The Strife of Fiscal Inspectors and State Power for the Control of the Russian Empire Judicial System in Western Provinces (1799)
The paper states that the coming to power of Paul I meant the implementation of reforms aimed at power centralization, introducing proper order and improving the financial system of the country. In need of support from regional elites, the ruler restored certain elements of the old judicial system in the provinces (gubernias) annexed from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, there was no complete return to the Commonwealth’s judicial system, since there was no real independence: newly elected members of the courts were approved by the authorities, additional appellate institutions were created.
One more specific institution for cross control of courts and local authorities was the introduction of the fiscal inspectors by Emperor Paul I in 1799, which were supposed to control the judicial institutions of the province, reporting the violations found. In their activities, there were two stages. The first stage was in the days of the prosecutor general P.V. Lopukhin, who represented the views of the emperor on the situation in the region, a regime of full assistance in taking control of the judicial system was established, which led to a conflict with judges of all levels, the governor and the provincial prosecutor, who accused the official of local laws ignorance and the desire to assert himself. During the second stage, in the days of the prosecutor general O.A. Bekleshov, who initially was Kamianets-Podilskyi military governor with the leadership of Volyn and Podil provinces, and was subsequently appointed the governor of Kyiv and Little Russia provinces and, accordingly, he was well acquainted with the state of affairs in the region, so, the competence of the fiscal inspectors was limited, they had only to watch and report about the revealed violations, without conflicting with local authorities. Special attention is paid to the collaboration of fiscal inspectors with provincial prosecutors. Limitation of the officials’ powers had led to the decrease of their professional activity and the subsequent elimination of the post.