The Science Work
Site is for sale:
Category: History

Social problems in life of workers of the Voronezh and Kursk provinces in the 20th years of the 20th century

i. N. Butova


The main social problems of workers in the 20th years of the 20th century on the example of the Voronezh and Kursk provinces are considered. On the basis of a wide range of sources special attention is paid to a housing question, a health care problem, public catering. The author establishes the main reasons for these problems and considers attempts of their elimination.

I. Boutova


The article describes the main social problems of the working people in Voronezh and Kursk Provinces in the 1920s. A special attention is paid to the problems of housing, health care, public catering. The main reasons of these problems and the attempts to solve them are analyzed.

Modern Russia passes to creation of modernization economy — it was declared by the Russian President D.A. Medvedev in the annual Message to Federal Assembly. Undoubtedly, on one of the first places the questions connected with training of highly skilled personnel, with their employment and also with the organization of labor and life will move forward. All this demands judgment of historical experience, studying all valuable that it was saved up by a hard work of the Soviet working class during the recovery period.

Besides, as well as in the early twenties last century, Russia is faced with the fact of revival of its economic potential again, though on a new scientific and technical basis. In this regard experience of the past including reconstruction of working class, has not only historical, but also practical value.

An important indicator of material well-being of working families were living conditions. Everywhere made a reservation that: "the housing problem in modern conditions of the industry is

production question. Without decision it the question and of industry development could not be resolved" [28, page 49]. The housing question in life of workers became one of the most sensitive issues without which positive solution the improvement of the situation of workers was impossible. The amplifying housing crisis constrained further expansion of the industry, involvement of workers in production, negatively affected increase in productivity of work.

First of all, the fact that from the beginning of war the number of workers increased was the main cause of a housing crisis, and construction of housing was stopped. Besides, there was also a lack of regulation of all housing construction: lack of constant sources of financing of fund of house building, the specialized construction organizations, the cheapest and rationalized like working dwellings, etc.

Creation of constant fund of housing construction for was the basis for the public housing policy

workers for which funds from budgetary appropriations, from contributions from the profit of the enterprises to fund of improvement of life of workers were allocated. The policy of the state was aimed at integration of construction of working dwellings, at reduction in cost of construction, at streamlining of work of the state construction offices, at cheapening of the credit on housing construction by lengthening of terms of crediting and reduction of an interest rate for housing construction. The task of taking measures to development of type of housing of the cheapest and adapted for needs workers was set. For this purpose it was required to double the watch from labor unions concerning quality, type of constructions and fitness of working dwellings to life of workers.

In the early twenties the housing question rather seriously concerned also the working considered provinces. Archival documents of the Voronezh and Kursk provinces confirm presence of a housing crisis at workers who lived in barracks and dugouts, in the uncomfortable, crude basements, lodged, beds [23, l. 201]. Owing to wear housing stock was reduced, leaving the most part of workers without housing. On the city of Voronezh, according to section of the City Council of civil constructions, the deficiency of living space was 100 thousand square meters [15, l. 1]. Thereof workers of the city of Voronezh were forced to live on the outskirts, it was the share of one thousand inhabited apartments 90 basement [26, page 15].

At inspection of working apartments in the Kursk province in 1921 their dwellings did not meet elementary sanitary standards that confirm archival documents: "... workers lived in apartments of barracks type in the territory of the plant which was located on the low marsh place. The density in apartments working was maximum — on six people on one room. Due to the lack of kitchen it was necessary to cook food directly in rooms. Workers complained that after the fire of a street bath it was not restored [23, l. 201]. In dwellings there was no electricity, there was not enough firewood for heating; workers had to burn down furniture, fences,

to use self-made tin ovens potbelly stoves, they were intended as well for lighting [1, page 16].

Regularly letters from workers with a request came to the trade-union organizations to influence the solution of a housing question [24, l. 1, 2]. But, as a rule, the answer was the following contents: ".zhilishchny conditions of workers are bad and there is no opportunity to improve them" [12, l. 9]. In the Voronezh province, for example, on a request for resettlement of the worker of the sewing industry living in the basement, crude, flooded by sewer waste room with three juvenile children, provincial municipal department gave the following answer: "In response to your relation about granting the apartment, we report that in view of the room crisis which is not giving the chance to grant the arrived requests, and them now about 2500, to provide the apartment to the citizen at the moment there is no opportunity" [20, l. 308-309].

