The author identifies factors that affected peasants’ health in the 1920s based on the unpublished documents of the Health Department of the Executive Committee of the Tambov Regional Council of Workers’, Peasants’ and Red Army Deputies from the State Archives of the Tambov Region. The article focuses on the generational history of rural society, on the “revolutionary turning point” generation, whose representatives were born at the turn of the 19th–20th centuries, mainly in the 1890s. The author shows the influence of malnutrition and famine of 1924–1925 on the health of rural residents and the negative consequences of eating various food substitutes and concludes that the famine affected the most the poorest peasants from the “revolutionary turning point” generation. The article presents a comparison of positive and negative factors affecting peasants’ health, focusing on the issues of medical care, morbidity, nutrition, water supply and other factors of the population health status. The author argues that the chronic underfunding of the healthcare system did not allow to provide the rural population with quality medical care, and malaria and syphilis were the most common diseases. The author makes a conclusion about the unsatisfactory health of the peasants from the “revolutionary turning point” generation in the 1920s, referring to the death and birth rates in the countryside and to the relationship between the demographic behavior and depeasantization.
Peasants, famine, epidemic, mortality, healthcare, party, NEP, generations.
Vladimir A. Ippolitov, PhD (History), Senior Researcher, Tambov State Technical University. Sovetskaya St., 106/5, Tambov, 392000.
Based on the local historical data, the article aims at proving the importance of a wide range of factors in the analysis of the events of the Civil War in Russia. The author shows both the potential of local research for significant generalizations and the dangers of such extrapolation. In the studies of the Russian Civil War, cultural and historical features of certain regions are often ignored, although they were crucial for the new revolutionary life. The proposed issues are connected with a common phenomenon of that period — the peasants’ mass desertion and evasion from service in the Red Army. The article is based on the official correspondence of the Internal Service Troops of Soviet Russia. The events of the era of war communism strongly affected the cultural-historical micro-region with a rich history — the Guslitsy Old Believers. The author identifies at least three information layers in the presented description and concludes that during the Civil War, horizontal and vertical social relationships developed under the influence of both factors of internal confrontation and cultural-historical characteristics of the region. Thus, the research should focus on such features to reconstruct with a high degree of reliability both the situation of the Civil War and the social history of war communism.
Local history, Russia, Civil War, Moscow Province, old believers, Guslitsy Region, Soviet power, desertion.
Posadsky Anton V., DSc (History), Professor, Povolzhsky Institute of Management — a branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Moskovskaya St., 164. Saratov, 410012.
The article considers Russian rural pubs in the second half of the 19th century as a specific place of peasant meetings with the club features. The author describes rural life based on the narrative and legislative sources of the 1860s –1890s for the north-western and central agrarian provinces. By the end of the 19th century, the number of voluntary associations in Russia had significantly increased, and clubs were very popular. Until recently, clubs were considered as an exclusively social-cultural phenomenon of urban social and everyday life. In the late 19th century, the social functions of clubs widened beyond some leisure places for urban residents. In the second half of the 19th century, there was a tendency to consider pubs in rural areas not only as clubs but also as the sprouts of civil society. The article shows that pubs as a public space of peasant life had signs of urban clubs, but their functions were limited to leisure with some elements of business and communication. The traditional dichotomy of peasant life — family and community — gained additional meanings due to the expansion of peasant interaction and to the additional functionality of rural pubs. Moreover, as a phenomenon of rural life pubs represented a social anomaly (drunkenness) and absorbed some changes in the traditional way of peasant life, which reflected both the developing ties between the village and the city and the greater openness of the peasant world.
Russia, the second half of the 19th century, peasantry, public space, excise duty, pub, club, leisure, everyday life.
Natalia I. Gorskaya, DSc (History), Professor, Department of Russian History, Faculty of History and Law, Smolensk State University. Przhevalskogo St., 4, Smolensk, 214000.
On the example of the Novosibirsk Region, the author considers the features of the interaction of local authorities and collective farms during the war. The contradiction, which regional and district authorities faced, was that the total mobilization of resources by the central authorities threatened the local social-economic situation. Therefore, the decisions and actions of the local authorities became contradictory as they had to compensate for the damage caused by their efforts to seize agricultural products from collective farms. Moreover, there were corrupt motives as very common for the relations between the authorities and collective farms. In most cases, collective-farm peasants responded to the obviously excessive state demands by inaction, which forced the local authorities to show additional efforts in order to make agricultural producers fulfill the state requirements. The complexity of the agrarian agenda diverted the attention of the party and governing bodies. However, the state activities were still insufficient to keep the collective farm production under constant control.
