Last updated
Example of a Soviet-era ukaz: the appointment of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, 1964. Decree of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, 15.10.1964 - Alexey Kosygin.jpggarf.jpg
Example of a Soviet-era ukaz: the appointment of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, 1964.

In Imperial Russia, a ukase ( /jˈkz,-ˈks/ [1] [2] ) or ukaz (Russian : указ [ʊˈkas] ) was a proclamation of the tsar, government, [3] or a religious leader (patriarch) that had the force of law. "Edict" and "decree" are adequate translations using the terminology and concepts of Roman law.


From the Russian term, the word ukase has entered the English language with the meaning of "any proclamation or decree; an order or regulation of a final or arbitrary nature". [2]


Prior to the 1917 October Revolution, the term applied in Russia to an edict or ordinance, legislative or administrative, having the force of law. A ukase proceeded either from the emperor or from the senate, which had the power of issuing such ordinances for the purpose of carrying out existing decrees. All such decrees were promulgated by the senate. A difference was drawn between the ukase signed by the emperor’s hand and his verbal ukase, or order, made upon a report submitted to him. [4]

After the Revolution, a government proclamation of wide meaning was called a "decree" (Russian: декрет, dekret); more specific proclamations were called ukaz. Both terms are usually translated as "decree".[ citation needed ]

Example of a modern ukaz: the ambassadorial appointment of Sergey Kislyak to the United States in 2008. UKAZ Prezidenta RF ot 26.07.2008 N 1122.png
Example of a modern ukaz: the ambassadorial appointment of Sergey Kislyak to the United States in 2008.

According to the Russian Federation's 1993 constitution, a Decree of the President of Russia is referred to as ukaz.

See also


  1. Wells, John C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Longman. ISBN   978-1-4058-8118-0.
  2. 1 2 OED staff 1989.
  3. Chisholm 1911.
  4. Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ukaz". Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 564.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Decius</span> Roman emperor from 249 to 251

Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius, sometimes translated as Trajan Decius, was Roman emperor from 249 to 251.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jacobins</span> Political club during the French Revolution

The Society of the Friends of the Constitution, renamed the Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality after 1792 and commonly known as the Jacobin Club or simply the Jacobins, was the most influential political club during the French Revolution of 1789. The period of its political ascendancy includes the Reign of Terror, during which well over 10,000 people were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mikhail Loris-Melikov</span> Russian statesman (1824–1888)

Count Mikhail Tarielovich Loris-Melikov was a Russian-Armenian statesman, General of the Cavalry, and Adjutant General of H. I. M. Retinue.

Acacius served as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 472 to 489. He was practically the first prelate in all of Eastern Orthodoxy, and was renowned for his ambitious participation in the Chalcedonian controversy.

An edict is a decree or announcement of a law, often associated with monarchism, but it can be under any official authority. Synonyms include "dictum" and "pronouncement". Edict derives from the Latin edictum.

A decree is a legal proclamation, usually issued by a head of state such as the president of a republic, or a monarch, according to certain procedures. It has the force of law. The particular term used for this concept may vary from country to country. The executive orders made by the President of the United States, for example, are decrees.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cavalier</span> Royalist supporter in the English Civil War

The term "Cavalier" was first used by Roundheads as a term of abuse for the wealthier royalist supporters of King Charles I and his son Charles II of England during the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and the Restoration. It was later adopted by the Royalists themselves. Although it referred originally to political and social attitudes and behaviour, of which clothing was a very small part, it has subsequently become strongly identified with the fashionable clothing of the court at the time. Prince Rupert, commander of much of Charles I's cavalry, is often considered to be an archetypal Cavalier.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antoine Christophe Merlin</span> French lawyer and politician

Antoine Christophe Merlin was a member of several legislative bodies during the era of the French Revolution. He is usually called Merlin de Thionville to distinguish him from Philippe-Antoine Merlin de Douai.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Georges Couthon</span> French politician and lawyer (1755–1794)

Georges Auguste Couthon was a French politician and lawyer known for his service as a deputy in the Legislative Assembly during the French Revolution. Couthon was elected to the Committee of Public Safety on 30 May 1793. Along with his close associates, Maximilien Robespierre and Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, he formed an unofficial triumvirate within the committee which wielded power until their arrest and execution in 1794 during the period of the Reign of Terror. A Freemason, Couthon played an important role in the development of the Law of 22 Prairial, which was responsible for a sharp increase in the number of executions of accused counter-revolutionaries.

