Domestic Russia in 1861: A Contemporary Perspective

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1. Report of the Minister of Internal Affairs to Alexander II, dated 7 April 1856, shortly after the Emperor's famous address to the Moscow nobility on the desirability of gentry cooperation in the eventual abolition of serfdom. S. S. Tatishchev, Imperator Aleksandr II, ego zhizn' i tsarstvovanie, 2 vols. (St. Petersburg, 1903), I, 279. 2. V. V. Garmiza, ed., "Predlozheniia i Proekty P. A. Valueva po voprosam vnutrennei politiki (1862-1863)" Istoricheskii Arkhiv, 1 (January-February 1958), p. 142. 3. Ibid., p. 141.

4.Ibid., p. 144. The economically preoccupied zemstvo institutions might, as the empress remarked in August, 1863, "be a means of buying off a 'consti- tution'." Dnevnik P. A. Valueva, Ministra Vnutrennikh Del 1861-1876, 2 vols. (Moscow, 1961), I, 33 and 241. 5. See below, note 19. 6. A defect of which there is manifest consciousness in a letter of Prince V. A. Cherkasskii to A. 1. Koshelev, dated 13 February 1862. Cherkasskii, who did not trust the nobility as selfless servants of Russia, rejected Koshelev's call for a National (Zemskaia) Duma. He wrote: "... if Russia wishes to be happy she must begin by putting down a solid foundation of good local institutions and then later on think about the luxury of public life-the establishment ... of a public center." Fond 265 Samarinykh (Manuscripts Division of the Lenin Library, Moscow), Karton 33, Item 2. For the schools of thought on institu- tional and other reform questions, see Richard Wortman, "Koshelev, Samarin and Cherkassky and the Fate of Liberal Slavophilism." Slavic Review, XXI, 2 (June 1962), 261-279. 7. Sir John Fiennes Twisleton Crampton (1805-1886) began his diplomatic career in Turin in 1826. He served in St. Petersburg from 1828 to 1834, in Brussels (1834-1839), Vienna (1839-1844) and in Washington (1845-1852). In the latter year he was named Minister to the United States, but in 1856 President Pierce broke off relations with him for his alleged involvement in efforts to recruit legionaries for British forces during the Crimean War. He returned to England, where he was invested with a K.C.B. He continued in diplomacy at Hanover in 1857. He became British envoy at the Russian court in 1858 where he remained until his appointment to Madrid at the end of 1860. Dictionary of National Biography, V (Oxford, 1949-50), 6-7. 8. For Napier's account of events in the Russian capital at the time of emancipation, see Charles C. Adler, Jr., ed., "The Promulgation of Serf Eman- cipation in Saint Petersburg 5/17 March 1861: An Eyewitness Account," Canadian Slavic Studies, I, 2 (Summer 1967), 271-275. 9. Public Record Office (London). Despatch No. 64 Napier to Russell, dated April 13, 1861, FO 65, Piece No. 575. For an account of Napier's service in St. Petersburg and a portrait of the ambassador, see W. T. Stead, ed., The M. P. tor Russia. Reminiscences and Correspondence of Madame Olga Novikoff, 2 vols. (London, 1909), I, 51-81.

