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Formation and development of credit cooperation in the Vladimir province at the end of XIX beginning of the XX century

yu. O. Petrova


Work is presented by department of history of Russia of the Vladimir state humanities university.

The research supervisor — the doctor of historical sciences, professor E.M. Petrovicheva

In article the problem of emergence of credit cooperatives in the province is reflected at the turn of the century, activity of credit associations during Stolypin agrarian reform and also during World War I is analyzed, the role of credit cooperation in development of country farms and a raising of their cultural level is lit.


The article describes the origin of credit cooperatives in the Vladimir province in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The author analyses the activities of the cooperatives during the Stolypin period as well as during the First World War. The author also elucidates the role of credit cooperation for the progress of small peasant farms and raising their cultural level.

As a result of reforming of the modern agrarian sector in Russia the position of producers of agriculture considerably became complicated. In modern conditions the great value gets development of relevant forms of managing which also cooperation is among. The cooperative sector is some their important elements of market economy; the credit cooperation necessary both for producers, and for consumers of agriculture, both for city, and for countrymen is of particular importance.

Scientific relevance of studying history of development and formation credit koopera-

tion in Russia is defined by growth of interest in regional studies, development of regional researches. Issues of development of cooperation in Russia at the end of XIX — the beginning of the XX century remain insufficiently studied in modern historical science; there are no special researches devoted to cooperation in the Vladimir province which was the typical province of the industrial center and having besides the specifics.

The historiography of a problem includes pre-revolutionary, Soviet and modern researches. Pre-revolutionary works are presented by works by coryphaeuses, teoreti-

k and practicians of cooperation: A. Vasilchi-kov, A.N. Antsiferov, N.P. Oganovsky, S.N. Prokopovich, N.N. Sokolov V.F. To-tomiantsa, M.I. Tugan-Baranovskogo, M.L. Heysina, N.P. Gibner, S.V. Borodayevsky,

And. S. Orlova, V.I. Lenina, etc. [1; 2; 27; 33; 34; 37; 40; 44; 45; 47; 52]. These researchers do attempts to generalize the experience which is already accumulated by then; their works contain rich actual and theoretical material concerning administrative and legal conditions of development of the cooperative movement, the reasons of its emergence, structure and functions of cooperative institutions in this area, rich actual material is presented to them.

A theorist of the cooperative movement was

N. P. Gibner who generalized and analyzed international experience of cooperative construction. In the work "System of Cooperation" the researcher expressed opinion that in Russia the cooperation did not arise independently, and extended as loan of the known forms developed in Western Europe [17, page 32].

Works of economists, theorists of the cooperative movement of A.V. Chayanov and M.I. Tugan-Baranovskogo famous around the world were repeatedly republished presently that once again emphasizes interest in a problem of cooperative construction. In the work "Social Bases of Cooperation" of M.I. Tugan-Baranovsky stated the history of formation of the Russian cooperation in comparison with Western European. According to the researcher, cooperation was irreplaceable and unique means of a raising of welfare of the Russian peasantry. M.I. Tugan - Bara - novsky one of the first in domestic literature used the term "country cooperation" [46, page 289].

The regional works devoted to cooperation in the Vladimir province are presented only by two researchers of this period: S.V. Chernobrovtsev and Ya.O. Kuznetsov [25; 54]. These are works of practical character, they contain a lot of actual material, problems of development of cooperation in the Vladimir village are displayed.

During the postrevolutionary period the history of cooperation was developed in A.V. Chayanov, S.L. Maslov, A.V. Merkulov, A.E. Kulyzhny, M.L. Heysin, V.V. Kabanov, P.N. Pershin, A.P. Korelin's works, etc. [20; 23; 26; 28; 30; 35; 36; 50; 53]. Their works are devoted to the history of the Russian cooperation, justification of application and importance of the cooperative principle in agriculture in new conditions, to leading of certain results of positive influence of cooperation on country economy; in them the financial and legal basis for development of credit cooperation was in detail analyzed, the role of territorial institutions and the state in their creation and development was emphasized.

V. I. Lenin specially was not engaged in studying credit cooperation, however some of its works contain judgments of cooperation. So, he recognized that cooperation plays a large role in the course of "retraction" of the peasantry in the commodity-money relations and economic life of the Soviet state in general; but nevertheless the author comes to a conclusion that credit cooperatives conducted by capitalism, but not to socialist nationalization of agriculture and gained in general bourgeois character [51, page 44 — 47].

