Mikhail Speranskii (1772–1839) is generally viewed as the most important figure in the history of Russian law. The son a village priest, Speranskii entered state service as a young man and rose to positions of great authority. Under Alexander I, Speranskii prepared a series of administrative and governmental reforms designed to base the Russian state on the rule of law. The plan foundered after Speranskii’s political enemies engineered his dismissal and domestic exile in 1812. He was recalled to state service in 1816. Under Nicholas I, Speranskii applied himself to the reorganization of Russian law. Under his direction, the Complete Collection of the Laws of the Russian Empire was issued in forty-five volumes (1828–30), followed by the Digest of Laws of the Russian Empire in fifteen volumes (1833). Speranskii’s social, political, and jurisprudential views were shaped by his vast practical experience as a statesman and by his Christian faith. He was especially fond of Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ, which he translated into Russian.