10. Public Record Office (London). FO 65, Piece Number 573. 11. This was Thomas Michell, C. B., (1835-1899). He was appointed trans- lator and attache at the British Embassy in St. Petersburg in 1860. Subse- quently raised in rank to Second Secretary and Consul, he served in the Russian capital through the decade and into the 1870's. Fluent in the language, he acquired some expertise in Russian affairs and became a member of the Agri- cultural and Entymological Societies of St. Petersburg as well as a Fellow of the British Royal Geographical Society. In 1889 he published an informative cultural and historical description of the Russian Empire entitled Russian Pictures drawn with pen and pencil (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1889). Unlike his chief, Ambassador Sir Francis Napier, Michell did not win the confidence of his Russian hosts. An article of his, "Statistics of Crime in Russia," published in the journal of the Statistical Society of London for Sep- tember, 1864, while based on official government sources and couched in objective language, made unflattering references to "corrupt influences" and to drunken- ness as "the most fertile source of untimely decease" in Russia. The termination of his service in Russia in 1874 seems to have borne some relationship to Gorchakov's displeasure at his newspaper articles. The emperor himself took the matter up with the British ambassador. Michell's inclusion in the suite of the visiting Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who had come to Russia to marry the Tsar's only daughter, seemed to the Russians entirely unsuitable. Excluded from the imperial court and subjected to other manifestations of official disapproval, Michell sought and received reassignment. Drrevnik Valueva, II, 290. Michell served subsequently in Eastern Rumelia and as Consul-General for Norway. See the Times of London, August 12, 1899, p. 2; and Kelly's Hand- book to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes for 1895 (London, [n.d.], p. 844. 12. In the despatch mentioned Crampton writes of his efforts to ascertain through Michell's Moscow contacts "the general feeling and attitude of the country ... in anticipation of so important a social revolution" as well as the effect on Russo-British trade relations. He ranks third information on "what influence it (emancipation) is likely to have upon its (Russia's) political con- dition and form of government." Gentry discontent he reports as restrained by "fear of an outbreak" among the serfs "were the latter to imagine that any serious impediment was thrown by the privileged classes in the way of the Emperor while carrying out his benevolent intentions toward his people ...." The despatch concludes: "What Mr. Michell has principally remarked ... is a greatly increased intensity in the political aspirations of the parties who ... look upon the emancipation of the serfs more as a means to an end than upon its own merits. These persons now make no secret of their opinion that the measure must be followed by a modification of the Government of this country and the establishment of a constitution more or less resembling that of Great Britain." Public Record Office (London). FO 65, Piece No. 573 Crampton to Russell, Despatch No. 10, dated at St. Petersburg, January 14, 1861. At virtually the same time Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian envoy, wrote in similar

vein (April 4, 1861): "There are no parties or even individual influential statesmen who would consider desirable or possible the maintenance of the existing institutions of the Russian Empire; all demand changes." For this and for a detailed description of the various trends of gentry reaction to emancipa- tion during 1861-2, see N. G. Sladkevich, Ocherki obshchestvennoi mysli Rossii v kontse 50 - nachale 60-kh godov XIX veka (Leningrad, 1962), pp. 87-136; the Bismarck references is on page 103. The high point of gentry reaction in the emancipation period seems to have been passed in the course of the year 1862. A view of its relative lack of political staying-power may be gained from a letter of the Slavophile lurii Samarin to N. A. Miliutin of November, 1862. He notes irretrievable loss of "self-confidence" on the part of the government. He continues: "The old governmental methods have been cast aside, while new ones are not yet finally worked out. Among educated gentry society there are growing inclinations to lawless teasing of authority." And he comments that while the government "makes concession after concession" society gains no advantage "because it is teasing for the sake of teasing." Quoted in V. V. Garmiza, Podgotovka zemskoi reformy 1864 goda (Moscow, 1957), p. 45. 13. Alexander II insisted on the essential continuing role of the autocratic state in the development of serfdom at a climatic session of the State Council on January 29, 1861. In the course of a lengthy speech Alexander declared: "The autocratic power established serfdom in Russia, (and) it must put an end to it." The Emperor was here defending the government's project of reform in the presence of a number of its most passionate opponents, one of whom used the occasion to protest implicitly the loss of gentry police powers over the serfs. A. V. Nikitenko, Dnevnik, 2 vols. (Moscow, 1955), II, 174.

