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Role of nobility in the organization of charity during the Russo-Japanese war (on materials of the Voronezh province)

UDK 323311 (4703241:94(471.0834


Russian state social university (Voronezh)


Forms and methods of the organization of the noble charitable help to victims during the Russo-Japanese war are stated. It is shown that noble charity had the specifics and focus, it was carried out not spontaneously, and within corporate self-government institutions, and had vsesoslovny character.


Charity in human society has long traditions. The basis of this phenomenon is formed by universal experience of survival of the human race only in the conditions of mutual support. After the idea about creation of good to people took the fundamental place in Christianity. The Christian ideas of mutual aid found the fertile field in Russia.

In the long history of the country there are a lot of bright pages disclosing philanthrophy of the Russian people. Really Golden Age in the history of charity is considered

XIX century when in Russia the whole system of charities and institutions which activity was supported by all estates was created. The special role in this plan belonged to merchants, but also the nobility, especially during wars, showed considerable activity on a charity field. It was explained by the fact that both merchants, and noblemen had for this activity necessary conditions, and first of all they were brought up in the spirit of a unification, rendering mutual aid between people, Christian mercy, and on the other hand, these estates, especially merchants, had considerable material resources. At the same time the nobility concerning charity had the specifics, namely: noblemen in general were not so uniform in respect of material welfare as merchants; among them were absolutely impoverished that owing to corporate solidarity directed efforts of wealthy noblemen to the aid of people of the estate. Various special funds for the help to impoverished noblemen were for this purpose created.

Other difference of noble charity was the fact that this estate was since ancient times focused on military protection of the fatherland, military science was considered as the main field of nobility. Therefore during a wartime the noblemen sought to help business of protection of the fatherland, whether the direct participation on fields of war, or rendering assistance to soldiers, being in the back. And therefore, noble charity was directly connected with activity of the charitable institutions founded by members of an imperial surname.

It should be noted that the nobility, owing to decline of the manors during the post-reform period, had big financial problems. So, about 50 were transferred in the Voronezh province in the first post-reform years in noble guardianship in a year on average pomestiy1.

The beginning of the 20th century was marked by large military collision. The war begun in

1904 Japan without warning, from defeat of the Russian squadron which was peacefully standing on raid at Port Arthur, pursued the aim to force out Russia from the Pacific Ocean, to deprive of it geopolitical influence on the Asian continent. The Russian government in the manifesto from
18 February, 1904 considered it as war "for honor and dignity of Russia and for domination on waters of the Pacific Ocean, so significantly necessary for consolidation in longitude
1 V.A. Shapovalov. The nobility of the Central Chernozem region of Russia during the post-reform period. The m is Belgorod, 2002. Page 197.

ages of a peace prosperity not only ours, but also all Christian people" 2.

Due to the beginning of war on February 29, 1904 in Voronezh the extraordinary provincial nobility assemly for discussion of a question of participation of noblemen in satisfaction of the needs caused by war was called. It was necessary to discuss forms and the amount of such help and also sources of replenishment of expenses on it.

The nobility should go to the essential expenses connected with war, to undertake voluntary obligations for donation of the considerable sums for the help to combatants and their families. therefore it was important to create the corresponding psychological spirit got by military-patriotic feelings at a meeting.

According to the proposal of the provincial leader of the nobility A.I. Alyokhin in the hall of a meeting the molebstviye about health of the emperor and about talent of a victory to the Russian troops was served. After commission of a molebstviye by chorus of choristers the national anthem repeated at the request of attendees three times, the interrupted every time by unanimous shout "hurrah" was executed. In the address to delegates of a meeting A.I. Alyokhin noted that "the feeling of terrible indignation captured all Russian people at a message about sudden attack of the enemy on our valorous fleet... The Voronezh nobility, faithful to historical calling, and following century precepts of ancestors, it is always ready to rise as one person. in ranks of defenders of the fatherland. In consciousness of correctness of the Russian business and its final celebration we will meet vigorously, without haughty self-conceit, but without fear and fear suddenly burst military thunderstorm" 3. In minutes of a meeting it was noted that amicable "hurrah" for of noblemen was the answer to this performance.

In the telegram sent to the emperor on behalf of a meeting it was emphasized that the Voronezh nobility "expresses unshakable determination to sacrifice the property and the life for the sake of honor and dignity protection of Russia" 4. In the response telegram the Minister of Internal Affairs Plehve reported to meeting on behalf of the emperor that on the telegram of the Voronezh noblemen the emperor "with own hand desired to trace: "Warmly I thank the Voronezh nobility for the feelings expressed by them"" 5. The pathos connected with exchange of telegrams can raise certain doubts. But it is worth to remember that during the considered period it worked for strengthening of mutual trust between the governor and subordinates that was the most important factor of stability of society.

