Investigation Authorities Fighting Crime In Pre-Revolutionary Russia In The 19th Century


The presented material is exclusively based on archival documents and other little-known sources introduced into the scientific community for the first time. It reveals features of the work of the investigative apparatus, which was a part of the political and city police of the Russian Empire solving the most serious criminal acts, as well as anti-state crimes. Investigators were involved in combating the above types of crimes, mainly in two departments: the city police and the political police. Besides, to investigate the most resonant cases, special officials and commissions were appointed, created personally by the governors and even the emperor. The authors reveal the main directions, forms, and methods of investigative work, as well as show the ways of interaction between law enforcement officers from different departments, focus on the emerging interdepartmental contradictions and ways to overcome them. The study provides examples of solving the most complex and resonant cases. The authors also analyze the main regulations governing the work of investigators, their strengths, and weaknesses. In the course of our work, we relied on a system-functional approach to the study of the events. The authors took into account by modern general theoretical ideas about the laws of development of the state and statehood. An important role is assigned to uncovering the social roots of the crimes committed, the bulk of which was generated by corruption and the omnipotence of the bureaucratic apparatus, the arbitrariness of the landowners in relation to their serfs.

Keywords: Departmental control, interrogation, investigation, police, search


The conducted research is relevant, since in modern Russia, as market relations develop, the number of mercenary crimes increases, their total volume grows, the offenses themselves are becoming more sophisticated, covering more and more new areas, for example, IT technologies. The growing pressure on Russia from hostile states in recent years gives rise to more and more serious anti-state crimes that threaten the very foundations of the state system.

In this regard, the experience accumulated by the Russian state in the first half of the 19th century is relevant for us, when, for several reasons, a revolutionary situation appears and grows in the country, accompanied by the growth of not only anti-state but also serious criminal offenses. The state was forced to defend itself and the tools at its disposal. To investigate grave and especially grave crimes of a criminal and anti-state nature, special officials appeared in the city and district police, the political police – investigators, who were engaged in the investigation of criminal manifestations. To investigate especially important cases, by decisions of the Emperor and the governors, special commissions of inquiry were created, sometimes special officials were sent on a mission. In general, the successful organization of the investigative work made it possible to put an obstacle on the path of the spread of crime and made it possible to maintain stability and law and order in the country. This historical and legal experience for the work of modern investigative bodies is important and valuable, which determined the significance of this study.

. Problems related to the study of the work of pre-revolutionary investigators were dealt with by Danevsky, Speransky, Linovsky, who were contemporaries of the events described. However, they described more the legal problems of the work of the police investigative apparatus: compliance with procedural norms, forms, and methods of forensic work (Danevsky, 1895; Linovsky, 1849; Speransky, 1845).

In Soviet times, Bastrykin and Krylov (2014), Gorsky and Zuikov (1973), Ostroumov (1961). They also focused on the procedural and legal aspects of the work of the pre-revolutionary investigative apparatus, forms, and methods of investigative work to solve crimes. Much attention was devoted to such aspects as, for example, the fight against revolutionary uprisings. In the post-Soviet period, these issues were also considered. Special mention should be made of the works of the Ulyanovsk researcher Romanov, who paid some attention to the investigative work of the political police (Romanov, 2007; Romanov, 2008), although their investigative activity was considered only indirectly. Several authors published their works abroad, where they also touched upon the work of the investigating authorities (Chukanov et al., 2019).

The main sources of the research were unpublished archival documents contained in the State Archives of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Archives, and the State Archives of the Ulyanovsk Region. It was the study of the materials of criminal cases, documents of preliminary investigations that allowed us to understand the algorithms of the actions of judicial investigators, the nature of the investigated cases, the circle of contacts of the investigators, the assessment of what happened by the provincial officials and employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the empire, the timing of the investigation of criminal cases. The study of the cases made it possible to isolate the peculiarities of the investigation of causes related to the pogroms of landowners' estates, the commission of serious criminal offenses, acts committed against religion and the church, and the investigation of serious criminal offenses. In addition to criminal cases, we studied the journals and minutes of the court sessions, where the statements of the investigators who studied the case were published as witnesses.

of the presented materials lies in the fact that the authors were among the first able to concretize the main forms and methods of work of investigators of the general and political police during prevention and investigation of criminal offenses and anti-state acts.