14. There is a vast literature which sustains this generalization, particularly with regard to the attitude of Alexander II. In addition to the famous address to the Moscow nobility of 30 March 1856 in which the emperor touched on the inevitability of emancipation, he gave virtually simultaneous evidence of his wish to concentrate on internal reform as a priority over external relations. In the same month he wrote to Mikhail D. Gorchakov, newly named Viceroy in Poland, of the necessity "by all measures to endeavor to strengthen the in- ternal system both of the military and the civil administration." See Iu. I. Gerasimova, "Krizis pravitelstvennoi politiki v gody revoliutsionnoi situatsii i Aleksandr II," in Revoliutsionnaia Situatsiia v Rossii v 1859-1861gg. (Moscow, 1962), p. 94. See also G. H. Bolsover's citation of evidence of the post-Crimean emphasis on internal reform in "Aspects of Russian Foreign Policy, 1815-1914," in Essays Presented to Sir Lewis Namier (London, 1956), p. 335. An especially illuminating discussion of Alexander's approach to domestic reform and of the military-statist rationale involved is in Alfred J. Rieber, The Politics of Auto- cracy. Letters of Alexander 11 to Prince A. I. Bariatinskii 1857-1864 (The Hague, 1966), pp. 15-58.

15. As early as October, 1857, the Minister of State Properties Mikhail N. Murav'ev had reporter to the Secret Committee on Peasant Affairs on the character of peasant opinion as to the proper conditions of emancipation. His report was based on personal observations in several provinces of the Central region of the empire. He concluded that "the peasants understand freedom as the discontinuance of any labor duties and of payments for land and the un- limited use of all the lands of the pomeshchiki who, in their opinion, will have to quit their estates for the towns, since the land, in the opinion of the peasants, belongs to them and not to the present owners of estates." Quoted in Aleksei Popelnitskii, "Vliianie ideologii krestian na khod osvobozhdeniia ikh ot krepostnoi zavisimosti," Sovremennyi Mir, 2 (1916), p. 21. The tsar's conver- sion to landed emancipation is attributed here, not to peasant "influence", but to disorders among Estland peasants in the summer of 1858, occurrences which demonstrated that emancipation with land would better guarantee public peace than would a landless emancipation such as was decreed in the Baltic provinces in 1816. The attempt to pressure the owners into cooperation with the government in a compromise solution, including land allotments to peasants, proceeded with understandable slowness. Soon partisans of reform were warn- ing the Emperor of the dangers of delay. Thus, Countless Antonina Bludova in a memorandum to Alexander II in August, 1859: "All peasants await with

impatience the promulgation of the general statute and are reluctantly agreeing to transactions .... To put the matter off from day to day is becoming more and more dangerous: the narod waits quietly, that is, peacefully, but with grow- ing impatience. The thought that the tsar is issuing orders and the masters are not listening is growing more and more among the people and, besides the hostility which it, finally, must engender toward the nobility, there is arising another feeling, troublesome and dangerous for Russia-doubt of the power of the tsar." Quoted in Popelnitskii, p. 35. 16. Contemporary fears for the economic future found anxious expression. Aleksandr I. Koshelev (1806-1883), an improving landlord of progressive views in the central agricultural province of Riazan', was bitterly disappointed by the bureaucratic character of the peasant reform in which he noted an incon- sistent combination of "reglamentirizm" with provisions for "voluntary agree- ments" between peasants and owners. Letter to Prince V. A. Cherkasskii, dated May 4, 1861 in O. Trubetskaia, Kn. V. A. Cherkasskii, ego uchastie v razfeshenii krestianskago voprosa. Materialy dlia biografii. I, Book 2 (Moscow, 1904), 283. But what particularly disturbed him at the time was the "terrible confusion" which had possessed the work relationship of owner and peasant. "I do not know," he writes to Cherkasskii, "whether things are quiet where you are in Tula province, but here among us (in Riazan') there are everywhere terrible disorders. The peasants on a good half of the estates are not working-in some entirely, and in others only for one or two days, and that very badly." Ibid., p. 282. He continued. "The Tsar has said: 'bless yourselves with the sign of the cross and stand on your own [italics in the original] free labor [both expres- sions are contained in the Manifesto]; and therefore we cannot go to work for the master. This is, among other things, what the peasants are saying. There is such a lot of porridge in their heads that you simply cannot cope with them." Laid., p. 283. M

