Magistrat. An institution of municipal self-government in Ukrainian cities enjoying Magdeburg law in the 14th to 18th centuries. It was composed of the viit (mayor), two burmistry (chairmen of the city council; see Burmister), and two collegia: the city council composed of raitsi (see Raitsa) and the lava court. The officers and councilmen were elected by the city's residents or co-opted by sitting members. Sometimes the viit was appointed by the crown or landlord. The magistrat was responsible for city administration, the courts, the local economy and finances, and the police. This institution spread throughout Right-Bank Ukraine in the 15th to 17th centuries, to most cities of Left-Bank Ukraine in the first quarter of the 17th century, and to Slobidska Ukraine in the early 18th century. In the Russian Empire magistraty were introduced by Peter I in the early 18th century to bring Russian urban administration closer to Western European models. They were abolished as organs of municipal self-government after the urban reforms of the 1780s, but the term was used until the 1860s to describe courts for merchants. In Ukrainian territories under Austrian and then Polish rule (see Western Ukraine), the term was applied to the municipal executive that was elected by the municipal council.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of #Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]