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Noble landownership in 18th-century Russia: revisiting the economic and sociopolitical consequences of partible inheritance.

The idea that partible inheritance had a negative influence on the economic well-being of noble families is well known; it was set out in the famous Law of Single Inheritance published by Peter the Great in 1714. (1) Most historians believe that after a few generations, the absence of primogeniture led to a catastrophic reduction in the size of landed property belonging to the descendants of noblemen, even to their complete ruin. (2) Several works demonstrate that the practice of partible inheritance undermined the independence of landowners, making the nobles dependent on the state and their opposition to the crown impossible. (3) Scholars who have adopted a more moderate point of view have pointed out that the negative effects of such fragmentation of landed property were to a large extent offset by the acquisition of new lands through inheritance, purchase, or the receipt of dowries. (4)

A key strand of the discussion is the Law of Single Inheritance itself. Many still adhere to the popular opinion--based on a Senate report of 9 December 1730--that the law was often infringed. M. D. Rabinovich and G. V. Kalashnikov, however, analyzed the wealth of Russian army officers between 1720 and 1745 and found that the law was implemented with regard to the inheritance of real estate. (51) have also calculated how much fragmentation of landed estates took place in the first half of the 18th century. (6)

At the same time, many questions have not received sufficient attention. For instance, how did the fragmentation of landed property affect agricultural productivity? Were five small estates, each with 20 serf "souls," the economic equivalent of a large, unfragmented hereditary estate with 100 souls? Is there a connection between the size (population) of a noble estate, the labor resources of a peasant family, the allocation of serfs' obligations, and the amount of unpaid taxes? The first part of my article addresses these questions. It is based on the results of household censuses from the early 1730s conducted in the St. Petersburg region (Ingermanland guberniia) and in the South, in the fertile black-soil lands of Sloboda Ukraine. Never before have revision documents and tax collectors' data been used to study the economic and social impact of the fragmentation of noble estates. My calculations show that large estates were economically more efficient, and that the only way to keep the fragmented estates profitable was to intensify the exploitation of peasants and to bring new lands under cultivation.

These results provide the basis for the second part of my work. The analysis of interrelationships among models of inheritance, the profitability of noble estates, and peasant labor resources allows me to show why the introduction of single inheritance and the elimination of the old model of service (pomest'e) land tenure were united to create the Law of Single Inheritance. Until now, these key decisions by Peter the Great have been studied separately. As I show, the distribution of conditional service lands (pomestnye razdachi) in the 16th and 17th centuries was in essence a compensatory mechanism that diminished the negative effects of the fragmentation of hereditary estates (votchiny). As a result, the 1714 Law of Single Inheritance can be interpreted as an attempt by Peter to save the profitability of noble estates in a situation where land resources were becoming scarce.

The second part of the article also deals with the economic and sociopolitical impact of the abrogation of the Law of Single Inheritance through an analysis of the new situation confronted by nobles after 1731, when they were able to resume the practice of partible inheritance. On the one hand, the state no longer helped nobles by assigning large-scale service land grants. The growing dependence of lower-income gentry (the majority of nobles) on state salaries appears to be one of the main reasons that led the authorities to stop compelling nobles to serve. (7) On the other hand, the desire of nobles to keep their fragmented estates profitable led them to demand more from the peasants, which increased nobles' income from serfs while diminishing the Treasury's share. In my opinion, all these trends eventually undermined the state's interest in maintaining the institution of serfdom. In the first half of the 18 th century, few members of government circles proposed limits on the excessive revenues of landowners (A. S. Maslov, procurator of the Senate, was an exception), but the situation had changed completely by the end of the century. (8) After the Pugachev revolt, many representatives of the authorities understood the necessity of regulating peasants' obligations and even of abolishing serfdom. (9)

Let us now move directly to the analysis of agricultural productivity and the dependence of that indicator on the size of landed estates. In the absence of reliable data on investment, labor input, earnings, and costs for the 18th century (or, indeed, for earlier periods), we can evaluate the efficiency of land use only by examining indirect information. In my view, the peasants, relying on their practical experience, tried to adapt to external circumstances and labor conditions such as climate, land fertility, and the quantity of obligations owed to the state and the landlord. Such adaptation had a dual goal: to secure the peasants' livelihood and enable them to carry out their obligations to the state and their lords; and, if possible, to reduce the amount of labor required and the material costs of production.

It is impossible to measure the exact difference between economic yield (harvest, revenue) and the resources spent to achieve it. That is why I use two indicators, allowing the estimation of productivity.

The first indicator, the population of a peasant household, reflects the labor capacity of the household--in a traditional agrarian economy, the manpower of a peasant family was one of the decisive factors in agrarian production. (10) Unfortunately, the sources available to me include no data on the structure, age, or gender composition of peasant families. But a correlation did exist among the number of members of a peasant family, its level of affluence, the number of adult workers, and the number of plough cattle. (11) Therefore, an analysis of the labor capacity of a household based on the number of male souls per household, without taking age into account, is quite legitimate. The second indicator--the amount of unpaid direct taxes (per male soul)--allows the estimation of the peasants' ability to meet payments and their material prosperity. As this article studies statistically significant interrelations describing the predominant type of behavior, both indicators can be used for mutual verification: high labor capacity should be accompanied by small amounts of unpaid taxes. (12)

To estimate agricultural productivity, my article uses household census data from the early 1730s, conducted after Russia's adoption of the capitation tax (podushnaia podat'). The censuses at the juncture of the 17th and 18th centuries (when the household tax was the principal tax) are not quite suitable for my objectives. As the tax was calculated per household, and peasants aspired to alleviate their tax burden, household populations rose significantly, and this factor might have a significant effect on the results of calculations. (13) Few censuses took place during the 1730s. One was conducted in the region of St. Petersburg (Ingermanland) and another in the South, among the Little Russians (Ukrainians) who lived in Sloboda Ukraine and in the neighboring Russian districts. (14)

First, a word on the method of data analysis. During the period in question, a male soul was the object of taxation in Russia, while the possession of land was not measured during the revisions and not taken into account during the computation of tax. For this reason, I follow the tradition established in the historical literature by grouping estates by population, not quantity of land. Landed estates with more than 100 male souls were classified as large, those with 21-100 male souls as medium-sized, and those with 1-20 male souls as small. (15) To characterize the population of a peasant household (the number of male souls per household), I use the arithmetic mean ([bar.[alpha]]) and the median (Med). (16) The median is preferable for the analysis, because it is less sensitive to outliers. The standard deviation ([sigma]) and the coefficient of variation (VO give an idea of the absolute and relative dispersion of the data and allow us to evaluate the homogeneity of the data set. (17) The appendix to the article contains the data distribution plots. (18) The median values for the population of households on different groups of estates and certain other measurements were compared statistically. (19) The correlation between different indicators (for instance, the number of households on the estate and the number of male souls) was measured with the help of the linear correlation coefficient (r). (20) The results of the statistical processing of the sources are summarized in Table 1.

The statistical analyses show that in Sloboda Ukraine the population of a peasant household was very different among all three groups of landed estates: it was highest on large estates and lowest on small ones. (21) In Ingermanland, the number of peasants per household was the highest on large and medium-sized estates (the numbers are very close to one another) (22) and much lower on small estates. (23)

A similar tendency can be observed in Central Russia (non-black-soil lands) between the 1730s and the 1770s (Table 2). (24)

In general, we can conclude that peasant households contained more people on large and medium-sized estates than on small ones. (25) As noted above, the sources do not allow an account of the composition and structure of peasant families, but according to the data in Tables 1 and 2, peasants' labor capacities seem to have been higher on large estates than on small ones. If we compare the number of household members in different regions, we see that it is higher in Sloboda Ukraine than in the Northwest. This conclusion is hardly surprising, because all the southern regions of Russia that served as a destination for colonists had higher birth rates than the northern lands. (26)

Let us return to Table 1 and consider the coefficients of variation (V). These figures make it clear that peasants' capacity to adapt to work conditions was not limitless. As we can see, the indicators of household population on large estates are more homogeneous and less variable than on small ones (in both regions). Therefore, the growth of production capacities based on the growth of household population had its limits (the limit differed, depending on each region's climate and economic conditions). The same conclusion is suggested by the correlation coefficients for the two datasets (number of households and number of male souls in the estate). These coefficients are highest (r = 0.97 and 0.96) for large estates, so the correlation of the number of households and number of peasants is very strong.

