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Manifesto on “General Establishment of Ministries” approved

7 July 1811

June 25 (July 7) 1811, Alexander I approved a manifesto on "General Establishment of Ministries," which determined a common organizational structure of the central authorities.

The manifesto was the final step of the ministerial reform which began with the introduction of ministries in 1802. To replace the outdated collegiate management system with mixed functions, based on the principle of collective decision-making, there was introduced a more progressive ministerial management system which met the needs of the government and was based on the principle of undivided authority.

“The general establishment of ministries" was developed by M. M. Speransky. Structurally, it was composed of two parts: 1). "Formation of Ministries", 2). "General instructions to ministries." Together, they accounted for 401 paragraphs and one appendix.

The manifesto defined the states of ministries, the order of appointment, dismissal, promotion in ranks, the order of records management; the degree and extent of ministers’ power, their relationship with the legislative authority, as well as responsibility both of ministers and of various officers who worked at the ministerial offices and departments.

Under the new law, the ministry was headed by the minister and his deputy. Under the Minister there was an office and a Council of Minister. Ministry staff consisted of several departments which included a number of offices, which, in turn, consisted of bureaus. All the work of the ministries was based on the principle of undivided authority. The minister was subject to the Emperor, who appointed and dismissed him as he wished. Directors of departments and offices reported directly to the Minister; heads of offices were subordinate to directors of departments; head clerks reported to heads of offices.

"The general instructions to the ministries" established the degree and extent of ministers’ power, of the power of departments and their directors, the duties of the Office of the Minister and its director, and the responsibilities of all departmental officials. Appendix to the "General establishment of ministries" represented the “Forms of records management" which introduced common forms of business documents for all central government agencies.

"The general establishment of ministries" of June 25 (July 7), 1811 was a common legal basis for the ministerial control system, the embodiment of departmental-linear type of the central authorities with broad, precisely contoured executive and administrative functions, and a high degree of responsibility.

The legalization of the ministerial control system was completed with the covering of all central government agencies with "The general establishment of ministries" in the period of 1811-1835.

Lit.: Игнатов В. Г. История государственного управления России. Ростов н/Д., 2002. Гл. 9. Российское государственное управление в первой половине XIX века; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://www.i-u.ru/biblio/archive/istorija_gosudarstvennogo_upravlenija_rossii/08.aspx; Политическая история России. Хрестоматия. М., 1996. С. 355—375; Приходько М. А. Реформа центральных учреждений государственного управления и создание министерской системы управления в России в первой трети XIX века //Правоведение. 2000. № 5. С. 187—197; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: (ссылка); Российское законодательство  X—XX вв.: в 9 т. Т. 6. Законодательство первой половины XIX века. М., 1988; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://www.hist.msu.ru/ER/Etext/ministry.htm.