“Last greetings” from V.P. Astafiev and foundations of the peasant world

Zverev V.V. “Last greetings” from V.P. Astafiev and foundations of the peasant world // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2020. V.5. №4. P. 142-161.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2020-5-4-142-161


The article considers the novel “Last Greetings” by V.P. Astafiev as a historical source of descriptions of the peasant world. The author emphasizes such basic categories of the peasant life as traditional family, kinship ties, working, parenting, attitudes to nature, concepts of shame, conscience, and duty. Based on this literary material, the author concludes that the peasant worldview is a result of close interaction with nature, which determined both respect for the environment—forest, field, river, animals—and such qualities as moderate consumption of natural resources, diligence, foresight, concern for the future. Knowledge and understanding of nature also affected labor that did not pursue enrichment but aimed at ensuring the family’s prosperity. The villager in Russia, as everywhere in the world, was not a money-grubber, and his social ideal was a hardworking and sober middle peasant. The system of upbringing and the social structure of the village (community) aimed at developing and preserving these qualities. The community structure was primarily to prevent such disasters as crop failure, famine, flood, fire, and their catastrophic consequences. The centuries-old history of life in nature and with nature has cultivated mutual assistance, mutual support, and the charity of the sick, poor, and injured. The author concludes that such a social order was the foundation of the social unity in the past, which in turn influenced the strength and power of the Russian state.


peasant, city, phenomenon of ‘village writers’, traditional family, man and nature, kinship ties, labor, shame, conscience, duty, Russian community, childhood, village street

About the author

Zverev Vasily V., DSc (History), Leading Researcher, Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 117292, Moscow, Dmitry Ulyanov St., 19.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


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