17. Again Koshelev speaks for the economically anxious proprietors. In a letter of October 20, 1861 to Samarin he writes: "Things are bad here. The peasants are going over to obrok very weakly and not willingly .... Every- where barshchina is being reformed badly; everywhere the landowners are for obrok and the peasants are against it." Fond No. 265 Samarinykh, Papka no. 32, Item No. 1 (Notebook No. 5), pp. 56-57 (Manuscripts Division, Lenin Library, Moscow). 18. Koshelev noted the confusion of voices and desires among the nobility in Moscow at the end of 1861. In a dyspeptic outburst he writes to Iurii F. Samarin under date of December 17 of the activities of the Moscow Noble Assembly (Dvorianskoe Sobranie): "I don't participate much in these assem- blies, but everywhere there is but one sort of conversation. Imagine: ardent aristocrats, lords of the old school, English aristocrats, German aristocrats, liberals, democrats, demagogues and so on and so forth .... It's all argued out, tempers are lost and one can't digest anything." Himself in favor of the convo- cation of an all-class National (or Land) Assembly, he cites three other classes of gentry political objectives: some would remain a chartered "estate", some prefer the strengthening of gentry provincial status and still others seek trans- formation from a separate "estate" into an economically prosperous class of landowners. All of this confusion, he declares, has had an adverse effect on his health. Fond 265 Samarinykh, Papka no. 32, Item No. 1 (Notebook No. 5), pp. 93-95 (MS Division, Lenin Library, Moscow). For a discussion of the views of the testy Slavophiliac foe of the central bureaucratic regime, see Marc Raeff, "Russia after the Emancipation. Views of a Gentleman-Farmer," Slavonic and East European Review, XXIX (June 1951), 470-485.

19. Iurii Samarin, disheartened by the preceding two years of elitist efforts, wrote of his frustration to Princess Cherkasskaia on December 27, 1862: "I have come to a sad conclusion: all that is possible is isolated and entirely individual action in the very narrow circle of our personal influence, the work of a missionary. Aside from that nothing takes. Now I am avid to know if I am mistaken, or if others have arrived at the same point. I have skin sensitive enough to feel vividly all that is unhealthy and tainted in the air we breathe; but I do not have the sufficiently vigorous instinct of men of action which teaches them to call evil by its name. What is to be done?" Trubetskaia, I, Book 2, 426. 20. In his June, 1862, Memorandum to the Tsar, Valuev characterizes this milieu: "The merchantry (kupechestvo) interferes little in politics, but it does not enjoy the confidence of, and has no useful influence on, the masses." Garmiza, "Predlozheniia ... ," p. 141. A brief description of stirrings in the commercial and industrial milieu is given in A. A. Kornilov, Modern Russian History (New York, 1943), II, 76-79. For an account of one prominent mer- chant's reliance on favor-seeking at the highest levels of government, see Dnevnik Valueva, I, 95, 97, 369-370 and II, 263, 500. 21. This passage reflects the debate which had been carried on for years on the relative merits of free over unfree labor. A discussion of the literature and of conflicting views of contemporary scholars is contained in Alfred A. Skerpan, "The Russian National Economy and Emancipation," Essays in Rus- sian History: A Collection Dedicated to George Vernadsky, ed. by Alan D. Ferguson and Alfred Levin (Hamden, Conn., 1964), pp. 205ff. In the aftermath of emancipation, according to Skerpan, the expectation of liberals that free labor would bring costs downwards was to be disappointed. "For the thirty-year period beginning with the end of the 'fifties,' the yearly wage of agricultural labor rose, for places where data are available, not less than 50 per cent; in some instances it doubled and tripled. The overall picture of the 'eighties' was still one of a virtually universal rise of agricultural wages, but this now amounted on an average to about twenty per cent over the preceding decade, and this in turn was neutralized by a rapid rise in living costs, especially food- stuffs." Skerpan, op. cit., p. 200.

