State Council of Imperial Russia

State Council of Imperial Russia

The State Council ("Государственный Совет") was the supreme state advisory body to the Tsar in Imperial Russia.

18th century

Early Tsar's Councils were small and dealt primarily with the external politics.

Peter I of Russia introduced the Secret Council. Catherine I of Russia introduced the Supreme Secret Council. Its role varied during different reigns.

Peter III of Russia created the Imperial Council on May 20, 1762 ("Императорский Совет"), or, formally "The Council at the Highest Court" ("Совет при высочайшем дворе"). It was dismissed shortly after the succession of Catherine II of Russia. The State Council ceased to exist after the February Revolution of 1917.


The State Council was established by Alexander I of Russia in 1810 as part of Speransky's reforms. Although envisaged by Speransky as the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, it was actually an advisory legislative organ composed of people whom the tsar could trust.

During 1906-1917, the status of the State Council was defined by the Russian Constitution of 1906. Its chairman was appointed by the Tsar. Half of its members were appointed by the Tsar from persons distinguished at civil and military service, and half by elections from various categories of society, separately: 1 seat from each guberniya-level zemstvo (local self-government), 18 seats from Assemblies of Nobility, 6 seats from the Russian Orthodox Church, 12 seats from stock exchange committees and business associations, 6 seats from the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2 seats from the Parliament of Finland.

State Council was the upper house of the parliament, while the State Duma of the Russian Empire was the lower house. Compared to contemporary British House of Lords and Prussian Herrenhaus Russian upper chamber was more democratically constituted, as half of its members were democratically elected from different sections of society, while House of Lords and Herrenhaus consisted of hereditary peers.

ee also

*State Council of the Russian Federation

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