Russia without state security

Автор: Maks Ноя 27, 2020

The criminal investigation of lawbreakers and political foes extends back to the earliest clays of recorded history. In medieval Russia serious crimes were investigated and prosecuted by a kind of government department, called a Chancery (prikaz) of Brigandage that pursued evildoers, especially gangs of brigands. For a time during the seventeenth century some of the powers of police investigation were assumed by the Chancery of Secret Affairs.

In the 1680s in the village of Preobrazhensky, where young Czar Peter lived with his mother, the Preobrazhensky Chancery was created to serve the czar, his family and his guards. In 1697 Peter elevated that prikaz to the status of the country’s chief police constabulary.

To prosecute Emperor Peter’s son, the Tsarev-ich Alexey, a temporary commission called the Privy Chancellery was specially formed. Its duty was to see that the tsarevich was investigated and punished in the manner so wished by the emperor. With the death of the tsarevich the Chancellery had, to all intents, fulfilled its purpose.

After Peter’s death in 1725 the wanton savagery of the country’s executioners was curtailed. In 1726 the Privy Chancellery was disbanded; in 1727 down came the stone pillars that had stood at nearly all road crossings and from which protruded steel spikes for impaling severed arms, legs and heads. Then, on Good Friday in 1729, the Preobrazhensky Chancery was eliminated.

By 1731, when the next governmental security force called the Chancellery of Investigation was created, Russia had managed affairs rather well for two years with no major problems—for the first time in the country’s history with no anointed ministry of state security.

The last time in Russian history that the country existed without a bureau of secret police occurred after the February revolution of 1917. From March 1917, when the Ministry of Secret Police was abolished, until December 1917, when the Bolsheviks formed the Commission for Emergency Measures, or Ch. K., Russia survived without a special department of state police.

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