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CHANGE of the SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC STATUS of NOBILITY DURING the POST-REFORM PERIOD (on the example of the Central Black Earth)

i. G. Onopriyenko. Change of the social and economic status...


UDC 941471.08

CHANGE of the SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC STATUS of NOBILITY DURING the POST-REFORM PERIOD (on the example of the Central Black Earth)


Belgorod state university


In article the influence of social and economic conditions on changes in life of the provincial nobility during the post-reform period is investigated. The author points to social contradictions in estate. Studying archive materials allows to track connection of economic changes with formation of a new way of life of the Russian provincial nobility.

Studying evolution of the Russian nobility playing the dominating role in class structure of the Russian Empire is one of priorities of a modern domestic historiography. This question acquires special relevance in the analysis of critical eras which the post-reform period is. Because as V.A. Shapovalov fairly believes, "the nobility which is legislatively put in exclusively privileged position in many respects defined orientation of the interclass relations in society and in general evolution of the Russian statehood" 1.

Really, landed gentry — estate of the secular land owners who had hereditary privileges. In Russia the nobility as the lowest layer feudal military sluzhilogo estates, making the yard of the prince or large boyar, arose in the XII—XIII centuries. The peak of expansion of economic power and political domination of the nobility belongs to the end of XVI11 — the beginning of the 19th centuries. From now on it gradually begins to adapt to the developing capitalist relations. The abolition of serfdom meant on February 19, 1961 the crash of the feudal system representing a basis of social and political force of the nobility. Many began to make sure that it is possible to live after all, and everything can be settled if to get new "rational economy" 2. Nevertheless in the conditions of the statement of the capitalist relations which considerably changed all way of life of the Russian nobility the remains of a feudal system, first of all noble land tenure remained.

Changes in life were mediated also by economic post-reform evolution of manorial estates. First of all it was connected with process of "razdvoryanivaniye" of private land category. About 80 million tithes of the earth were registered for the Russian noblemen in 1861. In 1877 — 73, 1 million des., and by the beginning of the 20th century — were reduced to 53.2 million des. The total amount of noble land tenure was reduced in 40 years by 41%.

By the end of the 70th of the 19th century "the social diffusion" in nobility amplified also through washing away from it various elements: some surnames died away in the natural way (about 100 childbirth by the beginning of the 20th century), were ruined, dissolved in other estates. Some noblemen became officials, businessmen, teachers, and sometimes and lumpens. But, despite this, a "decadent" condition of nobility, number it in general continued to grow. So, for the second half of the 19th century the number of noblemen in general across the Russian Empire grew up almost by 1.5 times. Representatives of foreign surnames were enlisted in ranks of the nobility, on condition of adoption of the Russian citizenship, for services in service. To considerable number of persons complained princely, count and other tituly3.

1 V.A. Shapovalov. The nobility of the Central Chernozem region of Russia during the post-reform period. - M.; Belgorod, 2002. - Page 4.
2 S.N. Terpigorev. Impoverishment: essays of landowner ruin. - SPb., 1881. - Page 29.
3 V.I. Buganov. Russian nobility / / history Questions. - 1994. - No. 1. - Page 39.
64 SCIENTIFIC SHEETS | *g No. 1(32), 2007

In post-reform Russia the nobility kept the corporate organization and also dominant position in management of the country, especially in local authorities: the leader of the nobility headed district presence on country affairs, the nobility assemly elected the indispensable member of provincial presence. Noblemen headed uchilishchny councils, won first place in military presence and defined staff of magistrates. In the zemstvoes created in 1864 also leading role was assigned to noblemen. Kontrreforma even more strengthened a role the nobility in local management. The law of 1889 on territorial local chiefs (only from hereditary noblemen) delegated in their hands the judicial administrative authority on places. At the same time the government took measures for strengthening of an economic situation of noblemen: establishment of the National noble land bank (1885).

Economic development of post-reform Russia led to "capitalist reorganization of some part of noble farms", i.e. to independent maintaining own economy, business activity which important indicator was use of hired labor. So, in the Kursk province in 1892 in the studied 39 manors from 58 application of wage labor is recorded that makes 66.2% of total number. On the Voronezh province, work of hired workers was used in 32 farms from 48 estates or 66.6% of their general chisla4.

To reveal regularities of process of transformation of nobility during the post-reform period, it is necessary to consider interconditionality of influence of social and economic conditions on change of a noble way of life. Assessment of social heterogeneity of the nobility, identification of intra class contradictions and also studying "reorganization" of noble farms as remained the main sphere which formed the social status of the local nobleman economic has to become the main objectives of this research.