Problem Statement

are police investigators, political police officers (Gendarme Corps), commissions of inquiry appointed by the governor to investigate criminal offenses, as well as acts found to undermine the foundations of the state.

The were the following: to reveal the main directions of the work of investigators who were part of the city and district police in the first half of the 19th century; to study the features of investigative actions carried out by the ranks of the political police in 1808-1859; examine the work of emergency commissions of inquiry and officials assigned to conduct investigations.

: the beginning of the study dates to 1808, when the tsarist government created investigative structures as part of the general police and defined tasks for the investigators. The study ended on June 8, 1860, when the institution of judicial investigators was created within the District Courts, consolidated in the so-called “investigation chambers” with new tasks defined.

Research Questions

The subject of our study were features, forms, methods of search activities, problems associated with the relationship of investigators with police officials, government officials, the population, noble societies, Orthodox hierarchs in the course of ongoing investigations.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to reveal the territorial (regional) features of the work of investigators in the Russian provinces, to clarify the specifics of training and retraining of investigators. It is very important that during the study it was possible to identify the main directions of the interaction of investigators with city and county authorities, clarify the status of investigators in the police, and reveal the mechanism of interaction of investigators with police officials and provincial government bodies.

Research Methods

We relied on the principles of dialectics, the principle of historicism, which implies a comprehensive objective study of the subject of research. This allowed us to study the subject of research in the dynamics of its development. We have analyzed the process of transformation of the investigative bodies precisely based on the simultaneous study of the conditions that contributed to the creation, formation, and subsequent development of the institution of judicial investigators. Along with general scientific methods, we also relied on special methods of conducting historical research, which included formal-logical, historical-legal, structural, systematization, statistical, and other methods.


In the first half of the 19th century, until the reform of the investigative apparatus on June 8, 1860, a professionally oriented and specially trained investigative body did not exist. Since the speech of the Decembrists in 1825, the number of grave crimes of an anti-state and criminal orientation has steadily increased in the country.

Investigation of all kinds of crimes was carried out by specially assigned police officers, officials of the provincial government sent by the governor, officials of the political police subordinate to the 3d Department of His Imperial Majesty's Chancellery, members of county courts, and other officials. To investigate the most serious and massive crimes, commissions of inquiry were appointed. For example, in 1831 a commission was created to investigate the crimes committed in 1830–1831 by the rebellious Poles. When particularly resonant and grave crimes were committed in the province, the commissions of inquiry were created by the governors with subsequent notification of the results of their work to the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Minister of Justice of the Russian Empire.

In the city police departments, subordinate to the city police masters, the so-called “Bailiffs of investigative cases”. In Simbirsk and Kazan, there were at first 2 positions, then their number increased to 4 or more people. The duties of the bailiff were as follows: “the duties of the bailiff of investigative cases include the production of investigations of crimes and misdemeanors and the sending of these investigations to the Directorate according to the rules, for this purpose, decided, except for the investigations of the helmsman cases given to individual bailiffs”. At the same time, the investigating bailiff was forbidden to use “for other purposes”. Departmental control over their activities for city police chiefs (Complete Code of Legislative Acts).

