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Category: History

Value of territorial reform in formation of the ideas of local government

makhach ShAMHALOV


In article the value of territorial reform for the Russian constitutionalism is analyzed, aspects and the being reforms on the basis of which the ideas and institutes of municipal management in Russia were created are distinguished.

The meaning of reform of Zemstvo for Russian constitutionalism is analyzed, aspects and components of reform, on base of which the ideas and institutes of municipal administrating in Russia were formed, are selected.

local government, "great reforms", zemstvo, liberal movement, counterreforms; local government,

Great reforms, Zemstvo, liberal movement, counter-reform.



Abdulafisovich is a PhD in Law,





The local government passed long, very difficult way of formation and development in Russia. It from the very beginning faced a number of problems, such as weakness of institutes of civil society and market economy, absence or not structure of the middle class and party system, sharp confrontation of various social and political forces, etc. The roots the modern system of local government goes back to the territorial movement of pre-revolutionary Russia and territorial reform of the period of "great reforms" of Alexander II. The key value from this point of view had the Provision on provincial and district territorial institutions signed by the tsar and published by the Ruling senate on January 1, 1864. In this article an attempt to allocate and analyze those aspects and the being reforms on the basis of which the ideas and institutes of municipal management which made an integral part of the Russian constitutionalism were created is made.

Before "great reforms" the self-government institutions in Russia had class character. They were under double control — as from local public institutions on country affairs which main structure was formed of landowners, and from judicial administrative authorities which representatives at the same time replaced positions on country management. Need of reorganization and improvement of territorial self-government was defined by those changes in the Russian society which happened over the first half of the 19th century and especially as a result of defeat in the Crimean war.

The bureaucratic, official administration showed the inability to solve the problems connected with local interests and requirements. It was talked, in particular, of absence or unfitness of means of communication, systematic crop failures, low level of a crop, illiteracy of the population, etc. The strongest push to territorial reform was given by an abolition of serfdom. Moreover, it was a part of a complex of large-scale transformations of state political system which received the name "great reforms".

One of main goals of reform consisted in introduction instead of the system of class local government of the vsesoslovny system designed to adapt state bodies for the changed conditions existing till that time.

According to Situation, at the level of local government representative bodies of the power were founded. All structures knowing till 1864 cases of territorial duties, public contempt, room committees, the road commissions, the commissions of national food, hospital councils were abolished. From conducting noble self-government all affairs relating to local economy of provinces and counties were withdrawn.

Now zemstvoes were elected by all estates for three-year term and consisted of district and provincial territorial meetings and executive bodies — district and provincial territorial justices. All voters were divided into three groups. The first group was exclusively class, country. Concerning this group the general rule of property qualification did not work. The second and third united voters with various property status: the second — owners not less than 200 tithes of the earth everyone, the third — real estate worth from 500 to 3 thousand rubles. The territorial meeting of the county was originally elected. Elections in country group were multistage.

Territorial reform in many respects met the requirements of time: on the one hand, society preferred to solve the problems independently, without monarchic guardianship. On the other hand, the state had an opportunity to unload administrative facilities, having shifted a considerable part of administrative functions to local governments. Questions exclusively economic entered competence of territorial bodies. They were deprived of any political functions, their activity was limited generally to the solution of local economic questions. Zemstvoes were responsible for national education, health of local community, for timely deliveries of food, for quality of roads, for the veterinary help and many other things.

Also city reform was undertaken. According to the Policeman the situation accepted in 1870 in 509 cities from 1,130 entered elective self-government — the City Councils elected for four years. The City Council (administrative organ) elected the permanent executive body — the town council consisting of the mayor (who is also elected to couples -

re years) and several members. The mayor was at the same time a chairman of both City Council, and town council. City Councils were under control of government officials.

Suffrage, both active, and passive, was provided to each city inhabitant irrespective of belonging to any estate, but on condition that that possesses any property. The competence of city self-government, as well as territorial management, was limited to the solution of purely economic questions, such as improvement of the cities, the structure of hospitals, schools, care about trade development, a fire prevention, city taxation, etc.