Naturally, in nobility assemly not the ritual, but business part was main. Participants of an extraordinary provincial meeting unanimously accepted on February 29, 1904 the proposal made at the meeting of leaders and deputies of the nobility which took place on February 15, 1904 assigning from noblemen of the province on the maintenance of hospitals 50 thousand rubles and on grants to families of combatants of 15 thousand rubles. And from 50 thousand rubles the meeting charged to the provincial leader of the nobility 25 thousand to bring immediately in the Main Administrative Committee in Moscow, and to leave other 25 thousand at the disposal of the Voronezh committee. To distribute the money allocated for grants according to the revealed requirement. The meeting authorized the provincial leader to open in local office of the State Bank the special current account on security the percentage papers belonging to the nobility or to sell them, depending on the fact that it will recognize more tselesoobraznym6.

At discussion of a question of sources of replenishment of expenses on the charitable needs connected with war in the sum of 65 thousand rubles, it was decided to allocate for these purposes funds of noble treasury - 7200 rub, the concert capital - 1800 rub, the vacant capital - 18 thousand rubles. Other 38 thousand should be extinguished by the organization of a voluntary fold, permission to which carrying out was got from the emperor on February 25, 1904. The essence of a fold was that noblemen, both hereditary and personal, voluntarily agreed to podesyatinny taxation of lands and other real estate belonging to them in the cities and counties. The tithe of the earth was estimated in various counties differently: from 0.83 kopeks in Bogucharskom up to 1.6 kopeks in Zemlyanskom7.

At the beginning of March, 1904 according to the order of the provincial leader of the nobility in

2 G.G. Savich. New political system of Russia. Reference book. SPb., 1907. Page 11.
3 The state archive of the Voronezh region (further - GAVO). T. I-29. Op. 1. 1451. L. 3 about.
4 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1451. L. 4.
5 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1451. L. 9.
6 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1454. L. the 1-1st
7 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1453. L. 14 about.

the account of repayment of the debt caused by transfer to the Main Administrative Committee of 25 thousand rubles it was invested from noblemen 13 thousand rubles 8. It should be noted that the Main Administrative Committee which was headed by the Moscow provincial leader of the nobility played an important role in coordination of all charity of the nobility of the country. The committee consisted of representatives of the nobility of each province which offered in the general treasury money. Having small staff of constant employees whose part worked on a voluntary basis, Committee resolved such issues as reception of the offered means, detection of requirement at warring soldiers for any given types of an allowance and coordination of their collecting in provinces, control and the bringing to publicity of the financial and monetary reporting of provincial noble Committees on fund raising on charitable tseli9.

However, the main problem of charity - fund raising - was solved first of all on places. Forms of donations were various. So, employees of nobility Deputy assemly of l904 of addressed on May 24 the provincial leader of the nobility with the following statement: "We, the undersigneds, show the voluntary willingness on assignment from the contents received by us, until the end of military operations in the Far East, to begin .otchisleniye since June, 1904" 10. In some cases at the initiative of leaders of the nobility, charitable markets, lotteries were arranged. For example, the Ostrogozhsky district leader reported to Alyokhin that l of October, 1904 was arranged to them a lottery of Allegri and a market in Ostrogozhsk, "all collecting with which, in the sum z thousand rubles, - it was noted in the report, - I forward for needs of wounded and sick soldiers in the Far East" 11.

But most such form of collecting donations for needs of war as distribution among noblemen of special subscription lists became widespread. On each of them printed in the typographical way it was specified that the subscription list extends on behalf of the Voronezh local noble Committee for collecting donations to the requirements caused by events in the Far East. Except the column with the instruction who and how many offered, were also sections with the instruction for what purposes money was donated, including: on grants to the wounded and crippled soldiers not capable to work; to the aid of families of the killed, wounded and crippled soldiers (officers and the lower ranks); on the maintenance of hospitals of the nobility in field conditions; on strengthening of the military flota12.

It is characteristic that donors usually gave money for grants to families of the killed and wounded soldiers and on the maintenance of hospitals. As for donations on the military fleet, they were very insignificant. For example, the family of M.M. Trazhskovsky and V.F. of all offered 217 rub, from them on improvement of the fleet only of 17 rub. The leader Biryuchensko-go of the nobility offered to the aid of wounded of 208 rub, and on strengthening of the fleet of only 15 rub 13. Such orientation of donations is quite explainable: in a short space of time you will not restore the fleet, and crippled and sick demanded the help now. District leaders of the nobility, noble deputies, ordinary noblemen-land owners subscribed to the largest sums, as a rule. Among donors there were following leaders of the nobility: The Voronezh County - 678 rub, Ostrogozhsky - 388 rub, Biryuchensky - 222 rub, Bobrovsky - 217 rub, the noble deputy of the Ostrogozhsky County D.N. Perren-Sinelnikov - 150 rub, zemlevladelez the Zadonsky County A.A. Snetkov - 100 rub, etc. 14. District leaders organized collecting warm clothes for soldiers. Only from the Nizhnedevitsky county at the beginning

1905 315 arshins of a canvas and also mittens, stockings, valenoks, sapogi15 arrived.