22. Again, Valuev in his 1862 memorandum: "The clergy contains elements of disorder (besporiadka); however, it has not supported progress and possesses art influence only when it is in opposition or when it has a tendency to bring about harm." Garmiza, "Predlozheniia ... ," p. 141. 23. The use of army troops during 1861 to quell disturbances in the villages in fact gave rise to some alarm in official quarters. General Vasilii F. von der Launitz, commander of the internal security guard, urged that the maintenance of army units in villages be limited to ten days and that soldiers be billetted in isolation from peasants. The general explained that prolonged presence in a village meant inevitable peasant fraternization with soldiers of the lower ranks and a resultant weakening of discipline. P. A. Zaionchkovskii, Otmena Krepost- nogo Prava v Rossii, 2nd ed. rev. (Moscow, 1960), p. 173. Valuev confided to his diary the opinion that the army should not be relied upon in this connec- tion. Ibid., p. 174. In his memorandum to the Emperor of June 1862 Valuev characterized the army as "the only magnet still holding together the diverse elements of the state in a condition of apparent unity, and the main basis of social order," yet even it "is beginning to waver and already does not represent in itself a guarantee of absolute security." Garmiza, "Predlozheniia ... ," p. 141.

24. The State Council received the project of reform from the Main Com- mittee on January 16/28 and the Emperor presided over the "long and stormy sessions" of the fortnight following. During this period anti-abolitionist mem- bers, who were in the majority, attempted to make substantive changes, but the Tsar upheld the opinions of the minority. However, two important changes favored by conservative gentry were adopted. In the first maximum norms of peasant allotments were cut down in many localities of the empire. More im- portant was the second change, pressed by Prince Gagarin, who had favored only a landless emancipation. By this provision the proprietor was accorded the option of granting the peasant one-quarter of the higher norm set by the statute. If this "gift allotment" was accepted by the peasant, then peasant and owner were quits and their bondage relationship was definitively ended. The State Council finished its work on February 17/March 1; two days later the Tsar affixed his signature to the documents which comprised the final act. See Evgenii Vishniakov, "Glavnyi Komitet i Redaktsionnyia Komissii," in Velikaia Reforma. Russkoe Obshchestvo i Krestianskii Vopros v Proshlom i Nastoiashchem, ed. A. K. Dzhivelegov et al., 6 vols. (Moscow, 1911), IV, 193; and Jerome Blum, Lord and Peasant in Russia from the Ninth to the Nineteenth Century (Princeton, 1961), p. 590. �

25. N. Shil'der, "Sostoianie tsarstva Polskago v 1861 i 1862gg. Vsepoddan- neishiia donoseniia general-adiutanta Kniazia M. D. Gorchakova," Russkaia Starina, C (October 1899), 119-121. The report is dated February 17/March 1 at Warsaw. 26. Public Record Office (London). FO 65, Piece Number 575. 27. Journal de Saint-Pétersbourg, from 1813 was the official organ of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For excerpts from and comments on the outlook of the Journal see Akademiia Nauk, Institut Istorii. Kolokol. Gazeta A. I. Gert- sena i N. P. Ogareva. Faksimilnoe Izdanie, 11 vols. (Moscow, 1962-64), vyp. VI-VII in which, passim, the paper is taken to task for its amorality on the Polish question and its devotion to the "integrity of the empire." See especially vyp. VI, 1303, 1375. The extracts summarized in the despatch indicate St. Petersburg's defensive alarm over events in Warsaw which followed a demon- stration on 27 February in which five persons were killed. Popular emotions attendant upon civic and religious processions and the public wearing of mourn- ing marked the steady escalation of danger. Accounts of the tense situation developing during the early months of 1861 are contained in R. F. Leslie, Reform and Insurrection in Russian Poland 1856-1865 (London, 1963), pp. 93ff; and in Stefan Kienwiewicz, "Polish Society and the Insurrection of 1863," Past and Present, 37 (July 1967), pp. 130-148. The culmination of the dis- orders came on April 8, in the form of a public reaction to the dissolution of the Agricultural Society when those killed numbered, by one account, ten and by another over 200. Leslie, pp. 111-112.