As an example the Belgorod County of the Kursk province is taken. The nobility of the Belgorod County, "reflecting the all-Russian trend, in social and economic aspect was very non-uniform". On qualification of land tenure it was subdivided on: small estate — to 100 des., srednepomestny — from 101 to 1000 des. and krupnopomestny — over 1000 des.5. According to the analysis of land use structure of noble farms a bit different: small - to 50 des., averages - from 51 to 500 des., large - over 500 des.6.

On the eve of an abolition of serfdom in the Belgorod County the dominant position was held by noble land tenure - 78.8%. In the Kursk province it differed in latifundialny character. For example, in the Grayvoronsky County belonged to the prince N.B. Yusupov 53559.3 des., to the count D.N. Sheremetev - 52211.7 des., and all noble land fund of the county made 139334 des. Thus, belonged to other landowners only 33562 des., i.e. 24%7.

These data show that average noble land tenure was insignificant, specific weight was it 6.8% of total number of noble lands. Large noble land tenure somewhat was a brake for growth of srednepomestny farms as it had more powerful finansovoekonomichesky opportunities and dominated during this period in the land intra class market. In spite of the fact that the number of small estate landowners made about 80% of all number of noblemen of the Belgorod County, they possessed only 14.4% of class land fund. A part of small estate noblemen even to country measures were poor people. So, in the New Oskol County the noblewoman Karamzina had 3 des., Goncharova-2.5 des., Zhidkov - 1.5 des.8.

On the eve of an abolition of serfdom all way of life of an overwhelming part of the chernozem nobility was within a class and corporate traditsionaliz-

4 V.A. Shapovalov. Nobility... - Page 105.
5 Statistics of land property and the inhabited places of the European Russia. — SPb., 1880. — Issue I. — Page 153.
6 V.A. Shapovalov. Nobility... — Page 56.
7 Evolution of social structure of society of the Central Black Earth during the post-reform period (on the example of the Kursk province) / under the editorship of V.A. Shapovalov. — Belgorod, 2005. — Page 68.
8 V.A. Shapovalov. Noble economy of Belgorod region on the eve of an abolition of serfdom and during the post-reform period//Essays of study of local lore of Belgorod region. — Belgorod, 2000. — Page 68.

I.G. Onopriyenko. Change of the social and economic status.


ma which covered all spheres of activity of the estate. Remained the main sphere "adjusting" the social status of the local nobleman hozyaystvennaya9. Proceeding from the aforesaid, it is possible to make the conclusion that during the prereform period the social psychology of the chernozem nobility in many respects was defined by the nature of relations of production. In the late fifties of the 19th century economic representations of this part of the nobility were based on class economic tradition — 80.3% of local farms had a corvee basis.

The abolition of serfdom sharply changed conditions and the nature of housekeeping in noble manors. In the conditions of the shortage of cash, lack of the market of labor and at the insufficient number of agricultural machinery the noblemen-landowners were forced to lease a considerable part of lands. Owing to this fact in post-reform years the rent relations became the defining factor of economic life of the chernozem village. Some landowners leased huge acreage for a repeating an examination to her small tenants, seeking to fix at the same time peasants in the area for processing of the remained earth. In some other cases the rent of large grounds was made for the purpose of expansion of noble enterprise economy. V.A. Shapovalov in the analysis of nearly 300 local farms of the Kursk province disclosed the general nature of the rent relations in noble farms of the post-reform period. So, from 172 small estate farms with 3613 des. the earth was leased in 14 manors. (8.1%) 10. In 79 srednepomestny farms in rent were the earth of 29 manors (36.7%) 11. From 37 large-scale enterprises with land fund 38859.3 des. lands were leased in 20 manors (54%) 12. From these data it is visible that on number of the estates which were handing over the earth, and the number of the handed-over earth big land-owners were in the lead. Traditionally long-term rent was considered as characteristic of the average and large nobility: they had the greatest reserve fund of lands. On the Kursk province the relative indicator of long-term rent was higher at small estate vladeltsev13.