Agrarian policy of the Soviet state, Great Patriotic War, collective farms, mobilization, trusteeship, corruption.
Sharapov Sergey V., PhD (History), Researcher, Institute of History, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nikolaeva St., 8, Novosibirsk, 630090.
The author identifies the anti-religious aspects of the Soviet “turning to the village” policy, focusing on the main directions in the evolution of anti-religious activities of the communist youth in the mid-1920s and on the changes in the value orientations of peasant generations in the critical period of the Russian history. The study aims at assessing the peasantry’s reaction to the “revolutionary turn” generation (born at the turn of the 19th — 20th centuries) activities and the reasons for the generational conflict, based on the analysis of the spiritual sphere of the Russian village. The author argues that this conflict turned into an intergenerational gap in the Russian village, which is an understudied aspect of the village split into antagonistic camps, used by the Party leadership to accelerate socialist modernization. The anti-religious activities of communist organizations after the “turning to the village” policy seemed to significantly soften forms and methods of the work with the peasantry, but a more thorough analysis shows that such activities remained a powerful factor of the conflict. For instance, value orientations of peasant generations were becoming more different. The spiritual legacy, which the “revolutionary turn” generation was to pass on to its successors, was rejected by the younger generation. The “new faith” completely denied the old traditions and irreconcilable theomachism. Peasants of the “revolutionary turn” generation expressed their attitude to anti-religious activities in the form of hooliganism, and radical measures were a response. The study of the national youth movement (including the negative one) and of the features of the intergenerational conflict in the Russian village are of particular relevance in the search for an educational model that meets the contemporary demands of the state and society.
Peasants, religion, generations, revolutionary turn, youth, Komsomol, intergenerational gap, “turning to the village” policy, atheist alliance, NEP.
Anatoly A. Slezin, DSc (History), Chief Researcher, Tambov State Technical University, Sovetskaya St., 106/5, Tambov, 392000.
Yuri Aleksandrovich Moshkov (April 6, 1922 — August 30, 2022), a prominent Russian agrarian historian, whose works outlined the main directions in the study of the economic aspects in the history of collectivization and the collective-farm sector of Soviet agriculture, passed away. During his long creative life, the Russian historiography came a long way from the formation of the scientific paradigm for the study of Soviet history during the thaw period, through the methodological crisis of perestroika to the “archival revolution” of the 1990s and the subsequent period of obtaining new sources and choosing new theoretical models under the ideological diversity. The author pays tribute to the memory of his university teacher, highly appreciates his personal contribution, and expresses some general thoughts about the development paths and issues of the Russian agrarian historiography in the second half of the 20th — early 21st century.
Historiography, thaw period, perestroika, Yu.A. Moshkov, V. P. Danilov.
Kuznetsov Igor A., PhD (History), Senior Researcher, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Vernadskogo Prosp., 82, Moscow, 119571, Russia.
The article describes the “collective villages” of Korean immigrants in Manchuria. These agricultural enterprises supplied products to the Kwantung Army and Japan. In 1944, 24,000 families of ‘collective’ immigrants lived in Northeast China (10% of Korean immigrants in Manchukuo). They all depended on the Japanese colonial structures which supplied the peasants with essentials and agricultural equipment, taking most of the harvest. The villages of Japanese settlers were of military-strategic importance. They were created on the territories at the border of the USSR as a stronghold of the colonial power and to control Manchuria. Korean colonists did not inspire much confidence in the colonizers, the Korean “collective farms” were to provide food for the Japanese expansion. Japanese officials simulated a virtual transfer of land as a property to Korean tenants. The belief in obtaining land (leased to Koreans) after paying off all loans to the Japanese company motivated the peasants to work productively. In fact, the loans were an instrument of enslaving the peasants. Promises to give them land after the loans were paid off were a phantom ‘carrot’ looming ahead. Loans of the “collective villages” were often used to pay off previous loans. The “collective farmers” got bogged down in debt bondage. The spatial design of such a village was a closed rectangle convenient for observation and control, which ensured the social isolation of villagers. By the late 1930s, collective villagers began to realize that they were victims of the Japanese colonial scam, which led to numerous exits from the “collective farms” (flight of Koreans).
Manchukuo, Korea, collective villages, agriculture, Korean settlers, Japanese colonial policy, anti-Japanese guerrillas.
Viktor A. Gaikin, Senior Researcher, Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East (Far-Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences). Pushkinskaya St., 89, Vladivostok, 690001, Russia.
