Censorial Statute of 1828 approved

4 May 1828

April 22 (May 4) 1828 Nicholas I approved the third Statute on censorship.

The first censorial statute, which provided for prior censorship of books or essays, was adopted in 1804. In 1826, Education Minister Admiral A. S. Shishkov proposed a new Statute on censorship, named the "iron statute" due its rigidity. According to Count S. S. Uvarov, the second statute contained a "a set of fractional rules and was very inconvenient in practice".

The "Iron statute" did not last long and 22 April (4 May) 1828 it was replaced by the new Statute on censorship, developed by a commission consisting of the Minister of Interior V. S. Lanskoy, A. H. Benckendorff, Duke I. V. Vasilchikov, Privy Councillor Count S. S. Uvarov, actual state councilor D. V. Dashkov.

New document consisted of 117 paragraphs, 40 of which covered the issues of foreign censorship, which the Statute of 1826 had not mentioned at all.

According to the State prohibited were considered the works, which contained "anything which might shake the doctrine of the Orthodox Greek-Russian Church, its traditions and rituals, or even the truths and doctrines of the Christian faith", and "anything violating the inviolability of the supreme sovereign power, or respect for the Imperial House, and anything contrary to indigenous government regulations", or insulting "good morals and decency”. It was also forbidden to affect the honor of any person by "obscene expressions or reprehensible promulgation of things that concern his morals, or home life, and even more slander".

Particular attention should be paid to the spirit of the book under consideration, the apparent purpose and intention of the author. Censors had to "always base their judgments on the explicit meaning of speech, not allowing themselves any arbitrary interpretation thereof”, did not have to "make any linkage to specific words and expressions", "to enter into an analysis of private equity or unfounded opinions and judgments of the writer". In addition, the Statute of 1828 ordered the censors not to pay attention to the style of the author and mistakes of "literary kind".

Censorship of foreign books compiled to the rules set out for interior censorship. Foreign censorship applied to all books, prints, notes and other publications subscribed or imported from abroad by various institutions, booksellers and individuals, and also book trade inventories and catalogs of libraries for reading.

According to the Statute of April 22, 1828 domestic and foreign censorship were merged into one agency: the Ministry of Education. General supervision over the actions of domestic and foreign censorship exercised General Directorate of censorship, which consisted of Deputy Minister of Education, Minister of Internal and Foreign Affairs, manager of the III Office of His Imperial Majesty's Cabinet, the Presidents of Academies of Sciences and Arts, representatives of spiritual authority.

In St. Petersburg, Moscow, Vilna and Dorpat were organized local censorship committees under the chairmanship of Trustees of the school districts. Special censors were appointed for Revel, Mitau, Odessa, Riga.

For consideration of printed materials imported from abroad, was established the Committee of Foreign Censorship (KTSI).

In fact, until the 60-ies of 19th century the Statute was a legitimate guide for the country's censorship apparatus. In 1863, the function of censorship was transferred from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and since then the General Department of Press was charged with it.


Lit.: Гринченко Н. А. История цензурных учреждений в России в первой половине ХIХ в. // Цензура в России. История и современность. Сб. науч. тр. СПб., 2001. Вып. 1. С. 15-46; Жирков Г. В. Уставы николаевской эпохи: становление цензурного аппарата // Жирков Г. В. История цензуры в России XIX-XX вв. М., 2001; Исторические сведения о цензуре в России. СПб, 1862 г; История печати. М., 2001. Т. 1. Гл. 4. Россия; Материалы, собранные особою комиссиею, высочайше утвержденною 2 ноября 1869 г. для пересмотра действующих постановлений о цензуре и печати. СПб., 1870. Т. 4; Полусмак Т. Л. Цензурное законодательство России в первой половине XIX века. Н. Новгород, 2004.


Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Полное собрание законов Российской империи. СПб., 1830. Т. 3 (1828). № 1979 С. 459;

Сборник постановлений и распоряжений по цензуре с 1720 по 1862 год. СПб., 1862;

Скабичевский А. М. Очерки истории русской цензуры: (1700-1863 гг.). СПб., 1892;

Устав о цензуре: [Утв. 22 апр. 1828 г.: с приложением Штатов и Положения о правах сочинителей]. СПб., 1829.