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The agrarian bill of Peshekhonov in the I and II State Dumas: question about the nature of country land use

 © 2007 of S.N. Verkholomov


The beginning of the 20th century was marked not only by emergence of various political trends and directions, but also attempts of permission of the imminent agricultural crisis. It as fairly noticed V.A. Kozbanenko, influenced country psychology and mass consciousness and showed need of revision of the agrarian legislation and a solution of the problem of land property [1]. Therefore the agrarian bills offered by political leaders at the beginning of the 20th century are of interest in terms of identification of nature of competitive alternatives in development of agrarian programs of the political parties participating in elections to the I and II State Dumas. The special role in strengthening of conceptual orientation of articles of writers-publicists of the Russkoye Bogatstvo magazine was played by the agrarian bill of "104th", and subsequently - an agrarian part of the program of national socialist party which author was A.V. Peshekhonov - the leader and the ideologist of enes. Studying this project is of scientific interest as its some provisions cause the discrepancy demanding the specifications important in connection with determination of content of the concept of the liberal socialism of A.V. Peshekhonov also today.

During the election campaign in the I State Duma which was taking place from March 26 to April 20, 1906 A.V. was arrested and could not take personally part in it especially as originally all parties of socialist orientation decided to boycott elections and only at the last stages joined in pre-election fight. Therefore sole agency of opposition on elections appeared behind party of the constitutional democrats. And though A.V. was not the deputy of the I State Duma, he actively took part in development of the agrarian program. The organizational structure of labor group acting through I.V. Zhilkin, S.V. Anikin and others charged it development of issues of country land use. Other employees of the Russkoye Bogatstvo magazine (N.F. Annensky, V.A. Myakotin) and also the leader of revolutionary socialists V.M. Chernov also were involved in discussion of the land bill. In the I State Duma this project was presented under the name of "The project of basic provisions on an agrarian question from labor group", or the project of "104th" which was rather competitive in relation to similar documents of other political parties.

At the meetings of labor group which were taking place

almost every day before opening of the I State Duma, the commission consisting of 30 members of labor group which in details discussed an agrarian part of the presented program was created. This commission accepted 18 points reflecting national and socialist ideals about social justice, having realized which, A.V. considered, it would be possible to get rid of so-called "agrarian antagonism". As basis on which the program of tinder funguses and future national socialists was under construction all working people was considered therefore main "support" of the land law was recognition of use of land funds only for agricultural purpose with providing "advantages of the agricultural population before not agricultural" and without exploitation of other labor; therefore it was necessary that "the earth was in hands only those who the work process it" [2].

Achievement of this purpose by A.V. contacted formation of public land fund which had to include all state, specific, kabinetsky, monastery and church lands; it was supposed to include the aloof landowners' and other privately owned estates as the amount of separate possession exceeded the labor norm established for this area [2] in the same fund. Next-to-skin lands and those from privately owned which did not exceed labor norm, had to remain for former owners, but they could not be in any other form of ownership, except as in state, was forbidden to concede them "to other persons by sale, donation, the will, pledge or long-term rent" [2]. This thesis directly did not mean "nationalization", but denial of variety of forms of ownership and restriction of the rights for inheritance on the law or common law in essence provided it.

By the beginning of the 20th century in Russia: state land tenure, next-to-skin and private. The state territories, as a rule, were the most numerous and mostly unused. Next-to-skin lands represented a part of the property assigned to various estates, small groups, to the certain yards and settlements. The state drove the peasant into a corner, having forced it to buy the land, having at the same time deprived of the right to sell it. Therefore,

the peasant was chained to the site, but in fact not he was an owner, and the landowner to whose earth that was attached. Therefore migration of peasants was insignificant, and because of compulsory settled life productive forces at such form of an agrarian system could not progress. According to A.V., the village turned into certain "the caste which is almost deprived of inflow of fresh elements" [3].

Supporting free movement of peasants and their free distribution between the city and the village, A.V. pointed to Western Europe, giving it as an example of the solution of this problem by introduction of a private property institution on the earth. Undoubtedly, he knew, as in the homeland there will be defenders of such decision, but in view of the Russian identity and mentality of the Russian people this method, according to him, was not suitable for Russia as introduction of the private property on the earth finally would ruin the peasantry. Therefore A.V. Pe-shekhonov suggested to go an opposite way: "to turn towards state ownership" that provided carrying out reform for the benefit of the working people [3].