This pattern allows us to figure out which estates could fully exercise their production potential and which could not. Let us take as a basis for the data a group of the largest estates (more than 1,000 male souls in Sloboda Ukraine, more than 500 souls in Ingermanland). (27) Then we can see the changes in the coefficient of variation for household population when we gradually add smaller estates to our sample. (28)

Let us start with the lower line on the graph (Ingermanland). Consider the left section of the line (more than 70 male souls), where the coefficient of variation is small and its changes are insignificant. The indicators of household population are compactly grouped around an "optimal" value and do not depend on the size of the estate. I suggest that here the allocation of labor resources was efficient. About a quarter of Ingermanland estates belong to the group of "more than 70 male souls." The Sloboda Ukraine line looks slightly different. A similar horizontal section with stable indicators consists of estates with 51-300 male souls (about one-half of all estates). (29) Where the line reaches 300 and 500 male souls, the coefficient of variation decreases further. The lower "threshold" in Sloboda Ukraine (50, not 70 male souls) can be explained by greater soil fertility and higher household populations than in the Northwest (see Table 1). Within this framework, some smaller estates could reduce their operating costs. It is remarkable that in Sloboda Ukraine (in contrast with Ingermanland) there were additional possibilities for adaptation to work conditions and for a rise in productivity on estates having more than 300 male souls (around 17 percent of all estates).


Tables 1-2, as well as the chart above, provide another interesting detail. Variations in household population depended directly on the duration of settlement in the region. In places where the settlement structure was already old and steady, the coefficients of variation are lower; in newly settled places they are higher. Minimal coefficients can be observed in Central Russia (Table 2), higher ones in Ingermanland, the highest in Sloboda Ukraine (Table 1). This pattern can be observed on estates of all sizes. On large estates, the coefficients of variation are 14 percent for Central Russia, 15 percent for Ingermanland, and 38 percent for Sloboda Ukraine; on medium-sized ones, the figures are 18 percent, 36 percent, and 45 percent; on small ones--39 percent, 44 percent, and 67 percent. From all appearances, the adaptation of the composition and structure of the peasant family to the conditions of agrarian production took much time and occurred in parallel with the stabilization of the structure of peasant settlements. (30)

Let us now consider the allocation of peasant obligations on estates of different sizes. The materials of the Ingermanland census include a document containing information about the amount of plough land on every estate "under Swedish rule" and during the 1732-33 census. (31) The Swedish obs is used in the document as a unit of measurement. The origin of the word (pi. obser or obsser) is linked to the unit of measurement of peasant obligations in Novgorod, the obzha. (2) In the 17th century, when the Novgorodian lands were controlled by Sweden, one obs equaled 30 tunnland, 13.55 desiatinas, or 14.81 hectares. (33) The aggregate sum of peasant obligations for one obs was 64 Swedish thalers (daler silvermyni) or 48 rubles yearly (including 7 rubles, 25 kopecks, in payments to the state). (34) If there were no old residents (starozhily) on the estate, Russian desiatinas were used instead of obser. The Swedish unit is used in the descriptions of 175 estates; in 22 cases, desiatinas are used, and in 5 cases both units coexist. Note that peasants' obligations are calculated in obser, while the general quantity of peasant plough land is given in desiatinas.

In my further calculations I use the obs, a unit that describes the aggregate volume of peasants' obligations to the Treasury and to the landlord, in kind and in money. In fact, my calculations simulate the hypothetical Ingermanland peasants' obligations in the reign of Anna using the 17thcentury Swedish tax system. The data on the population of the estates and on the amount of plough land in obser come from the same period (1732-33). The use of this model of the allocation of peasant obligations makes sense because in the early 1730s, the Swedish tax system served as the basis for the Russian government's determinations of peasant obligations (see below). Note that my calculations show the amount that peasants were obliged to pay. Their real payments could be lower because of unpaid taxes (nedoimki), as also shown below.

Tables 3 and 4 contain data on peasant obligations on estates of different sizes. (35) More detailed descriptive statistics can be found in the appendix.

From Table 3 it is evident that peasant obligations per household and per male soul were higher on small estates than on large and medium-sized ones, whereas in the latter groups they do not differ much. Coefficients of variation show (Table 4) that the allocation of obligations per household and per soul was more equal on large and medium-sized estates than on small ones. All things considered, it can be reasonably supposed that the practical realization of the principle of equitability of allocation and feasibility of obligations was difficult on small estates, while high payments were a consequence of the heavy exploitation of peasants and the increased labor cost of farming. As shown below (as exemplified by the fodder tax introduced in 1733), peasants living on small estates often did not manage to fulfill all their obligations toward the Treasury and the landlord.

Using the Swedish tax system meant that the Treasury received 35 kopecks per male soul and the landlord 1.95 rubles. (36) Average values from Table 3 allow us to evaluate the amount of plough land (obs) per male soul (0.65 desiatinas) and per household (2.25 desiatinas). There were 20.93 male souls per obs. (37)

According to the decree of 3 October 1733, the population of Ingermanland was obliged to collect fodder for the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment. (38) In total, fodder was delivered to the Treasury by 45,533 male souls divided into "payment households" (platezhnye dvory) of 20 male souls each. (39) Every male soul delivered 0.28 chetverts of oats, 2.75 poods of hay, and 4.55 sheaves of straw (the total value of the fodder equaled 37 kopecks). (40) As we can see, the "nominal" level of obligations of the population of Ingermanland vis-a-vis the state was the same as "under Swedish rule." (41) The tax system was also similar. The main subdivision for the purposes of taxation was a "payment household" of 20 male souls (the number of souls per obs was roughly the same). (42) Thus, despite the complete changeover of estate holders since the Swedish period, the government decided to be cautious when integrating the region into Russia, preserving the traditional model of taxation and the amount of taxes--a very rational approach, considering that even in the 1730s peasants who were old residents (starozhily) made up more than 70 percent of the population of Ingermanland. (43)

Was the fodder tax adequate for peasants' resources? Is there a correlation between the size of the estate and tax arrears? Let us consider Table 5. (44)

As we can see, average annual fodder tax arrears during this period made up 11 percent of the tax. The bulk of these arrears (96-97 percent) came from peasants who lived on the land of various state agencies: the Construction Chancery, Palace Office, Court Stable Office, Cadet Corps Chancery, Admiralty Board, and Estate Chancery of Tsarevna Elizabeth Petrovna. Eleven percent of noble estates also had fodder tax arrears, but they made up only 2-3 percent of the total. (45) The last 1 percent of tax arrears belonged to monastery peasants, coachmen (iamshchiki) and other categories of the population. The structure of tax arrears was different: state peasants had long term arrears (up to four years), whereas landlords' peasants tended to have overdue taxes for only the last one or two years. Hence some portion of the landlords' peasants' debt can be qualified as tax arrears only in formal terms: in reality, it was just a delay in payment.

Our calculations confirm the findings of modern scholars who have proven that the direct tax collection rate was high in the first half of the 18th century. Indeed, tax arrears on the capitation tax, the main tax of this period, were between 7 and 14 percent annually according to S. M. Troitskii (mid-18th century); 6.2 percent according to E. V. Anisimov (1724-27); 2.2-6.6 percent, rising to 12-14 percent in war years, according to N. N. Petrukhintsev (1730s); and 8 percent according to E. S. Korchmina (1724-40). (46)

Let us now analyze annual tax arrears in relation to the size of landed estates (the 1737 tax document lists 31 estates and 54 cases of nonpayment). Translating the unpaid fodder into money, we discover that in 48 cases tax arrears per soul were equal to one full taxation (37 kopecks per year). This category included 45 small estates and 3 medium-sized estates. Smaller tax arrears (from 1 to 13 kopecks per soul) were observed in reference to 1 small, 2 medium-sized, and three large estates. On the most populated estates, those belonging to Chamberlain Count F. A. Apraksin (490 male souls) and to Privy Councilor Count P. I. Musin-Pushkin (784 male souls), tax arrears did not exceed 1--2 kopecks per male soul. The calculation of the correlation coefficient shows a strong inverse correlation between the size of the estate and tax arrears (r = -0.75; p < 0.001). In short, the larger the estate, the smaller the tax arrears per soul. In general, on larger estates the peasants had more capacity to pay the taxes and obligations required by the state and the landlord.

It is significant that the same correlation is observed in other regions and with the capitation tax. E. S. Korchmina has estimated that the lowest capitation tax arrears (around 1 percent) in the 11 provinces of Central and Southern Russia were observed in Vladimir, Kaluga, and Orel provinces, where the proportion of large estates was the highest (12-14 percent). In provinces where the share of large estates was smaller (less than 9 percent), the tax arrears could reach 6 percent. (47)

The main results of these calculations are as follows. First, a direct correlation among production capacities, the population of a peasant household, and the size of a landed estate can be statistically confirmed. Second, on large and, to some extent, medium-sized estates peasants' obligations per household and per soul were lower, allocation of obligations more equitable, and peasants' paying capacity higher than on small estates. According to my estimates, only estates with more than 70 male souls in northwestern Russia and with more than 50 souls in southern Russia were capable of keeping costs down and increasing agricultural productivity.

