The Permanent Council was the highest administrative authority in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth between 1775 and 1789 and the first modern government in Europe. In Polish it was renamed as Zdrada Nieustająca - Permanent Betrayal.


The Permanent Council was created on the insistence of Catherine II of Russia, who saw it as a way to secure her influence over the internal and external politics of Poland. Contrary to the Sejm, which previously had the same prerogatives, the Council could not be vetoed nor disbanded. Also, it was much less prone to influence of the minor gentry. Finally, both Catherine and her ambassador to Poland, Otto Magnus von Stackelberg, believed that the Council would be dominated by anti-royal magnates and that it would put an end to his push towards the reforms.

The Council was composed of the King Stanisław August Poniatowski (who acted as a modern prime minister and had two votes instead of one), 18 members of the Polish Senate and 18 members of the Sejm. The meetings were supervised by marshal Roman Ignacy Potocki.

In reality all of the Council's staff was nominated in accordance with Russian ambassador Otto Magnus von Stackelberg, who acted as a representative of Empress Catherine II, protectress of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth since 1768. Soon after its creation, the Council became an instrument of Russian surveillance over Poland.

The council was divided into 5 separate ministries called Departie:

1.Foreign interests





Among the prerogatives of the Council was supervising the state administration, preparation of projects of laws and Sejm acts, which were later accepted by the parliament, control over law obedience and interpretation of the law. Although heavily-criticized, most notably by the so-called Patriotic Party and the Familia, the Council managed to start a period of economical prosperity in Poland and significantly strengthened the power of the monarch in Poland. It was liquidated in 1789 by the Four-Year Sejm and briefly reinstituted in 1793 by the Sejm of Grodno. However, this time it was directly headed by the Russian ambassador. The Majority of it's members were bribed by the Russian embassy in Warsaw.

Notable membersEdit

King Stanisław August Poniatowski

marshal Roman Ignacy Potocki

Stanisław Małachowski

Tomasz Adam Ostrowski

Ludwik Szymon Gutakowski

Stanisław Poniatowski (kings' relative)

Józef Ankwicz

Michał Jerzy Poniatowski (primate of Poland)

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