Advantages of local community to participate in processing of the earth were accurately designated: "Each worker had the right to farmstead settled life in that area in which he lived, and the right for a plot in that area where there was a free earth" [3]. At the partition of the earth certain norms of an allotment which have to be established by the law where not only quantitative, but also qualitative parameters would be defined were provided. A.V. considered features of the Russian landscape as understood that he the earth to the earth discord, and considered a difference between bigger profitability of the "chernozem" peasant of the steppe South and the peasant of the forest North [4]. Such approach to the partition of the earth assumed: first, uniform distribution of the population across the territory of Russia; secondly, a certain disengagement on urban population and true "fans" of agricultural works as the earth received from national fund in case of the termination of economy and also at reduction of its sizes was subject to return to fund; thirdly, a raising of the general agrotechnical level of use of the earth as for all improvements the reward for the account of the state was provided [2].

In the agrarian bill of "104th" the active social support from the state was offered. Introduction of the extraordinary land tax for use of the earth which was established according to quality of the earth and its location was supposed, and the help at the expense of the state in the form of loans and grants has to be rendered to the persons who were receiving the earth from public fund and not having sufficient means for acquisition by all necessary in economy [2].

He suggested to consign all questions connected with the organization and holding a land reform which A.V. considered urgent local administration. In this case local committees, and the provincial, district and volost delegates elected in the way direct equal had to be founded and a ballot, defined their structure. Entered duties of committees: the organization free and wide, with the participation of all population, discussion of the general bases and all details of the land law; announcement of the report on the known number of distribution of land and also number and structure of local community; design of the labor and food norms corresponding to local conditions and development in relation to local conditions of the plan of carrying out reform; regulation until implementation of reform of the rent prices, the salary, duration of the working day and other relations between land owners and workers [2].

The question of a reward for the alienated lands was important. In spite of the fact that it was not up to the end solved, in particular, concerning the size and conditions of repayment of the earth, after all the provision on a reward for the privately owned lands which are forcibly alienated and voluntarily conceded in public fund from public foundation [2] had to become a strong point.

Thus, this set of requirements of the bill represented a certain convergence of liberalism and democratic socialism. On the one hand, in the agrarian bill aspects of the cadet program, namely the requirement of alienation of lands, establishment of the maximum amount of possession of the land plots and so forth were noticeable [2]. So, V.A. Kozbanenko defends the provision on connection in the project of socialist land orders with capitalism in the field of industrial production [1]. But V.V. Zverev noticed that attention was practically not paid to a question of industrial domestic modernization and in general in the theoretical plan both future enesa, and Social Revolutionaries did not consider the fact that socialist transformations of agriculture are impossible without modernization of the domestic industry. Only in the years of World War I, Zverev, at the time of food, transport and coal crisis continued, party of enes and respectively A.V. proposed to adjust state regulation of a system of production and distribution and also to establish over it public control [5]. On the other hand, Kozbanenko notes, the fraction of tinder funguses in democratization of the system of land tenure shown in creation of committees and the state support of the people went further cadets [1, page 195]. Though creation of similar committees was provided also by Social Revolutionaries, O.L. Protasova which stood up for their organization claims

an attendance way, enesa led by A.V. considered that such bodies have to be created only on legal, legal grounds [6]. And still this project and in a modern historiography, and in political circles of the beginning of the 20th century had ambiguous estimates.

Versatile characteristic of theses of the agrarian program of A.V., tinder funguses and subsequently labor national socialist party, shown in degree and the importance of acceptance or rejection of nationalization, from modern historians is represented disputable and demands specification. Addressing the A.V.'s works, it is necessary to emphasize that really concerning industrial production he allowed private possession, including the management of factories and plants of labor-intensive process, but only till that time when "the people get used suit the public affairs" [7, page 27]. Thus, removed questions of reorganization of the industrial A.V. complex up to permission of agricultural crisis, thereby emphasizing importance of the solution of issues of modernization of production and country land use, uniting country and working interests in one to "an economic cell" that, according to him, would affect positively economic life of the country and group of public forces in it [7, page 178].

