- Zemsky Sobor
The zemsky sobor ( _ru. зе́мский собо́р) was the first
Russian parliamentof the feudal Estates type, in the 16th and 17th centuries. The term roughly means "assembly of the land".
It could be summoned either by
tsar, or patriarch, or the Boyar Duma. Three categories of population participated in the assembly:
# Nobility and high bureaucracy, including the
# The "
Holy Sobor" of high Orthodox clergy.
# Representatives of merchants and townspeople (
The first "zemsky sobor" was held by tsar
Ivan the Terriblein 1549. During his reign he held a number of such gatherings and they became a common tool used to enact major pieces of legislation or to decide controversial issues. Although the Sobors were primarily a tool used to rubberstamp decisions that Ivan had already made, sometimes initiative was taken by the lower nobility and townsfolk. For instance, the tsar was scandalized when the assembly of 1566 asked him to abolish the Oprichnina.
Rurik Dynastydied out in 1598 it was a "sobor" that appointed Boris Godunovas the next tsar. Another grand council, featuring even peasants, elected Mikhail Romanov to take the throne in 1613. During Mikhail's reign, when the Romanov dynastywas still weak, such assemblies were summoned annually.
Once the Romanovs were firmly in power, however, the "sobor" gradually lost its power. A major council assembled to ratify the
Treaty of Pereyaslavin 1654 was the last for thirty years. The last sobors were held by the great Galitzinein 1682, to abolish the "mestnichestvo", and in 1684, to ratify the "Eternal Peace" with Poland.
Four years after the death of the last Russian tsar, on July 23, 1922, General Diterikhs of the Far Eastern White Army convened the "Zemskiy Sobor of Amur region" (Приамурский Земский Собор) in
Vladivostok. This sobor, calling to all Russian people to repent for the overthrow of the tsar, reinstituted a monarchy by naming Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaievich Romanov as tsar. Patriarch Tikhon (who was not present; neither was the Grand Duke) was named as the honorary chairman of the sobor. Two months later the Amur regionfell to the Bolsheviks.
*С.Л. Авалиани. "Литературная история земских соборов". Odessa, 1916.
* The encyclopedia Brockhaus and Efron, Moscow, 1993, [http://gatchina3000.ru/brockhaus-and-efron-encyclopedic-dictionary/041/41809.htm]
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