Military Review

"Sovereign eye". Twelve Empire General Prosecutors

12 January 1722, Peter I issued a decree establishing a prosecutor's office in Russia. The prosecutor general became the head of the new public authority. During the period from 1722 to 1917, this position was held by 30 people. Let us tell briefly about the twelve most prominent prosecutors-generals of the Russian Empire.


"Sovereign eye". Twelve Empire General Prosecutors

The first general prosecutor of the empire was Count Pavel Yaguzhinsky. 18 January 1722, Peter I, introducing the Yaguzhinsky Senate, said: "This is my eye, with whom I will see everything." This short phrase sets forth the main task of the prosecution authorities: to supervise the work of the state apparatus and to report to the tsar in a timely manner about the violations found.

Count Yaguzhinsky coped with this task brilliantly. Having quickly understood what exactly the monarch demands from him, Pavel Ivanovich energetically engaged in the creation of prosecutorial oversight bodies, and in the short term he became the second person in the state to select personnel.

Peter I respected Yaguzhinsky, appreciated his outstanding intelligence and performance. According to contemporaries, Yaguzhinsky managed to disappear in the service for days on end and do as much in one day as others did not have time for a week.

The merits of the count in the construction of a new public service, Peter I, noted the rank of State Councilor and the Order of St. Andrew the First Called.

Generally Pavel Yaguzhinsky - a typical nominee of Peter the Great. The son of a poor Baltic musician, 18-year-old young man Paul accidentally came into the attention of the emperor. He drew attention to the folding speech and wide erudition of the young man and immediately enrolled him in the Transfiguration Regiment.
Eight years later, Yaguzhinsky was already a chamber junker and a captain of the guard, a few years later a major general.

Using the Tsar’s unlimited trust, Yaguzhinsky repeatedly performed all sorts of secret diplomatic missions for Peter, negotiated with European monarchs, often accompanied the sovereign on his trips abroad. Attorney General of the Russian Empire Pavel Yaguzhinsky became incomplete 39 years.


Prince Nikita Trubetskoy headed the Russian prosecutor's office from 1740 to 1760 a year. He began his career under Peter I, successively passed the way from sergeant of the Preobrazhensky regiment to major general. And in 1740, he was appointed attorney general.

He had, in fact, to rebuild the system of prosecutorial authorities. The fact is that after the death of Peter I, the prosecutor's office lost its former influence. The successors of Peter considered the prosecutor’s office to be a dangerous obstacle in the struggle for supreme power and did everything to reduce the functions of the prosecutor’s office to a minimum.

Elizaveta Petrovna, who came to the throne, tried to return to the prosecutor's office the significance that she had under Peter I. And in this case Nikita Yuryevich, the initiative, active, demanding person and others, greatly assisted the empress. With him, the prosecutor’s office again became the “state eye”.


Prince Alexander Vyazemsky was appointed Prosecutor General in 1764 and held this post for almost thirty years. Practically all the transformations of Catherine II in the field of public administration are in one way or another connected with the activities of Vyazemsky as prosecutor general.

In addition, Vyazemsky consistently, from the first steps in the prosecutorial field, expanded his powers and opportunities and by the end of his career became the most influential person in the empire. He almost single-handedly led the all-powerful Secret Expedition, which was engaged in political investigation.

All the most famous political affairs of the Catherine Epoch passed through his hands: Yemelyan Pugachev, Alexander Radishchev, Nikolay Novikov and many others.

For his tireless work, Prince Vyazemsky was honored with all the highest awards of the Russian Empire: the Orders of St. Andrew the First-Called, St. Alexander Nevsky, St. Anne, St. Vladimir of the I degree, White Eagle and others.

Alexander Alekseevich retired in September 1792, due to a serious illness, and soon died.


The famous Russian poet and statesman Gavriil Derzhavin served as Prosecutor General in 1802 – 1803.

Moreover, when appointing Derzhavin as procurator-general, Alexander I ordered him to head the newly created Ministry of Justice. Thus, Gabriel Romanovich became the first in stories Russian Minister of Justice. True, not for long.

Having undertaken eagerly to carry out the functions assigned to him, Derzhavin aroused the displeasure of the king. And a year later was followed by resignation. To Derzhavin’s direct question “For what?” Alexander I allegedly replied: “You serve too zealously!”.

