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Fight of local administration against the country movement in the Penza province in 1905-1906

s. V. Zhidkov


In article the subject of emergence and development of the agrarian movement is reflected in the Penza province during the highest raising of the first Russian revolution of 1905-1907. The main attention in work is paid to disclosure of nature of relationship of the provincial power with local country people, the reasons of growth of country revolts in the province are defined, the character, dynamics and specifics of agrarian performances are analyzed.

S. Zhidkov


The origin and the development of the agrarian movement in the Penza Provinceduring the peak period of the first Russian Revolution of 1905-1907 are described. Special emphasis is laid on the authorities’ relationship with the local rural population. An analysis of the factors provoking the growth of peasant movement ai given, and the dynamics and the specific character of peasant uprisings are underlined.

During the revolution of 1905-1907 the peasants uprisings in the territory of Central Volga area became the mass phenomenon. It is explained by the heaviest economic and social situation of the peasantry of this area. The suspense of an agrarian question in the conditions of a population explosion of the beginning of the 20th century created favorable circumstances for the social conflicts and did the village susceptible to revolutionary moods. The administration of the Penza province had to solve sometimes tasks, impossible for it. Fight against the country movement became nearly main direction of activity of the provincial power. Actions local

administrations and police according to prevention of revolutionary activity in the village could not prevent a wave of revolutionary performances. Hopes for peacefulness and patience of the peasantry forced the governor S.A. Hvostov to report the political optimism of the authorities based on aspiration once again not to draw attention of the capital to shortcomings of work of local administration, on requests of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for maintenance and ensuring public order in the province. Meanwhile process of expansion of revolutionary propaganda among local community gained steam that was not fully estimated by the provincial authorities.

The difficult economic situation of the peasantry was aggravated with a crop failure in the Volga region in 1905-1906 that made the village of the most sensitive to revolutionary propaganda of socialist parties. Peasants of page. Pro-treasury of the Penza province plundered the public bakery shops located in the territory of economy of the landowner Arapov. The peasant explained to the territorial chief who arrived to the place of robbery that "plunders were committed for fear that economy can be plundered by others and consequently, also their public stocks" [6, l will be gone. 9]. In attempt to force peasants of page of Semyonov to return bread from government shops the Penza police were forced to use weapon. Among peasants there were wounded and the killed [15, page 3]. The irritation of local administration from reduction of tax revenues from the village pushed the power on confiscation of property of defaulters, up to use of force. In the village of Svishchev of Kerensky of the county resistance of peasants when collecting shortages managed to be broken only after use of weapons by the troops attracted in the help [17, page 2].

Understanding that the crop failure of 1905-1906 became an occasion to start agrarian performances, the authorities of the province took necessary measures for establishing preparation of food. However the food campaign was marked by the scandal connected with the made a noise "Gurko's business — Lidvalya". For decrease in increase in prices for bread which resulted from the competition between the provinces which were injured from a crop failure, the government undertook preparation of grain stocks. The companion of the Minister of Internal Affairs and the chairman of the Special meeting on food V.I. Gurko who was responsible in the government for the organization of food aid to the population gave in the advance payment 800,000 rub to the St. Petersburg firm Lidvalya which did not fulfill the obligation for supply of bread to places, victims of a crop failure. The situation was complicated by the fact that at the same time not to create the competition to Lidvalya, the government forbade provincial institutions to make purchase of bread [12, page 3]. Thus, having counted upon firm, local authorities did not take care of providing peasants with winter seeds in time. In the Penza province where sowing of winter took place in August, seed grain was given up to the first snow [16, page 2].

The continuing increase in prices for bread forced the authorities to undertake measures for assistance to the population which was injured from a crop failure again. Only in the Moksha county to peasants 99,843 poods of a rye, 599,837 poods of oats and 5285 poods of a millet were released. For landless to the Moksha zemstvo 50 thousand rubles were released [13, page 2]. Opening of dining rooms began. To spring of 1907 in the Penza province there were already 979 dining rooms and 106 bakeries. Total number using the help passed for 100 thousand people [8, page 4].

Perfectly understanding that it is impossible to resolve by rendering food aid an agrarian question, the tsarist government issued on March 4, 1906 the decree on creation of the land management commissions. The law reflected the aspiration of the state to give support to the landowners injured with the first wave of disorder by peasants of noble estates. The ruined manors became unprofitable for land owners, demanded an investment of the capitals for their complete recovery that in the conditions of inability of adaptation to the market relations it seemed for many landowners unreal prospect. Therefore at the end of 1905 most of owners of the ruined land tenure preferred to sell the manors. The government met requirements of noblemen. Purchase of manors was carried out by Country land bank. For 1906 passed 31 manors more than 35 thousand into its property des.