These results allow a deeper understanding of developments that took place in the agrarian sphere under the influence of partible inheritance. Partition of estates did not lead only to larger numbers of low-income nobles, increased exploitation of peasants, and the growth of tax arrears. All these consequences are enumerated in Peter's decree of 1714 and well known in the historical literature. But partible inheritance had other negative consequences as well. There existed a correlation between the population (size) of a landed estate and the number of people in a peasant household. Fragmentation of estates led, therefore, to a decrease in peasants' manpower and productivity.

How was this economic reality--objective possibilities for effective management, poverty, and nobles' wealth--reflected in Russian policy in the first half of the 18th century?

If we look more closely at the legislation, we can see that even though the Russian government did not undertake such statistics and calculations, it had a clear idea of the relatively higher viability and cost effectiveness of large estates compared to small ones. In general terms, this thesis was expressed in the preamble of the 1714 Law of Single Inheritance, which contains an eloquent criticism of property fragmentation: "division of fathers' landed estates among children brings a great harm in our State, harm to the interests of the state, as well as ruin to the subjects and to the very families." In his decree, Peter I describes a hypothetical division of a hereditary estate with 1,000 peasant households: two generations later each of the grandsons holds a 100-household estate. The prospect of further fragmentation seemed grim to the tsar: "and thus multiplying more and more, [noblemen] will come into such poverty that they may become single-householders themselves, and a noble family, instead of glory, will turn into country folk." (48) Estates with 100 households (370-80 male souls, based on the average number of people in each household) were mentioned in Peter's other decrees. (49) Thus, on 4 November 1696, following a decision by the Boyar Duma, secular landowners and clergy in possession of 100 or more peasant households were ordered to join companies (kumpanstva) to build ships. Others were obliged to pay a special tax known as poltinnye den 'gi (half a ruble per household). (50) According to the decree of 17 November 1699, Moscow noblemen on state service were obliged to equip one mounted soldier per 100 households. (51) Finally, the decree of 3 June 1714 set a property qualification for noblemen, courtiers, merchants, and artisans: those who had 100 peasant households or more were obliged to build houses in St. Petersburg. (52) It should be remarked that all the undertakings mentioned were quite expensive, so these examples probably reflected Peters opinion of what could be considered to constitute a state of wealth. The threshold of 100 households, casually mentioned in the Law of Single Inheritance, marked the wealth that was great enough to participate in large-scale ventures, often extraordinary ones. Although the tsar did his best to emphasize that the indivisibility of the estate served the glory, greatness, and firmness of noble families, he always put state (fiscal) interests first. (53)

Smaller undertakings needed other, more moderate criteria of prosperity. In these cases, the border separating affluent nobles from poor ones was set much lower. According to decrees enacted in 1678 and in 1699, during conscription nobles were obliged to equip one foot soldier per 25 peasant households (based on the average household population, around 90 male souls). If there were fewer than 25 households, then money was paid instead (in 1699, 11 rubles per person). (54) In the 1730s, the threshold of prosperity for nobles remained the same. For instance, the decree of 6 March 1737, regulating the service training of young nobles (nedorosli), ordered to be sent to the Senate only those who had 100 or more male souls, and to the administrative offices only those who owned 25 or more male souls, "those who can keep themselves honest, clean, and not poor with the help of their own income and not just their salary." (55) The decree of 26 April 1740 stipulated that the owner of more than 70 male souls, when he quitted military service, was obliged to equip one or several conscripts (recruits) for the army. Those who had between 20 and 70 male souls, instead of equipping conscripts, had to pay 20-30 rubles, and those who owned fewer than 20 male souls were not obliged to pay anything. (56) In fact, the authorities drew a border (70 male souls), below which any decrease in number of laborers injured peasants' production capacity and damaged the well-being of landowners. As for those who owned the smallest estates (fewer than 20 male souls), we can see that they were deemed incapable even of making monetary payments. (57) After the mid-1760s, such nobles could retire only after signing a commitment never to ask for any pecuniary help from the state. (58)

In general, we can conclude that from the government's standpoint a noble who owned 70-100 or more male serfs could be considered well-off. These figures are close to my calculations, according to which keeping production costs down was possible on estates with more than 50 male souls in Sloboda Ukraine and with more than 70 souls in Ingermanland. But these calculated amounts should not be directly compared to the figures from government decrees. Natural conditions in European Russia are extremely diverse, and the results of calculations in other regions could be different. Besides, the authorities based their figures not on the number of peasants on one estate but on the total number of peasants belonging to a nobleman. (59) That is why the general principle that became a basis for the decrees is more important. The decrees show that losing the same number of peasants would mean different things for the well-being of large, middle, and small landowners. Nobles who had fewer than 70-100 male souls preferred to pay a fee instead of losing a worker.

The calculations in Tables 1-5 allow us to revisit the reasons behind the adoption of the Law of Single Inheritance--one of the most famous laws promulgated by Peter the Great, mentioned by almost every study of the reforms that took place in Russia in the first quarter of the 18th century. Regardless of their opinion of the decree, however, the authors rarely ask themselves why the introduction of single inheritance and the elimination of the old model of land tenure (meaning the end of service land grants) were united into one legal document. Let us examine this important question.

Given the constant fragmentation of hereditary estates, the system of noble landownership could retain its efficiency only by bringing new lands under cultivation. To add to the problem, land resources fragmented more quickly and grew more slowly than manpower. (60) For some time, the negative effects of fragmentation were offset by regular grants of new estates. But by the middle of the 16th century state reserves of land in Central Russia were already depleted, and by the second quarter of the 17th century the state controlled only 10 percent of arable land in Russia. Monasteries owned about 16 percent of the arable land, but before the 1760s the state authorities did not dare to secularize this land. (61) Even the colonization of black-soil lands, which began in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, could not solve the problem because of the military situation. The constant threat posed by the Crimean Tatars and the construction of the Belgorod and Izium fortification lines (zasechnaia cherta) forced the government to establish the policy of what it called closed towns (zakaznye goroda) in the South (1630s-80s). (62) In some cases, the authorities even confiscated existing noble estates. (63) Thus, during almost all of the 17th century, this fertile region was closed to mass penetration by Moscow nobles. The growth of noble landownership in Sloboda Ukraine and in Left-Bank Ukraine (the Hetmanate) was even slower because of factors specific to the development of those regions and because the government was unwilling to exacerbate tensions with local inhabitants. (64)

At the same time, changes in the composition of the nobility made the preservation of the old system of land tenure impossible. Whereas in the first half of the 17th century, one-tenth of the Russian nobility consisted of Moscow nobles, who were entitled to higher land rights (oklad) than provincial noblemen, by the end of the century the Moscow nobility accounted for one-quarter of the whole. (65) By the beginning of the 18th century, the Moscow nobility, including zhil'tsy (a lesser rank), numbered around 11,000 people. (66) Between the 1678 household census and the first revision, moreover, the number of noblemen doubled (la. E. Vodarskii believes this growth was mainly the result of a natural increase). (67)

In general, we can conclude that in Peter's time there were almost no land reserves left to keep noble landownership at its previous levels of efficiency. To augment noble revenues, the inheritance model must be changed.

It is well known that Peter's decree of 23 March 1714 eliminated the legal difference between conditional and hereditary estates and served as a basis for the subsequent liquidation of the service land tenure system. (68) Nobles who petitioned the tsar for service land entitlements were refused: "The newly enacted law recognizes only real estate [nedvizhimoe]; service land entitlements no longer exist." (69) It would be logical to assume that it was not a coincidence that the same law confirmed a new principle of inheritance. As land resources became scarce, Peter may have come to believe that the end of service land grants, a system that encouraged extensive development, was essential, as was the introduction of single inheritance, another measure that encouraged landowners to develop their estates into large and efficient enterprises. The goals of the decree were clearly stated in its preamble-- keeping the estates profitable, eliminating tax arrears, and inducing nobles (younger sons) to serve the state.