Upon his retirement, Derzhavin took up literary work and never again held posts in the public service.


The prosecutor general managed to visit another famous poet of that time - Ivan Dmitriev.

A descendant of an old noble family, Dmitriev in 14 years entered the service of the Semenov Guards regiment. However, the military service did not bring him much joy. With much more pleasure, Dmitriev was writing.

His first poetic experiences were printed in 1777. And in 1790-ies, Dmitriev was already a famous poet who had been friends with Derzhavin, Karamzin, Fonvizin and other famous writers of the time.

In 1796, Ivan Dmitriev retired with the rank of colonel and intended to take up literary work. However, Paul I, who came to the throne, ordered Dmitriev to return to public service and appointed the poet as chief procurator of the 3 department of the Senate.

However, the service did not last long: in 1799, Ivan Ivanovich resigned again and, having bought a house near the Red Gates in Moscow, again took up literary work.

Alexander I called on the sovereign's service of the poet in 1808, suggesting him the position of senator. And in 1810, Dmitriev was appointed Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General of Russia.

In this position, Ivan Dmitriev lasted four and a half years, having managed to make a lot of enemies in the highest echelons of power. Many cabinet ministers openly expressed their displeasure with Dmitriev's activity as procurator-general and finally achieved his resignation.

30 August 1814, Dmitriev resigned from all posts and never returned to public service.


For ten years, from 1829 to 1839 a year, Dmitry Dashkov was the general prosecutor of the empire.

He began his public service under Prosecutor-General Dmitriev. He appreciated the abilities of the young man and patronized him in every way. Obviously, Dashkov's literary talent, his reputation as a brilliant polemicist, played a significant role in this.

Dashkov's career in the public arena quickly went uphill. In 1816, he switched to the diplomatic service and spent several years in Constantinople as the second counselor of the Russian embassy.

Back in Russia, Dmitry Vasilyevich consistently changed several positions in the Ministry of the Interior and Justice. And in 1829, Nikolai I appointed Dashkov as Prosecutor General of Russia and Minister of Justice. At the Prosecutor General’s post, Dashkov proved himself as a brilliant organizer and expert in law.

It was during his time when the work on the compilation of the complete collection of laws of the Russian Empire was completed. Dashkov initiated the opening in St. Petersburg of the first Russian law school, which was subsequently graduated from by many prominent Russian lawyers.

Dashkov was not afraid to argue with the emperor if the interests of the state demanded it. And Nikolay, by the way, appreciated this quality in Dashkov. Despite the friction between the tsar and the prosecutor general, Nicholas I always considered Dashkova his friend.


Count Victor Panin entered the history of the national prosecutor's office as an unsurpassed connoisseur of legislation. They say he knew by heart many articles of the Complete Collection of Laws of the Russian Empire, which, as is known, included 56 bulk volumes.

However, in his direct work as prosecutor general, Panin gained fame as a “perfect despot,” as contemporaries put it. Viktor Nikitich did not tolerate any objections and, if he made any decision, stubbornly followed him, even if after some time he himself was convinced of his absurdity.

Therefore, when Panin was dismissed from the post of Prosecutor General and Minister of Justice in the 1862 year, there was no limit to the joy of the officials of both departments. The post of Prosecutor General Count Panin served 23 of the year.


The judicial reform of the 1860-s is unthinkable without the reform work of Dmitry Zamyatnin.

Being at the post of Prosecutor General from 1862 to 1867, Zamyatnin directed all his outstanding organizational talent and energy to a deep reform of the judiciary in Russia.

He managed to bring to work the best lawyers of the time: Sergey Zarudny, Nikolay Stoyanovskiy, Konstantin Pobedonostsev, Dmitry Rovinsky and others.

For two years, work was under way on the drafting of Judicial statutes. Dmitry Nikolaevich personally delved into all the details, edited articles of the charters, prepared them for further presentation to the king.

This colossal work was completed in November 1864, when Alexander II approved the Judicial statutes.

Their introduction has radically changed the entire judicial system in the country: the judicial authorities were completely separated from administrative and legislative, jury trials were created, publicity and competitiveness were introduced in the process itself.

