Civil Service in Volyn Province in Memories and Assessments of Contemporaries (Late 18th – First Half of the 19th Century)

Keywords: civil service, Volyn Province, officials, gentry, memoirs


Literary Memoirs (memoirs, notes), describing the civil service in Volyn Province in the late 18th – the first half of the 19th century are analyzed. The letters that were actively published in the late 19th century are studied separately. The influence of the political situation on the service, powers, and tasks of the officials, their material support, and interaction with the local population is determined. The issue of leisure and cultural needs of Volyn Province officials, influencing the performing of official duties, is partially ascertained.

The first group of memoirs includes memoirs of Volyn administrative staff members telling about their own service and the problems they personally faced (P. Baturin, M. Mamaiev, Yan Okhotskyi, and Volyn Governor M. Sinelnikov). They described the professional duties and the complexity of additional tasks, relations with the local gentry, bribery of retired military officers who came to Volyn for quick enrichment. The correlation between the political situation and public service is traced. According to the authors themselves, the most difficult situation was during the periods of political aggravation, in particular during the war with Napoleon, after the November Uprising and during searches in the case of Sh. Konarskyi, while M.P. Sinelnikov no longer felt gentry’s resistance. Thanks to prudent governing measures, he, on the contrary, managed to establish cooperation, so in general, he assessed the service as relatively calm.

Another group includes memoirs of people not connected with the governing in Volyn region. Contemporaries of those events did not miss the activities of the leadership of the region, describing the style of their rule, competence. Their assessment was not always impartial, especially concerning the gentry. Although less informative, they give a subjective description of both individual officials and state administration as a whole. Very often, the low authority of the arrived Russian government official with the local population, his rude behavior is shown.

The issues of leisure and cultural inquiries of employees are the least represented. Zhytomyr is described as a city of officials, extremely poor in the sphere of entertainment. The great events were festive dinners and balls with gambling, weddings of magnates, where only the highest provincial leadership was invited. The supreme power had only to control that such events did not affect the reputation and impartiality of the officials in the performing of the civil service.


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How to Cite
Markevych, O. (2020). Civil Service in Volyn Province in Memories and Assessments of Contemporaries (Late 18th – First Half of the 19th Century). Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (2(30), 45-55.
History of Ukraine