A.P. Korelin's researches are characterized by high professionalism, use not only historical, but also economic laws. Work "The agricultural credit in Russia at the end of XIX — the beginning of the 20th century" represents the generalizing work in which the questions connected with functioning of a banking system and also the credit institutions interesting us are reflected [23, page 38 — 39].

In the 70th of the 20th century E.V. Serova, L.E. Fayn, E.N. Kozlova's works [18, page 200 were published; 22, page 192; 24, page 167; 31, page 159; 42, page 160; 55, page 179]. Besides the analysis of development of credit cooperation, these scientists in details investigate its cultural influence on peasants, regularities and difficulties in development of rural cooperation are defined.

Since the end of the 90th and till present there is an active research of development country

cooperations in the conditions of concrete regions of Russia [41, page 48 — 50].

During the Soviet and Post-Soviet periods special researches on the history of credit cooperation in the Vladimir province were not created. All this defined the choice of a subject of this work.

Thus, results of the historiographic review of history of development and formation of credit cooperation in Russia of the end of H1H — the beginnings of the 20th century show that in the presence of a set of special researches on this subject many important problems remain not studied, or are studied insufficiently. Treat them:

• specifics of legal support of credit cooperation;

• definition of top trends of emergence and development of credit cooperation in regions of Russia;

• structure of management of credit and loan-and-savings associations;

• social composition of cooperatives of regions of Russia;

• a role of the state and public institutes in development of credit cooperation.

Rapid growth of cooperation of all types — one of the important phenomena of the Russian public life of the end of H1H — the beginning of the 20th century. Cooperation gained especially great value in the village, among the peasantry. At the beginning of the XX century the cooperative movement reached such sizes and such influence that without any exaggeration it could be considered the center of rural life. By 1917 Russia was high on the list in the world on the level of development of the cooperative movement: over 60 thousand primary cooperatives of different types and forms united the population of the country. By estimates of economists, 14 million people, and with members of their families — 84 million, i.e. over a half of the population of the country directly participated in the cooperative movement [46, page 296]. It once again confirms unprecedented scope of the cooperative movement in the country. According to the estimates of M.L. Heysin, 16,055 cooperatives fell to the share credit by 1917 [49, page 126].

One of the main legal documents regulating the beginning of development of credit cooperation in Russia is Most highly approved on June 1, 1895. "Provision on institutions of the small credit". This law laid the legal framework of credit cooperation, the government took all business of the small credit under the powerful protection. Therefore already the first loan-and-savings associations were under strict control of authorities, as well as all other public associations [39, page 90].

Later this law was processed, and the new "Provision on institutions of the small credit" which was a progressive step on the way of formation of market economy in the Russian Empire was issued on June 7, 1904. As a result of adoption of this law, along with sudo-savings associations also credit began to work.

The provision of 1904 defined common features of activity of credit cooperatives, and private questions were in more detail developed in the adopted and approved model charters of 1896 — 1897

In March, 1917, according to V.F. Kerensky's instructions in Provisional Government the text of the draft of the cooperative law was sent to the editorial offices of the State Duma and cooperative congresses, and on March 20, 1917. The provisional government approved "The provision on cooperative associations and their unions" [38, page 306]. Introduction instead of an authorization attendance system of opening of cooperatives of all types was the main advantage of this law. It was proclaimed that cooperative associations are urged to promote not only to material, but also spiritual wellbeing of the members. The package of cooperative laws included four documents:

• "Resolution of Provisional Government on cooperative associations and their unions" of March 20, 1917;

• "Provision on cooperative associations and their unions" of March 20, 1917;

• "Provision on registration of associations, societies and unions" of June 21, 1917;

• "Provision on congresses of representatives of cooperative institutions" of August 1, 1917

The cooperative legislation of Provisional government for the first time most fully defined legal status of cooperation [19, page 67].

Credit cooperation in the form of loan-and-savings associations was the first type of cooperation which got into the Vladimir province. This type of cooperation in the province arose in 1875: this year in the agricultural Suzdal County the first Gubachevsky country loan-and-savings association [12, l opened. 5].