The noble Committee attached great value to distribution of the raised funds. In August, 1904 a meeting of leaders and deputies of the nobility of the Voronezh province heard the proposal of the noble leader on "About the Mechanism of Delivery of Grants to Families of Officers and the Lower Ranks of the Killed, Wounded and Crippled". The meeting confirmed earlier made decision on allocation on these purposes of 15 thousand rubles, is built -

8 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. і. 1453. L. 2
9 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. і. 1451. L. 13.
10 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1452. L. 47.
11 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1452. L. 11.
12 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1452. L. 33.
13 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1452. L. 15, 31
14 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1452. L. 51.
15 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1452. L. 21.

ny nobility. As for a way of distribution, in the decision on this question it was noted: in view of the fact that the provincial nobility assemly on February 28, 1904 "did not specify a way and an order of delivery of grants to the families of soldiers called from borders of the Voronezh province. we find possible to apply in this case the order established by the nobility at distribution of grants from the Somovsky capital except for consideration of petitions for grants in a meeting of leaders of the nobility" 16.

The order of distribution of grants from the Somovsky capital provided use of already being available structure of class self-government and, first of all, Nobility deputy assemly. To the secretary of Nobility deputy assemly all documentation on potential candidates for receiving a grant was flown down. Preliminary selection of candidates, as a rule, with the indication of the required sum, happened at the level of the district leader of the nobility (if the applicant was from the county, but not from the provincial center). The opinion of the district leader both on the required sum, and on refusal or adoption of the application was decisive. For check of financial position of applicants local law enforcement agencies which issued the relevant documents were attracted. Finally the issue of delivery of grants was resolved at the provincial level, in Nobility deputy assemly. The double control system at the district and provincial level excluded financial abuses, gave to distribution publicity and transparency and substantially public harakter17.

In some cases the participants of war who had wounds and mutilations without having received the help from government institutions, addressed for support in the noble organizations. So, 22 East Siberian shooting regiments of S.G. Prokhorenko from peasants of the settlement Evstratovki of the Ostrogozhsky County were specified in the application of the former corporal that he, being in the service in the Far East, was involved in five battles, including at Tyurenchena, on the Dalinsky pass where, being in group of intelligence agents, he got a severe wound. Because of its consequences he is not capable to work. At the same time in its dependence there are a wife with the juvenile child and aged parents. In spite of the fact that S.G. Prokhorenko was awarded the order to Saint George and felt severe need, the governor whom he asked for the help refused "behind absence on that means" 18. Only in noble Committee the appropriate assistance was rendered to it.

The fact that the former soldiers got support in noble charitable Committee was not accidental. Most of district leaders, namely they as it was already noted, resolved an issue of the future of applications, had, as a rule, military education, underwent military service, quite often were involved in battles therefore they well understood situation, feelings and moods of participants of war. The petition of the leader of the Korotoyaksky County of October 30, 1905 to the provincial leader of the nobility A.I. Alyokhin with the offer to render financial support to the participant of the Russo-Japanese war S.T. Vtulkin is characteristic in that plan. In the petition, in particular, it was noted that "Semyon Tikhonovich Vtulkin, the peasant of the village of Drakino of the Corot-toyaksky county, was involved in fights, was on the Putilovsky hill, received Georgy, it is made in a rank of the zauryad-ensign and due to illness returned home; during war got a tuberculosis and now situation it directly awful; three-ruble pension which he receives, of course, is too insignificant to support him with family. In a type of stated I ask. to grant to Vtulkin a lump sum of 300 rub of 15 thousand rubles of Prosimuyu assigned by the nobility on this subject the sum deign to make the order to transfer to me to perhaps short time for delivery to destination" 19. S.T. Vtulkin's receipt that on November 22, 1905 he received 300 rub remained

In other petition the Korotoyaksky leader of the nobility noted that "within the county there are three families of the spare lower ranks, so poor called on war that the help rendered to them by zemstvo is absolutely insufficient" 20. In this regard

16 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1454. L. 4.
17 In detail see A.I. Chvikalov. Public contempt in nobility at the beginning

XX centuries//Voronezh bulletin of the archivist. Issue 4. Voronezh, 2006. Page 108-115.

