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The subject index / Head Magistrate

Head Magistrate

Categories / City Administration/Government Bodies

HEAD MAGISTRATE, the public institution of the highest rank. It was established in St. Petersburg on the decree of tsar Peter the Great in 1720 to function as the principal establishment in charge of city magistrates of other cities and towns. In St. Petersburg Head Magistrate performed the functions of city administration council and was headed by the Head Magistrate, members of the Head Magistrate (4 burgomasters and 2 supervising councilors) elected out of most prosperous citizens. Head Magistrate exercised control over the distribution of finances in cities, apportionment and collection of taxes and duties. Implicit duties (customs duties, salt levies, tavern fees etc.) as of 1722 had been under the jurisdiction of city magistrates. Head Magistrate also controled the police activities and the fulfilment of city magistrates' police functions. All civil suits and criminal cases carried on by city magistrates were subject to approval by Head Magistrate. When dealing with complicated cases, Head Magistrate consulted with Senate. Head Magistrate was not subject to orders by Kamer-collegium and other collegia, which were obligatory for city magistrates. During the reign of Peter the Great, Head Magistrate was the principal body of the city administration concentrating the control of the main spheres of St. Petersburg life in its hands. In 1727 it was replaced with City Hall, and was restored in 1743 by way of the Office of Head Magistrate, while the latter was transferred to Moscow. Since 1743, Head Magistrate by order of Senate was subordinated to provincial authorities and the police. Since 1775, it represented a judicial setting almost exclusively, judging criminal and civil cases of persons belonging to the merchants or the petty bourgeoisie. It was finally abolished in 1796, some of its functions delegated to Rathaus.

References: Дитятин И. И. Устройство и управление городов России. СПб., 1875. Т. 1. С. 199-248.

Y. N. Kruzhnov.

Peter I, Emperor

Дитятин И. И. Устройство и управление городов России. СПб., 1875

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Collegiums (entry)


Collegiums (entry)

COLLEGIUMS, central State control facilities, organised on the principle of departments; established by Tsar Peter the Great in 1717-21. Each collegium was headed by a president appointed by the Tsar; each president had a vice-president as a

Town Council

TOWN COUNCIL, the organ of city government. In St. Petersburg it was set up in the 1710s by the Tsar Peter the Great as an organ for management of merchants and commerce. It was located in Troitskaya Square