Point in the Time of Troubles in the middle of the “rebellious” century: the adoption of the Cathedral Code of 1649

Federal news agency
Federal news agency

Today is significant for our country in that on January 29 (according to the old style), 1649, an important page was inscribed in the history of not only the Russian State, but also law – the Cathedral Code of the Tsar was adopted Alexey Mikhailovichwhich operated in Russia until 1832, when the Code of Laws of the Russian Empire was developed.

Work on the Cathedral Code was carried out thoroughly – from July 1648. It was then that the Zemsky Sobor, the class-representative body of pre-Petrine Russia, was convened in Moscow. Sometimes the Councils worked even for several years, but most often the bill went on for months. The last such “parliament” was convened under the young Peter in 1698 for the trial of the sister of the princess Sophia, who intended to “reign and rule over everything” herself (“Ivan Vasilyevich changes his profession”). The future emperor paved the way for absolutism, and his father, nicknamed “The Quietest”, did a lot to strengthen the state.

The adoption of the Council Code was a response to the challenges of the time – it was not for nothing that the 17th century was nicknamed “rebellious” by contemporaries, when the very existence of the state was at stake (especially at the beginning of the century). The Salt Riot immediately preceded the adoption of the Code. One of the demands of the rebels was the convening of a Council to pass a new law.

There were many other urgent and urgent problems. That is why the Council worked so thoroughly, adopting a new set of laws regulating almost all aspects of life at that time. A whole commission was created, probably for the first time in the history of domestic law. 315 (!) people put their signatures under the Code. We can say that with their strokes of the pen, they put an end to the Time of Troubles, starting the process of consolidating order throughout the vast Russian kingdom.

The Cathedral Code of 1649 was the first printed law in our history, although it has a handwritten basis. 1200 copies were printed from the manuscript, but this did not satisfy the needs of a huge expanding country, and the Code continued to be copied by hand as well. It was saturated with living content over its almost 200-year history, supplemented by new norms and articles. It clearly shows the desire of the legislator to classify laws and legal norms by industry. In medieval Russian legislation, this is practically not visible. The Cathedral Code of 1649 is a clear transition from the Middle Ages to the New Age on the traditional Russian legal basis.


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