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Prikaz was an administrative (palace, civil, military, or church) or judicial office in Muscovy and Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 of 15th-18th centuries. The term is usually translated as "ministry
Ministry (government department)
A ministry is a specialised organisation responsible for a sector of government public administration, sometimes led by a minister or a senior public servant, that can have responsibility for one or more departments, agencies, bureaus, commissions or other smaller executive, advisory, managerial or...

", "office
An office is generally a room or other area in which people work, but may also denote a position within an organization with specific duties attached to it ; the latter is in fact an earlier usage, office as place originally referring to the location of one's duty. When used as an adjective, the...

" or "department". In modern Russian "prikaz" means administrative or military order (to do something). Plurally form is 'prikazy' .

"Prikaz" was also the name of streltsy
Streltsy were the units of Russian guardsmen in the 16th - early 18th centuries, armed with firearms. They are also collectively known as Marksman Troops .- Origins and organization :...

A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

s in 16th-17th centuries.

Most of prikazes were subordinated to Boyar Duma. Some of them (Palace Prikazes (Дворцовые приказы)) were subordinated to the Tayny Prikaz, or Prikaz of Secret Affairs (приказ тайных дел) that answered directly to Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

. Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia had his own prikazes.

There was a large number (up to 60) of specialized prikazes. Their set varied over time.

Approximate list of prikazy

  • Foreign affairs
    • Posolsky Prikaz (literally: "Ambassadorial office") was in charge of international affairs, a kind of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    • Polonyanichy Prikaz (from archaic 'polon', 'plen' means captive) : redemption of Russian captives, prisoners of war
    • Panskiy Prikaz (Prikas of Pans) - office of Poland affairs
  • Administrative
    • Pechatny Prikaz (Prikaz of the Seal, Stamp Prikaz) was an office that placed the Tsar's seal
      Seal (device)
      A seal can be a figure impressed in wax, clay, or some other medium, or embossed on paper, with the purpose of authenticating a document ; but the term can also mean the device for making such impressions, being essentially a mould with the mirror image of the design carved in sunken- relief or...

       on various documents that granted various things to private persons, and collected the corresponding duties.
    • Stone Prikaz
    • Yamskoy Prikaz (mail)
    • Prikaz of book-printing affairs
    • Prikaz of hospices constructing
    • Aptekarskiy (Drugstore) prikaz
    • Monastery Prikaz (was not subordinated to the Russian Orhodox Church)
  • Judicial
    • Moscow
      Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

       Judicial Prikaz
    • Vladimir
      Vladimir is a city and the administrative center of Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Klyazma River, to the east of Moscow along the M7 motorway. Population:...

       Judicial Prikaz
    • Dmitrov Judicial Prikaz
    • Ryazan
      Ryazan is a city and the administrative center of Ryazan Oblast, Russia. It is located on the Oka River southeast of Moscow. Population: The strategic bomber base Dyagilevo is just west of the city, and the air base of Alexandrovo is to the southeast as is the Ryazan Turlatovo Airport...

       Judicial Prikaz
  • Military Prikazes
    • Streletsky Prikaz
    • Pushkarsky Prikaz, in charge of artillery
      Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

    • Admiralteysky Prikaz, in charge of Navy
      A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

    • Cossak Prikaz
    • Bronniy (Armor) Prikaz
    • Prikaz sbora ratnyh i datochnyh lydei (Prikaz of gathering of military and conscripted men)
    • Foreigners Prikaz
      Inozemsky Prikaz
      Inozemsky Prikaz was a central government agency in the 17th-century Russia, which dealt with the affairs of the foreigners, including those hired by the Russian military. This prikaz was established around 1624 and then merged with the Reiter Prikaz in 1680. Inozemsky Prikaz also governed the...

      (foreign mercenaries)
    • Oruzheiniy (Weaponry) Prikaz
    • Prikaz of German feeds: probably, paid a salary to foreigners ('Germans') at Russian military or state service
    • Ritter prikaz
  • Financial Prikazes
    • Pomestny Prikaz (Estate Prikaz) was in charge of personal estate ('pomestye') and ancestral estate ('votchina') lands in . Collected fees for land transfers.
    • Prikaz of counting affairs
    • Prikaz of Big treasury
    • Prikaz of Big income
  • Security
    • Chelobitny Prikaz : considered complaints at the name of Tzar; word chelobitnaya translated as beating by a forehead, that means to bow low. Standard form of such complaint included words "Slave of God ... (or : 'Your holop (slave)') is beating by a forehead", or "Slaves and orphans are beating by a foreheads".
    • Prikaz tainyh del (Prikaz of secret affairs)
    • Razboiniy Prikas (Robbers prikaz) : criminal police
    • Sysknoy prikaz (searching of fugitives)

  • Regional Prikazes
    • Malorossiya Prikaz, Ministry of the Ukrainian (Malorossiya) Affairs
    • Kazan
      Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

      (Казанский приказ, Приказ Казанского дворца, Kazan Palace Prikaz), Volga Region
      Volga Region
      Volga Region is a historical region of Russia that encompasses the territories adjacent to the flow of Volga River. According to the flow of the river, it is usually classified into the Middle Volga Region and Lower Volga Region...