In the Simbirsk, Samara, Kazan, and Saratov provinces, the so-called police chiefs were subordinate to them. “Private bailiffs”. Their number varied from 2 (Simbirsk) to 5 (Kazan). Private bailiffs also performed prosecutorial functions, as they ensured that all criminal cases initiated by the police were necessarily considered in the city or county court. They were obliged to accept complaints and statements from citizens about committed offenses, openly and “silently” investigate them, which meant with the involvement or without the involvement of witnesses, and everything “that he found” was reported to be recorded in the protocol. He was also instructed to interrogate witnesses and other investigative actions (search, search) to find evidence. If the guilt of the person under investigation was discovered “beyond any doubt,” a private bailiff was obliged to take him into custody (Complete Code of Legislative Acts). The number of private bailiffs in cities depended on such factors as the will of the local governor and chief of police, the number of crimes committed annually, and other circumstances. They applied for the appropriate permission from the Minister of Internal Affairs, documenting the submission of their request.

In the county towns, the police consisted of the governor (police captain), private bailiffs, and district overseers. In the provincial (non-county) cities, a camp was formed, and the police officer investigated criminal cases. In the counties, investigative actions were the prerogative of the zemstvo courts, which were headed by the police captain. The court also included 4 elected assessors, who often performed investigative functions. The county courts have already dealt with court cases directly.

Already on June 3, 1837, the Emperor approved the “Order to the ranks and servants of the zemstvo police” (Complete Code of Legislative Acts). And adopted on June 1 of the same year “Regulations on the zemstvo police” were introduced district assessors (police officers), based on which the district investigative apparatus was formed. The law attributed the preliminary investigation to police affairs. The bailiff investigated the bulk of criminal cases. If the case was recognized as important, then the police captain acted in the role of the investigator. If the crime was especially grave (for example, murder, robbery, arson, etc.), by the decision of the police officer, in agreement with the governor, a temporary department of the zemstvo court was created. It consisted of a police officer, a police officer, a district solicitor. This was done to simultaneously carry out a huge number of required investigative actions (interrogations, examinations, searches, investigative experiments, identification, etc.).

It was established that the investigation was carried out not only by police officers. On December 2, 1846, based on a denunciation by a certain Fyodor Ivanov addressed to the governor that he had inadvertently overheard a conversation between the future recruit Osipov and his father, in which he allegedly threatened to “kill the emperor”. By the decision of the governor, a whole commission of inquiry was created in this case, which included, in addition to the gendarme officer, Captain Solovtsev, the investigator of the Provisional Department of the Yadrinsky Zemstvo Court Petrov and the senior adjutant of the Kazan military governor Denisov. When, during the interrogation, the accused was presented with a specific charge, he repented and “terribly frightened” for inadvertently spoken words, asking for pardon. The case was dismissed due to the remorse of the accused, and the investigators confined themselves to suggestion.

The police actively investigated cases involving attempts by certain persons on the foundations of the state. Investigative actions on minor cases were carried out by ordinary police officers, and if serious incidents occurred, the city police chiefs themselves acted as investigators. That is, the significance of this or that case played a role here. Consider the mechanism for initiating investigative actions. So, on October 10, 1831, the bailiff of the 1st part of Kazan, Mashkovtsev, reported to the city police chief that he received information from one citizen that the retired Major German, who was visiting her, read out printed materials of anti-government content to other guests. By the decision of the chief of police, an investigation group was immediately created, which included Mashkovtsev and one of the guards. A search was carried out at the suspect's apartment, all found materials of prohibited content were seized, sealed and confiscated, and the retired major himself was arrested by the decision of the chief of police. To determine the content of the seized papers at the city police department due to suspicion of the gravity of the crime committed, the decision of the chief of gendarmes Benkendorf, a commission of inquiry was created, which included the Kazan provincial prosecutor, the gendarme staff officer Bulygin, and the city police chief. They examined the seized documents and formulated an indictment for the county court. The police apparatus opened a criminal case and carried out investigative actions in the case of peasant uprisings, which have always been referred to as grave anti-state crimes. In the case of peasant uprisings, of which there were a lot in the first half of the 19th century, a commission of inquiry was immediately created, which included a district police captain, an official of the provincial government, and a gendarme staff officer responsible for the situation in the province. For example, on November 10, 1841, when the peasants of the village of Kolashi, belonging to him, revolted against the landowner Captain Merlin, a squadron of hussars was sent to the village to suppress the rebellion, the councilor of the provincial government Nikolsky, the gendarme lieutenant colonel Panyutin and the local police captain of the Lukoyanovsky district. The investigation team was given the broadest powers. During the investigation, several peasants were arrested, several hundred more were interrogated, and mass searches were carried out in rural houses in order to search for property stolen from the landowner. There were so many peasant uprisings that Emperor Nicholas I in 1842 was forced to sign a decree of August 4, 1842, in which he ordered the officers of the gendarme headquarters to investigate cases related to peasant uprisings in conjunction with the police.