A governorate, gubernia, province, or government was a major and principal administrative subdivision of the Russian Empire. After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, governorates remained as subdivisions in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and in the Soviet Union from its formation until 1929. The term is also translated as government, governorate, or province. A governorate was headed by a governor, a word borrowed from Latin gubernator, in turn from Greek κυβερνήτης.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ems Ukaz</span> 1876 decree by Alexander II of Russia

The Ems Ukaz or Ems Ukase, was a secret decree (ukaz) of Emperor Alexander II of Russia issued on May 18, 1876, banning the use of the Ukrainian language in print except for reprinting old documents. The ukaz also forbade the import of Ukrainian publications and the staging of plays or lectures in Ukrainian. It was named after the city of Bad Ems, Germany, where it was promulgated.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Serfdom in Russia</span> Unfree peasant class of Tsarist Russia

The term serf, in the sense of an unfree peasant of tsarist Russia, is the usual English-language translation of krepostnoy krest'yanin which meant an unfree person who, unlike a slave, historically could be sold only together with the land to which they were "attached". However, this stopped being a requirement by the 19th century, and serfs were practically indistinguishable from slaves. Contemporary legal documents, such as Russkaya Pravda, distinguished several degrees of feudal dependency of peasants. While another form of slavery in Russia, kholopstvo, was ended by Peter I in 1723, the serfdom was abolished only by Alexander II's emancipation reform of 1861; nevertheless, in times past, the state allowed peasants to sue for release from serfdom under certain conditions, and also took measures against abuses of landlord power.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Proclamation</span> Official declaration

A proclamation is an official declaration issued by a person of authority to make certain announcements known. Proclamations are currently used within the governing framework of some nations and are usually issued in the name of the head of state. A proclamation is (usually) a non-binding notice.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Princess Tatiana Constantinovna of Russia</span> Princess of Russia

Princess Tatiana Constantinovna of Russia was the third child and eldest daughter of Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich of Russia and his wife, Princess Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Banderole</span> Small but long flag or banner

A banderole is a comparatively small but long flag, historically used by knights and on ships, and as a heraldic device for representing bishops.

The Pauline Laws are the house laws of the Romanov rulers of the Russian Empire. The name comes from the fact that they were initially established by Emperor Paul I of Russia in 1797.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jarlig</span> Historical Mongol government edict

A jarlig is an edict or written commandant of Mongol and Chinggisid rulers' "formal diplomas". It was one of three types of non-fundamental law pronouncements that had the effect of a regulation or ordinance, the other two being debter and billing. The jarliq provide important information about the running of the Mongol Empire.

The March Constitution, also called Imposed March Constitution or Stadion Constitution, was a constitution of the Austrian Empire promulgated by Minister of the Interior Count Stadion between 4 March and 7 March 1849. Though declared irrevocable, it was eventually revoked by the New Year's Eve Patent of Emperor Franz Joseph I on 31 December 1851. The Stadion Constitution emphasized power for the monarch; it also marked the way of the neo-absolutism in the Habsburg ruled territories. It preempted the Kremsier Constitution of the Kremsier Parliament. This state of affairs would last until the October Diploma of 20 October 1860 and the later February Patent of 26 February 1861.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Decree of the President of Russia</span> Russian legal act

A Decree of the President of the Russian Federation or Executive Order (Decree) of the President of Russia is a legal act (ukase) with the status of a by-law made by the President of Russia.

The February Manifesto, also known as His Imperial Majesty's Graceful Announcement was a legislative act given by Emperor of Russia Nicholas II on 15 February 1899, defining the legislation order of laws concerning the Grand Duchy of Finland. This included all laws which also concerned the interest of the Russian Empire. The manifesto left the Diet of Finland only an advisory role in passing these laws. The February Manifesto was seen as the beginning of the first period of Russian oppression and generally the start of Russification of Finland.


Wiktionary-logo-en-v2.svg The dictionary definition of ukase at Wiktionary