During the period till 1900 in all province only 4 loan-and-savings associations were founded: in two years after opening of the first credit cooperative in the Suzdal County in 1877 in the Murom County in the village of Okulovo there was an Okulovsky loan-and-savings association; in 1880 in Pokrovsky the county at factory of association of the Nikolsky manufactory of Savva Morozov "The son and To" the loan-and-savings cash desk of employees, workmen and workers began to function; in 1894 the petty bourgeoises Mr. Gorokhovets founded in the city loan-and-savings association [3, l. 4—11]. The first institutions of the cooperative credit in the Vladimir province were not result of independent and conscious efforts of the peasantry; they opened at the initiative of the local intellectuals: doctors, teachers and rural heads. Having met serious difficulties in the work, the first credit institutions of the province existed not for long.

Promoted transition of credit cooperation to a new step of development approved on June 1, 1895. "Provision on institutions of the small credit". The law recognized development of the old form of credit institutions (loan-and-savings associations) which did not take place and entered a new type of credit cooperation — credit associations [37, page 58].

Especially rapid growth of credit cooperatives was observed since 1906 when their number in the province, in comparison with previous year, increased more than by 37%.

If till 1906 in the Vladimir province existed all 27th credit institution (19 credit and 8 loan-and-savings associations), then in 1906 — already 43 (34 credit and 9 loan-and-savings associations) [4, l. 3]. By 1914 from 185 credit cooperatives of the Vladimir province 169 were credit associations and only 16 — loan-and-savings. The number of companions in credit institutions also quickly increased after 1906. So, if in 1900 their number was 1780 people, by 1906 — 20,238 people, then in 1914 — already 127,262 people [11, l. 2 — 15;

8, l. 2-20].

Rapid growth of credit cooperatives was promoted also by the political processes which were taking place in the province and in the country in general. The government made a step towads to cooperatives: On June 7, 1904 at National Bank Management for the small credit was created, and in 1905 the Vladimir committee on affairs of the small credit which approved charters of credit cooperatives [8, l is founded. 2-16]. The bureaucratic procedure of opening of credit institutions was a little facilitated that accelerated development of the national credit.

The occupation of members defined the structure of credit cooperatives of the province. In many counties of the Vladimir province the most part of members of credit cooperatives was engaged in agriculture; handicraftsmen-handicraftsmen were a part of cooperatives in Shuysky, Murom and Kovrov Counties; a large number of dealers as a part of companions was observed in Gorokhovetsky and Sudogodsky, it is slightly less - in Shuysky and Vladimir Counties; members of credit cooperatives of the Vyazniki and Sudogodsky Counties were engaged in seasonal works. According to Committee of the small credit, for 1910 the farmers made the vast majority — 84.5% of all number of members; no more than 15% [5, l were the share of other professional groups. 25].

The intellectuals did not take part in most associations. Representatives of clergy participated in separate cooperatives

(deacons, priests) which held positions of chairmen of the board and Board of associations. It promoted, as a rule, higher level of work of associations, more progressive nature of development and expansion of credit operations [6, l. 12, 13,

15, 18; 8, l. 8, 27, 48, 20, 50, 72, 19, 58, 55, 87, 94].

World War I sharply changed an economic condition of the country: reduced rates, and then slowed down Stolypin agrarian reform, on the one hand. With another, prompt steps accelerated the cooperative movement which more and more involved country economy in the orbit [37, page 165].

The number of credit cooperatives in the province from 1914 to 1918 increased by only 8: from 203 to 211 cooperatives [13, l. 9]. Such insignificant increase can be explained with the fact that credit cooperation for military years developed not so much in breadth, how many deep into, i.e. towards allied associations. In 1914 in credit associations there were 127,262 persons, and by 1918 this figure was estimated in 101,117 people (from 136,494 people living in the province). Reduction of number of people who is a part of associations is explained, of course, by mobilization of the population. Nevertheless, as statistics testifies, cooperation covered a considerable part of the population of the province [43, page 8].

