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Category: History

Agrarian culture and country production in Russia (1880th 1917)

milana of ESIKOVA


In article conditions of formation of agrarian culture and change in country mentality under the influence of which for rather short period of time the considerable jump in increase in productivity and gross collecting grain was made are considered.

In the article the conditions of agriculture improvement and changes in peasants’ mentality are considered. Due to this fact a sizeable leap had been made in increase of crop capacity and croppage of grains in rather short period.

agrarian culture, peasantry, mentality, productivity, gross collecting; agriculture, peasantry, mentality, crop capacity, croppage.

In the conditions of constant reforming for the last two decades practically of all aspects of life the increased public and scientific interest in historical heritage of Russia and the Russian culture is quite explainable. The problem of studying spiritual tradition is the cornerstone of this interest. Exactly there is also a question of the attitude towards tradition as to the basis of culture connected with a certain type of mentality, forms of managing and life. In this regard studying agrarian culture as integral part of the Russian culture becomes particularly important.

It is necessary to recognize that roots of many agricultural problems are in the past. Sadly, but the fact that the agenda of agrarian discussions in Russia is not updated since peasant reform of 1861 — questions of land property, increases in efficiency of agricultural production, the political and social rights of the peasantry, extent of intervention of the state in development of agriculture remain relevant and demand the permission. Here not to do without knowledge of history.

Usually understand the standard and steady forms and ways of economic activity, the most characteristic phenomena of mass public consciousness of country people which were shown in customs, production skills and methods of work, the relation to work and the environment as agrarian culture.

At all value of agrotechnical means and receptions, the accumulated know-how, in traditional agriculture and livestock production the means of labor given by the nature prevailed: earth, physical capacities of the person, animal draft power, wind power and waters. They first of all caused ways of economic activity and environmental management. The choice of systems of agriculture and even types of arable tools in any given region, a ratio between different industries entirely depended on them. The nature of the settlement and resettlement, daily life, the organization of the used territory were defined by them.

Traditions of last eras remain and enriched in the modern national experience in many respects supplementing industrial technologies and adapting them for specific local conditions. Studying traditional ways of environmental management is important not only in the applied relation. It gives a lot of things also in the theoretical plan. Data on methods of environmental management of last years, understanding the mechanism by means of which occur -

ESIKOVA Milana Mikhaelovna — to. and. N, associate professor of history and philosophy of the Tambov state technical university

la change of forms of exchange between society and the environment, shed light on change of types of culture and a civilization, evolution social otnosheniy1.

The mentality of the Russian peasantry is the communal mentality created for centuries within the closed society. The community regulated internal life of country community and its communication with the outside world, it stored and broadcast production and social experience, all system of values of the peasantry.

By the beginning of the 20th century the peasantry in Russia made the vast majority of the population, and melkokrestyansky production was the most mass economic way. The modernization of the country which was carried out in the most short time was made in the conditions of the remained pre-capitalistic relations in a social order, from economy to the spiritual sphere.

At the end of the 19th century the processes of economic, social, psychological and moral disintegration of community more and more became irreversible. Measures to preservation of an old regime (and they were actively undertaken by the government up to Stolypin reform) only artificially braked disintegration of community, doing it at the same time and more painful. In the village more and more people who physically remained in space of former communal life collected, remained on the earth, but psychologically and are moral were now are very poorly connected with this life, dropped out of country patrimonial community and lost its culture.

The "real", "devout" peasants felt danger to communal orders from semi-proletarians semi-peasants, disliked them. The last more and more influenced village life — already at least because their number to the end of the century quickly increased. Meanwhile, protective mechanisms more often began to fail community. Could not fit into country outlook in any way that physically strong and hardy men beg, and men without the earth and work preuspevayut2. All this to a mustache -

1 Traditional experience of environmental management in Russia. - M, 1998, p. 4-5.
2 S.V. Lurye. As the Russian community//Peasantry and an industrial civilization died. — M, 1993, p. 160.

gublyalos hunger and cholera of the beginning of the 1890th. The village inevitably lost former stability before external influence, and peasants more and more were wary of various agrotechnical innovations. The begun Stolypin transformations did not become transformation accelerators.

Discussion on descents of sentences about an exit from community led to revival of its activity. It began to resolve a bigger circle of issues, than before revolution of 1905 — 1907. All this became the response of community to the amplified threat to a traditional way of life. The community chose the path of adaptation to new conditions: introduction of advanced instruments of labor and cars, rational ways of processing of the soil (mnogopolny crop rotation) began.