The political police, represented by the local offices of the Gendarme Corps, carried out investigative actions only in cases when cases were initiated that fell under the qualification of state crimes, that is, acts whose resolution was within their competence.

The most serious or widespread corpus delicti, which in reality were opposed by employees of local units of the Gendarme Corps, can be combined into several groups: insult to His Imperial Majesty, members of his family name and propaganda, agitation directed against the foundations of the existing state and social system; peasants' crimes against life, health, power, property of landowners and public safety; cruel treatment of peasants by landlords and estate managers; crimes of officials related to the execution of their powers; religious crimes; counterfeiting of banknotes, securities, documents of state and estate bodies and seals.

If such a crime took place, the political police immediately took the production of investigative actions carried out by the police or other state authorities under strict control, and when the preliminary investigation was carried out, the political police officers took all the materials in the case for further investigative actions. Here is an example of this approach. In 1856, the Ministry of Justice received an investigative report from the Chistopol district solicitor, who was conducting a preliminary investigation of the peasant Safonov, who publicly uttered insulting words against the monarch. The materials for the adjudication were transferred to the Chistopol district court. In turn, the Ministry of Justice transferred the received materials on the case to the III Department of His Own Imperial Majesty's Chancellery. A demand was immediately sent to the name of the Kazan governor to transfer all the materials of the investigation to the III department of SEIVK. An additional investigation was carried out there and the case was transferred only after that to the Chistopol District Court for a judgment.

There have been cases when, at the suggestion of the governors, the higher gendarme chiefs carried out investigative actions in relation to their subordinates, who were involved in committing or “covering up”, i.e., in the evasion of responsibility of persons who have committed criminal offenses. So, on behalf of the governor of the Kazan province, the head of the 1st section of the 5th district of the Gendarme Corps, Lieutenant Colonel Novokshchenov, conducted investigative actions against the head of the city gendarme team, Lieutenant Zheleznov, whom the local police authorities accused of “not helping the police unit in finding money stolen by private the local regiment Grigoriev, did not prevent subordinates from visiting drinking houses”. Lieutenant Zheleznov, following the results of the investigation, was arrested and put on trial.

Often, governors, receiving signals about impending state crimes, appointed officials of their administration as investigators to check them, accompanied by gendarme officers. There were a lot of similar “signals” to the Emperor's Chancellery. In 1853, on the instructions of the Saratov Governor, specially designated officials, together with the officers of the Gendarme Corps, checked and declared false the information of the retired warrant officer Bordovsky about the alleged “impending assassination attempt on the Emperor”, and the denunciations of the merchant Shneur about the “allegedly existing Secret Society preparing an uprising” did not correspond to the truth. The denunciations of Engineer Kasperovich about a “conspiracy against the government”, etc., were also recognized as false.