The article aims at identifying features of grain production in Siberia and Kazakhstan during the campaign for developing virgin and fallow lands (second half of the 1950s) and subsequent decades of the Soviet and post-Soviet era; such features determined the results and consequences of the Virgin Project in 1954. The author identifies objective and subjective factors affecting the adoption and realization of the virgin land program; considers general and particular practices of plowing new lands; describes the dynamics of sown areas for crops, grain productivity and gross production, its qualitative characteristics in Siberia and Kazakhstan. The author argues that the campaign for developing virgin and fallow lands was a means of N. S. Khrushchev’s struggle for power, which explains its excessively large scale and relatively long duration. The author shows that the virgin land campaign is more significant for the history of Kazakhstan than for the history of Siberia. Due to the new land development in Kazakhstan, the sown areas of crops, primarily wheat, significantly increased; the network of large agricultural enterprises expanded; the infrastructure of agricultural production started to develop. In 1991, these production capacities became the foundations of the contemporary economy of independent Kazakhstan. In Siberia, the sown area of crops has decreased since the mid-1960s, but the gross grain harvest has grown, which indicates opportunities for intensive farming, and such opportunities are gradually realized.
Virgin Project, campaign for developing virgin and fallow lands, grain production, acreage, yield, grain farms, agriculture, Kazakhstan, Siberia.
Sergey N. Andreenkov, PhD (History), Senior Researcher, Sector of Agrarian History, Institute of History, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Akademika Nikolaeva St., 8, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia.
The article considers one of the key resources for peasants in Eastern Europe — wood pastures. Based on the new archival materials, the author shows that peasant communities, in the spirit of James Scott, consistently sabotaged the state efforts to ban woodland grazing. During the long 19th century, the state was strengthening control over many aspects of the rural economic life, which gradually made peasant conflicts with the state forest administration more acute. The author applies the casestudy approach to the relationships of peasants and local and metropolitan administration in Białowieża Forest. Its unique feature is a long history of the effective protection measures which facilitated finding sources on the topic. The research revealed the struggle for the control over forest resources between peasants and officials as experts in the ‘rational’ forestry. In the long 19th century, peasants used all available means of resistance: petitions to the authorities of all levels, sabotage of administrative orders, bribes to forestry personnel, and direct violations of orders. The decades of conflicts prove that peasant communities only partially followed the rules introduced by the state administration which tried to change the principles of forestry management to make forests more profitable and ‘rational’. The administration spent significant resources to control wood grazing but achieved very modest results in terms of both reducing the number of livestock in forests and collecting compensation for the damage from ungulates. In the second half of the 19th — early 20th century, there were the most important changes associated with the more consistent and strict control over traditional forest resources, especially in 1889–1915. The administration’s reactions to the peasant petitions were sympathetic and positive at the provincial and ministerial levels, which can be explained by the shortage of pasture and fodder and the general paternalistic sentiments of the government. The administration tried not so much to increase income from wood grazing as to ‘accustom’ peasants to the idea that forests were rather private or state than public property.
Natural resources, Białowieża Forest, long 19th century, wood pastures, peasants, Russian Empire.
Anastasia A. Fedotova, PhD (Biology), Senior Researcher, Saint Petersburg Branch, S. I. Vavilov Institute for the History of Science and Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Universitetskaya Nab., 5/2, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russia.
The author reports the discovery in the regional archives of the primary documents and uyezd data compiled for the governors’ harvest statistics in the first half of the 19th century, although historiography used to question or deny their existence. According to the archival data, the primary information about harvest in estates and villages was collected annually in autumn. This information was provided by the elders of peasant communities and the managers of landlords’ estates. Since the end of the 18th century, information was collected by the officials of the Lower Zemstvo Court: they either wrote it down from what their informants told or collected the already prepared notes. The final report on the uyezd harvest was compiled by the secretary of the Lower Zemstvo Court and sent to the Governor’s Office. The Governor’s Office compiled a similar record for the province, in which the uyezd data was duplicated and summarized. Provincial reports on sowing and harvest were sent to the government (Ministry of Internal Affairs and/or Ministry of Police) as urgent messages in November. The collection of harvest data was not related to the governors’ annual reports which duplicated the previously sent information. The discovered documents do not solve the problem of reliability and representativeness of the governors’ crop statistics but correct the historiographic ideas about the functions of the imperial administration in the field of control over harvests and food security in the Russian regions.
Agrarian history of Russia, crop statistics, governors’ reports, Lower Zemstvo Court (nizhny zemsky sud), Victor Yatsunsky, Boris Litvak.
Kuznetsov Igor A., PhD (History), Senior Researcher, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Vernadskogo Prosp., 82, Moscow, 119571, Russia.