Practice of relationships between the Prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie in the investigation of political crimes

Keywords: prosecutor’s office, gendarmerie, political crimes, investigation, inquiry


The article discusses the practice of the relationships between the Prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie, which formed during the investigation of political crimes in the Russian Empire after the judicial reform of 1864.

It is indicated that the law of May 19, 1871 changed the legal relationships between the gendarmerie and the Prosecutor’s office. The gendarmerie was given the right to conduct an inquiry, and the prosecutor’s office was entrusted with the supervision of this activity. Central agencies targeted the prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie to coordinate their activities in the investigation of political crimes, which resulted in their gradual rapprochement.

In practice, the Prosecutor’s office began to take an active part in the conduct of inquiries on the state crimes. As a result, it gradually lost its original meaning “guardian of the law and an impartial observer for the correctness of the actions of a person who conducted the inquiry”.

The actual relationships between the Prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie was not unambiguous. They largely depended on specific individuals and could be diametrically opposed. Along with the relations of “mutual understanding” there were also facts of direct conflicts between the prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie. Despite such different relationship, in society, the existing level of political repression “was attributed to the joint and solidary activities of zealous gendarmes with zealous prosecutors”. The career of prosecutors depended largely on the relationship with the gendarmerie.

Later, during the inquiry, many prosecutors began to lose their impartiality and gradually turned into agents of gendarmerie goals. According to the figurative expression of the former Chairman of the Council of Ministers S. Witte, the Minister of justice himself “from the Supreme guardian of legality became an assistant to the chief of gendarmes and the chief of secret police”.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

V. P. Gorbachov, Donetsk Regional Bar Association

Candidate of Juridical Sciences (Ph.D.), Docent.


Vilenskiy B.V., 1969. Judicial reform and counter-reform in Russia [Sudebnaya reforma i kontrreforma v Rossii]. Saratov: Privolzhskoe knizhnoe izdatel`stvo.

N., 1981. Court and state crimes [Sud i gosudarstvennye prestupleniya]. Legal bulletin [Yuridicheskii vestnik], No. 1, pp. 60-91.

Krakovskij K.P., 2013. The first step of judicial counter-reform (law of May 19, 1871) [Pervyi shag sudebnoi kontrreformy (zakon 19 maya 1871 g.)]. Istoriâ gosudarstva i prava – History of State and Law, No. 5, pp. 47-51.

Meshcherskiy V.P., 1898. My memories [Moi vospominaniya]. Part 2. St. Petersburg: Tipografiya V.P.Meshcherskogo.

Lopukhin A.A., 1907. From the results of the work experience. The present and the future of the Russian police [Iz itogov sluzhebnogo opyta. Nastoyashchee i budushchee russkoi politsii]. Moscow: Tipografiya V.M.Sablina.

Savitsky S.V. (compositor), 1908. Systematic collection of circulars of the Department of Police and the Headquarters of the Separate Corps of Gendarmes [Sistematicheskii sbornik tsirkuliarov Departamenta Politsii i Shtaba otdel`nogo korpusa zhandarmov]. St. Petersburg: Tipografiya Shtaba otdel`nogo korpusa zhandarmov.

N., 1881. Court and state crimes [Sud i gosudarstvennye prestupleniya]. Legal bulletin [Yuridicheskii vestnik], No. 4, pp. 607-645.

Koni A.F., 1966. The collected works [Sobraniye sochineniy]: in 8 vols. Vol. 2. Moscow: Yuridicheskaya literatura.

The instruction of the Prosecutor of the Moscow judicial chamber S.Goncharov about the order of actions of persons of public Prosecutor's supervision of the district of the Moscow judicial chamber [Instruktsiya prokurora Moskovskoi sudebnoi palaty S. Goncharova o poryadke deistvii lits prokurorskogo nadzora okruga Moskovskoi sudebnoi palaty], 1881. Moscow: Tipografiya A.V.Malukova & Co. Sec. pag. Part 1.

Spiridovich A., 1928. Notes of a gendarme [Zapiski zhandarma]. 2nd ed. Kharkiv: Proletarii. (Foreword, ed.: S.Piontkovsky).

The State Archives of Odessa Region, collection 634, description 1, file 436, leaf 1-return.

The State Archive of Kharkiv Region, collection 373, description 1, file 17.

Shchegolev P.E. (ed.), 1924-1927. The fall of the tsarist regime. The stenographic reports of interrogations and testimony given in 1917 in the Emergency investigation Commission of the Provisional government [Padenie tsarskogo rezhima. Stenograficheskie otchety doprosov i pokazanii, dannykh v 1917 g. v Chrezvychainoi sledstvennoi komissii Vremennogo pravitel`stva]: in 7 vols. Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel`stvo.

Novitskiy V.D., 1917. Memories of the hard days of my service in the corps of gendarmes [Vospominaniya tiazhelykh dnei moei sluzhby v korpuse zhandarmov]. Past [Byloe], No. 5-6, pp. 91-124.

Vitte S.Yu, 1924. Memories [Vospominaniya]: in 3 vols. Vol. 1. 2nd ed. Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel`stvo.

The State Duma. Second convocation. Stenographic reports. 1907. Session two [Gosudarstvennaya Duma. Vtoroi sozyv. Stenograficheskie otchety. 1907. Sessiya vtoraya], 1907. Vol. 1. St. Petersburg: Gosudarstvennaya tipografiya.

N. N., 1882. About some aspects of the current public life of the Russian collegial courts and judges [O nekotorykh storonakh nyneshnego obshchestvennogo byta russkikh kollegial'nykh sudov i sudey]. Journal of civil and criminal law [Zhurnal grazhdansogo i ugolovnogo prava], Book 1, pp. 1-27.

Potemkin E.L. (compositor), 2017. Biographical dictionary. The higher ranks of the Russian Empire (22.10.1721–2.03.1917) [Biograficheskii slovar`. Vysshie chiny Rossiiskoi imperii (22.10.1721–2.03.1917)]: in 3 vols. Vol. 1-3. Moscow.

Peregudova Z.I., 2013. Political search of Russia (1880-1917) [Politicheskii sysk Rossii (1880-1917)]. 2nd ed. Moscow: ROSSPEN.

Gredinger F.I., 1915. The Prosecutor’s supervision for fifty years [Prokurorskii nadzor za pyat`desyat let]. Petrograd: Senatskaya tipografiya.

The Central State Historical Archives of Ukraine, Kyiv, collection 442, description 829, file 221, leafs 1-2.

Balts V., 1926. The trial of the first Council of workers’ deputies (Memories of the Prosecutor) [Sud nad pervym Sovetom rabochikh deputatov (Vospominaniya prokurora)]. Past [Byloe], No. 1, pp. 133-156.

The State Archives of the Russian Federation, collection 1467, description 1, file 430, leafs 183-184, 196-return - 197.

How to Cite
Gorbachov, V. P. (2018) “Practice of relationships between the Prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie in the investigation of political crimes”, Bulletin of Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs, 83(4), pp. 28-37. doi: 10.32631/v.2018.4.03.