Statutory certificates of XIV-XVI centuries. The article is devoted to a brief review of the charter of medieval Rus and the draft of the Constitution of Novosiltsev in 1820.
The concept of "charter" has several meanings. The term itself was first used in the days of medieval Russia. However, this type of sources turned out to be so relevant to Russian reality that it began to be applied in the XIX century in the designation of the phenomena of contemporary life.
History of the emergence of the concept
Regarding the period of the Moscow kingdom of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, it means a document that fixed the rules and principles of local government, as well as the local self-government. Statutory letters of the first type (nestinnichi charter) determined the functions and powers of local governors: governors, volostles, tyunov, judges. The documents strictly fixed the size of their feeds, court, trade fees and other obligations of the population of a region.
In a sense, medieval statutes limited the arbitrariness of local leaders and in this sense protected the rights of the population. From this period several such certificates have come to light, the most famous of which is Dvin's charter of 1397 and the decree of the end of the 15th century.
Local Government Documents
Since the middle of the XVI century, in connection with the reforms of Ivan IV Terrible, the concept of "charters" has changed somewhat. The tsar decided to give a number of areas the right to self-government, which recorded data sources. In the 1550s, under the leadership of Ivan Vasilievich and his circle, elected councils, a series of measures aimed at improving administrative governance, including the Zemsky liboral reform, was carried out. Its main provisions were to ensure that local communities themselves chose elected representatives who would exercise judicial functions.
Plans for public administration reforms in the 1801-1810s
The considered term was preserved also in imperial Russia: during the reign of Alexander I they called the plan a constitutional arrangement, which was prepared by the nearest aide and friend of Emperor N. N. Novosiltsev. But before proceeding with the analysis of the content of the charter it is necessary to briefly identify the reasons for this major reform project.
Even in the very beginning of his reign Alexander I took a course towards deep political and socio-economic transformations in the country. Around the young ruler there was a circle that heard the name of the secret committee (1801-1803). It included young and energetic close and trustees of the emperor: Czartoryskiy, Kochubei, Stroganov, they were determined to support the emperor's plans. Outstanding statesman MM Speransky prepared a draft reform of the state apparatus. But all these initiatives were never implemented: the war of 1812, the performance of the Russian army against Napoleon, as well as the fears of Alexander I himself that the radical nature of the reforms would have a bad effect on the state of Russian society, suspended their implementation.
Prerequisites for drafting a constitution
Due to the incomplete reform of the state apparatus, Alexander I again returned to the idea of the need for transformation. In 1815, he signed a decree on the introduction of a constitution in the Kingdom of Poland, which then was part of the Russian Empire. According to this document his ruler was the Russian emperor, however, an elected legislative Sejm was created in place.
In 1818, Alexander I made a revolutionary statement that he intended to introduce a constitution throughout Russia on the model of Poland. NN Novosiltsev, who most likely was the author of the Polish constitution, was in charge of preparing the document, as he headed the Russian administration in this country. The new project was titled "Statutory Diploma of the Russian Empire", since it implied a change in the principles of public administration.
preparation of the plan
Work on the reform lasted two years. Members of the office also took part in it: PA Vyazemsky and PA I. Deschan. The latter wrote the draft constitution of the Russian Empire in French, and the translation into Russian was done by Vyazemsky. The basis of the Polish statute certificate of 1815 was taken. The original version of the project was given to the emperor and received its approval.
Basic provisions of Novosiltsev's plan
The plan consisted of six chapters and included the most important provisions regarding the separation of powers and human rights. According to the document, a bicameral State Sejm was created in Russia, which consisted of the Senate and the Ambassadorial Chamber. The country was divided into twelve governorates, those in turn - in the province, province - in the counties, counties - in the districts.
The statutory certificate of the Russian Empire provided for the creation on the ground of similar state sects, which included two-thirds of elected delegates and ambassadors. Election rights were over 25 years old, people could be elected from the age of 30. For the first time, the charter of the Russian Empire proclaimed the principle of separation of the judiciary from the administrative one. Executive functions were carried out by the State Council, the ministries headed by the emperor.
The statutory certificate of the Russian Empire in 1820 fixed the inviolability of the person, property, and freedom of the press. For its time, it was a revolutionary step, because nothing like it was previously in our country. Perhaps this is why the king was afraid of the need to put into action his ideas. Despite the fact that the charter of Novosiltsev was embodied, it marked the important stage in reforming the state apparatus in the first quarter of the XIX century.