Zemstvoes played an essential role in a raising of cultural and educational level of the Russian village, in development of health care in the European Russia. Territorial hospitals were open for all groups of the peasantry which before is almost deprived of any medical care. In the economic sphere in zemstvoes the organization of the small land credit for assistance to rural communities in purchase and land lease became widespread. Many zemstvoes organized ssudosberegatelny associations, handicraft artels, gave out food and allowances to the starving peasants, etc. Territorial statistics thanks to which the detailed survey of the Russian village which covered 4.5 million country yards was for the first time carried out was of particular importance.

Without exaggeration it is possible to tell that the reforms undertaken by Alexander II were the serious act which allowed to accelerate considerably rates of economic development of Russia and to take the first steps on the way of liberalization of political life of the country. However owing to the whole complex of the reasons the territorial reform did not solve and could not solve a set of the problems facing municipalities of domicile. It was talked, first of all, of narrowness of the rights and powers granted to them.

Territorial meetings and justices were deprived of the right to communicate among themselves, they had no compulsory power since the police did not submit to them; their activity was controlled by the governor and the Minister of Internal Affairs who had

the right to stop performance of any resolution of a territorial meeting. Territorial reform of 1864 was undertaken not everywhere and not at the same time. By the end of the 70th of zemstvo were entered in 34 provinces of the European Russia and in the field of Donskoy's army.

the municipal public government to which rather broad independence under the authority of municipal economy and the solution of local affairs was provided fell Into more preferable state. To the statement of administration of the governor and in some cases — the Ministries of Internal Affairs were subject only the most important resolutions of a thought. The prevailing majority of cases decided City Council independently and were not subject to the approval by the central or provincial power. Only supervision of legality of actions of bodies of city self-government was assigned to the governor.

However at all advantages of the Policeman of provision of 1870 one of its shortcomings consisted in loan of a Prussian three-cool electoral system.

According to many researchers, by the end of the 70th there came crisis of territorial institutions. As marked out, for example, L.E. Laptev, the administrations of different levels suppressed by an arbitrariness, zemstvoes worked kind of by inertia. Many of vowels lost interest in the duties and ceased to attend meetings territorial sobraniy1. In the absence of due control from vowels the execution of territorial affairs in justices accepted more and more formal forms which are not connected with the solution of real problems of the population. Zemstvoes quickly turned into one more the "bossy superstructure" existing at the expense of additional requisitions from the population.

Significant changes in this direction happened during the so-called counterreform begun by Alexander III. On June 12, 1890 the new Provision on territorial institutions approved by the tsar, which restored a soslovnost of selective groups and, thanks to change of qualification, even more strengthened representation from noblemen was published. On but -

to vy Situation in the first selective group noblemen hereditary and personal, entered the second — other voters and legal entities, the third — peasants. Lost electoral rights clergy, church pricht, country associations, the peasants owning in the county the private earth, persons, the having merchant certificates, Jews and some other categories of the population. Rural selective congresses were abolished, vowels were appointed by the governor from among the candidates elected by volost descents and also the elective principle of justices is abolished. According to Article 124 of the Provision, chairmen and members of justices were registered being in public service. The new Gorodovy provision adopted in 1892 considerably curtailed suffrage for citizens that led to reduction of number of voters by 6 — 8 times, and numbers of vowels — approximately twice. There were also other changes which narrowed the rights and the sphere of prerogatives of bodies of the municipal government.

Moreover, elected officials of the municipal government were equated to government officials that put them into dependence on administration. Mayors and members of a justice were considered being in public service. As with grief K.A. Pazhitnov noted, "it is possible to tell that after reform of 1892 we did not have self-government in the standard sense of the word at all" 2. Reform of 1890 — 1892 rejected the device of local government in Russia far back.

