The title of State Secretary is commonly used throughout the world to designate an average or high position in the government. The list of his duties and powers varies depending on the country. In the governments of some states, not one but several state secretaries are working. In many cases, the person holding this post is headed by a central agency or a federal body. In a number of countries, the State Secretary is an Assistant Minister. But in the US, this position is one of the most important in the government.
The emergence of the title in Russia
The post of state secretary appeared during the reign of Catherine II. This title was awarded to personal emperors, who had the right to apply to him without obtaining prior permission. They were trustees of the monarch and performed personal tsarist assignments. If the emperor gave oral instructions, the state secretary announced their retinue and courtiers.
From Alexander I to Nicholas II
Since the beginning of the 19th century, this honorary title was conferred only by a decision taken directly by the monarch. He became the owner of civil dignitaries of high rank. In 1810 the State Council was formed in the Russian Empire. This happened within the framework of the liberal reform of power. It functioned as the highest legislative institution in the country.
The consultative body consisted of a special state secretary. It was an official whose duties included accepting petitions and complaints in the name of the emperor. He was the most influential person in the State Council, since he determined the range of issues that fell within the competence of this institution. The State Secretary had at his disposal assistants appointed on the personal recommendation of the monarch. Their duty was to monitor the activities of departments of the State Council.
Management of Finland
Not all parts of the Russian Empire had the same status. Finland was part of it, while maintaining a certain level of local autonomy. There was a separate department for the management of the territory with a special status. It was headed by the state secretary appointed by the imperial order. In most cases, the persons who served in this position were of Finnish origin. State official, who held this post, passed his reports and reports directly to the emperor. The official residence of the State Secretary for Finnish Affairs was in St. Petersburg.
Who held this post in the Russian Empire
As a rule, the title was given to ministers who enjoyed the monarch's exclusive trust. In accordance with the law, issued in 1842, the title of State Secretary made the position of its holder higher than that of other officials of his rank. Usually this title was not received by civil servants who held a post below the ministerial one. In 1900, the total number of state secretaries in the empire was 27 people. By order of the tsar, a special badge was created for the holders of this title.
In Russian federation
The modern definition of this post is very different from the pre-revolutionary one. In today's Russia they call the State Secretary of the Deputy Minister. He is in charge of coordinating the legislative work. The duties of the State Secretary also include maintaining contacts with a number of state and public bodies. The post was established by a governmental decree in 1994.
In the United States of America
The official name of the US Foreign Secretary in a literal translation from the English language sounds like "state secretary". He is the head of the foreign policy department and has more authority than colleagues from other countries. The Minister of Foreign Affairs holds the third place in the hierarchy of power. His candidacy is chosen by the president and approved by the Senate.
In Great Britain
In the United Kingdom, the Secretary of State is a member of the Cabinet of Ministers, who is at the head of a government agency and is responsible for his work. British legislation provides for the existence of only one similar post in the structure of state power. However, in practice in the United Kingdom, there are a number of state secretaries who manage the activities of different ministries.
In the Vatican
At the Holy See, the Secretary of State is the highest administrative position, which is allowed to occupy only the cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is responsible for the political and diplomatic activities of the Vatican. The State Secretary of the Holy See can be regarded as the Prime Minister of this sovereign city-state. The candidature for this post is elected directly by the pontiff. The service of the State Secretary of the Vatican ends after the death or abdication of the Pope and the beginning of the "vacant throne" period.