–06 suggested, but did not quite resemble, government province had governor the bicameral parliamentary institutions of (qubernátor) as chief administrative officer, Western countries. The Imperial Council, who, in the case of the provinces, was generally changed by law from an advisory to a legislaalso the chief military commander. The duties tive body, was the Upper House; the Duma and powers of the Russian governor under the (q.v.), the Lower. Both houses could initiate monarchial régime included regulations for legislation, vote on the government budget and safeguarding public order, control over all the make certain recommendations and interpellaadministrative offices, supervision of all gov- tions; but the Duma was debarred from exercisernment officials and general oversight over all ing its authority in matters pertaining to the local government institutions, such the imperial family and the war and naval departZemstvos, etc. In the exercise of these various ments (including their respective courts). Morefunctions the governor would have the assist- over, the Upper House could throw out any ance of a board of administration, over which bills or legislation passed by the Duma, while he presided.
all legislation must receive the sanction of the Such semblance of self-government Senate, the juridical institution retained from monarchial Russia enjoyed was represented by absolutist days, and be approved by the tsar the Zemstvo (q.v.), a territorial assembly which before becoming law. Finally, while no legislareceived its official status in 1864, but which has tion could be enacted without the Duma and had its powers and functions modified several the Imperial Council, yet the tsar retained times since. This elective body has had - and and frequently exercised the right of issuing to some extent still has — charge of the pro- certain proclamations (ukázy) and of authorizvincial administration, which began with the ing sundry emergency expenditures, especially village council (Mir), the lowest and earliest in case of war, and more especially when the form of communal self-government in Russia Duma, which he could dissolve at will, was not and not unlike the New England town meeting; in session. gathered authority in the canton (Vólost), Apart from the legislative control left to representing a number of villages, sometimes
the tsar by the so-called Constitution, he reas many as 30; and culminated in the provincial tained supreme authority in nearly all executive Zemstvo, a combined organization of all the
and judicial matters. He still had the sole district Zemstvos. Both assemblies elected a
power to appoint and dismiss all his ministers, standing executive committee (Zémskaya
to direct foreign affairs, proclaim martial law, Upráva) consisting of four or five paid officials, command the military and naval forces, and to which carried on the work of provincial gov
do many other things too numerous to mention. ernment -- from the construction of public
In addition to his old powers, the “Fundaroads, the prevention of cattle disease and the
mental Laws” gave the tsar the right to conmaintenance of primary schools, to the adminis
vene, adjourn, and prorogue both houses of the tration of charity, the development of trade and
newly established "Parliament,” to dismiss the agriculture, the improvement of sanitary conditions and the promotion of mutual insurance
members elect of the Upper House, to veto and other co-operative enterprises. District
any legislation passed by both houses, and to Zemstvos consisted of from 60 to 65 members
confirm or set aside verdicts of the criminal
courts. and met annually — oftener if necessary and the
With all that, the government of imperial governor permitted. The latter, too, exercised the power of veto over such Zemstvos resolu
Russia under the charter loosely called "a contions as incurred his (or his superiors') dis
stitution” was surely, if slowly, assuming demopleasure.
cratic form. The creation of the Duma gave The Municipal Dumas were town councils
Russia her first experience with responsible, presided over by a mayor (golová) and con- representative government, an experience which stituted of a few elected officials, who exercised meant much for her political education and general supervision of municipal affairs. Since emancipation. 1870 these dumas copied the administrative In the Period of Transition (1917– ).organization and methods of the Zemstvos, but
The Great Revolution of 1917, the revolution their powers were considerably reduced in 1894. which dethroned the last tsar and ended mon
Under the Quasi-constitution (1905–17).- archial rule in Russia, left the administrative The tsar's manifesto of 1905 and the famous government temporarily in the hands of a «Fundamental Laws) which followed it sud- revolutionary committee appointed by the last denly changed Russia's form of government Duma and presided over by its president, Rodtheoretically and practically. The autocratic zianko. Soon this committee, which was the sole