Russian Governors during the Reign of Alexander I: Mechanisms of Appointment and Dismissal in the Context of Administrative Reform
Russian governors were appointed and dismissed by the emperor, and this act held a special significance. In practice, high-ranking state officials served as intermediaries at the appointments of governors. In the eighteenth century, the right to present candidates for the position of governor belonged to the Senate, but in 1802, when governors were made accountable to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, appointments also came to be managed by this department. From that time, the minister of internal affairs presented selected candidates for gubernatorial vacancies to the emperor. We will analyze the ministry’s mechanism of appointments in full detail through a careful reading of surviving documents: records of the Ministry of Internal Affairs,1 official correspondence, governors’ files, and private documents. A complete study of documents collected under the rubric “On the Appointment and Dismissal of Governors” at the Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Istoricheskii Arkhiv (RGIA)2 made it possible to find form listings of candidates for gubernatorial positions. The form included information about a candidate’s administrative career, recommendations from a number of persons, and petitions from influential state officials and relatives. All this information helped establish formal parameters of gubernatorial appointments, allowing us to inspect the criteria used.
Russian law provided only vague guidelines for the selection of candidates; a legal mechanism for this process was not fully developed. For example, the imperial decree of...