The analysis shows that many major investigations began at the initiative of political police officials, who followed the investigative process, for example, by the governors, and directed it in the right direction. When the gendarme ranks learned that in 1827 the Kazan police chief Stan was abusing his official position, they immediately reported this to the head of the Third Department of SEIVK Benckendorff. He had no right to interfere in this matter, since the post of chief of police was subordinated exclusively to the governor, therefore Benckendorff sent von Rosen a picture of the abuses committed by the Chief of Police, Colonel Stan. In this performance, specific facts of Stan's abuse were set forth, expressed in the fact that he leads a riotous life, plays cards for large sums, does not manage the police, walks around the market with his sisters, and forces sellers to give him food for free, and his sisters, living with families in rented apartments, they do not pay rent to their owners. The chief of gendarmes asked the governor to investigate and notify him about the investigation. The Kazan governor, having received the letter, immediately organized an investigation group from the employees of his administration, which organized verification of the facts stated in the letter. When many of the facts were confirmed during the check, the governor, by his decision, removed the negligent police chief from office and initiated legal proceedings. The results of the investigation were reported in writing by Governor von Rosen Benckendorff on March 19, 1828. The political police, represented by the Gendarme Corps and their local representations (districts), periodically initiated investigative actions against negligent representatives of the executive police in the counties, since the abuses committed by its officers in the counties angered the population and often led to actions of public discontent.

Particularly many abuses were committed by district police chiefs – the so-called captain-police officers. This position, established in 1775 and lasting until 1862 (ed.), Was replaced by local nobles, elected at a meeting of the county nobility for three years. The police captain headed the police power in the district and was the chairman of another collegial body – the zemstvo court.

How was the process of initiating investigative actions against the careless captain-police officers? Most investigations were initiated by governors at the suggestion of local gendarme officials because of individual and collective complaints received by them. Here are some specific examples. So, in 1830, the gendarme officers handed over to the name of the Kazan governor F.O. von Rosen's idea of the atrocities committed by the local police captain Chernorutsky. The submission was sent after thorough verification of the facts contained in the complaint of 367 residents of the village. Pokrovsky Kozmodemyansky district of Kazan province. The peasants complained that, at the request of Chernorutsky, illegal taxes were unlawfully levied on the peasants, and his proxies, when collecting taxes, carried out illegal arrests of peasants, arrested them, and kept them in unheated rooms in winter. The peasants complained that Chernorutsky himself took 10 houses in the village during fairs free of charge, driving out the owners from them, and then took food from the peasants at the bazaar and loaded them with 2 carts for himself and his entourage. The governor, based on the submission, created a commission of inquiry, which dealt with the facts presented and reported on the work done to the governor for action. The investigative group was headed by the provincial government affairs attorneys Stepanov.

Often, gendarme officers stood up before the governors for honest police captains, conscientiously performing their duties and illegally accused of slandering those “sins” that they did not commit. An illustrative example is an investigation initiated by the provincial government concerning the unlawfully dismissed governor from the post of police captain of the Yadrinsky district, Lieutenant Colonel Aristov. He was removed from office by the governor and arrested on a false denunciation, and his appeal to the governor with a request to scrupulously deal with his case was put under the carpet by the secretary of the provincial government, Kudryavtsev. While Aristov was under arrest, Kudryavtsev took the estate away from him in his favor, and “put his family on the street”. At the request of the officers of the Gendarme Corps, the governor was forced to re-investigate the Aristov case, all false charges against him were dropped, and his good name was restored.

As shown by the study, commissions of inquiry were created to investigate confirmed information about the commission of crimes, as a rule, by officials occupying important administrative posts. When the Saratov governor learned about the fact of giving a bribe on December 16, 1830, by the Saratov city police chief Pryashnikov to the sergeant of the city gendarme team Grebennikov for the termination of the criminal case opened by the gendarmes against his acquaintance, by his decree he immediately created an investigation commission. It included: a representative of the united Saratov nobility, who investigated this case. He was assisted by a specially sent gendarme colonel Volkov. The negligent sergeant was exposed and put on trial.