In 1921 in the Voronezh and Kursk provinces for the solution of a housing problem the commissions on improvement of life of workers which main objective was a providing families of workers with housing, furniture, fuel, material for repair [15, l were created. 2]. It should be noted that these commissions did not stay idle what numerous minutes of their meetings confirm [17].

In 1924 for elimination of a housing crisis the Committee of assistance to cooperative construction of working dwellings was formed. Such committees were created also in provinces.

On August 18, 1926 the Voronezh Executive Committee of the City Soviet of People's Deputies issued the Resolution "About an Allocation Order in Municipal Housing Stock of 10% of the Area of Privately Owned, Demunitsipalizirovanny and Leased Houses, Renting Apartments and Uses of Living Space in Households in the City of Voronezh" [22, l. 74]. In practice this resolution did not find the application as residents did not want to lease the 10% of housing in public use.

By this time in the Voronezh province in municipalized and

privately owned houses there were only 105 assignments of 76,687 square meters of living space. In this square 4035 families lived, on average 6.3 sq.m were the share of each person that there was less sanitary standard. From 4035 families which received housing there were 1043 families of workers, 1855 — employees, 172 — persons liable for call-up, 175 — pupils, 312 — the unemployed, 261 — disabled people, 12 — the demobilized Red Army men, 19 — unearned elements and 200 — other citizens [5].

The Soviet and party bodies of the Voronezh and Kursk provinces, made considerable efforts on the solution of a housing problem. Special attention was paid to cooperative construction for which the state allocations were allocated. The Central commercial bank allocated on construction of buildings from wood product the credit for 20 years, on stone construction — for a period of 25 years under 30% per annum. At the fixed apartment cost in 4 thousand rubles there were the credit a month 24 rub. For workers it was almost impossible. Therefore in 1926 SNK RSFSR prolonged a credit repayment period on wooden construction up to 45 years, on stone — up to 60 years under 2% per annum. Payments on the credit made 15 rub a month [6].

Financing of construction of housing which was given by the worker and the employee free of charge was socially important. On April 5, 1927 the Voronezh gubispol-lump made the decision "On housing construction for 1927". Countrywide the state financed about 20% of housing construction, 10% were financed by cooperation, natural persons were called to make other investments, and these are 70% of the volume of investments in housing construction. Rental housing to individuals by the tenants interested in receiving profit forced to bring housing into an appropriate look. Because of the shortage of housing of the enterprise resorted to hiring (rent) of housing for the workers. So, for 1.07.1926 in the Voronezh province from 251 houses of the enterprise rented 88%, and only 12% — individuals [4].

Introduction of payment for housing in the conditions of the New Economic Policy hit the budget of workers hard. Also the fact that the rent depended on quantity of the occupied living space was the cause of indignations of workers, but at the same time its quality because of which in most cases it was simply impossible to live in rooms was not considered. Thereof the payment for the excessive area in a threefold size is in the late twenties introduced [9].

The high prices of the electric power were one more cause for discontent of workers. In the Voronezh province in the obligatory resolution of a gubispolkom of July 6, 1925 the lowered electricity rates for workers were established: if the blanket tariff for lighting of apartments made 33 kopeks for 1 kW/hour, then for workers — 18 kopeks, i.e. 55% of the tariff rate [19, l. 19].

On April 18, 1927 in the city of Voronezh the Resolution "About a Target Kvartnalog" according to which the resident who had income from 1000 rub a year paid in a month for one square meter 5 kopeks was entered; if income was up to 1200 rub — 7 kopeks, of 1200 — up to 1800 rub — 10 kopeks. If revenue of the tenant was over 24 thousand rubles, then the payment for 1 square meter made 2 rub 50 kopeks [16, l. 241]. This resolution city authorities tried to protect the poorest population groups or persons with a low wage.

Despite the funds allocated by the authorities for housing-and-municipal and barracks construction and for acquisition for barracks rooms of the necessary equipment (beds, mattresses, bedding), living conditions of workers were nevertheless still rather heavy.

