Zemsky order - what is it? Its functions in the 16th century

The Zemsky Prikaz is an important government body that was established in the middle of the sixteenth century and was in charge of law enforcement, tax collection, real estate accounting in Moscow and some other cities of Russia. It appeared thanks to administrative reforms aimed at centralizing and strengthening the power of the Moscow prince.

Rus of the 16th century

After the great standing on the Ugra in 1480 and the succession of feudal wars for power, the young Russian state overcame its fragmentation, gained independence from the Horde and a single center of power, located in Moscow, in the hands of the Grand Dukes. The skillful policy of the two kings - Ivan the Great (the Third) and his son Vasily the Third - completed the unification of the Russian lands. As a result of the war with the Lithuanian Principality, the Ryazan, Pskov, and Smolensk princedoms returned under the wing of Moscow, and the last in 1523 was annexed to Starodub.

New autocrat,Ivan the Fourth, better known by the nickname of Grozny, got a young unified state, which lived under the old laws, in particular, on the Code of Law (it was published in 1497 and could not provide effective leadership of vast lands). Bribery, abuse and neglect of officials flourished in the state.

Conditions for cardinal administrative and economic reforms are ripe. The power of Moscow has spread to vast territories that needed uniform laws and productive governing bodies that could bring stabilization of the economy and strengthen the power of the autocrat throughout Russian land.

functions of the Zemstvo order in the 16th century


A group of trusted and gifted advisers, called the Elected Rada, appeared around the young sovereign, who was barely twenty years old. These were people with truly state minds. It was they who developed and helped Ivan the Terrible to successfully carry out for ten years a number of important reforms that made Russia a more controlled and balanced state.

One of the main reforms was a fundamental change in the management apparatus. About twenty orders were established (at first they were called huts). Each order was in charge of certain state affairs or regions of Russia.For example, there were Streletsky, Ambassadorial, Pomestny, Kazan, Siberian, Rogue and other orders. They not only reduced chaos in the government, but also played a significant role in centralizing power and eliminating the last echoes of feudal fragmentation.

What did Zemsky order do?

Zemsky order

The first mentions of this order appear in documents dated 1564 year. Although in the earlier papers Zemstvo deacons already appeared. At first, the building of the order was located right on Red Square, in the place where the Historical Museum is now located. A little later, he moved into the building, which stood on the site of the modern Manege.

The Zemsky Prikaz was the result of decisive administrative reforms that began in Russia in the middle of the sixteenth century, and replaced the outdated and ineffective institution, the Yamskoy Dvor. The power of the new order extended to Moscow and some Russian cities. He was in charge of the affairs of only the black hundreds and members of the settlements.

The black hundreds were people of the trade and industrial professions, later they formed philistinism. Sloboda differed from hundreds in that they consisted of artisans and merchants who were assigned to the sovereign's court and were in the service directly from the sovereign.Sloboda and hundreds were managed by their elders and centurions.

from whom did the Zemsky order collect taxes

Order staff

Supervised Zemsky order boss or judge. In his submission there were two clerks-comrades (analogue of the modern deputy) and several dozen competent clerks who did the general work with documents. The main representatives of the order became roundabouts - special officials, endowed with impressive powers. They were the children of boyars or nobles and were appointed by the commander. The round heads commanded street guards, archers, lattice clerks who guarded and opened numerous city gates, and yarygs (as the poor were called in Russia, who did the dirty work).

Zemsky order in the 16th century

What did Zemsky command do?

First of all, roundabouts and other officials of the order were engaged in collecting taxes, litigation among representatives of settlements and black hundreds, management of urban economy; office work related to real estate, its sale, rental; provided law and order on city streets, settled them, and so on. Officials carried out the orders of the Zemsky Sobor and the sovereign.

zemstvo functions

Tax collection

Effective tax collection was a prerequisite for economic stability of the state. You can meet the question of who collected taxes Zemsky order. The answer is simple: with a black population. In the sixteenth century, it was the name of the entire urban and rural population, which was obliged to perform various state duties and pay taxes to the treasury.

In order to collect taxes faster and more fully, officials regularly described cities under the jurisdiction of the Zemsky Order. All data about people and real estate were carefully documented in the census and scribal books. Taxes were collected on the basis of these books. In addition to the basic payments, the order was responsible for other fees and duties, for example, it charged the residents of the pavement and grid fees. The first went to the cleaning and paving of streets, the second - to organize the urban law and order.

Legal proceedings and the rule of law

An important function of the Zemsky Prikaz was the production of criminal and civil court cases, which concerned the population of settlements and black hundreds. These included the trials of murderers, thieves and brigands, as well as family and housing disputes, hereditary and land trials.The order provided security on the streets of the cities, fought against gambling houses, brothels, and garbage, supervised prisons where suspects and prisoners were kept.

The head of the police (a round head) got his own office and, together with his subordinate trekkers and archers, caught the murderers and thieves, revealed serious crimes and minor offenses. In addition, to maintain order on the streets, the order was organized from archers and yarig constant and traveling guards. Special clerks stood at the main city gates, they charged a fee from passing people and closed the gate for the night.

orders of the Zemsky Sobor

Fire safety and street improvement

Russian cities in the sixteenth century were dirty, dark and prone to fire. Even in the capital there were few cobbled streets, the carriageway was buried in dirt and sewage. Wooden houses were vulnerable to fire, especially during dry seasons. The wind quickly spread fire, burnt out whole blocks. Therefore, the well-being of cities largely depended on the speed and timeliness of extinguishing fire and preliminary fire prevention measures.

The functions of the Zemsky Prikaz in the 16th century included the constant supervision of how fire safety was observed in the city. Care to extinguish the fires also lay on the officials of the order, they had to quickly organize fire brigades from experienced yarig and archers who had the necessary tools to extinguish the fire. The tolls collected from the urban black population went to cleaning and paving streets. The hired workers took care of the landscaping and cleaning, they cleaned up the garbage, cleaned the roadway and the narrow sidewalks from sewage.

land order

Real estate transactions

The census books as well as the courtyard books were used by the Zemsky Order in the 16th century in real estate transactions: its valuation, purchase and sale, change of owners or changes in their composition, registration of new tenants and rental housing. For all the entries in the books, the participants in the transactions paid fees, which constituted the income of the order. So, according to the testimony of documents of that time, when writing a contract for the rental of real estate, its owner paid a fee of one and a half penny from each ruble of the total cost of housing, which then averaged about thirty rubles.

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