This project received ambiguous estimates and from A.V. Peshekhonov's contemporaries. The project of "104th" underwent critical remarks from constitutional democratic party. So, in the first release of "A national and socialist review" A.B. Petrishchev, one of initiators of creation of NSP, agreed not with the conclusion of editorial office of the Rech magazine - publication of cadets which sharply spoke of the agrarian bill and in general of the platform: "The socialist populists insufficiently free from a doktrinarizm consider it necessary to make not only production, but also consumption social, and do not offer the program of the real reforms capable to throw the bridge between bourgeois reality and future socialist system. At such surplus of socialism and even communism the national socialist party, obviously, can include only a small group of ideologists philanthropists" [8]. The same remarks passed an opinion on the agrarian program of national socialist party the Social Revolutionary P.A. Vikhlyaev who devoted to this question article in the collection of publishing house of "our Thought" where he, recognizing a leader role of A.V. Peshekhonov, at the same time accused him that, going in the way of nationalization in an agrarian question, "A.V. Peshekhonov as the writer on agrarian questions breaks A.V. Peshekhonova as the figure of national socialist party", i.e. in populism [9]. The representative of the Russian sotsialdemokratiya, the Menshevik P.P. Maslov, expressing agrarian programs of various political parties, assured the readers that "populists intend to divide bast shoes the earth equally"

[10]. Polemizing with A.V., Maslov accused him of loan of the idea at it about alienation of a land rent, including himself her author, and in general of commitment to the idea of Marxism which as "an infection... got even into the persistent heads of pillars of populism" [11]. A.V. tactfully brought the ancestor of this idea who besides was "bourgeois" (Henry George), having accused in turn Maslov of defect of megalomania

During work of the I State Duma not only among political fractions of various directions, but also in the environment of tinder funguses a certain discrepancy of the agrarian bill of "104th" was shown. The social and political figure of the beginning of the 20th century, a tinder fungus L.M. Bramson noted that for country deputies of the central and east Russia the provision on alienation of lands was old. Any part of the deputies representing the western provinces did not approve this project for the following reasons: first, because of fear of destruction of a country private property, secondly, in connection with the offer of institute of communal use of the earth, unusual for their peasantry, thirdly, because of absence in their region of practice of communal repartitions [12].

Obvious misunderstanding and rejection of the project from the deputy-trudovikov from the Ukrainian and Baltic provinces was connected with unwillingness to give to the nation-wide order the national property, future to their autonomy. Complete unanimity on the land project did not manage to be reached, and after acceptance before opening of the I State Duma at one of meetings of the organizational commission consisting of 30 people, 18 points of the agrarian project many deputies from group of tinder funguses (a part of peasants of the western strip, the Lithuanian priests, ostzeyets) ceased to attend meetings of group [12]. Also the project was opposed by some tinder funguses: for example, the deputy of the Chernihiv province, professor T.V. Lokot who offered to adherents the program of permission of an agrarian question in the spirit of the ideas of the Russian Social Democratic Party which did not receive, however, a special response among deputies [12]. Did not agree with the project and the deputy-trudovik T.I. Sidelnikov according to whom nationalization was contrary to the interests of agriculture corresponded to the interests of the most unfortunate population of the chernozem center [1]. But in general the project was approved by political fractions and collected the greatest number of signatures - 104, on number of the signed deputies it also was called by the project of "104th". Moreover, the historian O.L. Protasova tinder funguses considers the solution of the land question by undoubted break in

