Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1264

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908 RUSSIA

them are united into general governments, which are now those of Finland, Poland, Wilna, Kieff, and Moscow. The Asiatic part of the Empire com- prises 5 general governments, Caucasus, Turkestan, Stepnoye (of the Steppes), Irkutsh, and of the Amur, with 10 governments (gubcrniya), 17 territories (oblasts), and 3 districts {okrug, or otdycl : Zakataly, Chernomorsk, and Sakhalin). At the head of each general government is a governor- general, the representative of the emperor, who as such has the supreme control and direction of all affairs, whether civil or military. In Siberia the governors-general are each assisted by a council, which has a delibe- rative voice. A civil governor assisted by a council of regency, to which all measures must be submitted, is established in each government, and a military governor in twenty frontier provinces. A vice-governor is appointed to fill the place of the civil governor when the latter is absent or unwell. There is also, in each government, a council of control under the presidency of a special oflScer, depending directly on the Department of Control. Each government is divided into from 8 to 15 districts, having each several administrative institutions. A few districts {okrug or otclyel) in Siberia, in the Caucasus, in Turkestan, and in the Transcaspian region are considered as independent governments. So also the townships {gradonachalstvo) of St. Petersburg, Odessa, Kertch, Sebastopol, and Ta- ganrog ; Cronstadt, Vladivostok, and Nikola evsk are under separate military governors. In 1894, the Government of Warsaw has been increased by one district of Plock and one district of Lomja.

In European Russia the government of the parish, in so far as the lands of the peasantry are concerned, and part of the local administration, is en- trusted to the people. For this purpose the whole country is divided into communes (107,676 in European Russia, exclusive of the three Baltic pro- vinces), which elect an elder (Starosta), or executive of a commune, as also a tax-collector or superintendent of public stores. All these officers are elected at communal assemblies ('Mir' — which means both 'the village' and 'the world') by the peasants, and from among themselves. The communal assemblies are constituted by all the householders in the village, who discuss and decide all communal affairs. These communal assemblies are held as business requires. The communes are united into cantons, or 'Voloste,' each embracing a population of about 2,000 males (10,530 in Eurojiean Russia). Each of the cantons is presided over also by an elder, 'Starshina,' elected at the cantonal assemblies, which are com- posed of the delegates of the village communities in proportion of one man to every ten houses. The canton assemblies decide the same class of affairs as do the communal assemblies, but concerning each its respective canton. The peasants have thus special institutions of their own, which are submitted also to special colleges 'for jteasants' affairs,' instituted in each government. In Poland the 'Voloste' is re^daced by the 'Gmina,' the assemblies of which arc constituted of all landholders — nobility in- cluded, the clergy and the police excluded — who have each but one voice, whatever the area of land possessed. The ' Gmina ' has, however, less autonomy than the 'Voloste,' being subject directly to the ' Cliief of the District.' In conjunction with the assemblies of the Voloste and Gmina are cantonal tribunals, consisting of from four to twelve judges elected at cantonal assemblies. Injuries and offences of every kind, as well as dis- putes relating to property l)etween the peasants, not involving more than a hundred roubles, come under the jurisdiction of these popular tribunals. Affairs of more importance, up to 300 roubles, are judged by Judges of Peace, elected in Central Russia, and nominated elsewhere ; appeal against