Skip to main content

Ukaz

UKAZ

A decree, edict, or order issued by higher authority and carrying the weight of law. In English, ukase.

The Dictionary of the Imperial Russian Academy (1822) defined ukaz (plural ukazy ) as "a written order issued by the Sovereign or other higher body." Senior churchmen and the Senate, for example, could issue an ukaz, but no one had power independent of the ruler. An edict or order signed personally by the ruler was known as imennoi ukaz. Up to the end of the seventeenth century, the tsar's ukazy were recorded by scribes, but from the 1710s onwards the more important ones were printed, either as individual sheets or in collections. In 1722 Peter I issued an ukaz on the orderly collection, printing, and observance of existing laws. It ended: "Let this ukaz be printed, incorporated into the regulations, and published. Also set up display boards, according to the model supplied in the Senate, to which this printed ukaz should be glued, and let it always be displayed in all places, right down to the lowest courts, like a mirror before the eyes of judges . This ukaz of His Imperial Majesty was signed in the Senate in His Majesty's own hand." The very sheets of paper bearing the ruler's printed command were imbued with his authority.

Given the significance attached to the Russian sovereign's written command and signature, the anglicized term "ukase" has connotations of absolutism. It is often coupled with other instruments of autocratic rule, such as the knout and exile to hard labor, as a symbol of despotic government.

See also: peter i

Lindsey Hughes

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ukaz." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ukaz." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ukaz

"Ukaz." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved October 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ukaz

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.