Since then, a new era began in the history of domestic legal proceedings, and the works of Zamyatnin as one of his reformers cannot be overestimated.

In addition, Prosecutor General Zamyatnin supervised the investigation of many of the most important political affairs of the time. For example, in the case of Karakozov, who shot at the tsar, Dmitry Nikolayevich personally supported the prosecution in court.


Politics Zamyatnin continued Dmitry Nabokov. 30 May 1878, he was appointed Minister of Justice and, by tradition, the Prosecutor General of Russia (in the XIX century, these two positions, as a rule, were combined).

An excellent connoisseur of law and an ardent supporter of judicial reform, Dmitry Nikolayevich vigorously set to work. When it opened two new judicial districts: Kiev and Vilna.

He personally supported the accusation in the case of the terrorist Alexander Solovyov, and after the murder of Alexander II he was actively engaged in the preparation of the process in the “case of the First Aarons.

In the period following the assassination of Alexander II of the counter-reforms, Nabokov, remaining at his post, managed to preserve all the main achievements in the field of legal proceedings, having sacrificed only minor details.

Liberal jurists like the notorious Anatoly Koni were forced to admit this.

Dmitry Nabokov resigned from the post of Prosecutor General in 1885, but for almost twenty years, until his death, he served as a member of the Council of State and a senator.


Nikolai Manassein gained fame as an “impeccably honest” person obsessed with “humane treatment of people.”

Even occupying the high post of Prosecutor General of Russia, Manassein remained completely simple in communication and an accessible person. The entrance to his prosecutor’s office was open to any applicant.

Prosecutor General Nikolai Avksentyevich served for more than eight years - from 1885 to 1894 a year. Over the years, the central office of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Justice was reorganized, judicial reform was carried out in the Baltic States, and prosecutors and judicial authorities throughout the country were significantly strengthened.


Ivan Shcheglovitov, Prosecutor General and Minister of Justice of Russia, became in a difficult period for the country: in the spring of 1906. In Russia, the revolution was raging, the war with Japan recently ended.

Emergency measures were required to bring down the wave of social protest, restore order and calm. And Shcheglovitov, having received an appointment, quickly took up work.

Bring order to the new Attorney General began in his own department. In a short time, all those who compromised themselves with connections with the revolutionary and liberal movement were expelled from the prosecution and judicial authorities.

Ivan Grigorievich tried to take on leadership positions people with a pronounced monarchical, conservative orientation. It is not surprising that Shcheglovitov’s work as procurator-general provoked a mixed reaction in society: from sympathy to complete rejection.

Especially zealous in their criticism of Shcheglovitov Duma liberals and democrats of all stripes. However, this did not prevent Ivan Grigorievich from remaining at his post for nine years, despite the frequent change of government and ministers. And only in the summer of 1915, under the pressure of left-wing forces, did Nicholas II dismiss Shcheglovitov.

The first who was arrested by the new government in February 1917 of the year was Shcheglovitov, although by that time he did not hold any government posts. He was presented with ridiculous charges of abuse of his official position and was held for almost a year in the Peter and Paul Fortress.
Scheglovitov was already shot by the Bolsheviks of September 5 of 1918.


Nikolai Dobrovolsky was the last Prosecutor General of the Russian Empire. He held this post for only two months: from 20 December 1916 to 28 February 1917.

During the February Revolution, Dobrovolsky tried to hide in the Italian embassy, ​​but then voluntarily surrendered to the new government.

The Emergency Investigation Commission, created by the Provisional Government, presented Dobrovolsky with a whole bunch of charges, of which the most innocent was receiving a bribe from a merchant, Yakov Nakhimov.

However, when Nikolai Aleksandrovich himself offered the members of the Emergency Commission a large sum of money for the release, the proposal was accepted. Dobrovolsky was released from the Peter and Paul Fortress and even allowed to go to the North Caucasus.