The question of medical care at the beginning of the New Economic Policy took the important place. Diseases of workers were one of the main reasons of their absence for work and equipment downtimes. Difficult working conditions and life, high percent of incidence and almost total absence of medical care — these and other factors promoted growth of mortality of the population including workers. Rather big mortality percentage

was recorded by

in comparison with other provinces in the Voronezh province — 33.4%, in Kursk — 29.2% [30, page 17].

Rural, almost exclusively country structure of the population of CChR created specific features in construction of medical and sanitary network. The shortage of medical personnel, specialists in the separate directions, medicines, hospital beds was sharply felt. This fact is confirmed by the studied archival documents, namely: in the Kursk province in the Belgorod County one hospital bed fell on 1,860 people that made coverage in a hospital of 30%, one doctor fell on 25,000 people [11, l. 53]. "Chambers of a zakopchena, in them damp, dirty and cold. On beds at patients over mattresses heaps of dirty rags lie, on some beds there are no mattresses. There are no bathrooms, use the taken-out vessels; the water supply system is not serviceable; lighting because of a lack of bulbs of some chambers is not available. In the yard a huge lot of garbage; streams were formed of rubbish pits owing to overflow wash also excrement. Due to the lack of soap even clothes which are available in insignificant quantity are not washed. Because of it the type of patients tortured and dirty..." — it is confirmed by archival documents [10, l. 89]. Besides, the big congestion in work of doctors and average personnel affected quality of work.

Gradually carried out work on improvement of health care received the positive results. For delivery of health care at the enterprises with number of workers more than 100 people were created health centers. Large factories and the plants called doctors and assistants to doctors for survey of workers, safety inoculations became. For example, in the Voronezh province, flying groups on an anticholera inoculation by the worker of all plants and enterprises [18, l were organized. 537]. The same work was conducted also in the Kursk province [13, l. 19].

Free medical care and medicines from working pharmacies was provided to them for maintenance of health of workers.

In the Voronezh province there were 22 workers of pharmacy, in Kursk — 16 [30, page 48].

Big achievement for workers was provision of services of a call of the doctor on the house, guarantees of obtaining the sick note, free medicine: "... Medical assistance appeared only that patient who for health reasons had not the power to come out the house at home. The sick note was issued for a period of five days:

1) at acute infectious diseases;
2) at sharp diseases of separate bodies and systems; 3) at injuries and mutilations; 4) at aggravations of the chronic processes causing professional disability. On the issued recipes of the patient had the right to use free medicines from working pharmacy" [25, l. 13, 15]. It was the step forward in development of medicine and in improvement of the situation of workers. Since 1923 the grant at a rate of the actual earnings was provided to the insured workers in case of temporary disability. For female workers the receiving a grant on pregnancy was established according to the sick note for the term of four months. For protection of motherhood and an infancy five institutions were organized: Children's home, the House of mother and child, consultation for children of chest age, consultation for women and maternity hospital. Further also one more children's consultation, a constant day nursery and dairy kitchen was created.

Workers to restore the health, could use services of holiday houses. In the territory of the Voronezh and Kursk provinces, sanatoria, resorts were registered in a small amount, is more often — holiday houses, clinics, dispensaries. In the Voronezh province, holiday houses "Divnogorye", "Semidubrovnoye", "Chertovitsky", "Hrenovskoy", and in Kursk — the Kursk and Belgorod holiday houses were in the greatest demand. Holiday houses were well equipped, equipped with horizontal bars, platforms, there were parks located in a favorable environment. In holiday houses the food to five times a day was adjusted [29, page 2]. But the number of visitors was

limited. So, in 1926 in Chertovits-kom holiday house 100 workers of the Voronezh and Ostrozhsky workshops [2], visited Hrenovsky sanatorium for treatment of pulmonary and tubercular patients — 250 people of workers-metalworkers [7]. Far from the house to allow restore health only a small part of workers could itself. For example, in 1926 in the resorts of the Caucasus and the Crimea 19 people from among workers of Ostrozhsky workshops have a rest [8].

It is also necessary to carry to social problems and a problem of public catering. The state took measures for the organization of public catering, first of all increases in number of dining rooms.