During our research, we found facts in the archive when, in serious cases, joint commissions of inquiry were created, consisting of representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia and employees of the provincial government appointed by order of the governor. So, in 1830, the Minister of Internal Affairs received a denunciation from three prisoners held in the Saratov prison castle on the atrocities that were going on in the prison. Facts were reported when the custodian of the castle, the staff captain of the Nabochikov, and his henchmen mistreated the prisoners, monetary extortions flourished in the institution, not only male prisoners but also arrested women were illegally kept in neck shackles. Moreover, until their relatives pay the required amounts to their superiors. Besides, the arrested informers informed the minister that a gang of counterfeiters had been operating in the prison under the auspices of its chief and counterfeiting banknotes. A joint investigative group was created, which included officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and employees of the provincial administration sent from St. Petersburg. Dozens of witnesses were questioned, general searches were carried out not only in the prison castle itself but also in the apartments of those under investigation. The facts were confirmed, and so unflattering that the Minister of Internal Affairs ordered the Saratov prison castle to be put in order, and the offending authorities, accused of committing serious criminal offenses, were prosecuted.

In special cases, where high-ranking officials were suspected of committing crimes, special officials were appointed to conduct investigations. Here are some examples of such investigations. On July 4, 1831, the leader of the Kazan nobility (the second person after the governor) received a letter from an official of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Mikulin that one of the comrades of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Zakrevsky, who was making a detour of the internal provinces, Peverzev, secretly from the minister took from the mayor of district cities, merchants and local police captain large bribes. This act was considered a state crime.

When information about the incident reached Emperor Nicholas I, he instructed the Chief of gendarmes Benckendorff to investigate this fact with the help of local gendarmes. Benckendorff appointed Gendarme Colonel Maslov to conduct a secret investigation. During the investigative actions, the official faced the fact that the governor, his comrades, the leader of the Kazan nobility, Eremeev, not only “covered” the bribe-taker, but also refused to give him a letter from the MVD officer Mikulin, in which he informed the Kazan provincial leadership about cases of Peverzev's bribery. On the report on the investigative work done by Colonel Maslov Benckendorff drew a resolution “I'm sorry but there is nothing I can do!” This meant the termination of the investigation into this fact. That is, it was very difficult to expose a thieving official, especially if he represented the highest echelons of power, even if such a case was under the control of the emperor himself. His entourage often covered the criminal, so as not to “tarnish the honor of the uniform”.

History knows no fewer interesting examples. In June 1831, his son, Tsarevich, the future Emperor Alexander II, acted as an investigator on behalf of Emperor Nicholas I himself. The essence of the matter was as follows. In April 1837, the Emperor's desk received from the Chief of Gendarmes Benckendorff's letter from Lieutenant Colonel of the Gendarme Corps Stogov, in which he informed about the uprising of disgruntled appanage peasants in the Saratov province. The emperor, by his decision, appointed his son to go around all the villages of the Saratov province, where the disgruntled peasants lived, to investigate and figure it out. The future emperor traveled around all the “rebellious villages”, talked with many peasants, officials, local police bosses, figured out the situation. Following the results of the investigation, I wrote a letter to the emperor's father, in which he informed him that the peasants were “calm and concerned about the current leadership”, which “worries about the improvement of the state of affairs”. A denunciation letter by Lieutenant Colonel Stogov addressed to Benckendorff was conditioned by the desire of some merchants-tax farmers “to restore the old order” when they, with the connivance of the former bosses, “robbed the peasants with impunity”.

Permanent commissions of inquiry were created from time to time and operated in the country, in special cases appointed personally by the emperor. Everyone knows the work of the commission of inquiry on the case of the Decembrists. Here are some lesser-known examples. In 1830, Poland, which was part of the Russian Empire, revolted. After the armed suppression of the uprising by Russian troops, by decree of Emperor Nicholas I, an investigation commission was created, which included specially appointed officials from the Senate, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Corps of Gendarmes, who investigated grave and especially grave crimes committed by the rebels and their sympathizers. According to the memoirs of the former gendarme Lomachevsky, published in 1880, the commission worked until 1840, and its members traveled to the regions of Russia, to the Kazan and Simbirsk provinces, where members of the provincial boards were included in its composition. They, first, had to deal with the search and arrest of agitators who defended the so-called. “Liberal ideas” and called for the granting of state independence to “oppressed” Poland and Lithuania (Lomachevsky, 1880).

