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A prikaz in Moscow. Painting by Alexander Yanov

Prikaz (Russian: прика́з, prikaz; IPA: [prʲɪˈkas]) was an administrative (palace, civil, military, or church), judicial, territorial, and executive offices earlier in Muscovy and Russia of 15th-18th centuries. The term is usually implies "ministry", "office" or "department". In modern Russian "prikaz" literally means an order.

Most of Prikazes were subordinated to the Boyar Duma. Some of them (Palace Prikazes (дворцовые приказы)) were subordinated to the Tayny Prikaz, or Privy Prikaz that answered directly to Tsar. Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia had his own Prikazes.

There was a large number (up to 60) of specialized Prikazes. Their set varied over time.

List of Russian Prikazes

  • Foreign affairs
    • Ambassadorial Prikaz (Posolsky Prikaz) - in charge of international affairs, a kind of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • Captive Prikaz, (Polonyanichy Prikaz from archaic Russian: полон, плен 'polon', 'plen' means "captive"), for the redemption of Russian captives and prisoners of war
    • Prikaz of Pans (Panskiy Prikaz) - office of Poland affairs
  • Administrative
    • Prikaz of the Seal (Pechatny Prikaz) - an office that placed the Tsar's seal on various documents that granted various things to private persons, and collected the corresponding duties
    • Stone Prikaz (Kamennyi Prikaz)
    • Coachman Prikaz (Courier Prikaz, Yam Prikaz: Yamskoy Prikaz)
    • Book printing Prikaz
    • Prikaz of hospice construction
    • Pharmaceutical Prikaz (Aptekarskiy prikaz)
    • Monk Prikaz (Monasheskiy Prikaz)
  • Judicial Prikazes
  • Military Prikazes
    • Prikaz of Riflemen (Streletsky Prikaz)
    • Artillery Prikaz , (Pushkarsky Prikaz)
    • Prikaz of Admiral, (Admiralteysky Prikaz)
    • Prikaz of Cossacks (Kazachy Prikaz)
    • Armored Prikaz (Bronniy Prikaz)
    • Conscription Prikaz (Prikaz sbora ratnykh i datochnykh lydei (Russian: сбора ратных и даточных людей)
    • Prikaz of foreign lands (Inozemsky Prikaz)
    • Arsenal Prikaz (Oruzheiniy Prikaz)
    • Preobrazhensky prikaz (ru), which oversaw Preobrazhensky and Semyonovsky regiments in the 18th century
    • Prikaz of German feeds: probably, paid a salary to foreigners (known as "Germans") in Russian military or state service
    • Ritter Prikaz
  • Financial Prikazes
    • Domestic Prikaz (Pomestny Prikaz)
    • Accounting Prikaz
    • Prikaz of Grand treasury
    • Prikaz of Grand income
  • Security
    • Prikaz of petitions (Chelobitny Prikaz) - considered complaints or petitions addressed to the Tsar; the adjective chelobitnaya (Russian: челобитная) comes from the expression bit' chelom (to knock with one's forehead (on the ground)) meaning a very humble submission of a petition, with an extremely low bow. Standard form of such complaint included words "Slave of God ... (or : 'Your kholop (slave)') is beating with the forehead", or "Slaves and orphans are beating with foreheads" (not really slaves or orpnans just a self-demeaning expression).
    • Privy Prikaz (Prikaz tainyh del)
    • Robbery Prikaz (Razboiniy Prikas ) criminal police
    • Prikaz of Investigations (Sysknoy prikaz)
  • Regional Prikazes
  • Palace Prikazes
    • Prikaz of Stables Konyushenny Prikaz
    • Palace Prikaz (Dvortsovyi Prikaz)
    • Prikaz of Stone Palace (Prikaz kamennogo dvortsa)
    • Prikaz of gold and silver affairs
    • Prikaz of requiem (Panihydniy prikaz) - requiems for members of the tsar's family
  • Patriarchal Prikazes
    • Patriarch Prikaz-in-charge
    • Patriarch Treasury Prikaz
    • Patriarch Palace Prikaz
  • Other
    • Order-in-charge (Razryadny Prikaz) - in charge of higher personnel in the military and civil administration
    • Prikaz of kholops (Kholopskiy Prikaz) - considered affairs of kholops


Prikazes appeared from some private orders (Russian: приказ, prikaz) to do something, given by tzar to some persons. At some cases new orders have a name of this person (Order of clerk (dyak) Vakhromeyev, where 'Vakhromeyev' is a last name).

From 1512 word 'Prikaz' is starting to be used as a name of some constant office.


Classification of Prikaz system is very difficult task. In fact, each major historian try to build his own classification. Major variants can be: Prikazes of some territory, of some class of population, of some kind of affairs. Other way of classification - to rank Prikazes by subordination.


The Prikazes were abolished by Peter the Great and replaced, beginning in 1717, with administrative organs known as collegiate. This process took a rather long time; Siberian Prikaz, for example, was restored at 1730 and existed till 1755. At the beginning of 18th century Peter the Great even established some new orders. This system was eliminated finally only at Catherine the Great at 1755. Later Russian historians are describing this, as replacing complicated and chaotic system of several dozens Prikazes to clear and simple system of 12 collegiates.

See also

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