In the early twenties from resources of the public food authorities and sources arriving as barter at the enterprises dining rooms for workers opened. Food in them was by cards free, though poor. In 1923 the National Food association (Narpit) was created. Dining rooms in which lunches were much cheaper and are more nutritious, than at private traders, and had great success with workers. From the budget of the worker 9-12% of monthly earnings were spent for such lunches that significantly improved financial position of working family.

But not everywhere the administration of the plants cared for creation of such dining rooms. So, for example, in the Belgorod County of the Kursk province in archival documents the fact that some dining rooms did not open found confirmation, and, on the contrary, were closed: "The dining room in Belgorod not only did not hold due position, but, being torn off from public masses and is provided to itself, turned into the isolated business enterprise which does not have an opportunity, thanks to low attendance, to exist bezdefitsitno. Such situation creates even threat of closing of the only Narpi-tovsky dining room in Belgorod. Meanwhile the fact that in Belgorod — a significant amount of workers, creates a number of prerequisites for successful functioning of the dining room" [14, l. 72].

But, despite this, in the Voronezh and Kursk provinces for the 20th years there was the whole network of dining rooms state, cooperative, factory, private. In them surveys and inspections for the purpose of determination of quality and caloric content of the prepared dishes were regularly carried out. The cost of a lunch averaged 60 kopeks that was quite available to working family [3].

So, from the beginning of the recovery period the economic and social situation of workers was extremely unsatisfactory. Workers lived in awful conditions, were not able to afford to eat correctly and fully, there was practically no medical care, there were no holiday houses and sanatoria, workers had no opportunity to use services of prime necessity, such as bath, table, hairdresser's, first of all, because of their absence. The housing problem was particularly acute. At once we will note that it was not solved during the considered period. But numerous attempts for its safe permission were made, namely — financing of construction of new housing was increased, there was a repair of the houses which are in critical condition, the available credits for acquisition of housing, etc. began to be issued to workers

In 1921-1928 it was paid to a problem of health care both the population in general, and specifically working especially much attention. The number of hospitals, health centers, medical personnel for service of workers increased. In process of recovery of the national economy also medical care of workers improved. Considerable funds — 22 million rubles were allocated for these purposes thanks to what by the end of 1928 in the Voronezh province there were 11,575 beds, 546 out-patient clinics, 10 factory health centers. Reception in policlinics and out-patient clinics was expanded, 40% of total number of patients were made by workers [27, page 88-89]. Scheduled maintenance for improvement and prevention of diseases at the working population was carried out, an opportunity, let so far appeared and not at many to visit holiday houses, sanatoria.

In the cities, at the enterprises the network of dining rooms opened that favorably affected work and healthy nutrition of workers. Also the fact that it sufficiently facilitated work of female workers which was not now need the most part of time to carry out in kitchen was positive.

Everything listed became a basis for the economic growth of the industry of the province. But in the conditions of underdeveloped economy and the general backwardness of the country during the recovery period still it was impossible to reach the high level of material well-being of workers.


1. BassM. The hempen industry in the Kursk province//our economy. 1921. No. 4.
2. Voronezh commune. 1926. July 26.
3. Voronezh commune. 1926. June 3.
4. Voronezh commune. 1926. July 5.
5. Voronezh commune. 1926. June 5.
6. Voronezh commune. 1926. February 6.
7. Voronezh commune. 1926. May 8.
8. Voronezh commune. 1926. July 9.
9. Voronezh commune. 1927. January 7.
10. GABO. T. 519. OP. 1. 39. L. 89.
11. GABO. T. 591. OP. 1. 25. L. 53.
12. GABO. F552. OP. 1. 4. L. 9
13. GABO. T. 591. Op. 1. 39. L. 19.
14. GABO. T. 711. OP. 1. 74. L. 72.
15. GAVO. T. 51. Op. 51. 192. L. 1.
16. GAVO. T. 10. Op. 1. 1719. L. 241.
17. GAVO. T. 51. Op. 1. 105,107,108,399. Op. 4. 1. RGAE. T. 3429. Op. 3. 1725.
18. GAVO. T. 51. Op. 1. 105. L. 537.
19. GAVO. T. 51. Op. 1. 186. L. 19.
20. GAVO. T. 51. Op. 1. 189. L. 308-309.
21. GAVO. T. 51. Op. 1. 192. L. 2.
22. GAVO. T. 51. Op. 1. 201. L. 74.
23. GAKO. T. 184. Op. 1. 139. L. 201.
24. GAKO. T. 293. Op. 2. 2. L. 1.2.
25. GAKO. T. 851. Op. 1. 5. L. 13.15.
26. S. Dogadayev the Voronezh region became industrial. Voronezh: Voronezh regional publishing house, 1938. Page 43.
27. Health and health care of workers of the USSR. Statistical reference book. — M, 1937.
28. V. Ilyinsky. A room allowance of personnel of the qualification industry of the USSR in 1923-27//the Statistical review. 1928. No. 8.
29. Working life//Kursk truth. 1922. August 22. No. 188 (795).
30. The central Black Earth for years of the Soviet power / Under the editorship of A.A. Glukhov. Voronezh: Voronezh university, 1967.


