Kuznetsov I. A. Russia’s harvest statistics in the first half of the 19th century: The problem of primary data // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2022. V.7. №3. P. 35-54.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2022-7-3-35-54


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.

About the author

Kuznetsov Igor A., PhD (History), Senior Researcher, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Vernadskogo Prosp., 82, Moscow, 119571, Russia.
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Russian Peasant Studies. Scientific journal

Center for Agrarian studies of the Russian Presidental Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)

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