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Impact of liberal bourgeois reforms of the 1860-1870th years on development of social and political activity of the Penza merchants



Work is presented by department of the contemporary history of Russia and study of local lore of the Penza state pedagogical university of V.G. Belinsky.

The research supervisor - the doctor of historical sciences, professor A.S. Kasimov

Article is devoted to historical development of merchants after carrying out liberal bourgeois reforms of the 1860-1870th. The fact of carrying out reforms allowed the bourgeoisie to show the socio-political activity. Representatives of merchants could hold high positions, for example.

S. Mikheyev


The article touches upon the historical development of the merchant class after the implementation of the liberal-bourgeois reforms in the 1860-1870. The fact that the reforms let this class be engaged into the social and political activity was the most important for the Russian bourgeoisie. The representatives of the merchant class, for example, got the right to hold elected posts.

It is accepted to refer commerce and industry specifics of any given operations to traditional fields of activity of merchants though a certain property status allowed merchants to be engaged also in vigorous public work. Recently in the press the problem of patronage and charity of merchants is widely discussed. To some extent occupation active charity had compensatory character as long time merchants had no rights to be engaged in social and political activity. Liberal bourgeois reforms of the 1860-1870th introduced amendments, having allowed representatives of the commerce and industry capital to participate in definition of a vector of social development.

Public life of merchants concentrated around city and class self-government, cultural and educational affairs and improvement. On the laws existing in the Russian Empire the class self-government of merchants was carried out by a merchant justice or the head. The merchant head was annually elected at a general meeting of estate from among prosperous gildeyets. He had to be engaged in care about class affairs, monitor performance of state decrees, sheet messages about the structure of guilds, to monitor collecting taxes, to issue certificates for obtaining the passport, etc. However in the Penza province the merchant societies in the 1860-1890th worked only in the few largest cities and not

played a noticeable role lives of merchants of the region.

The legal system regulating the socio-political status and an economic situation of the Russian merchants existed without significant changes until the end of the 1890th. Participation of merchants in bodies of city self-government was defined by the Policeman the provision of 1870. According to this Situation in the Russian Empire the classless principle of the organization of local governments was entered. By means of elections the City Duma was formed. All male Russian citizens who reached 25-year age and owning under these two conditions in city limits on the property right the real estate which is subject to estimated collecting in favor of the city, or containing a trade or industrial institution under the merchant certificate participated in elections. Had suffrage also lived in the city within two years, even on condition of temporary absences before production of elections and paying in favor of the city the established levy from certificates: merchant or trade, certificates on the petty bargaining, and certificates prikazchy the first category from tickets for the maintenance of industrial institutions. Besides, no shortages in favor of the city should have been registered for the voter [5, page 3]. Elections were held on a three-digit system which allowed to delimit considerably in the absence of the fixed property qualification participation in elections of needy population groups. According to a three-digit system there took place division of voters into three groups. Three electoral meetings were convoked, each of which chose 1/3 all numbers of vowels. All three groups were equalized by the total amount of the paid taxes. In the first those who brought the highest amount of collecting and paid 1/3 total amounts of tax levies were ranked. Entered into the second group paying also one third

collecting and in the third - all others. Each group had an opportunity to elect to the Duma as much the representatives, how many and the bulk of voters. The City Council was formed under the chairmanship of the mayor from the vowels chosen for four years. The number of vowels in a thought varied from 30 to 72 depending on number of voters [5, page 3].

The circle of the duties assigned to City Duma by the Russian legislation included: appointment of elected officials and business of social system; purpose of contents to officials of the municipal public government and determination of the amount of this maintenance; establishment, increase and reduction of the amount of city collecting and taxes; decrease in shortages on city collecting; order loans, city income and expenses, management of city property, improvement of the city.

Reforms of the 1860-1870th became the key moment of change of the social and political status of the merchant. According to S. Ata-vy, till 1861 the merchants "did the part, bought and sold, sat down on the next chair from a door, got up from it every minute, smiled, sweated, were wiped, being not able to understand our reasonings on policy and any devilry at all" [1, page 4]. However in the 1880th years the aspiration of the Russian bourgeoisie which frame was made by yesterday's merchants, to social and political activity is clearly visible. So in the Moscow newspaper "Russky Kuryer" issued by the manufacturer Lanin it was published: "It is undoubted that our third estate, the Russian bourgeoisie, without limiting the activity to private economic interests and the enterprises, seeks to take control of social and political affairs and to become in the head of local government" [6, page 4]. The facts from life of the Penza merchants became confirmation to these words. According to statistical data, following the results of elections in 1866 merchant soslo-

the Viy represented in self-government in the Penza territorial justice the merchant of the 1st guild

And. I. Rabotkin, vowels from the Penza County: from 7 members the merchant of the 1st guild A.I. Ra-botkin, from the Insarsky County from 9 members the merchant of the 2nd guild N.V. Pazhitnov, from the Saransk County from 8 members the merchant of the 1st guild I.P. Korovin, the merchant son of the 2nd guild F.N. Umnov [2, page 4]. So in March, 1871 the secretary of the Duma Popov reported to a meeting that the public commercial adviser of the Duma F.Ya. Kaine left to St. Petersburg. Two candidates, including the second guild the merchant Lev Vasilyevich Paslov were elected to a position of the head of the Duma [10, page 4].