1. BassM. Pen&kovaja promyshlennost& v Kurskoj gubernii//Nashe hozjajstvo. 1921. No. 4.
2. Voronezhskaja kommuna. 1926. 26 ijulja.
3. Voronezhskaja kommuna. 1926. 3 ijunja.
4. Voronezhskaja kommuna. 1926. 5 ijulja.
5. Voronezhskaja kommuna. 1926. 5 ijunja.
6. Voronezhskaja kommuna. 1926. 6 fevralja.
7. Voronezhskaja kommuna. 1926. 8 maja.
8. Voronezhskaja kommuna. 1926. 9 ijulja.
9. Voronezhskaja kommuna. 1927. 7 janvarja.
10. GABO. F. 519. OP. 1. D. 39. L. 89.
11. GABO. F. 591. OP. 1. D. 25. L. 53.
12. GABO. F552. OP. 1. D. 4. L. 9
13. GABO. F. 591. Op. 1. D. 39. L. 19.
14. GABO. F. 711. OP. 1. D. 74. L. 72.
15. GAVO. F. 51. Op. 51. D. 192. L. 1.
16. GAVO. F. 10. Op. 1. D. 1719. L. 241.
17. GAVO. F. 51. Op. 1. D. 105,107,108,399. Op. 4. D. 1. RGAJE. F. 3429. Op. 3.D. 1725.
18. GAVO. F. 51. Op. 1. D. 105. L. 537.
19. GAVO. F. 51. Op. 1. D. 186. L. 19.
20. GAVO. F. 51. Op. 1. D. 189. L. 308-309.
21. GAVO. F. 51. Op. 1. D. 192. L. 2.
22. GAVO. F. 51. Op. 1. D. 201. L. 74.
23. GAKO. F. 184. Op. 1. D. 139. L. 201.
24. GAKO. F. 293. Op. 2. D. 2. L. 1.2.
25. GAKO. F. 851. Op. 1. D. 5. L. 13.15.
26. Dogadaev S. Voronezhskaja oblast& stala industrial&noj. Voronezh: Voronezhskoe oblastnoe knigoizdatel&stvo, 1938. S. 43.
27. Zdorov&e i zdravoohranenie trudjashchihsja SSSR. Statisticheskij spravochnik. M., 1937.
28.Il&inskij V Kvartirnoe dovol&stvie personala cenzovoj promyshlennosti SSSR v 1923-27 gg.//Statisticheskoe obozrenie. 1928. No. 8.
29. Rabochaja zhizn&//Kurskaja pravda. 1922. 22 avgusta. No. 188 (795).
30. Central&noe Chernozem&e za gody Sovetskoj vlasti/Pod red. A. A. Gluhova. Voronezh, 1967. 245 s.

E.A. Veresova


Top trends and peculiar features of local crafts of the Tver peasants of 1880-1904 are considered. Profitability and also the reasons of reduction and decline of many crafts by the end of the 19th century which, however, continued to remain important addition to agricultural classes for many peasants are investigated.

E. Veresova



This article examines the basic tendencies and features of local trades of Tver peasants of 1880-1904. The profitability and causes of the reduction and the decline of many trades by the end of the XlX-th century is investigated, as well as the reasons why they remained an important supplement to agricultural activities.

Now in the conditions of rapid changes among researchers interest in studying historical aspects of a way of life of the country population increases.

From this position relevant is addition of researches about trade activity of the population of historical statistical property historical and cultural, study

Maria Evans
Other scientific works: