The article touches upon а scientific and legal aspects of the basic characteristics of the state in pre-revolutionary Russia. Considered key attributes: power, territory and population. A key characteristic of power in the considered period of time has already been recognized sovereignty, which had both theoretical study and legal expression, primarily at the level of international law. Territory and state boundaries, including their establishment, have also been the subject of interest of the States. Examines the different forms of territorial device, defined the form of the Russian Empire. Population studied from the point of view of its structure: differentiating between citizens and foreign nationals, defined the specifics of the legal status of the relevant categories of persons. Article written on the basis of the sources of national and international low of the Russian Empire, which are legally secured these signs and positions of the scholars of that time.