The government appears to have clearly understood the correlation between the model of inheritance and land grants from the state reserve. That connection was confirmed early in Anna's reign when the empress approved the Senate's report recommending the abolition of single inheritance on 9 December 1730; she signed a decree based on this report on 17 March 1731. The same decree provided for the elaboration, within the framework of the New Law Code, of a Patrimonial Chapter (Votchinnaia glavd), a new law regarding landed estates. (70) The draft of this law, compiled in 1731, proposed restoring the allocation of undeveloped lands from the Wild Field (steppe lands bordering on the Khanate of Crimea). Generals would receive between 875 and 1,500 chetverts of land, staff officers between 575 and 725 chetverts, and officers (ober-ofitsery) between 225 and 475 chetverts. Nobles "without rank" (subaltern officers, corporals, soldiers) and clerks (pod'iachie) would receive between 60 and 175 chetverts of land. When obtaining a new rank, the size of the land grant (dacha) would change accordingly. Nobles with "old ranks" would receive between 1,000 (boyars) and 100 chetverts (hawkers, falconers, stable masters). (71) The Patrimonial Chapter, and the Pistsovyi nakaz that was part of it, were never adopted, but it is remarkable that land grants were discussed immediately after the abolition of single inheritance. (72) In fact, those who wrote the Patrimonial Chapter made an effort to reproduce the traditional model of land tenure, combining partible inheritance with mass land grants from the Treasury. One possible reason is that 18th-century bureaucrats, when compiling a new document, preferred to rely on what they considered to be suitable legal precedents. (73) But whatever the reason, the parallel that the legislators drew between partible inheritance and the service land tenure system is obvious.

The model of noble property established during Anna's reign differed from both the system that existed between 1714 and 1731 and what came before. A decree enacted on 17 March 1731 restored partible inheritance. But the system of mass land grants based on noble rank, which had existed before 1714, was never revived. During Anna's reign, hereditary estates were granted only to a narrow circle of people, and every such allocation was individual, based on the empress's decision.

Fragmentation of estates without compensatory mechanisms of service land allocations caused a range of economic and social changes.

Most land-poor nobles now had only two ways of raising the income from their estates: intense exploitation of peasant labor, which augmented the landlords' portion of peasant obligations at the expense of the Treasury; and seizure of uninhabited state lands, including fertile black-soil lands. It is well known that the nobles made use of both options. Ia. E. Vodarskii estimates that about one-third (27 million) of the 81 million desiatinas of land that belonged to nobles at the end of the 18th century had been illegally seized. (74) The expansion of noble landownership was greatly helped by the opening of the Black Sea region, which became safe after the annexation of Crimea in the 1780s. Labor efficiency in the new territories was 2-3.6 times higher than in the old settlements. (75) As for the allocation of peasant obligations between the state and the landowner, it greatly changed during the 18th century. B. N. Mironov has calculated that in the early 18th century, the Treasury and the landowners shared the income from peasants almost equally. By the end of the century, as corvee and tithes grew much faster than state taxes, the nobles kept as much as 88 percent of the income from peasant labor in their own hands. (76) As peasant exploitation became more intense under Catherine II, the living standards of the population declined. (77) Peter the Great had shrewdly foreseen this result in his Law of Single Inheritance: "When, after a father's death, an estate is split, his children will have only 200 households, but remembering their father's glory and their family honor, they will not want to live poorly" and "their poor peasants will have to provide for five lords instead of one, and 200 peasant households will have to bear almost the same obligations as 1,000 bore in the past (and the state taxes will not change)." (78)

The transition to a new model of property in the 1730s had consequences for the entire system of relationships between nobles and the crown. Now the state did not need to force nobles to serve, as it had under Peter the Great; nobles were compelled to do so for economic reasons: the constant fragmentation of estates decreased their incomes and increased their dependence on a salary and other concomitant revenues. It allowed the government to begin the liberalization of noble service: long leaves of absence, a decrease in the term of service, and finally the abolition of compulsory service altogether. (79) Isabel de Madariaga was right when she observed that the Manifesto on the Freedom of the Nobility paved the way for the formation of a new class of people in Russia: "private person," as distinct from "servitor." (80) Logically, only for poor nobles was the potential for retirement limited. (81)

Noblemen's careers and educational levels largely depended on wealth. (82) The members of families that had already obtained rich land resources by the early 18th century had an advantage. It is important to note that this group suffered less than most nobles even from partible inheritance. Indeed, landowners in the Moscow region, most of whom were descendants of Duma men (dumnye liudi) and the ranked Moscow nobility, preferred not to partition their lands: most estates were inherited in their entirety. They could do this because almost all these landowners (98 percent, according to data from 1700) also owned lands in districts other than Moscow and could provide for all their children without partitioning estates. (83) Therefore, the inheritance model developed under Empress Anna favored the evolutionary renewal of the country's ruling elite; while Duma families prominent in the 16th and 17th centuries remained its core, many descendants of the Moscow nobility also joined it.

As shown above, large noble estates had higher production capacities and greater economic efficiency. Lower rates of peasant exploitation (in comparison with smaller estates) allowed regular payment of state taxes and decreased the risk of social conflicts. (84) Why, then, did the government abolish Peter's decree? Usually historians have explained this decision by citing the resistance of nobles who defended partible inheritance, which they considered an ancient and just tradition, and to Empress Anna's inclination to compromise after the succession crisis of 1730.

In fact, nobles did dislike certain consequences of the decree: the limitation of property rights, some sons' loss of a share in their fathers' inheritance, and the need to turn to state service for the means of subsistence, which did lead to the "noble projects" of 1730. There were, however, economic reasons for abolishing single inheritance as well as political and social ones. The Senate report approved by the empress on 9 December 1730 testifies that the authorities understood, if not the scope, at least the essence of the problems encountered by nobles. My calculations complete the picture. For instance, in the Moscow region 18 percent of estates were partitioned between the first and the second revisions (1719-44). (85) Only 6 percent were partitioned between the second and the third revision (1744-63). Between 1714 and 1729, annual land sales and purchases were 25 percent higher than between 1730 and 1750. (86) We can see that single inheritance reinforced the mobilization of property.

This paradox can be explained as follows. Younger sons (kadety), not having received their share of their fathers' land, had a right to buy estates. The decree of 14 April 1714 allowed them to do so upon the expiration of a "limited term" (7 years of military service, 10 years of civil service, 15 years in trade), and the Law of 28 May 1725 made it possible to buy estates immediately after entering service. (87) Fathers who wished to stay within the framework of the law but still allow all their sons to inherit a fair share had to sell part of their estates to raise the missing cash. The money raised was transferred to their children and used to buy new estates. As a result, because of high taxes on land deals (10 kopecks per ruble), the introduction of single inheritance caused much more economic damage than the traditional partible inheritance.

The failure of the decree of 23 March 1714 clearly pointed to a conflict of interests between the nobles and the state. As we can see, the nobles did not support Peter's innovation; they were ready to incur losses to transfer their estates to their children. This was caused not just by the elementary desire to care for family members, by a belief that hereditary land belonged to the family, or by the sons' desire to obtain an income, even a small one, from their lands. This conduct, not always economically sound, was largely motivated by the supreme importance of status and social prestige in the nobles' value system. (88) Owning even a small number of serfs and having power over them proved a noble's high standing in society. In his article on the Legislative Commission convened under Empress Elizabeth, N. L. Rubinshtein showed that nobles were less preoccupied by the burden of their service than by enlarging and monopolizing the privileges that emphasized their difference from other social groups (notably, the right to own land and peasants). (89) Therefore, the Law of Single Inheritance could be seen by the nascent noble class as an attempt to limit its corporate rights.

Let us summarize. According to my calculations, large noble estates and a portion of medium-sized ones generated more income than small estates, while permitting a relatively lower level of peasant exploitation. However, the practice of partible inheritance accelerated the fragmentation of property, weakened the labor capacity of peasants, and therefore interfered with the development of economically efficient agriculture while increasing the risk of social conflict. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the service land tenure system acted as a compensatory mechanism, ensuring the allocation of new lands from the state reserve to the nobles. But by the end of the 17th century, the state reserves of free land were depleted.

Adopting the 1714 decree was the lesser evil. No more service lands were granted, and single inheritance was called on to preserve the efficiency of noble property in a situation with limited land resources.

The realization of the law had unexpected results. Because of noble resistance, Peter's innovations caused more economic damage than the traditional partible inheritance: partitioning of estates happened more often, and more land was bought and sold. Empress Anna's government had to abolish the 1714 decree, but it did not manage to support the nobles as before, with mass allocations of estates.

A palliative solution pursued by the nobles was the enhanced exploitation of peasants. At the same time, Catherine II's successes in foreign policy allowed the enlargement of Russian territory with fertile southern black-soil lands.

The implacable income redistribution from peasants to landlords, especially evident in the second half of the 18th century, minimized the monarchy's interest in preserving serfdom. The presumed danger of new peasant revolts, in addition to purely financial motives, was probably the main reason why the government, starting at the end of the 18th century, began to pay special attention to the Peasant Question. Having reached its peak, serfdom began to be seen as a problem by the authorities, while for the nobility, as before, it embodied the hope of economic and social survival. These different approaches manifested themselves a half-century later when serfdom was abolished in 1861.

