Registration and control: why residence permit offices were opened Moscow in the early 19th century

November 5
Social sector

Since the beginning of the 19th century, Moscow authorities registered all newcomers in search of job. On October 15, 1809, Alexander I signed the Regulation for the residence permit offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg. One could also apply to the new offices, for example, to find a relative or acquaintance.

The residence permit offices were Moscow or St. Petersburg special police departments, registering all newcomers. In Moscow, they were under the direct jurisdiction of the Governor-General.

Newcomers received local residence permit. The workers were divided into two categories. The first category included teachers and tutors, governesses, chaperones (male version of the nanny), nannies and wet-nurses. The second category included footmen, coachmen, jack-boys, janitors, chefs, lady cooks, laundresses, man and woman servants and other personnel.

Each person registered in residence permit office paid the permit fee to the Treasury. The fee for the first category men was 10 rubles, for women — five rubles. Representatives of the second category paid three rubles and one ruble, respectively.

Muscovites who hired somebody unregistered had to pay a fine. In St. Petersburg, perpetrators paid five rubles for each day from the illegal hiring date, and in Moscow — two rubles.

Employees of the Moscow reference and information office "Mosgorspravka" at work. Photo by V. Gende-Rote. December 1962. Moscow Glavarchiv

In the second half of the 19th century, the functions of residence permit offices expanded. According to the Regulations on the residence permit office in Moscow dated May 22, 1861, the scope of information regarding newcomers was expanded. For example, even the temporary residence should be detailed. Besides, the police recorded owners of all Moscow real estate, including government, appanage (crown), municipal, church and private.

The owners or managers of houses had to submit information to the residence permit offices. The quarter warders, and later the district bailiffs controlled reliability of the information. Passport details of those incoming were also recorded in police stations. Such a system made it possible to keep records of city residents and incoming workers.


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