28. Alexander II had since his accession shown a wavering disposition to seek a reconciliation with the Polish nobility through removal of the more irksome of his father's restrictions, but he warned (in May 1856) against "dreams" in- compatible with the existing relationship between empire and kingdom. Leslie, p. 48; and B. E. Nol'de, Peterburgskaia Missiia Bismarka 1859-62 (Prague,

1925), pp. 223-224. The tensions following 27 February eventuated in an imperial manifesto of March 14/26. The institutions thus granted in response to a petition framed by Alexander Wielopolski and bearing 20,000 signatures included a Polish Council of State and a Commission of Public Instruction and Religious Affairs. Leslie, pp. 96-7 and The Cambridge History of Poland, ed. by W. F. Reddaway et al. (Cambridge, 1941), II, 374. For the communica- tions which passed between the Emperor and his Viceroy, see P. P. Kartsov, ed., "Varshava v 1861 i 1862 gg.," Russkaia Starina, XXXVI (December 1882), 535-584. The Emperor apparently expected these concessions to be implemented in association with "measures of severity" to prevent further unrest in Warsaw. "In case of new disorders," he telegraphed Gorchakov on March 13/25, "I hope for energetic measures from your side." Kartsov, op. cit., XXXVI, 564; and Leslie, p. 105. 29.The Imperial legislation of February/March, 1861, and the policies de- bated and executed over many years in fact assumed the divisibility of the population on the land question. In the Western provinces of the empire, including Lithuania and White Russia, where the Polish nobility constituted the bulk of the landowners, the peasants were favored in 1861. In the provinces of Kiev, Volynia and Podolia all land certified as in peasant hands in the inventories of 1847 and 1848 were secured to them. Peasants in Vilna, Grodno,

Kovno, Minsk and in part of Vitebsk province were to continue in possession of all the land they had used up to the 19th of February. Zaionchkovskii, p. 129. A bitter argument between the nationalistic journalist M. N. Katkov, who favored the Russian government's use of peasant enmity against their Polish masters, and P. A. Valuev, the ministerial advocate of an accomodation between nobility and autocracy, is carried on in their correspondence, for which see V. Mustafin, "Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov i Graf Petr Aleksandrovich Valuev v ikh perepiske (1863-1897gg.)," Rasskaia Starina, CLXIII (August through October 1915), 279-300, 403-413, 91-95; CLXIV (November and December 1915), 247-251, 416-430; and CLXVI (June 1916), 346-365. 30. The role and activities of the Agricultural Society are treated in extensive detail in Leslie, pp. 89-116. Legally warranted by Alexander II in the autumn of 1857, the Society aimed under gentry auspices at the improvement of Polish agriculture and a solution of the agrarian problem agreeable to the owners. In the growing unrest of the weeks following the demonstrations of 25-27 February, which began on the occasion of the Society's annual meeting in Warsaw, the Society seems to have become quite unwillingly the focus of popular emotions and expectations and therefore, in spite of itself, a center of political danger. Disorders in the rural areas of Lithuania and other Western provinces of the empire following the publication of the emancipation statutes increased official fear that the Society might acquire dangerous increments of influence in an increasingly complex situation. On April 6 it was dissolved. This act set off demonstrations on April 7 and 8 which culminated in bloodshed in Warsaw. See Kartsov, op. cit., XXXVI, 568; and Leslie, pp. 110-112. In fact, more than a month before the dissolution, just before the funeral of the five killed on 27 February, Prince Gorchakov had reported to Alexander the efforts on the part of the rebels "to draw into (their) circle the entire Agricultural Society." Shil'der, op. cit., pp. 119-121.