Translated by Aleksei Tereshchenko

Lipetsk State Technical University

ul. Moskovskaia, d. 30

Lipetsk 398600, Russian Federation
Obser per Peasant Household (Male Soul), Rubles per Male Soul,

Homages           Valid N   Mean   Median   Minimum   Maximum

Large estates

Obser per peas-
  ant household     53      0.13    0.12     0.01      0.34
Obser per male
  soul              53      0.03    0.03     0.00      0.09
Rubles per male
  soul              53      1.62    1.46     0.08      4.32

Medium-sized estates

Obser per peas-
  ant household     85      0.15    0.13     0.01      0.93
Obser per male
  soul              85      0.04    0.03     0.00      0.28
Rubles per male
  soul              85      1.81    1.66     0.16      13.57

Small estates

Obser per peas-
  ant household     35      0.26    0.15     0.02      1.63
Obser per male
  soul              37      0.09    0.06     0.01      0.57
Rubles per male
  soul              37      4.37    2.67     0.38      27.53

All estates

Obser per peas-
  ant household     173     0.17    0.13     0.01      1.63
Obser per male
  soul              175     0.05    0.03     0.00      0.57
Rubles per male
  soul              175     2.29    1.65     0.08      27.53

Homages           Variation   Std. Dev.   Coef. Var.

Large estates

Obser per peas-
  ant household     0.00        0.07        49.94
Obser per male
  soul              0.00        0.02        50.65
Rubles per male
  soul              0.67        0.82        50.65

Medium-sized estates

Obser per peas-
  ant household     0.01        0.11        76.22
Obser per male
  soul              0.00        0.03        86.33
Rubles per male
  soul              2.44        1.56        86.33

Small estates

Obser per peas-
  ant household     0.12        0.34        129.32
Obser per male
  soul              0.01        0.12        126.74
Rubles per male
  soul              30.67       5.54        126.74

All estates

Obser per peas-
  ant household     0.03        0.18        109.55
Obser per male
  soul              0.00        0.06        130.04
Rubles per male
  soul              8.89        2.98        130.04




I would like to express my gratitude to Anna Joukovskaia (CERCEC-EHESS, Paris) for her valuable advice and comments on this work.

(1) A summary of the main points of view on this question is available in Valerie Kivelson, "The Effects of Partible Inheritance: Gentry Families and the State in Muscovy," Russian Review 53, 2 (1994): 197-204, here 206. See also Lee A. Farrow, "Peter the Great's Law of Single Inheritance: State Imperatives and Noble Resistance," Russian Review 55, 3 (1996): 430-47; and Farrow, Between Clan and Crown: The Struggle to Define Noble Property Rights in Imperial Russia (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2004), 52-95.

(2) A. V. Romanovich-Slavatinskii, Dvorianstvo v Rossii: Ot nachala XVIII veka do otmeny krepostnogo prava (St. Petersburg: Tipografiia Ministerstva vnutrennikh del, 1870), 166; S. V. Rozhdestvenskii, Sluzhiloe zemlevladenie v Moskovskom gosudarstve XVI veka (St. Petersburg: V. Demakov, 1897), 62-78; S. B. Veselovskii, Feodal'noezemlevladenie v Severo-Vostochnoi Rusi (Moscow-Leningrad: Izdatel'stvo Akademii nauk SSSR, 1947), 1:50-55, 80-86, 165-202; Richard Pipes, Russia under the Old Regime (Russian translation: Rossiia pri Starom rezhime [Moscow: Nezavisimaia gazeta, 1993]), 232-33, 236-37; John L. H. Keep, Soldiers of the Tsar: Army and Society in Russia, 1462-1874 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985), 45.

(3) Gustave Alef, "The Crisis of the Muscovite Aristocracy: A Factor in the Growth of Monarchical Power," Forschungen zur osteuropaischen Geschichte 15 (1969): 15-58. On the dependence of nobles on state service and salary, see S. M. Troitskii, Russkii absoliutizm i

dvorianstvo v XVIII v.: Formirovanie biurokratii (Moscow: Nauka, 1974), 266; I. V. Faizova, "Manifest o vol'nosti" i sluzhba dvorianstva v XVIII stoletii (Moscow: Nauka, 1999), 51, 90, 93, 95, 132.

(4) Kivelson, "Effects of Partible Inheritance," 205-6, 211.

(5) M. D. Rabinovich, "Sotsial'noe proiskhozhdenie i imushchestvennoe polozhenie ofitserov reguliarnoi russkoi armii v kontse Severnoi voiny," in Rossiia v period reform Petra I: Sbornik statei, ed. N. I. Pavlenko (Moscow: Nauka, 1973), 162; G. V. Kalashnikov, Ofitserskii korpus russkoi armii v 1725-1745 gg. (Candidates diss., St. Petersburg, 1999), 122.

(6) S. V. Chernikov, "Vlast' i sobstvennost': Osobennosti mobilizatsii zemel'nykh vladenii v Moskovskom uezde v pervoi polovine XVIII veka," Cahiers du monde russe 53, 1 (2012): 155-56, 158-59.

(7) Among the landed estates in 18th-century European Russia, 59-60 percent were small, 25-32 percent medium-sized, and 8-16 percent large. See B. N. Mironov, Sotsial'naia istoriia Rossii perioda imperii (XVIII-nachalo XX v.): Genezis lichnosti, demokraticheskoi sem'i, grazhdanskogo obsbchestva i pravovogo gosudarstva, 2 vols. (St. Petersburg: Dmitrii Bulanin, 2003), 1:90.

(8) S. M. Troitskii, Finansovaia politika russkogo absoliutizma v XVIII veke (Moscow: Nauka, 1966), 46, 140; Troitskii, "O delezhe feodal'noi renty mezhdu pomeshchikami i gosudarstvom," in Voprosy sotsial'no-ekonomicheskoi istorii i istochnikovedeniia perioda feodalizma v Rossii: Sbornik statei k 70-letiiu A. A. Novosel'skogo, ed. N. V. Ustiugov (Moscow: Izdatel'stvo Akademii naukSSSR, 1961), 127-32; N. N. Petrukhintsev, Vnutrenniaiapolitika Anny Ioannovny (1730-1740) (Moscow: Rosspen, 2014), 173.

(9) V. I. Semevskii, Krest'ianskii vopros v Rossii v XVIII i pervoi polovine XIX veka, 2 vols. (St. Petersburg: Obshchestvennaia pol'za, 1888), 1:232-33, 477-500; M. V. Klochkov, Ocherki pravitel'stvennoi deiatel'nosti vremeni Pavla I (Petrograd: Senatskaia tipografiia, 1916), 525; M. M. Safonov, Problema reform vpravitel'stvennoipolitike Rossii na rubezhe XVIII i XIX vv. (Leningrad: Nauka, 1988), 35,60-63; S. V. Mironenko, Samoderzhaviei reformy:Politicheskaia bor'ba v Rossii v nachaleXIXv. (Moscow: Nauka, 1989), 61-141, 229-34.

(10) M. F. Prokhorov, "Krepostnoe krest'ianstvo Rossii v 1750-nachale 1770-kh godov," 2 vols. (Doctor of Historical Sciences diss., Moscow, 1998), 1:150-98, 558, 567, 573, 579, 583-85, 589; Iu. A. Poliakov, ed., htoricheskaia demografiia: Problemy, suzhdeniia, zadachi (Moscow: Nauka, 1989), 40; E. N. Baklanova, Krest'ianskii dvor i obshchina na russkom Severe (konets XVII-nachalo XVIII v.) (Moscow: Nauka, 1976), 24, 192; L. V. Milov, M. B. Bulgakov, and I. M. Garskova, Tendentsii agrarnogo razvitiia Rossiipervoipoloviny XVII stoletiia: Istoriografiia, komp'iuter, i metody issledovaniia (Moscow: Moskovskii universitet, 1986), 243, 249; N. A. Gorskaia, Russkaia feodal naia derevnia v istoriografii XX veka (Moscow: Pamiatniki istoricheskoi mysli, 2006), 56-62, 324, 335, 337.

(11) In total, a poor peasant household in European Russia in the middle of the 18th century had 4.6 peasants of both sexes, 1.1 adult male workers, and 0.8 horses. Among middle-income peasants these figures were 6.6 souls of both sexes, 1.6 male workers, and 2.3 horses, whereas affluent peasants had 9.7 souls of both sexes, 2.3 male workers, and 4.9 horses. See Prokhorov, "Krepostnoe krest'ianstvo Rossii," 2:831. For similar calculations on corvee peasants and tithe peasants, see ibid., 2: 833-34, 836-41. Material position and family structure were also linked: while poor peasants usually lived in small families (one couple, one or two generations), affluent ones lived in undivided families (two and more couples, two or three generations). Among middle-income peasants, both types of family were common, but the second occurred more often (ibid, 1:198).