The mayor directed meetings of City Duma. With introduction of this position from 1870 for 1917 the merchants occupied it on an equal basis with petty bourgeoises, by the way, not always vote took place in favor of the Kandy-date-merchant that, most likely, confirms a thesis about advantages of personal qualities. At the end of the 19th century the hereditary honourable citizen Nikolay Timofeyevich Ev-stifeev was elected repeatedly city head [7, page 4]. For this representative of the Penza merchants the connection of business and public work was on advantage - at the beginning of the 20th century it managed to enter the European market and to sell lot of flour to France.

In 1866 the position of the town Saransk County of the head was held the 2nd guild by the merchant I.E. Syromyatnikov. In the Narovchatsky County of a position got to policemen to heads of the 2nd guild to merchants S.P. Erofeyev and N.S. Melnikov. In the Nizhnelomovsky County the similar position was held the 2nd guild by the merchant M.Ya. Ivenin. The merchant M.M. Sokolov was elected the mayor of the Moksha county the 2nd guild [2, page 5].

In January, 1871 on the basis of article 84 policemen of situation in candidates for replacement of positions of town council were elected five people among whom there is a merchant son I.I. Marenev and the second guild the merchant S.M. Gayndin. In Penza city

a thought on the basis of Article 85 the policeman situation merchant M.P. Balashov and the merchant son N.O. Klimov were elected in members of "trade deputation" of the second guild the merchant F.E. Shvetsov, the second guild [3, page 5]. The aspiration of merchants to dominate in local governments is explained by the fact that they first of all were interested in development of spheres of city and public life, prosperity of trade and the industry.

The aspiration to be on senior positions was inherent not only for the sphere of self-government. In 1866. The city public bank was headed the director - the merchant D.I. Davydov, his companions V.A. Kleshchev, P.I. Akhlynin [3, page 5]. In April, 1871 the merchant was elected the director of the Penza city public bank the second guild

V. A. Klishchev, and in companions director of the first guild the merchant son I.F. Finogeev and the second guild the merchant brother I.D. Popov [12, page 5]. In June, 1887 in a rank of the director of Narovchatsky prison office the merchant son T. Ustinov was approved by the decree of the emperor of the second guild. A similar position in. The lower Lomov the merchant F. Lomakin borrowed the second guild [3, page 6].

However, not always public work was possible as the absence in affairs threatened to turn back losses of commercial character. So, in March, 1871 the Penza merchant of the second guild Ya.V. Mur-zin said that he "on house circumstances and a commercial turnover" asks to relieve of the post public City Council [11, page 6].

Philanthropic activity of various charities and popechitelstvo was characteristic of public life of merchants. Fixed assets from charity went on grants for schools, purchase of clothes for shelters, free dining rooms, dosshouse houses, almshouses. Charity for rich merchants often was one of ways of increase in the social status, acquisition of awards, hereditary honourable grazh-

danstvo, etc. Charity events included not only the single help, but also various long-term projects. The board of trustees at the Penza Aleksandrovsky almshouse where in 1871 together with the hereditary honourable citizen N.G. Varentso-vy, the valid councilor of state A.A. Tarinov the merchant N.A. Alekseev entered the second guild [11, page 6] was an example of the similar project.

However influenced frequency and the amount of the rendered help not only desire to be engaged in public work, but also objective conditions of development. So, in 1904 to merchant heads the request for charity for the purpose of "a charity research in Russia and editions of the collection" was made [9, page 6]. In reply the Saransk, Krasnoslobodsky, Insarsky, Kerensky societies sent replies which contain information, about lack of the charitable help during the period from 1901 to 1904 [9, page 7]. This fact proves that during the economic crisis of the beginning of the 20th century the income of the Penza merchants was also reduced that

became the reason for charity suspension.

In the second half of the 19th century, especially after carrying out reforms, in all spheres of life of Russia there were significant changes. The new generation of merchants was already the carrier of new, capitalist mentality that could not but influence also change of old merchant household traditions. The American researcher J. Wal-kin as follows characterizes the generation of capitalists which ascended to the enterprise stage by the beginning of the 20th century: "The new generation of merchants was Europeanized and formed, rapid growth of the industry and trade made them richer, is more influential also more inclined to manifestation of own initiative" [4. page 7].

the Merchants in the 60-90th of the 19th century gradually departed from national traditions and customs, developed the value orientations, standards of behavior and a way of life. These changes affected also emergence of new fields of activity of merchants, first of all in social and political life.


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11. GAPO. T. 108. Op. 1. D. 650. L. 26.
12. GAPO. T. 108. Op. 1. D. 650. L. 39.
Isabella Marcia
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