State Council of Imperial Russia

State Council Of Imperial Russia

State Council of Imperial Russia

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The State Council ("Государственный Совет") was the supreme state advisory body to the Tsar in Imperial Russia.

18th century

Early Tsars' Councils were small and dealt primarily with the external politics.

Peter I of Russia introduced the Secret Council. Catherine I of Russia introduced the Supreme Secret Council. Its role varied during different reigns.

Peter III of Russia created the Imperial Council on May 20, 1762 ("Императорский Совет"), or, formally "The Council at the Highest Court" ("Совет при высочайшем дворе"). It was dismissed shortly after the succession of Catherine II of Russia. The State Council ceased to exist after the February Revolution of 1917.


The State Council was established by Alexander I of Russia in 1810 as part of Speransky's reforms. Although envisaged by Speransky as the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, it was actually an advisory legislative body composed of people whom the tsar could trust. The number of members varied at different periods. Upon its establishment in 1810 there were 35 members; in 1890 there were 60. The main duty of the Council was the preliminary investigation, promulgation and abrogation of laws.

There were four departments of the Council: Legislative; Civil and Ecclesiastical Administration; State Economy; and Industry, Science and Commerce. Each department had its own presiding officer (State Secretary)...
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