Fundamental Laws (Основные государственные законы Российской империи), 1906

Source:  Readings in Modern European History, edited by James Harvey Robinson and Charles Beard (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1909), vol. 2, pp. 379-81, citing Jahrbuch der offentichen Rechts (1908), vol. 2, pp. 423+; see also Russian Fundamental Laws of 1906.

Nicholas II issued Russia's new constitution (in the form of the Fundamental Laws), 23 April 1906.


ART. 4. The supreme autocratic power is vested in the Tsar of all the Russias. It is God's command that his authority should be obeyed not only through fear but for conscience' sake.

ART. 5. The person of the Tsar is sacred and inviolable

ART. 7. The Tsar exercises the legislative power in conjunction with the Council of the Empire and the imperial Duma.

ART. 8. The initiative in all branches of legislation belongs to the Tsar. Solely on his initiative may the fundamental laws of the empire be subjected to a revision in the Council o the Empire and the imperial Duma.

ART. 9. The Tsar approves the laws, and without his approval no law can come into existence.

ART. 10. All governmental powers in their widest extent throughout the whole Russian empire are vested in the Tsar . . . .

ART. 17. The Tsar appoints and dismisses the president of the council, the ministers themselves, and the heads of the chief departments of administration, as well as all other officials where the law does not provide for another method of appointment and dismissal.

ART. 25. The imperial throne of all the Russias is hereditary in the present beneficent ruling imperial house.

ART. 59. The full title of His Imperial Majesty is as follows:  We, by the grace of God, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, of Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod, Tsar of Kasan, Tsar of Astrakhan, Tsar of Poland, Tsar of Siberia, Tsar of Tauric Khersones, Tsar of Grusia, Lord of Pskov, and Grand Duke of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia, and Finland, Prince of Esthonia, Livonia, Courland and Semgallia, Samogitia, Bielostok, Korelia, Tver, Jugor, Perm, Vyatka, Bulgaria, and other territories; Lord and Grand Duke of Novgorod, Chernigov; Ruler of Ryazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Jaroslav, Bielooero, Udoria, Obdoria, Kondia, Vitebsk, Mstislav, and all northern territories; Ruler of Iveria, Kartalinia, and the Kabardinian lands and Armenian territories; hereditary Ruler and Lord of the Tcherkess and Mountain Princes and others; Lord of Turkestan, Heir to the throne of Norway, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Ditmarsch, Oldenburg, and so forth, and so forth, and so forth.

ART. 62. The established and ruling faith of the Russian Empire is the Christian, Orthodox Catholic, Eastern faith.

ART. 63. The Tsar who sits upon the throne of all the Russias may confess none but the orthodox faith.

ART. 64. The Tsar as Christian ruler is the supreme defender and upholder of the doctrines of the ruling faith, the protector of the true belief, and of every ordinance in the holy Church.

ART. 65. In the administration of the church the autocratic power acts through the Holy Directorial Synod, which it has created.

ART. 66. All those subjects of the Russian State who do not belong to the ruling Church, natives as well as the inhabitants of annexed districts, foreigners in the Russian service, or temporary sojourners in Russia, enjoy the free exercise of their respective faiths and religious services according to their particular usages.

ART. 67. Religious freedom is granted not only to Christians of foreign faiths, but to Jews, Mohammedans, and heathen. May all the people residing in Russia praise God Almighty in their various tongues according to the law and faith of their forefathers, while they glorify the rule of the Russian monarch and pray to the Creator of the Universe for all increase of the public welfare and a strengthening of the power of the Tsar.

ART. 70. The defense of the throne and of the fatherland is the sacred duty of every Russian subject. The male population, without distinction of class, is subject to military service according to the provisions of the law.

ART. 71. Russian subjects are in duty bound to pay the imposts and taxes legally imposed, and to fulfill all additional obligations according to the provisions of the law.

ART. 72. No one can be prosecuted for an offense except according to the process established by law.

ART. 73. No one shall be arrested except in the cases determined by law.

ART. 74. No one shall be brought into court or punished for an offense which was not a crime according to the law when committed.

ART. 75. The dwelling of every one is inviolable.

ART. 76. Every Russian subject is entitled freely to choose his residence and occupation.

ART. 77. Property is inviolable. Property shall be taken only for public use and after just compensation.

ART. 78. Russian subjects are entitled to meet peaceably and without arms for such purposes as are not contrary to law.

ART. 79. Within the limits fixed by law every one may express his thoughts by word or writing and circulate them by means of the press or otherwise.

ART. 84. The Russian Empire shall he governed by laws passed according to a fixed and regular proceeding.

ART. 86. No new law shall go into force without the sanction of both the Council of the Empire and the Duma and the ratification of the Tsar.

ART. 98. The Council of the Empire and the Duma, shall be convoked annually by imperial decree.

ART. 99. The length of the annual sessions of the Council of the Empire and the Duma and the limits of the recesses during the year, shall be determined by imperial decrees.

ART. 100. The Council of the Empire shall be composed of persons appointed by his Majesty the Tsar, and elected persons . . . .

ART. 101. The Duma shall be composed of members chosen by the inhabitants of the Russian Empire for five years, according to regulations established by law.

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