(12) It is quite probable that a proportion of serfs worked well but did not often pay their taxes. However, this would affect the results of my calculations only if such deviations became a widespread phenomenon.

(13) The Ekonomicheskie primechaniia k General'nomu mezhevaniiu (Economic Comments by the General Land Survey) in the last third of the 18th century are also not quite suitable for analysis. If there was no border dispute between two landowners, their estates could be included in one survey unit (dacha). Many of the smaller estates cannot therefore be analyzed.

(14) RGADA (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv drevnikh aktov) f. 248, d. 1106, 11. 147-238; d. 1110, 11. 1865-952. After the introduction of the capitation tax, household censuses were held only on the periphery of the country, effectively limiting the choice of my sources. For Ingermanland, 291 noble estates are listed in the register (for 272 of them, there is information on the number of households and male souls). From Vedomost' malorossiiskogo naroda (The Register of Little Russian People), I used the data of the census held in 1732. For more information on the household censuses in Sloboda Ukraine, see Petrukhintsev, Vnutrenniaia politika Anny Ioannovny, 273-77.

(15) V. I. Semevskii, Krest'iane v tsarstvovanie imperatritsy Ekateriny II, 2 vols. (St. Petersburg: M. M. Stasiulevich, 1903), 1:32; la. E. Vodarskii, NaselenieRossii v kontse XVII-nachale XVIII

veka (Chislennost', soslovno-klassovyi sostav, razmeshchenie) (Moscow: Nauka, 1977), 59.

(16) The median is the number that separates a numerically ordered dataset into two equal parts.

(17) The coefficient of variation is defined as the ratio of the standard deviation to the arithmetic mean. If the data is homogeneous, the coefficient of variation is low and vice versa.

(18) In the plots, the graphs are smoothed with a moving median.

(19) As the variances ([[sigma].sup.2]) for different groups of landing estates are often quite different, I used nonparametric tests instead of analysis of variance for three group comparisons and Student's t-test for two-group comparisons: the Kruskal-Wallis test (K-W) was used for three groups, and the Mann-Whitney U Test (M-W) for two groups.

(20) The correlation coefficient (r) has to be between -1.0 and 1.0; the closer it approaches the limits, the stronger the correlation between the examined variables. If r = 0, the variables are considered to be linearly independent. All the correlation coefficients calculated in the article are highly significant (p < 0.001).

(21) For three groups (K-W test): H = 61.82; p < 0.01. For two groups, pairwise (M-W test): large-middle, U = 35469; Z = 4.43; p < 0.01; large-small, U = 10373; Z = 7.39; p < 0.01; middle-small, U = 10863; Z = 4.58; p < 0.01.

(22) M-W test confirms that there is no statistically significant difference between the indicators of the household population in large and medium-sized estates in Ingermanland: U = 3397; Z = 0.78; p = 0.43.

(23) Statistically significant differences for three groups of estates (K-W test): H = 22.15; p < 0.01. For two groups, pairwise (M-W test): large-small, U = 1761.5; Z = 4.02; p < 0.01; middle-small, U = 3666; Z = 4.03; p < 0.01.

(24) Note that the data on Central Russia in Table 2, while confirming the trend already noted, does not show a statistically significant difference among groups of estates (perhaps because the sample is not large enough). For three groups (K-W test)--H-3.59; p = 0.17. For two groups, pairwise (M-W test): large-small, U = 230; Z = 1.43; p = 0.15; middle-small, U = 411; Z = 1.70; p = 0.09; middle-large, U = 302; Z = 0.38; p = 0.70.

(25) The only ones who saw the correlation between the population of a peasant household and the size of the estate were V. D. Nazarov and Iu. A. Tikhonov (their research was based on the data from the Moscow district in the first half of the 17th century). The sample they used was very small (38 observations, of which only one was a large estate!) The average population of a household was 2.52 male souls on estates with 1-10 households (N = 25), 2.42 male souls on estates with 11-50 households (N = 12), and 2.62 on estates with more than 50 households (N = 1). They saw no such tendency in other districts because their other samples were even smaller. See V. D. Nazarov and Iu. A. Tikhonov, "Krest'ianskii i bobyl'skii dvor v svetskikh vladeniiakh tsentral'nykh uezdov pervoi poloviny XVII veka," Istoriia SSSR, no. 4 (1977): 155, 159.

(26) N. A. Gorskaia, Istoricheskaia demografiia Rossii epokhifeodalizma: Itogi iproblemy izucbeniia (Moscow: Nauka, 1994), 177.

(27) I put together the first three groups in Ingermanland because really large estates were rare in the region--only 4 estates with more than 1,000 male souls, 1 estate with 751-1,000 male souls, 4 estates with 501-750 male souls. By comparison, in Sloboda Ukraine there were 21 estates with more than 1,000 male souls, 21 estates with 751-1000 male souls, and 25 estates with 501-750 male souls.

(28) Estates with 501-1,000 male souls were added in steps of 250 souls, those with 101-500 male souls were added in steps of 100 souls, those with 1-100 male souls were added in steps of 10 souls.

(29) In reality the share of these estates is smaller because the Register of Little Russian People did not include very small estates with "one household or two" (RGADA f. 248, d. 1106,

1. 237). In Moscow Province, 18 percent of noble estates had more than 70 male souls. In black-soil Orel and Sevsk provinces, 33 percent of noble estates had more than 50 male souls. Calculated according to the Conscription Register for 1737-38 (Vedomost' rekrutskogo nabora, ibid., d. 1161, 11. 4-590; d. 1163, ch. 1, II. 218-334).

(30) On formation of the network of rural settlements, see A. Ia. Degtlarev, "Russkaia derevnia v XV-XVII vekakh: Ocherki istorii sel'skogo rasseleniia," in Izbrannye trudy po russkoi istorii, 2 vols. (Moscow: Parad, 2006), 1:5-162.

(31) RGADA f. 248, d. 1110, ll. 1865-910. The document had already been discovered by S. M. Troitskii. See his "O nekotorykh istochnikakh po istorii zemlevladeniia v Ingermanlandii v pervoi polovine XVIII v.," in Istochnikovedcheskieproblem istorii narodov Pribaltiki, ed. A. K. Biron (Riga: Zinatne, 1970), 121.

(32) For different spellings of the word obs in Swedish tax books, see RGADA f. 248, d. 1121, ll. 145 ob.-146. On connections with the obzha, see Ordbok ofver svenska spraket (Svenska akademiens ordbok), 18: N-Okord (Stockholm, 1949), spalt 0116 (http://g3.spraakdata., accessed 29 March 2016).

(33) Carl Ohlander, Bidrag Till Kannedom Om Ingermanlands Historia Och Forvaltning, 1: 1617-1645 (Uppsala: H. Wretman's tryckeri, 1898), 60; Nordisk familjebok (Uggleupplagan), 30: Tromsdabtind-Urakami (Stockholm: n.p., 1920), 340. 1 tunnland = 14,000 square alns = 4,936 square meters = 0.5 hectares. The size of a Swedish obs was very close to the size of a Novgorod obzha at the end of the 16th century, 15 desiatinas in three fields. The 1766 survey instruction also prescribed to include in one obza ten chetverts in one field or 15 desiatinas in three fields. See G. V. Abramovich, "Neskol'ko izyskanii iz oblasti russkoi metrologii XV-XVI w. (Korobia, kopna, obzha)," in Problemy istochnikovedeniia (Moscow: Akademiia nauk SSSR, 1963), 383, 390; Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi imperii s 1649 goda: Sobranie pervoe s 1649 po 12 dekabria 1825 goda (hereafter PSZ), 45 vols. (St. Petersburg: Tipografiia II-ogo otdeleniia Sobstvennoi Ego Imperatorskogo Velichestva Kantseliarii, 1830), 17:737, no. 12659, chap. 5, item 16.

(34) RGADA, f. 248, d. 1121, ll. 19, 188; d. 1110, l. 1850. The ruble calculation made by General Director of the Main Palace Chancery Johann Gustav von Rosen in 1732 is based on the following prices: rye and barley at 1 ruble per chetvert, oats at 80 kopecks per chetvert, hay at 3 kopecks per pood.

(35) Differences between the level of taxes (rubles per male soul) on large and medium-sized estates, on the one hand, and small estates, on the other, are statistically significant. M-W test for two groups, pairwise: large-small, U = 714; Z = -2.18; p = 0.03; middle-small, U = 1158; Z = -2.31; p = 0.02; K-W test for three groups: H = 6.40; p = 0.04. There is no significant difference between the peasants of large and medium-sized estates (M-W test); U = 2130; Z = -0.53; p = 0.59.

