1.1.04 Nature of Gov- Local Government


Local Gov Changes under Tsars

  • Before 1861, provinces largely under jurisdiction of noble landowners and village issues were discussed by the mir. Local nobility bridge b/w central gov and outreaches of empire. the 1861 Emancipation of the Serfs changed this, with the nobility ceasing to play a political role and management of local affairs left in the hands of local police constables appointed by the interior ministry. 
  • 1864 A2 introduced the Zemstva or regional councils. (Elective membership voted in by a mixture of landowners, urban dwellers and peasants. Electors were selected mostly by property qualification, Zemstva only in regions of 'Great Russia')
  • in 1870 urban equivalent created = Duma but qualification even tougher and UWC excluded
  • Before 1917 Zemstva and Suma flourished, provigin important services in education, public health and transport. Central gov got annoyed due to demands from Liberal teachers, lawyers and doctors who ran Zemstva that central gov should be remodelled into something like the Zemstva. This liberal voice was called 'The Third Element' including those employed in 'administration' and those who 'represented the social estates' (Nobillity)
  • Both Zemstva and Dumas were abolished after 1917 (bourgeois and counter-rev) and soviets replaced them in local government. 
  • By 1881 activities of Zemstva were monitored by A3's LAND CAPTAINS
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Local Gov Changes under Communists

  • First workers' councils or soviets emerged in St Petersburg (Petrograd) at time of October Manifesto 1905. Aim was to coordinate strikes and protect factory workers. SRs and SDs tried to gain control, by 1917, Bolsheviks began to dominate the executive committee.
  • From Mar to Oct 1917, some historians argue Petrograd soviet controlled Russia. Dictated time, place, method of stikes and essential services especially transport ran by soviet. Petrograd Soviet Order No.1 placed ultimate authority in the hands of the soviet. 
  • Lenin used the slogan "all power to the soviets"
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Judicial changes

There were some reforms, but mostly remained archaic compared to Western judicial changes

  • 1864 legal reforms (A2): introduction of jury system, creation of a hierarchy of courts for different types of cases, bettery pay for judges (to decrease chances of corruption), public attendance at courts was allowed.
  • 1877: after assassination attempt on A2, new department of Senate set up to try political cases. After Vera Zasulich killed governor General Trepov of St Pet in 1878, and eventual assassination of A2 in 1881 shows his reforms failed to reduce opposition
  • 1881 A3: reactionary moves, police centralised under minister for the interior, special courts designed for political cases and Justices of Peace's replaced by Land Captains 1889
  • 1917 onwards: 'revolutionary justice'- new criminal code of 1921 that legalised the use of terror to deter crime (or anti-revolutionary behaviour). Whole judicial sector rested upon this principal.
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