Country poverty was quite often main reason for non-compliance with at first sight quite obvious agrotechnical requirements. So, peasants, undoubtedly, well realized need of periodic updating of seeds, but owing to lack of means they had to refuse updating of seed material.

Besides, country culture kept old customs not owing to the conventionalism and stagnancy, and owing to a self-preservation instinct. New undertakings were fraught with risk to lose huge work collected, to destroy for centuries the checked system of production and life.

Increase in level of agrarian culture, extent of impact of agronomical service on the standard of farming, first of all, is most integrated was expressed in productivity of country fields. It is well-known that radical changes here as though did not happen as there was still no universal transition of the peasantry necessary for this purpose to mnogopolny crop rotations. At the same time it is necessary to consider that a certain period of time for emergence and development of practical agronomics is necessary. In the Western European countries the transition to the industrial systems of field economy took about 40 — 50 years. In Russia this period took about 40 years: from the 1880th (emergence of the first agronomical organizations) to 1914 — the beginning of World War I.

Using such source as fruitful statistics on next-to-skin lands only for quarter of the century (1888 — 1913), it is possible to speak about existence in many provinces of real prerequisites for quantum leap in development of the crop production based on variety and the corresponding alternation in a crop rotation of crops. Gross collecting for the same years constantly increased (in one thousand poods): 1901 — 1905 — 5,461,233.8; 1906 — 1910 — 5,895,625.6; 1909 — 1913 — 6,779,270.9. As a percentage to average gross collecting for 1909 — 1913 the figures will be the following: 1901 — 1905 — 80.5; 1906 — 1910 — 87.0; 1909 — 1913 — 100.0. And collecting increased not due to increase in acreage, and because of growth of productivity. According to N.D. Kondratyev, on the eve of war 85 — 90% fell to the share of country crops. Studying balance of production and consumption of bread and potatoes, he established that surpluses in pre-war years were 656,022 thousand poods of bread and 20,281 thousand poods of potatoes. The greatest share of this surplus fell on fodder and food bread. At the same time it must be kept in mind that bread consumption rates per capita in Russia were one of the lowest in Europe.

The analysis of fruitful statistics demonstrates that the village, especially territorial, closely approached introduction of mnogopolny crop rotations as peasants approved agricultural plants necessary for this purpose.

Significant changes happened also in the field of technical equipment of agricultural production. Peasants as a part of associations and individually bought advanced agricultural tools, and at times and cars. So, use of farm vehicles during the period since the beginning of the 1870th and till 1896 increased more than by 6.5 times, and by 1912 — in 57 raz1. In general the level of technical equipment of the Russian agriculture remained low, but the trend was already obviously looked through.

Thus, it is important to emphasize that features of climatic conditions could not but create at dews -

1 V.B. Bezgin. Country daily occurrence (traditions of the end of XIX — the beginning of the 20th centuries). — The m is Tambov, 2004, building 79.

siysky peasantry very contradictory mental sets. The short duration of a working season of main types of agricultural works demanding heavy and at the same time fast physical activity developed diligence and speed in work, ability in every possible way to strain physical and moral efforts during the most responsible periods. Peasants intensively worked only during crops, a mowing and a harvest. In the rest of the time the intensity and duration of their work was lower. At the same time it is necessary to consider that the harvest was considered as exclusively women stuff, and a threshing — men's.

However the measure of labor expenses and size of a harvest of bread very often did not correspond among themselves that did not promote development of diligence, care and punctuality, and, on the contrary, led to low discipline of work, to violations of agronomical requirements (i.e. technological discipline). It, in turn, led not only to a shortage and decline in quality of a harvest, but also to deterioration in properties of the soil, to its degradation.

the peasantry was not ready

In the weight to the most effective housekeeping which had mainly consumer character (as B.N. Mironov neatly noticed, the peasant was sure that time — not money, time — a holiday) 2. Therefore they were bad businessmen, were afraid of innovations and especially risk, preferring traditional methods of housekeeping. It does not mean that peasants were undeveloped and lazy. They in the weight saw meaning of life not in accumulation of wealth, and in a quiet and righteous life. Both the low education level, and the existing religious and moral installations affected here.

In such situation absolutely differently it is necessary to estimate actions of the government and the public in increase in level of agrarian culture. For rather short period of time the considerable jump in increase in productivity and gross gathering bread was made. It meant that slowly, but centuries the developing stereotypes steadily began to fall and conditions for formation of independent owners were created.

2 B.N. Mironov. Social history of Russia of the period of the empire. SPb., 1999. T. 2. Page 317.
Thomas Murphy
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