(36) Payments to the Treasury "under Swedish rule" were 7 rubles, 25 kopecks, per obs. In 1732, on the average, there was 0.048 obser per male soul with the aggregate payment of 2 rubles, 29 kopecks (see Table 3). Calculations: 7.25 rubles x 0.048 = 0.35 rubles; 2.29 rubles - 0.35 rubles = 1.95 rubles.

(37) Calculations: 13.55 desiatinas in one obs * 0.048 obser per male soul = 0.65 desiatinas per male soul; 13.55 desiatinas in one obs * 0.166 obser per household = 2.25 desiatinas per household.

(38) RGADA f. 248, d. 394,1. 573.

(39) Ibid., d. 1107,11. 660-660 ob.

(40) Calculated according to prices suggested by J.-G. Rosen. The price of straw was assumed to be 1.5 kopecks per sheaf. According to the 1733 data (RGADA f. 248, d. 394, l. 566), the price of fodder, depending on economic situation, could vary from 54 to 85 kopecks per male soul.

(41) Nominal in the sense of not taking price fluctuations into account.

(42) The peculiarities of the Swedish tax system in Ingermanland in the 17th century certainly require a separate study but the transformation of the tax measurement unit from the Novgorod obzha into the "payment household" is interesting in itself.

(43) Calculated based on RGADAf. 248, d. 1110, ll. 1956-60. See also Troitskii, "O nekotorykh istochnikakh," 118-19; and Petrukhintsev, Vnutrenniaia politika, 604-5.

(44) RGADA f. 248, d. 1107, 11. 661-71.

(45) Thirty-one noble estates are listed among the debtors. Altogether, there were 291 estates in four districts of Ingermanland (calculated based on ibid., d. 1110, ll. 1865-952).

(46) Troitskii, Finansovaia politika russkogo absoliutizma, 126; E. V. Anisimov, Podatnaia reforma Petra I: Vvedenie podushnoi podati v Rossii, 1719-1728 gg. (Leningrad: Nauka, 1982), 267; Petrukhintsev, Vnutrenniaia politika, 714, 724, 762; I. I. Fediukin and E. S. Korchmina, "Mestnye agenty gosudarstva v Rossii v rannee Novoe vremia" (preprint) (Moscow: n.p., 2014), 21 (, accessed 29 March 2016). See also E. S. Korchmina, " 'Mnogie milliony gosudarstvennoi kazny v neizvestnosti nakhodiatsa': Nedoimki po podushnoi podati v 1720-1760-kh godakh," Rossiiskaia istoriia, no. 5 (2013): 77-91.

(47) Fediukin and Korchmina, "Mestnye agenty," 34.

(48) PSZ, 5:91, no. 2789.

(49) On the average population of a peasant household, see Vodarskii, Naseknie Rossii, 48.

(50) S. I. Elagin, Istoriia russkogo flota: Period Azovskii (St. Petersburg: Gogenfel'den, 1864), 52-53; Elagin, Istoriia russkogo flota: Period Azovskii. Prilozheniia, 2 pts. (St. Petersburg: Gogenfel'den, 1864), 1:164-66.

(51) M. D. Rabinovich, "Formirovanie reguliarnoi russkoi armii nakanune Severnoi voiny," in Voprosy voennoi istorii Rossii: XVIII i pervaia polovina XIX vekov, ed. V. I. Shunkov (Moscow: Nauka, 1969), 221-22.

(52) N. V. Kalachov and N. E Dubrovin, Doklady i prigovory, sostoiavshiesiav Pravitel 'stvuiushchem Senate v tsarstvovanie Petra Velikogo (St. Petersburg: Tipografiia Imperatorskoi akademii nauk, 1888), 4, 1:441-45; PSZ, 5:111-12, no. 2817.

(53) This fact is also demonstrated by the order of items in the preamble, giving the reasons for the adoption of the law: "1. On Taxes," "2. On Families," "3. About [the] Viciousness [of an Idle Life without Service]."

(54) A. S. Lappo-Danilevskii, Organizatsiia priamogo oblozheniia v Moskovskom gosudarstve so vremen Smuty do epokhi preobrazovanii (St. Petersburg: I. N. Skorokhodov, 1890), 401; Rabinovich, "Formirovanie," 221.

(55) PSZ, 10:82, no. 7201.

(56) PSZ, 11:95-96, no. 8081. Initially, in the manifesto of 31 December 1736 the conscripts were to be taken according to a different principle: "Who has 100 souls and less, gives 1 conscript, and those who have great villages, give 1 conscript per every 100 souls" (PSZ, 9:1022, no. 7142).

(57) See also I. V. Faizova, Manifest o vol'nosti i sluzhba dvorianstva v XVIII stoletii (Moscow: Nauka, 1999), 51, 54, 121.

(58) Ibid., 23, 51.

(59) This was logical in terms of state interest, excluding the possibility that a nobleman would avoid equipping conscripts by moving his peasants from one estate to another.

(60) For calculations on Suzdal' and Aleksin districts, see D. A. Chernenko, Zemlevladenie i kboziaistvenno-demograficheskieprotsessy v Tsentral 'noi Rossii XVII-XVIII vv.: Opyt regional'noi tipologii (Vologda: Drevnosti Severa, 2008), 154-61, 181-90.

(61) N. A. Gorskaia, "Formy zemel'noi sobstvennosti: Skladyvanie i sootnoshenie," in Sobstvennost' v Rossii: Srednevekov'e i rannee Novoe vremia (Moscow: Nauka, 2001), 44-45,49.

(62) V. P. Zagorovskii, Belgorodskaia cherta (Voronezh: Voronezhskii universitet, 1969); Zagorovskii, Iziumskaia cherta (Voronezh: Voronezhskii universitet, 1980); A. A. Novosel'skii, "Rasprostranenie krepostnicheskogo zemlevladeniia v iuzhnykh uezdakh Moskovskogo gosudarstva v XVII v.," Istoricheskie zapiski 4 (1938): 21-40; V. M. Vazhinskii, Zemlevladenie i skladyvanie obshchiny odnodvortsev v XVII veke (po materialam iuzhnykh uezdov Rossii) (Voronezh: Voronezhskii gosudarstvennyi pedagogicheskii institut, 1974), 78-88.

(63) On the confiscation of noble and monastery estates, see V. M. Vazhinskii, "Sel'skie poseleniia Lipetskogo kraia v XVII veke," in Zapiski kraevedcheskogo obshchestva (Lipetsk: Lipetskoe oblastnoe kraevedcheskoe obshchestvo, 1995), 1:30-31; Vazhinskii, "Monastyri v Lipetskom krae do nachala XX veka," in Istoriia-filosofiia-kul 'tura: Istoriko-filosofikie chteniia (Lipetsk: n.p., 1994), 121-23; and Zagorovskii, Belgorodskaia cherta, 132-35.

(64) For the data on the 1720s and 1730s, see Petrukhintsev, Vnutrenniaia politika, 250-51, 265-68, 314-17.

(65) As a general rule, real land grants (dacha) were much lower than land rights fixed by law (oklad). See Veselovskil, Feodal'noezemlevladenie v Severo-vostochnoiRusi, 1:312; N. E PavlovSil'vanskii, Gosudarevy sluzhilye liudi: Proiskhozhdenie russkogo dvorianstva (St. Petersburg: Gosudarstvennaia tipografiia, 1898), 133-34; A. V. Chernov, Vooruzhennye sily Russkogo gosudarstva v XV-XVII vv.: S obrazovaniia tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva do reform pri Petre I (Moscow: Ministerstvo oborony SSSR, 1954), 157-58; and T. A. Lapteva, Provintsial'noe dvorianstvo v Rossii vXVII veke (Moscow: Drevlekhranilishche, 2010), 242. On the composition of the Russian nobility (proportions of Moscow and provincial nobles) in the 17th century, see A. P. Pavlov, ed., Praviashchaia elita Russkogo gosudarstva IX-nachala XVIII v.: Ocherki istorii (St. Petersburg: Dmitrii Bulanin, 2006), 468.

(66) A. V. Zakharov, Gosudarev dvor Petra I: Puhlikatsiia i issledovanie massovykh istochnikov razriadnogo deloproizvodstva (Cheliabinsk: Cheliabinskii gosudarstvennyi universitet, 2009), 8.

(67) Vodarskii, Naselenie Rossii, 63-66.

(68) PSZ, 5:91-94, no. 2789.

(69) RGADA f. 248, d. 1360, l. 109; d. 1378, l. 36 ob.