areas of innovations in agriculture and a victory in the I State Duma over Social Revolutionaries. "Peasants, - she writes, - without having responded to the eserovsky slogan of socialization of the earth, accepted point on its nationalization basic in A.V.'s theory" [6]. Kozbanenko characterized this project as democratic, on the one hand, and eclectic - with another. The eclecticism consisted in combination incompatible where economic inspirations concerning semi-natural production, being considered as a program ideal, connected in it to utopias; in general, according to him, it was the way of extensive development of agriculture. Assessment of the agrarian project "104th" O.L. Protasova who unlike V.A. Kozbanenko emphasizes that the program of labor group gave a scope for an intensification of country economy on the basis of the family and labor beginning, development of cooperation and broad state support [6] is opposite. A.V. constantly returned to this project, trying to prove more deeply the formulated provisions, having strengthened the argument and the contents of the acquired directions of agrarian policy. The analysis of sources shows that A.V. comprehensively approached the solution of an agrarian question in Russia. So, for example, in the "Theses to the message about agricultural cooperation" written to the period between revolutions, and which subsequently entered article "Community, Cooperation, Zemstvo" in the Russkoye Bogatstvo magazine (May, 1914) he focused attention to need of an intensification of agriculture, first, by means of use of cooperations of all types - consumer, credit and productive - based on "the labor beginning"; secondly, by use of cooperative experience of the Western European countries; thirdly, through distribution of cooperative forms on mining industry - sawing, joiner's, flour-grinding, etc. [13]. These views found reflection in a formulation of nature of the territorial policy necessary for support and development of labor, cooperative and communal farms in agriculture and issued in the form of the program requirements accepted at the I conference of the enes (November, 1906) and then offered for discussion in the II State Duma.

In spite of the fact that the labor group and national socialist party were included into the II State Duma separate fractions, the bill drafted by A.V. was introduced by tinder funguses without changes. And though under it there were already 99 signatures, because of direct analogies with pervodum-sky it was also called the project of "104th" [1, page 222].

The program of national socialist party was made in the summer of 1906 in St. Petersburg in working hours of the I State Duma, and finally approved in June, 1917 at the first congress of national socialist party [14]. If in the agrarian bill of "104th" instead of the term "nationalization" another was used - "alienation", then in the program of enes the nationalization was designated by the first point, than need of the address of the earth to public (state) property was emphasized [15]. In other provisions the project was similar to the project of tinder funguses and significant changes did not undergo.

Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century social and economic projects including on an agrarian question, were popular with a certain part of society. The agrarian bill of "104th" drafted by A.V. included rather wide democratic requirements in combination with socialist ideals of social justice. It became the first processed document in political activity of his author who got rather big support. The concept of an agrarian question of A.V. and in I, and II State Dumas remained almost invariable, i.e. the main directions and priorities were kept, and nationalization was considered as A.V. as the optimum mechanism of regulation of the agricultural sector of national economy.


1. V Kozbanenko And. Party fractions in the I and II State Dumas of Russia. 1906 - 1907 of M., 1996. Page 187.
2. State Duma. Convocation of I. Session 1. T. 1. Stb. 560-562.
3. A.V. A.V. Agrarian reform in terms of the market//the Chronicle of internal life. Russian wealth. 1905. No. 8. Page 120.
4. A.V. A.V. Land needs of the village and main objectives of agrarian reform. SPb., 1906. Page 35.
5. Zverev V.V. Enesovskaya submodel//Models of public reorganization of Russia. The XX century. M, 2004. Page 456.
6. O.L.A. Protasova. V. Peshekhonov: person and era. M, 2004. Page 65.
7. A.V. A.V. Hleb, light and freedom. SPb., 1906. Page 27.
8. A.B. Petrishchev. About the fate of party. We - Russia//the National and socialist review. Issue 1. 1906. Page 21.
9. A.F. Salikovsky. About the agrarian program of national socialists. Kiev, 1907. Page 8-9.
10. A.V. A.V. Land right (nationalization and socialization). Pg., 1917. Page 50.
11. Russian wealth. 1905. No. 9. Page 192.
12. L.M. Bramson. To the history of labor party. Pg., 1917. Page 15.
13. A.V. A.V. Theses to the message about agricultural cooperation//GARF, t. 4653, op. 1, 64, l. 1.
14. A.V. Sypchenko. National socialist party

in 1907 - 1917 M., 1999. Page 80. 15. National and socialist review. 1906. Issue 1. Page 3-14; Labour national socialist party:

Documents and materials. M, 2003. Page 69.

Rostov state university

On December 11, 2006

Martha Newman
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