There, the former prosecutor general was caught by the October Revolution. Dobrovolsky was imprisoned in a concentration camp near Pyatigorsk and in October 1918 was shot along with other former royal dignitaries.
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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 23 January 2016 07: 54
    when Nikolai Alexandrovich himself offered the members of the Extraordinary Commission a large sum of money for the release, the proposal was accepted... As they say, who are the judges?
  2. bober1982
    bober1982 23 January 2016 08: 27
    set the author a plus, they remembered the honored people, the photos are good.
    But on some issues, in my opinion, erroneous conclusions. Quote: "The fact is that after the death of Peter I the prosecutor's office lost its former influence "
    No prosecutor's office at that time simply did not exist, and could not be. The king appointed the post of prosecutor general of the Senate, as a kind of mediator between the king and the Senate, nothing more.
    Quote: " Pavel Ivanovich (Yaguzhinsky) energetically set about creating prosecutorial supervision bodies ......., and in a short time became, in fact, the second person in the state "
    The count was not involved in any creation of prosecutorial oversight bodies, his capabilities were tiny, of course he was not the second person in the empire; therefore, after the death of Peter I, the role of the Senate (the beloved brainchild of the king) became insignificant, which further reduced the role of the prosecutor general.
    Well, in order to get distracted, Aviation Day is celebrated three times in August, who both counted and decided. The prosecutors decided to celebrate the holiday with the introduction of the position of Attorney General, which means it should be.
    1. neri73-r
      neri73-r 24 January 2016 23: 06
      If you do not know the subject, do not write better! hi
  3. King, just king
    King, just king 23 January 2016 09: 48
    Especially touches Yaguzhinsky. I’m talking about that bike, when Peter, having gotten tired of it with his comrades-in-arms, wanted to command that he had stolen the rope on it and that ... And the Tsar Yaguzhinsky short-circuited that they say you’ll remain without subjects, Majesty, we’ll tyry.
    1. iouris
      iouris 23 January 2016 14: 55
      This is the essence: the prosecutor is a political position, because under a corrupt regime of government, the principle operates: "everything to friends, law to enemies." Yaguzhinsky was one of the first to understand, even before the principle itself was formulated.
  4. Pig
    Pig 23 January 2016 11: 44
    "" The Bolsheviks already shot Shcheglovitov on September 5, 1918 ""
    with the wording: "royal lackey"
  5. Pvi1206
    Pvi1206 23 January 2016 16: 44
    What is the political regime, such is the chief prosecutor. The main quality of a person in this position is personal devotion to the ruler. The righteous ruler - and the prosecutor too. Otherwise ...
  6. Volga Cossack
    Volga Cossack 23 January 2016 20: 47
    Thank you for the article. informative . from the rest - I restrain myself ..... the topic is sensitive.
  7. yuriy55
    yuriy55 24 January 2016 04: 38
    The article is very interesting features and details. It is true that in the old days even such high-ranking officials were much closer to the citizens of the empire than now ...

    Count Yaguzhinsky coped with this task brilliantly. Having quickly understood what exactly the monarch demands from him, Pavel Ivanovich energetically engaged in the creation of prosecutorial oversight bodies, and in the short term he became the second person in the state to select personnel.

    These qualities of Yaguzhinsky are now used by those who are least interested in parsing what is useful for the Fatherland ... The main thing is to understand ... to understand correctly what the "monarch" demands of you ... laughing
  8. Fitter65
    Fitter65 24 January 2016 06: 18
    Quote: bober1982
    Well, in order to get distracted, Aviation Day is celebrated three times in August, who both counted and decided. The prosecutors decided to celebrate the holiday with the introduction of the position of Attorney General, which means it should be.

    TWICE. August 12-Yeltsin introduced the Air Fleet Day, and on the third Sunday of August, it was "before the era of historical materialism" introduced into the tradition, AVIATION DAY, as they call it in the Air Force. But the Air Forces three times. In April, the Air Defense Forces day. ( but since they have been structurally included in the Air Force and Air Defense since 1998, they are also forced to celebrate aviation holidays. drinks
    1. bober1982
      bober1982 24 January 2016 19: 58
      1.August 18, 1933 - USSR Air Fleet Day (Aviation Day) - a real holiday
      2. since 1980 - began to be celebrated on the third Sunday of August, as a big holiday
      3. August 12, the official, Yeltsin, is also a holiday.
      So we will celebrate in August (three times) - it will be necessary to take care of ourselves (health) !!!