31. The policy of conciliation carried out under the aegis of Wielopolski was undermined by tensions developing out of the radicalization of the situation in Warsaw and the Emperor's temperamental and political inconstancy. Dnevnik Valueva, I, 83-87; and Russko-Polskie Revolutsionrrye sviazi 60-kh godov i Vosstanie 1863 goda, ed. V. A. Diakov, et. al. (Moscow, 1962), pp. 343ff. For a discussion of the conciliation effort, see Stanley J. Zysniewski, "The Futile Compromise Reconsidered: Wielopolski and Russian Policy in the Congress Kingdom, 1861-1863," American Historical Review, LXX (January 1965), 395- 412. Martial law was proclaimed in October. The measure of deterioration in the situation may be taken from the fact that the number of troops in the Kingdom grew by some 25,000 in the course of the year. Zysniewski, op. cit., 408, note 33. 32. Raoul Labry, Autour du Moujik (Paris, 1923), p. 38. The evolution of gentry views of the peasant is treated in Michael Confino, "Le Paysan russe juge par la noblesse au XVIIIe siecle." Revue des Études Slaves, XXXVIII (1961), 51-63.

33. Labry, op. cit., p. 34. 34. Garmiza, "Predlozheniia ... ," p. 141. 35. Public Record Office (London). FO 65, Piece Number 575. 36. The tsarist government was in fact aware of the distance which separated its publicly held conceptions of the state of peasant feeling from the reality reported at regular intervals to the Tsar. A typical source of concern was indic- ated by Interior Minister Lanskoi to Alexander II for the week of 20-27 April, the same period as that in which Napier was writing. Referring particularly to the situation in Tambov province, Lanskoi cited the agitation and volatility of the peasantry and the opportunistic actions of "ill-intentioned persons who circulate among the people various harmful bits of talk and arouse in them a spirit of insubordination." Otmena Krepostnogo Prava. Doklady Ministrov Vnutrennikh Del o Provedenii Krestianqkoi Reformy 1861-1862 (Moscow, 1950), p. 25.

37. "Prince Pouschkine" was Senator and Actual State Councillor Mikhail Nikolaevich Musin-Pushkin, described by Apraksin as owner of "one of the largest estates in the Spasskii district," populated by 831 souls and consisting of 10,639 desiatiny. Krestianskoe Dvizhenie v Rossii v 1857-mae 1861gg. Sbor- nik Dokumentov. Ed. by S. B. Okun' and K. V. Sivkov (Moscow, 1963), p. 351.

38. Napier is here referring to the Bezdna incident, which occurred in mid- April. The most important and influential of the peasant "disturbances" which took place in the spring of 1861, replete with religious as well as social passions, the incident in the village of Bezdna, located in the Spasskii district of Kazan' Province, illustrates the antithetical views of state and peasantry on the land question generally and on the character of the emancipation in particular. A local peasant, twenty-four years of age, one Anton Petrov, who happened also to be an Old Believer, undertook early in April to "interpret" the newly promulgated statute to peasants on the estate of M. N. Musin- Pushkin. Drawing on hoary peasant views of their relationship to the land, Petrov's "interpretation" held that their freedom had actually been secured to them since the census of 1858 and that they no longer owed obligations of any sort to their former masters. In the event, according to P. A. Zaionchkovskii, "Peasants of various villages flocked to Bezdna to hear about 'real freedom'." No less than 75 populated areas in the Spasskii district were represented in "mass refusals to execute barshchina" and "talk circulated about the necessity of settling scores with the gentry." Troops were moved to the village in the form of a dozen companies of infantry, together with artillery. Their commander was Major General Anton Stepanovich Apraksin, an intimate friend of the tsar, who on April 11 demanded that Petrov be handed over to him. Refused, he returned next day with additional forces and repeated his demand, which was again refused. Faced by milling crowds numbering between four and five thousand, some from Samara and Simbirsk provinces, Apraksin ordered his troops to open fire. Sixty-one were killed, 41 died of wounds and the injured may have reached more than 350. "Events in Bezdna had an immense influence on the growth of the peasant movement not only in Kazan' Province, but in the entire mid-Volga region." Zaionchkovskii, pp. 165-167. Even Lanskoi criticized Apraksin's action against a crowd which was not only unarmed, but in no apparent mood for violent action. Ibid. Nevertheless the general's "firmness" seems to have inspired praise among the gentry of the area who feared a new Pugachevshchina. On the general's report of the affair, Alexander II himself wrote: "I cannot but approve the actions of Apraksin; however melancholy, there was nothing else to do." Okun' and Sivkov, op. cit., pp. 350- 355. For another and more critical view, including a characterization of Apraksin, see the memoir of Fedor Aleksandrovich Polovtsov, at the time adjutant to the Governor-General of Kazan', "Iz Vospominanii 1859-1861 godov," Istoricheskii Vestnik, CX (October 1907), 100-123 and (November 1907), 462-486; especially 468ff. Polovtsov states that the peasants appeared to lack violent intent of any sort and "that they had not touched any property belonging to a landowner." Ibid., p. 472. "What he (Apraksin) feared, I do not know." Yet fear was rife before, during and after the Bezdna affair. See also Kolokol, vyp. IV, issue of June 1, 1861, 837-838. In a despatch devoted entirely to a summary of views favorable and unfavorable to the action of Apraksin, Napier concludes that "the formidable extent to which such disorders of a mingled religious and communistic character may run" warranted as "judicious and even eventually humane" the suppression of the "movement by an act of unsparing energy." Public Record Office (London), No. 54 Napier to Russell. dated June 4, 1861, FO 65, Piece Number 576.