For all that in the context of development of a social and political thought and formation of new courses of the Russian liberalism the reform of zemstvo and city self-government played an irreplaceable role. As Leontovich, in Russia administrative decentralization, i.e. creation of self-government institutions fairly noted, zemstvoes in 1864, for several decades preceded the constitution. At the same time initiators of reform did not realize at all that it is about reform by means of which to the Russian soil the germ of the constitutional system is put. On the contrary, there was a confidence that here the organizations are created, is directed -

1 Lapteva of L.E. Zemskiye у^жения in Russia. 2 Pazhitnov of K.A. Gorodskoye and territorial most

- M, 1993, page 90. management. - SPb., 1913, page 38-42.

ny it is exclusive on satisfaction of local economic interests and that they therefore carry rather private, than state harakter1.

In this context the fact that revolutionary democrats of that period who subjected to quite sharp criticism territorial reform, at the same time recognized the possibilities of evolution of state system of the Russian Empire which are concealed in it towards constitutionalism attracts attention. So, for example, N.P. Ogarev, having pointed out defects of reform, at the same time claimed that the zemstvo excites the need to develop the elective beginning in society, gives the chance of a protest against a government arbitrariness. According to him, territorial institutions are capable to become a germ from which the present constitution can develop.

As for theorists and the leading representatives of liberalism who made a noticeable contribution to development of ideological bases as "great reforms" in general, and territorial and city reform, they, naturally, could not but welcome the transformations begun by Alexander II.

Such assessment is quite explainable if to consider that the ideology of zemstvo represents the integral component of history of the Russian liberalism. Reform gave the strongest impetus to formation of an ideological and political current which in historical literature received the name of the territorial liberal movement. Zemstvoes became a peculiar political school through which there passed many representatives of the liberal and democratic directions. By the nature the new bodies of local vsesoslovny government inevitably gravitated to reorganization of all system of public administration on the principles of constitutional monarchy and parliamentarism.

Despite the shortcomings of reform noted above and even kickback during counterreforms, during the subsequent to it decades of the 19th century basic provisions of the political program of territorial liberalism, such as transfer of administrative and political functions to zemstvo on places, distribution were formed at -

self-government ntsip on the top floors of state system of Russia, ensuring elementary civil liberties — personal freedoms, words, the seals, meetings, etc. Progressively adjusted representatives of the nobility considered zemstvo as "constitution grain". At the turn of the century meetings of zemets as a result of which the constant illegal circle "Conversation" operating from 1899 to 1905 was formed became more frequent. Zemets saw the main objective in protection of local government against an arbitrariness of the authorities.

In February, 1903 new program article "To the Next Questions" in which the theoretical foundation for rapprochement of positions of zemtsev-constitutionalists with the liberal intellectuals and their ideological disengagement with liberals of Slavophile sense was laid was published in the Osvobozhdeniye magazine. In it the principles of association in "political party of liberation of Russia" of all elements of the Russian classless society were offered, starting with territorial noblemen and finishing peasants, on the basis of the main program requirement - replacement of an autocratic system constitutional and also "general giving of voices", i.e. a general election in representative uchrezhdeniye2.

However owing to disagreements among liberals the zemets created the organization "Union of Zemtsev-constitutionalists". Despite some theoretical divergences on program questions, "osvobozhdenets" and "zemtsy-constitutionalists" made the uniform political program at a territorial congress in November, 1904. The revolution which began in the country introduced the amendments in plans of constitutionalists, formation of several parties of the liberal orientation became result of what. Among them the key place was taken by Constitutional democratic party (party of cadets) in which formation the zemtsy-constitutionalists played an important role. In program documents of this party gained further development and the ideas of local government which became the integral component of the Russian constitutionalism were concretized.

1 Leontovich of V.V. Istoriya of liberalism in 2 V.V. TGarmiz. Preparation of territorial reform

Russia. 1762-1914. - M, 1995, page 308. 1864 years. - M, Publishing house MSU, 1957, page 40, 46-47.

Rebecca Peterson
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