Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University
In the article, we analyzed the evolution of the Russian autocracy policies during
the time of the emperors Paul I, Alexander I, and Nicholas I. Also, we focused
on their role towards the Polish system of administrative-territorial management
and nobility self-government in the Volyn province. The purpose of the article
was to analyze the evolution of nobility`s self-government in Volyn from the Polish
political and legal tradition to the full implementation of Russian norms into
the practice of non-government civilian rule on the territories annexed from the
lands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The establishment of nobility provincial assemblies went in connection with
the incorporation of the Volyn province in accordance with Russia’s Charter of
the rights and freedoms of nobility in 1785.
In each province, adult male hereditary noblemen formed a noble community
whose members executed the right to participate in meetings and to discuss public
needs and elections. Provincial and county marshal (marshalok) was an analog
of the provincial and district leaders of the nobility. This institution was an important
link to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth local government, which
was preserved on the annexed territories due to the policies of Paul I and Alexander
I. Both monarchs had organically combined the efforts to unify the system
of governance within the empire with local traditions. In this article, we focused
on the organization and order of elections to the nobility meetings, including the
election of the leaders of the nobility.
Since the establishment of the Southwest Territory, there had been a gradual
but steady process of adaptation of the annexed lands to the rules and cultural
traditions of the Russian Empire. At the same time, legal regulations and mechanisms
of power and governance, including public self-governance, adapted to
local conditions. In the 1830’s, rules and procedures of aristocratic self-government
in Right-Bank Ukraine followed the Russian model. At that period, the nobility’s
self-government, remnants of which existed on the lands transferred from
the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, ceased to exist.
Keywords: Russian empire, Volyn province, nobility self-government, elections,
provincial/county marshalok, leader of the nobility.