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Mikhail Speransky, the great Russian reformist

Mikhail Speransky, the great Russian reformist
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A subject exhibition timed to the 245th anniversary of the birth of the great Russian reformist M. Speransky and the 185th anniversary of the publication of the Code of Laws of the Russian Empire runs in the Legal information reading room (207b), from 30 October to 9 January, 2018.


The prominent public figure Mikhail Speransky was an inspirer and organizer of the codification of Russian law. Of the Complete Collection of the Laws, he made a basis for the Laws in Force. To this end, the lawmaker took legitimate statutes from various acts, exposed them in the form of brief articles applying to the original text, and, with references to the source, arranged them systematically reducing to special charters. Thus, the Code of Laws of the Russian Empire was created.

Officials of the Second Department did a truly titanic work, compiling separate and disjointed legalizations for a coherent and coordinated thematic incorporation of the laws. At the same time, they carried out a branch and institutional consolidation of the legal provisions in the form of basic laws, institutions and statutes. All prepared draft articles were reported personally to Speransky, who edited virtually every line of the publication. The speed of work was amazing: for seven years, they achieved what they couldn’t in 180 previous years.

By the end of 1832, the Code of Laws of the Russian Empire was prepared and printed with a circulation of 1,200 copies. It consisted of 15 volumes, 36 thousand articles and more than 6 thousand annexes. For the creation of the Code of Law, 45 thousand laws were studied, of which the statutes in force were selected, as for January 1, 1832. In January 1833, the State Council decided to consider the Code of Law as the main legal act of the Russian Empire.

The Emperor commended the efforts of Speransky and decorated him with the ribbon of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called right at the council meeting. In the same year, M. Speransky was appointed chairman of the Department of Laws, the most important body in the State Council.

The Code of Laws of the Russian Empire was met with vivid interest among European statesmen and lawyers. Statutes of the greatest power acquired a harmonious system, the state apparatus, and as a result the population received clear and accessible statutory provisions. The legislation of Russia had finally come out of the darkness of "official chancellery and record keeping".

More than 80 documents are on display: books, brochures, periodicals, abstracts of theses.

The exhibition includes the thematic sections as follow:

  • Biography of M. Speransky and memoirs of his contemporaries.
  • Political ideas and projects of M. Speransky on the reformation of Russia.
  • The scientist M. Speransky and his contribution to the development of the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire.
  • The role of Count M. Speransky in the development of Russian financial science.
  • M. Speransky as a teacher and enlightener.

The exhibition is designed for researchers, teachers, graduates and students of history and law schools, as well as all readers who are interested in the history of Russian state and law.

Contact: (+375 17) 293 27 32.

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