18 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1454. L. 18.
19 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1454. L. 18.
20 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1454. L. 20-21. About charity of zemstvo. See A.I. Chvikalov. Charity of territorial institutions at the end of 19 - the beginning of 20 centuries//the Voronezh study of local lore: traditions and present. Voronezh, 2006. Page 85-87.

he suggested to give out to these families of a grant from noble fund. The Nizhnedevitsky district leader of the nobility petitioned for the help to the peasant G.A. Prokhorenko: "I know that Prokhorenko is really wounded in a knee, to work it is not capable, and I would ask therefore to give it a grant" 21.

As a rule, money under receipts was handed by the volost foreman. The sum of a grant was coordinated with the level of financial position of family. Judging by the remained receipts of peasants, it averaged 50-60 rub. So, on 50 rub in October, 1905 it was given out to families of peasants of the Old and Bezginsky volost of the Ostrogozhsky County of Solomkina, Kupriyanova, Dubovsky, Karpova, etc. 22. Families of petty bourgeoises asked for the help to a lesser extent that was explained, apparently, by two reasons: the bulk of soldiers was made by country estate, besides, petty bourgeoises could count on the help with other channels.

Did not gain mass character the request for the help of nobility. As a rule, impoverished personal noblemen asked for the help also that in rare instances. So, on February 22, 1906 Anatoly Dmitrievich Zi_uri living in Voronezh addressed to charitable Committee. He wrote in the application on the help: "having returned from the Far East where went the volunteer, being wounded, was ill, and, without having any means of livelihood, I dare to ask about a temporary allowance". It was given 25 rub 23. It was helped young families of noblemen who got in connection with war into a difficult life situation. It was specified in the application on the help of the noblewoman M.V. Andreyeva of March 11, 1906 that five years ago she married the hereditary nobleman from whom she had two children: three and four years. In November, 1904 her husband was called on war. As the husband was not separated from the father, M.V. Andreyeva had no means of livelihood. Besides the mother-in-law refused to help her before arrival of the husband from army. "My situation, - she wrote, - the most sad and so desperate that I have even no opportunity to take service as with two children will not take on service, to leave children on care of the old woman mother of my 66 years - the poor woman, it is impossible" 24. It was specified in the reference attached to the application issued by police department that M.V. Andreyeva "the property which is personally belonging to it, both movable, and immovable, except a necessary violent dress, has no. her husband is on active duty in the 149th infantry Black Sea regiment in the Far East" 25. Appropriate assistance was rendered to the petitioner.

In general it is possible to tell that war brought a lot of grief and sufferings to the Russian people. At the same time it revealed also aspiration of people to mutual aid, compassion, charity. A military-patriotic spirit, traditions of the best part of the nobility which is brought up in the spirit of military service to the Fatherland religiousness promoted what charity of this estate is brightest and effective was shown during military collision on protection of boundaries of Russia. It is important to emphasize that the organization of the charitable help was beyond nobility, it had extra class character.

Conclusions can be made of this material the following.

The Srednepomestny nobility at the end of XIX - the beginning of the 20th centuries was pressed for considerable money. At the same time its considerable part responded to an appeal to render disinterested aid to the people who were injured during the Russo-Japanese war.

Charity of the nobility had public and private nature. However the leading role belonged to public nature of charity. It was connected with two circumstances: first, in the organization of charity events the nobility used the corporate structure and, secondly, the srednepomestny nobility as it was already noted, had no necessary capital. In the merchant and enterprise environment, on the contrary, forms of charity events became widespread private, personal.

The noble class management directly organized charity and, in particular, the nobility assemly forced noblemen, by voluntary folds, to go for donation of necessary means for victims during military operations. The class structure helped the nobility to fix the mechanism

21 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1454. L. 25.
22 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1458. L. 25.
23 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1454. L. 12-14.
24 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1454. L. 26.
25 GAVO. T. I-29. Op. 1. 1454. L. 28, 29.

distributions of money by the victim, without allowing at the same time corruption and squandering of means. Practical work on the organization of charity events on places laid down on district leaders of the nobility.

The nobility as "the first estate" in the charity leaned and used a possibility of direct contact with supreme authority that obliged and induced this estate to respond to external threats of consolidation and various patriotic actions, including charity.

Motive of charity of the best part of nobility was, first of all, such factor as aspiration to the statement of the ideals and values which are based on the principles of Christian mercy and philanthrophy.



Russian State Social University, (Voronej)

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Forms and methods of landlords’ charitable support and care for people suffered from Russian-Japanese war are described. It is shown that landlords’ charity had its specific features and intentions and was realized not in a chaotic way but through corporative bodies of self-government, having in the end all-class character.

Aaron Smith
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