Zverev V.V. To the anniversary of the half-forgotten book (V.P. Vorontsov’s Peasant Community) // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2021. V.6. №2. P. 6-44.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2021-6-2-6-44


The article considers the main ideas of the outstanding Russian economist and publicist V.P. Vorontsov as represented in his work Peasant Community published in 1892. This book provides a detailed examination of the zemstvo statistical data in order to refute the theory of the rudimentary nature of the peasant community. To prove his ideas, Vorontsov used the objectivist approach in the selection and presentation of the data. He showed that in the post-reform era, the peasant community not only kept its functions of protecting the rural world but also developed new means for implementing the principles of equality and justice and for adapting peasants to the market economy. The peasant community resisted the commodity-money relations, but this resistance was not always effective. There was a growing individualistic trend which threatened to destroy the community organization. Vorontsov focused on the distribution-production functions of the peasant community rather than on its financial-tax, law-making, judicial functions and methods of social protection, and did not consider its representative, police, cultural-educational, religious functions or the contradictions between the communal nature of land relations and the individual economic practices of the peasantry. Vorontsov’s book is a real encyclopedia of the activities and worldview of the Russian peasantry in the second half of the 19th century.


V.P. Vorontsov, peasant community, land redistribution, individualism of the peasantry, communal and household land tenure, agriculture.

About the author

Zverev Vasily V., DSc (History), Senior 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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