Peasants in self-government bodies in the second half of the XIX and early XX century (based on the materials of Vyatka province)

Abstract

The article aims to study the problem of peasants participation in the bodies of rural, volost (parish), and Zemstvo self-government in the 1860–1910-ies. It uses new documents from the funds of the Vyatka Governor Office and the Vyatka Provincial Presence of the Central State Archive of the Kirov Region. The article notes the important role of the abolition of serfdom and land reform in changing the forms of peasants social activity. The author concludes that the peasants had a common approach to rural and Zemstvo elections. The composition of the population of Vyatka province also influenced the election results. The article particularly examines the territorial (zemsky) district chiefs reports, the elected officials petitions, and state that the majority of peasants perceived public service as a heavy duty that distracts from agricultural labor. Therefore, peasants preferred middle-aged candidates had a profitable farm. Such householders might not be literate, but they used their life and business experience in public service and did not harm their household. The article analyzes the composition and journals of Zemstvo assemblies and comes to the conclusion that such peasants were interested in social activities. Long-term service in various Zemstvo positions, defending their point of view during meetings of Zemstvo assemblies are evidence of this interest. The author examines archival documents and notes the patronizing attitude of territorial (zemsky) district chiefs and other local administrative officials towards the peasantry. They used constant communication and good knowledge of the peasants in organizing the elections.

About the authors

A. M. Subbotina

Udmurt Federal Research Center UB RAS, Izhevsk, Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3152-5884

Candidate of Historical Sciences, associate professor, senior researcher of the Department of Historical Researches of the Institute of History, Language and Literature, Udmurt Federal Research Center UB RAS

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