The nature of housekeeping in manorial estates in many respects was defined by existence of agricultural tools. Experts consider that this indicator is one of the main criteria of evolutionary changes in noble hozyaystvakh14. In the first post-reform years the bulk of noble farms of the chernozem center had practically no in necessary quantities of own agricultural stock. And only by 80th years the considerable replenishment of agricultural stock is observed. On chernozem counties (Ostrogozhsky, Belgorod and Shchigorovsky), in large-scale and srednepomestny enterprises the stock was distributed unevenly. We did not set as the purpose to stop on concrete figures, we will be limited only to statement that in some manors there were more harrows, in others — plows and seeders, in the third — rat, dried also threshers. However about 1/3 noble farms had in general no agricultural stock. One of the major reasons for that to the phenomenon, according to V.A. Shapovalov, is that in the 60th an overwhelming part of local manors used country stock.

The following important indicator of installed power per employee of noble farms was security with the working cattle. In Central Black Earth provinces, horses and oxen were those. The working cattle in the Voronezh and Kursk provinces better provided average noble farms. The bulk of the working cattle was in manors with an economic plowing. And in a quantitative sense the largest growth of the working cattle falls on the 80th years post-reform perioda15. Such quantitative and high-quality growth of agricultural stock and the working cattle is in many respects caused by use of wage labor. Scales of use of work of field workers depended on degree of a maturity of the market of labor in this area, the region.

Such economic changes in the noble environment could not but affect all way of life of landowners. If to an abolition of serfdom the land property,

was a material and moral and psychological support of nobility
9 V.A. Shapovalov. Nobility... - Page 125.
10 State Archive of Kursk Region (SAKR). - T. 4. - Op. 1. - 55. - L. 1-16.
11 In the same place.
12 In the same place.
13 Evolution of social structure... - Page 44.
14 V.A. Shapovalov. Nobility... - Page 97.
15 In the same place. - Page 99-100.


No. 1(32), 2007

that during the post-reform period the elimination of noble monopoly in the land market considerably shook the social status of local noblemen.

Thus, we see that local owners, having appeared in new economic conditions, were forced to reconsider the economic representations taking into account rationalization of work and profitability of manors. The economic expediency dictated a range of bourgeois evolutionary changes (including in landowner social psychology). Awareness of impossibility to remain within old tradition of maintaining the household sphere resulted in need of reconstruction of estates. The fact that by the end of the 80th years of the 19th century in large part of manorial estates already capitalist methods of maintaining farms prevailed turned out to be consequence of this process.

The policy of folding of their class privileges also had serious impact on a way of life of local noblemen. In legal aspect the class legal status of the nobility approached other estates. In February, 1861 it lost monopoly on possession of serfs (the monopoly for land property was lost in 1801 when it was authorized to people of different estate to buy and sell not populated lands); as a result of reform of police of 1862 the noblemen lost the right to form district police, and after introduction of institute of zemstvoes in 1864 lost monopoly for formation of local authorities; as a result of judicial reform in 1864 the noblemen got under jurisdiction of all-class vessels, since 1864 began to be involved in accordance with general practice in serving military povinnosti16.

Special attention should be paid on loss by noblemen of the fiscal privileges that was taken by them most painfully. Introduction of any taxes began to extend to noblemen equally with other estates. Since 1863 the noblemen began to pay the new national tax on city nedvizhimost, since 1872 — the state territorial duties, since 1875 — the national land tax in rural areas, etc. 17. History of the Belgorod branch of a family of Volkonsky can be a striking example of change of position of noblemen since the most ancient times prior to the beginning of the 20th century: from specific princes to members of the Seigniorial thought, then to military service (XVI11 of century). In the middle of the 19th century Volkonskiye's landowners become public figures, and then (the end of the 20th century) — the provincial intellectuals.

Increase of economic processes inherent in capitalism showed even more convincingly that in the environment of the Russian nobility the importance of activity began to increase, and the role of "class idleness" to fall. The analysis of various processes of public life of Russia of the end of the 19th century shows how in the context of intensive post-reform modernization of society there was a new way of life.

Thus, it is obvious that all spheres of activity of the estate can serve as important criterion of the evolution of consciousness happening in the noble environment in connection with changes in the social and economic relations of the post-reform period. Key words: nobility, estate, reforms 1860th, bondage, mode of life, daily, everyday.


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The influence of social and economic conditions on change of provincial noble&s life after 1861 year is investigated in the article. The author points out social contradictions in the estate. Study of archives gives evidence: economic changes are connected with forming of new mode of life of Russian provincial nobility.

16 B.N. Mironov. The social history of Russia of the period of the empire (XVI11 — the beginnings of the 20th century): in 2 t. — SPb., 1999. — T. 1. — Page 94.
17 In the same place.
Kristina Emily
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