(70) PSZ, 8:345-47, no. 5653; 8:396-98, no. 5717; V. N. Latkin, Zakonodatel'nye komissii v Rossii v XVIII stoletii: Istoriko-iuridicheskoe issledovanie (St. Petersburg: L. F. Panteleev, 1887), 1:59. The quick creation of a new Law Code was among the most urgent tasks declared in a series of decrees of 1 June 1730 (PSZ, 8:284-85, no. 5567).

(71) RGADA f. 342, d. 34, part 2, ll. 295-99 ob.

(72) On the elaboration of the new Law Code, see Petrukhintsev, Vnutrenniaia politika, 46-49, 54; S. V. Chernikov, Dvorianskie imeniia Tsentral'no-Chernozemnogo regiona Rossii v pervoi polovine XVIII veka (Riazan': NRIID, 2003), 64-65.

(73) The same "noncreative" approach is evident in the drafting of the Pistsovyi nakaz of 1731, based on the Nakaz of 1684.

(74) la. E. Vodarskii, Dvorianskoe zemlevladenie v Rossii v XVU--pervoi polovine XIX v. (Razmery i razmeshchenie) (Moscow: Nauka, 1988), 235-37. Other historians estimate illegally seized lands at 50-70 million desiatinas. See, e.g., L. V. Milov, Issledovanie ob "Ekonomicheskikh primechaniiakh" k General nomu mezhevaniiu (K istorii russkogo krest'ianstva i sel'skogo khoziaistva vtoroipoloviny XVIII v.) (Moscow Moskovskii universitet, 1965), 17-20.

(75) B. N. Mironov, Blagosostoianie naseleniia i revoliutsii v imperskoi Rossii, XVIII-mchalo XX veka (Moscow: Ves' mir, 2012), 275-80. See also L. V. Milov, Velikorusskiipakhar'i osobennosti rossiiskogo istoricheskogoprotsessa (Moscow: Rosspen, 2001), 204, 206.

(76) B. N. Mironov, "Antropometricheskii podkhod k izucheniiu blagosostoianiia naseleniia Rossii v XVIII veke," Otechestvennaia istoriia, no. 6 (2004): 29.

(77) Mironov, Blagosostoianie naseleniia, 186, 191-96, 515-17, 522-29. In a situation of traditional agriculture, the main factor behind productivity growth was the intensification of labor. See Gregory Clark, "Productivity Growth without Technical Change in European Agriculture before 1850 "Journal of Economic History 47, 2 (1987): 419-32.

(78) PSZ, 5:91, no. 2789.

(79) In this case, I am speaking about the general trend. I. V. Faizova and M. V. Babich proved in their works that the liberation of the nobility from obligatory service was incoherent and not "linear." See Faizova, "Manifest o vol'nosti"; M V. Babich, "Manifest ob ogranichenii srokov dvorianskoi sluzhby 1736 g. v sisteme politiki, administrativnoi praktiki i sotsial'nykh tsennostei v Rossii XVIII v.," in Praviashchie elity i dvorianstvo Rossii vo vremia iposlepetrovskikh reform (1682-1750), ed. N. N. Petrukhintsev and Lorenz Erren (Moscow: Rosspen, 2013), 81-102. The idea to limit the obligatory service of nobles to 25 years had already appeared in the summer of 1731 as the result of work by the Military Land Commission (Voinskaia sukhoputnaia komissiia). At the end of that year, a report by the Cabinet of Ministers was drafted that later served as the basis for the famous manifesto of 31 December 1736 about "25-year service" (Petrukhintsev, Vnutrenniaia politika, 43-45, 671-77).

(80) Isabel de Madariaga, Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great (terms taken from the Russian translation: Rossiia v epokhu Ekateriny Velikoi [Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2002], 153).

(81) Faizova, "Manifesto vol'nosti," 113-19, 129-31, 134-44, 147-49.

(82) Ibid., 51-74, 81.

(83) On the data from 1700, see la. E. Vodarskii and O. A. Shvatchenko, eds., Dvorianstvo Rossii i ego krepostnye krest'arte, XVII-pervaiapolovina XVIII v. (Moscow: Institut istorii SSSR, 1989), 93. On property distribution, see Chernikov, "Vlast' i sobstvennost'," 155-56.

(84) It should be noted that peasants' living standards, as well as the probability of social tension, depended not only on the burden of taxes and obligations. Variations in weather conditions and in crop yields were very important factors (Mironov, Blagosostoianie naseleniia, 187-208).

(85) The date is given according to the "main year" of revisions. See V. M. Kabuzan, Narodonaselenie Rossii v XVIII-pervoipolovine XIX v. (Po materialam revizii) (Moscow: Akademiia nauk SSSR, 1963), 117, 119-21; and Kabuzan, Narody Rossii v XVIII veke: Chislennost' i etnicheskii sostav (Moscow: Nauka, 1990), 11.

(86) Chernikov, "Vlast' i sobstvennost'," 155-56, 158-59.

(87) PSZ, 5:97, no. 2796; 7:494, no. 4722.

(88) See E. N. Marasinova, Psikhologiia elity rossiiskogo dvorianstva poslednei treti XVIII veka, po materialamperepiski (Moscow: Rosspen, 1999), 9-10, 83-88.

(89) N. L. Rubinshtein, "Ulozhennaia komissiia 1754-1766 gg. i ee proekt novogo ulozheniia 'O sostoianii poddannykh voobshche,'" Istoricheskie zapiski 38 (1951): 208-51. See also E. V. Anisimov, Rossiia v seredine XVIII veka: Bor'ba za nasledie Petra (Moscow: Mysl', 1986), 63-68.
Table 1
Population of a Household in Ingermanland and Sloboda Ukraine,
Early 1730s


                           male souls per household

Size of       Valid    [bar.
estate          N     [alpha]]   Med    [sigma]    V    r *

Large           62      3.96     3.84    0.60     15%   0.97
Middle         118      4.05     3.83    1.46     36%   0.87
Small           92      3.41     3.08    1.51     44%   0.84
All estates    272      3.81     3.67    1.36     36%   0.99

                                  Sloboda Ukraine

                             male souls per household

Size of                  [bar.
estate        Valid N   [alpha]]   Med    [sigma]    V    r *

Large           335       5.01     4.61    1.88     38%   0.96
Middle          268       4.43     4.13    1.99     45%   0.68
Small           115       4.01     3.17    2.69     67%   0.68
All estates     718       4.64     4.25    2.10     45%   0.97

* r--correlation coefficient between the number of households and
the number of male souls in the landed estate; all the correlation
coefficients in the table are highly significant (p < 0.001).

Table 2
Population of a Household in Central Russia, 1730s-70s

                                   Male souls per household

Size of estate   Valid N   [bar.[alpha]]   Med    [sigma]    V

Large              19          3.34        3.38    0.48     14%
Middle             34          3.38        3.36    0.61     18%
Small              32          3.18        3.00    1.25     39%
All estates        85          3.29        3.25    0.88     27%

My calculations based on Iu. A. Tikhonov, Dvorianskaia usad, 'ba i
krest 'ianskii dvor v Rossii XVII i XVIII vv.: Sosushchestvovanie
iprotivostoianie (Moscow: Letnii sad, 2005), 423-36.

Table 3
Obligations of Ingermanland Peasants

                  Obser per household     Obser per male soul

Size of estate   [bar.[alpha]]    Med    [bar.[alpha]]    Med

Large                0.133       0.119       0.034       0.031
Middle               0.146       0.125       0.038       0.034
Small                0.265       0.150       0.091       0.056
All estates          0.166       0.125       0.048       0.034

                  Rubles yearly per
                     male soul *

Size of estate   [bar.[alpha]]   Med

Large                1.62        1.46
Middle               1.81        1.66
Small                4.37        2.67
All estates          2.29        1.65

[bar.[alpha]] stands for arithmetic mean, Med for median.

* Aggregate payment to the landlord and the Treasury based on 48
rubles per obs.

Table 4
Inequality of Allocation of Obligations (%)

Size of estate   V (obser per household)   V (obser per male soul)

Large                       50                        51
Middle                      76                        86
Small                      129                       127
All estates                110                       130

V stands for coefficient of variation. Function arguments are given
in brackets.

Table 5
Fodder Tax Arrears, 1734-37


          oats,       hay,       straw,
Year    chetverts     poods      sheaves

1734    1,168.45    12,061.00   20,436.50
1735    1,295.53    12,955.25   21,435.15
1736    1,330.45    13,346.75   22,234.00
1737    1,492.55    16,461.25   28,655.00
Total   5,286.98    54,824.25   92,760.65

          Share of yearly tax (%)

         oats,      hay,    straw,
Year    chetverts   poods   sheaves

1734       9.3       9.6      9.9
1735      10.3      10.3     10.3
1736      10.6      10.7     10.7
1737      11.9      13.1     13.8
Total     10.6      10.9     11.2
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