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    Ramsey, Gillian 2016. The Encyclopedia of Empire. p. 1.

  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

20 - Central government

from Part V - Government
A solid understanding of the workings of central government of the Russian Empire helps to determine the extent to which it and its personnel held responsibility for the collapse of the Romanov regime. Peter the Great's reform of the central government marked the beginning of the imperial bureaucracy's evolution on two different but equally important and mutually linked levels. The ministerial bureaucracy from the early nineteenth century staffed the so-called subordinate organs (podchinennye organy), which at least theoretically handled activities in a designated field. The supreme organs (verkhovnye organy) had the responsibility to manage and co-ordinate the activities of the subordinate organs. Alexander I established Russia's ministerial system which lasted until the collapse of the Romanov dynasty in February 1917. The young emperor initially toyed with the idea of constitutional change but soon showed a preference for administrative reform which he saw as more essential for effective government and Russia's modernisation and less threatening to his autocratic power.
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