       (Поволжье) Affairs (South-West of Russia, territories of Kazan Khanate)
    • Siberia
      Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

      n Prikaz
    • Great Russia
      Great Russia
      Great Russia is an obsolete name formerly applied to the territories of "Russia proper", the land that formed the core of Muscovy and, later, Russia...

    • Grand Duchy of Lithuania
      Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

    • Smolensk
      Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk...

      (was disbanded due to Poland's conquest of Smolensk. With returning to Russia this prikas was restored)
    • Prikaz of Livonia
      Livonia is a historic region along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida...

    • Prikaz of Novgorod quarter
    • Prikaz of Vladimir
      Vladimir is a city and the administrative center of Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Klyazma River, to the east of Moscow along the M7 motorway. Population:...

    • Prikaz of Ustug quarter
    • Prikaz of Kostroma
      Kostroma is a historic city and the administrative center of Kostroma Oblast, Russia. A part of the Golden Ring of Russian towns, it is located at the confluence of the Volga and Kostroma Rivers...

    • Prikaz of Galich
      Galich may refer to:*Alexander Ivanovich Galich , Russian philosopher and Latin scholar*Alexander Galich , Russian dissident bard*Galich, Russia, a town in Kostroma Oblast, Russia...

    • Prikaz of Smolensk
      Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk...


  • Palace Prikazes
    • Konyushenny Prikaz
    • Palace Prikaz
    • Stone palace Prikaz
    • Prikaz of gold and silver affairs
    • Panihydniy prikaz (Requiem prikaz) : requiems at members of tzar family
  • Patriarch Prikazes
    • Patriarch Rank Prikaz
    • Patriarch Treasury Prikaz
    • Patriarch Palace Prikaz
  • Other
    • Razryadny Prikaz (Rank Prikaz) was in charge of military and civil administration higher personnel.
    • Holop's Prikaz - considered affairs of slaves(holops)


Prikazy appeared from some private orders to do something, given by tzar to some persons. At some cases new prikaz have a name of this person (Prikaz of dyak
Dyak may refer to one of the following.*Dayak people, also called "Dyak", a native tribe of Borneo*Dyak a historical position of head of office in Russia...

 Vahromeev, where 'Vahromeev' is a last name).

From 1512 word 'prikaz' is starting to be used as a name of some constant office.

Differences from modern ministry system

  • Moskow tzardom didn't know separation of powers
    Separation of powers
    The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

    , so some prykazy were judicial. In fact, this system was a mix of all three branches of the state;
  • Some prikazy were regional, performing tasks of local authorities. Territorial administrative division of Moskow tzardom at this epoch was developed weakly. In fact, large territory was divided at only 4 quarters , later 5 1/5 parts , their territories were mixed, and part of one of such divisions could be enclave at another one;
  • Later Russian historians are describing separation of responsibilities between different prikazy as chaotic; some problem can be at responsibility of several different prikasy at one time. Quantity of prikazy was very big; their total number during all time of their existence is unknown;
  • Making of decisions was concentrated at the head of each prikaz;
  • Some prikazy was established to perform some order ("prikaz") of tzar and, when this order was done, they were disbanded. So, some prikazy were rather short-living;
  • One prikaz can be subordinated to another one.


Classification of prikaz system is very difficult task. In fact, each major historian try to build his own classification. Major variants can be: prikazy of some territory, of some class of population, of some kind of affairs. Other way of classificaion - to rank prikazy by subordination.


The prikazy were abolished by Peter the Great
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

 and replaced, beginning in 1717, with administrative organs known as collegia
Collegium (ministry)
The collegia were government departments in Imperial Russia, established in 1717 by Peter the Great...

This process took a rather long time; Siberian prikaz, for example, was restored at 1730 and existed till 1755. At the beginning of 18th century Peter the Great even established some new prikazy.
This system was eliminated finally only at Catherine the Great
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

at 1755.
Later Russian historians are describing this, as replacing complicated and chaotic system of several dozens prikases to clear and simple system of 12 collegias.

External links