Coat of arms
Blazons of Russian  Provinces

The descriptions of blazons were taken from the book "Blazons of towns, provinces and oblasts of Russian Empire" by P.P. fon Vinkler.

Provinces of Russian Empire

Oblasts of Russian Empire

Provinces of Finnish Grand Duchy

Provinces of Polish Kingdom

Large Coat of Arms of Russian Empire

For the first time provinces have appeared in Russia in the beginning of XVIIIth century. On December 18, 1708, Petr I has signed the Decree about division of the country into provinces: " Great Czar has specified... for the common benefit of the nation to make provinces and to arrange cities among them".

The main reason of reform of 1708 was a necessity to change the system of financing and food-material support of army (overland regiments, garrisons of fortresses, artillery and fleet were assigned to provinces and by means of the special commissioners received money and food). Originally provinces were 8, then their number has grown up to 23.

In 1775 Ekaterina II carried out the reform of province administration. In her "Regulations for Provinces Administration of Russian Empire" the following was marked: "Because of great extensiveness of some provinces, they are unsufficiently supplied, as with governments, as with people for administrative staff...". The statistical principle was assumed as a basis of new administrative division - the amount of population of each province was limited (300 - 400 thousand souls, 20 - 30 thousand on district). Instead of 23 provinces was created 50.

The Provisional Government, which came to power in the beginning of March, 1917, saved the whole system of province establishments, only governors were replaced by the province commissioners. But in a parallel way the system of Soviets already has arisen. The socialist revolution saved sharing on provinces, however liquidated all old administrative system. The division on provinces completely disappeared in 30th years of XXth century.

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