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Russian Baltic Provinces
AD 1762 - 1917

In Russian hands since 1710, the captured territories which formed Livonia were first merged into a single political entity in 1762 under the orders of Empress Catherine the Great. She was Russia's great empire-builder, concentrating her efforts on expanding the new empire's borders both southwards and westwards. Russian governors-general were appointed to administer the Baltic provinces, which included Courland, Estonia and Livonia (the Riga Governate).

However, in a reversal of Catherine's own policy and during her lifetime, local governors were re-appointed and continued to administer the former divisions from 1783. In 1801-1809 and from 1819 onwards, under a very different Russian emperor, supreme authority was vested in a governor-general who was based in Riga, but at other times the provinces were governed independently. The governor-general was also the military governor of Riga until 1864 and then the commander of the military district of Riga until 1870.

1762 - 1792

Count George Browne

Governor-general of Livonia (from 1762) & Estonia (from 1775).

1762 - 1783

With an increase of direct Russian control of the Baltic States in mind, Catherine the Great orders Livonia to be administered directly by the governor-general of the Baltic Provinces, Count George Browne. Estonia follows suit in 1775. Local governors are re-introduced to both Estonia and Livonia in 1783.

1778 - 1790

Having secured the Swedish throne through force, Gustavus reintroduces an absolute monarchy, forcing parliament to accept a secondary role. Despite two failed military campaigns in 1788-1790, first to capture Norway and then to recapture the Baltic Provinces from Russia, he is still able to restore Sweden's military power and restore to the country some of its former sense of greatness.

1792

Between 9 September and 11 October the position of governor-general of Estonia and Livonia is vacant.

1792 - 1798

Prince Nikolay Repnin-Obolensky

1795

The joint kingdoms of Poland-Lithuania are extinguished. Lithuania is submerged within imperial Russia. The following year, the Riga Governorate is renamed the governorate of Livonia.

1798

Between October and 9 November the position of governor-general of Estonia and Livonia is again vacant.

1798 - 1800

Ludwig von Nagell

1800

The position of governor-general of Estonia and Livonia is expanded to include Courland.

1800 - 1801

Peter Ludwig graf von der Pahlen

1801

Between 29 June and 21 July the position of governor-general is vacant.

1801 - 1803

Prince Sergey Fyodorovich Golitsyn

1803 - 1807

Friedrich Wilhelm graf von Buxhövden

1807

Between 6 February and 27 March the position of governor-general is vacant.

1807

Aleksandr Petrovich Tormasov

Acting governor.

1807 - 1810

Friedrich Wilhelm graf von Buxhövden

Second term of office.

1808

Estonia is removed from the responsibility of the governor-general.

1810 - 1812

Prince Dmitriy Lobanov-Rostovsky

1812

Johann Magnus Gustav von Essen

1812

Napoleon invades the Russian empire with one of the largest armies French-dominated Europe has ever seen, occupying the Baltic provinces for several months and interrupting the governor-generalship between 24 October and 9 November. The governor of Courland flees to Riga and remains there for the period of French occupation.

1812 - 1830

Marquis Filipo Paulucci

1813

On 5 January, Estonia is once again included in the governor-general's responsibilities.

1817 - 1819

The emancipation of the serfs in Livonia is something which is advantageous to the nobility, as it dispossesses the peasants of their land without compensation. The social structure changes dramatically, and a class of independent farmers establishes itself after reforms allow the peasants to repurchase their land.

1830 - 1845

Carl Magnus Baron von der Pahlen

1845

Between 29 March and 9 April the position of governor-general is vacant.

1845 - 1848

Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Golovin

1848 - 1861

Aleksandr Suvorov-Rymnikskiy

1861

Between 13 November and 14 December the position of governor-general is vacant.

1861 - 1864

Wilhelm Heinrich

1863 - 1880

The January Uprising across much of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth includes Poland, Lithuania, the Baltic Provinces, Latgallia, and Livonia. It results in a policy of Russification throughout these regions after spreading from Latgallia to the rest of Livonia.

January Uprising 1863
The January Uprising of 1863 took place in Poland, but it disrupted Russian governance much further afield and caused the policy of Russification to be firmly enforced

1864 - 1866

Pyotr Andreyevich Shuvalov

Last military governor of Riga. First cmdr of Riga military district.

1866

Eduard / Trofimovich von Baranov

1866 - 1870

Pyotr Pavlovich Albedinskiy

Last commander of the Riga military district.

1870 - 1876

Pyotr Romanovich Bagration

1876 - 1905

Between these years, authority over the Baltic provinces is devolved to the provincial governors. Revolution in the Baltics in 1905 takes on a nationalist character, and in the same year the position of governor-general of Courland (from 23 August) and Livonia (from 11 December), but not Estonia, is revived on a temporary basis until 1909.

1905

Woldemar von Böckmann

Courland only at first but later also for Livonia.

1905 - 1906

Vasiliy Yustinovich Sollogub

1906 - 1909

Aleksandr Meller-Zakomel'skiy

Last temporary governor-general.

1909 - 1914

Between these years, authority over the Baltic provinces is again devolved to the provincial governors. In 1914, the position of special plenipotentiary for civil administration of Livonia, Estonia and Courland is created. The first incumbent is given responsibility for Estonia and Livonia, but excluding the district of Riga in 1914, then Reval (Tallinn), Baltischport (Paldiski), and Dünamünde (Daugavgriva).

1914 - 1917

Aleksandr Mikhailovich Gerasimov

Estonia and Livonia.

1914

Churin

Courland and the district of Riga.

1914 - 1915

Pavel Grigoryevich Komarov-Kurlov

1915

?

Acting special plenipotentiary, but name unknown.

1915 - 1917

Radko Ruskov Dimitrov

Acting special plenipotentiary.

1917

Vladimir S Voytinsky

Commissioner, civil administration of Courland, Estonia, & Livonia.

1915 - 1918

Thanks to Russian First World War defeats of 1916 and 1917, the Baltic provinces are conquered by Germany between 1915 (Courland) and 1918 (Estonia), much to the relief of the German-descended land-owning aristocracy. In 1917, Bolshevik-inspired thoughts of revolution are swiftly put down by the Germans and a semi-independent pro-German regime is established. The Baltic provinces are formally transferred to German authority by Russia in 1918 following the Treaties of Brest-Litovsk and of Berlin. This arrangement quickly falls apart and with a year Courland, Latgallia, and southern Livonia are independent as the republic of Latvia, while northern Livonia, Ösel, and North Estonia are pulled together as the republic of Estonia.