Since random non-professional officials were often included in the composition of investigative commissions, they fabricated completely falsified cases, arrested and presented trumped-up charges to justify their work before the higher authorities. One of these facts was reported in his memoirs by the gendarme colonel Lomachevsky. In particular, he told that in Vilna in 1840 two students at the local university were arrested, who had a manuscript of the so-called. “Delusional content”. It substantiated the need for campaigning among students to persuade them to go abroad since the country “lacks some liberal political freedoms”. An interdepartmental commission of inquiry was created under the leadership of the adjutant wing Nazimov. They conducted investigative actions to identify dissidents at several universities, including the Kazan Imperial University and arrested dozens of students on trumped-up charges. In the end, in the Kazan province, the case fell into the hands of the gendarme staff officer Lomachevsky (1880), who found out that all the testimonies were self-incriminating students, intimidated by the members of the commission. In the end, the case was dropped, and all the detainees were released.

The officials that were involved in the investigation of a particular criminal case were evidenced by the direction and elements of the crime. Of considerable interest in this regard is the criminal case opened by the Saratov governor in 1828 on charges of large-scale embezzlement by the administration of the Saratov and Kamyshinsky salt shops and the Elistonsky Salt Lake. The investigation of the case by the governor, Prince Golitsin, was instructed to lead a commission consisting of three officials of the Ministry of Finance, an adviser to the provincial government, and an adviser to the Treasury of the Saratov province. An officer of the Gendarme Corps supervised the work of this investigation team.

They also had to investigate crimes related to disobedience and even the murder of landowners by peasants, who in every possible way mocked them. A great many examples were found in the archives. So, in 1839, to investigate the uprising of the peasants of the village of Shigony, Syzran district of the Simbirsk province, which ended in the murder of the landowner Krotov, by the decision of the Simbirsk governor, an entire commission of inquiry was created, headed by the head of the 2nd district of the Gendarme Corps, Major General Perfiliev. They worked for a whole month.


In the first half of the 19th century, an effective structure of bodies involved in the investigation of criminal and state crimes was finally formed, which existed mainly as an integral structure of the general police bodies. In the cities, investigative work was carried out by the so-called “bailiffs of court cases” or “private bailiffs”, subordinate directly to the city police chief.

In the counties, investigative actions were the prerogative of the zemstvo courts, which were headed by the police captain. The court also included 4 elected assessors, who often performed investigative functions. And the county courts have already dealt with court cases directly.

If the crime was especially grave (for example, murder, robbery, arson, etc.), by the decision of the police captain, in agreement with the governor, a temporary department of the zemstvo court was created. It consisted of a police officer, a police captain, a district solicitor. This was done to simultaneously carry out a huge number of required investigative actions (interrogations, examinations, searches, investigative experiments, identification, etc.).

Investigative cases of the nature of anti-state crimes were investigated with the active participation of officials of the Gendarme Corps, for which either a commission of inquiry was created with the participation of police officials, officials of the provincial administration, and employees of the political police.

During the period under review, in the investigation of the most serious crimes, anti-state crimes, investigative commissions were created with the participation of employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, local officials in the territories where the crime was committed, and in some cases, persons of royalty.

During the period under review, there were often cases of mutual responsibility among the highest provincial and all-Russian officials aimed at concealing corruption crimes committed by representatives of the elite, while crimes committed by peasants and representatives of the urban lower classes were investigated thoroughly and with maximum punishment concerning persons who committed.

Complex crimes of an economic and financial nature have always been investigated by representatives of the Ministry of Finance, with the active leadership of officials of the Gendarme Corps.


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Boyko, N. S., Nekrasov, V. A., Plokhoi, D. S., Romanova, M. A., & Chukanov, I. A. (2021). Investigation Authorities Fighting Crime In Pre-Revolutionary Russia In The 19th Century. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in The Context of Modern Globalism, vol 117. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1271-1281). European Publisher.