[9, page 56]. The land management commissions organized in the province were urged to assist Country bank in purchase of landowners' estates and sale to their land-poor peasants. Much attention was paid to inadmissibility of repayment of the ruined manors by the peasants who made earlier in them disorder. For 1906 the Penza office of Country bank transferred to the land management commissions for elimination 34 manors of 29,499 des., and independently liquidated 24 manors of 51,133 des. [5, l. 35]. However peasants, first, seldom had an opportunity to buy these lands; secondly, in the light of the government repressions triumphing in the province treated a similar invention with great mistrust.

For the purpose of belief of the peasantry in need of the fastest transition to new forms of land use for the province even the brochure by P.N. Sokovni-kov "The device of country farms in the Half-Yibin state manor of the Penza province" was published [7, page 56]. Besides, the broad advocacy work including meetings with peasants which the principles of activity of the land management commissions spoke was developed, it was told about ways of receiving the landowners', specific and state estates by means of mediation of Country bank.

Along with use of reformatory, peace methods, for localization of agrarian performances the administration of the Penza province quite in due time developed the effective system of the repressive measures which allowed to calm the village.

In September, 1905 to borders of the Saratov and Tambov provinces the police and army divisions designed to prevent penetration into the Penza province of revolutionary moods from the neighboring areas were sent. Showed big efficiency given

to district district police officers the order "not to hesitate borders of provinces and counties" at suppression of disorders [1, l. 103]. The Cossacks differing in the mobility were ready to give the greatest support to local authorities, but their quantity in the Penza province was only two and a half hundred people [4, l. 159]. Especially for suppression of peasants uprisings in April, 1905 from the structure of the troops billeted in provinces flying groups were allocated. Passing the highest authorities, the local administration could ask for the help directly them. However abuse of this right at the slightest suspicion for the organization of disorders caused great irritation of the army management which gradually even ceased to react to requests for the help.

In most cases the Penza governor S.A. Hvostov managed to try to obtain implementation of the orders. The Chembarsky district police officer Zarin reported to the governor that during the day — on November 2, 1905 — he suppressed 3 country revolts, and one in the Chembarsky County, two — in the Serdobsky County of the Saratov province [3, l. 75, 76]. The governor in every possible way persuaded landowners not to leave the manors in the conditions of the country movement, provoking thereby plunder of estates. As a result they even agreed to undertake a part of expenses on the content of police protection. In December, 1905 it was the share of 259 policemen provided with food at the expense of treasury 223 who were kept at own expense by land owners [2, l. 104]. In coordination with excise management all wine benches were closed and all stock of wine from the most explosive counties as alcoholism in the conditions of high social tension could provoke disorders is taken out.

The number, rather small in comparison with the neighboring provinces, of the landowner estates plundered by peasants became a result undertaken by administration, police and military of measures. If in November — December, 1905 in the Samara province 75 manors, in Simbirsk — 95, then in Penza only 63 were ruined [10, page 47]. This success managed to be achieved in spite of the fact that the Penza peasantry was the most unfortunate in the Volga region district.

Winter of 1906 the wave of agrarian performances began to decline. The aide-de-camp Maksimovich sent by Nicholas II to the Saratov and Penza provinces informed the emperor: "Everywhere peasants promise to live peacefully and not to allow excesses and defeats which in some volosts and cannot repeat as all landowner estates are already destroyed" [14, l. 13]. The tranquility reached in the province became result not only actions of the power, police and military, but also more decisions of the emperor to create the State Duma. Convoked as "a thought of national hopes", it generated the myth about an opportunity for some time

parliamentary solution of an agrarian question. Not without reason V.I. Lenin called the Duma "an ottyazhny plaster from revolution" [11, page 348]. Also fatigue of the peasantry from bloody fight affected. For strengthening of the reached calm the local administration tried not to provoke disorders from now on.

Thus, it is possible to note that the set undertaken by administration of the province together with police and military of measures promoted recession of revolutionary activity of the village. However suspense of the main social and economic problems to provinces, incompleteness of governmental activities on improvement of the situation of the peasantry, inconsistency in the solution of an agrarian question, the cruelty of suppression of the centers of country revolts was made silent the village only for some time. After dispersal of the Duma the agrarian movement became even more politized, subject to influence of the eserovsky organizations that was natural reaction of the peasantry to repressive policy of local authorities.


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