As for social composition, the vast majority of members of credit cooperatives, as well as in pre-war time, was made by peasants. So, for example, in one of the greatest credit associations - Aleksandrovsk of the Sudogodsky County — peasants made 523 persons, 148 — handicraftsmen, 1 — the teacher, 2 — employees and 1 — the priest, 2 — the merchant. In Verkhozersky credit association of the Melenkovsky County the peasants made 1689 people, 267 ofeny, 2 priests and 8 employees, 5 petty bourgeoises. In Dubkovsky credit cooperative of Pokrovsky of the county the overwhelming number of companions was made too by peasants — 562 persons from 564. Two more members were priests. In Argunovsky credit association of the Pokrovsk County the numerical structure of association included in

383 peasants, 19 handicraftsmen and handicraftsmen, 4 dealers, 6 people of clergy and 2 teachers [9, l. 20, 21, 122, 125; 10, l. 5; 14, l. 133]. That is credit institutions remained mainly country. By 1917 among members of credit associations of the Vladimir province there were 131 women. They became not only member companions, but also were appointed to the positions of chairmen of boards and also accountants and clerks [21, page 45].

World War I and the decrease of labors caused by it affected, first of all, loan operations of associations which were reduced from 5,120,020 rub in 1914 to 4,017,019 rub in 1918 that was a direct consequence of mass leaving on war of manufacturing farmers. The terrible high cost of consumer goods was one more reason of a stop of loan operation [32].

At the same time deposits a wave flowed in cash desks of associations so boards had to constrain their pressure and to refuse quite often their reception. Deposits arrived almost exclusively termless. Supplementary operations increased with 6,000,184. rub in 1914 up to 6,220,014 rub in 1918

The list of investors was considerably democratized: deposits were brought by both soldatka, and widows, and people of small prosperity.

Intermediary operation of associations of the Vladimir province during war had, mainly, food character. Only insignificant percent of goods, and that only at some associations, made accessories of agriculture, craft or trade. The main objects of intermediary operations of cooperatives were food objects: flour, grain, sugar, etc. [29, page 425].

As it was fairly noted p by researchers, "in view of had in Russia a hard time demanded tension of all forces of the country and in particular cooperation which could only make a lot of things when it is organized in a single whole as alone cooperatives were excessive to achieve real results" [19, page 27]. Following -

a stviye of it, in 1915. The central Cooperative Committee addressed separate cooperatives with an appeal of association in the unions for the purpose of the help to the population as in the back, and in the war.

The Vladimir province among the first spoke on an appeal of Committee of allied construction. Opened the activity on March 1, 1916. The Moscow union of credit and sudo-savings associations included two counties of the Vladimir province (Aleksandrovsky and Pereslavsky) [7, l. 14, 14 about.]; and already on April 28, 1916 the Vladimir union of credit and ssudosberegatelny associations, according to approved on September 29, 1915 opened the actions. The Ministry of Finance the Charter, for the purpose of fight against the increasing high cost of products and their shortcoming [13, l. 9]. The union included 10 credit and loan-and-savings associations Vladimir, Pokrovsky, the Suzdal, and Yuryevsky Counties consisting under the authority of the Vladimir Office of National bank [16, l. 25]. Except performance of credit operations, tasks of the Union included supply of allied associations with objects of food, farm vehicles, sowing materials and so forth [16, l. 35].

The Vladimir Cooperative Union at once after opening actively turned to work. Already since the beginning of the actions the board recognized as necessary to buy at the expense of the Union 3 cars of sugar for supply of allied associations which had a need in it

product. Many cooperatives at the regular general meetings made large contributions to the help to families called, on gifts in army, on infirmaries for wounded [15, l. 16]. Undoubtedly, in relation to credit cooperatives the Large role in the organization of joint activity of cooperatives was played by the Management for the small credit inviting cooperatives to performance of essential tasks [48, page 44].

Thus, having begun to work by trial and error, over time the Russian cooperators, having overcome spontaneity, could create a harmonious cooperative system. The pre-war period of development of credit cooperation was characterized by its rapid development: Russia won first place in the world by the number of cooperative societies and number of their individual members. In the Vladimir province by 1917 there were 211 credit cooperatives, on their number it took the tenth place over the country; and it is necessary to consider the fact that development of credit cooperation in the province began much later many drugikh*. The research of activity of cooperatives undertaken on materials of the Vladimir province allows to draw a conclusion that the cooperative organizations played an important role in national economy. During the pre-war period the rural credit cooperatives actively helped peasants in an intensification of the economy. During war they rendered the invaluable help to the government in supply of the front and civilians with food and all necessary.

* The conclusion is drawn on the basis of these tables provided in the Status report on credit associations as of January 1, 1914. Pg., 1915. Page 112 — 134.


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Christopher Williams
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