39. Peasant unrest in the immediate aftermath of emancipation was aimed especially at the statutory provision which continued for two years the existing obligations of peasant to landowner. Such "unrest" expressed itself typically through refusal to perform barshchina or to pay obrok as incon- sistent with "freedom." Peasant actions against the authority of the master and the police rose in number between mid-April and June, 1861, when they dropped off sharply. "Thus, in May, according to data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 32 provinces were enveloped by the peasant movement, in June 16 were, and in July, 12." Zaionchkovskii, p. 173. Professor Zaionchkovskii considers the proper measure of the scope of the agrarian movement to be the number of troops need to restore order. These forces were drawn from 47 battalions, 18 companies of infantry, 38 and a half squadrons of cavalry and 3 squadrons of Cossacks. The provinces chiefly involved were in the Volga region (Kazan', Saratov), the main agricultural region (Penza, Tambov), the White Russian province of Smolensk, Chernigov in Little Russia and the Lithuanian provinces of Vilna and Kovno, the latter two especially dangerous to the security of the imperial position in Poland. Ibid., pp. 164-165. For the peasant movement from 1861 until 1863, when some stabilization was achieved, see I. I. Ignatovitch, "Vstrecha na mestakh," in Velikaia Reforma, V, 172-179. "In all the disturbances of 1861-1863," he writes, "we see how mild they were, even the largest of them, in comparison with (the actions of) the government authorities." Ibid., p. 178. Ignatovich's judgment of the peasant movement, made in 1911, agrees substantially with that of Zaionchkovskii and indeed with the modest expectations held for the movement by the British envoy. "Despite the scope of the peasant movement and its activeness," Zaionchkovskii writes, "it remained above all elemental and unorganized, tsarist in its character, and lacking in any political program. The peasants refused to acknowledge the authenticity of the statute of 19 February, supposing that the landlords and the officials had 'substituted' it for the 'real freedom' actually granted by the tsar." Zaionchkovskii, p. 174. For a cartographic depiction of the peasant movement from 1861 to 1900, see P. I. Lyashchenko, History of the National Economy of Russia to the 1917 Revolution, translated by L. M. Herman (New York, 1949), p. 373. Another wave of notable unrest rolled over the Russian village in the 1870's. Yet as he has recently been pointed out, the movement "was immeasurably weaker than the high-point of the peasant movement in

the years of the abolition of serfdom. Nonetheless the situation, increasingly complex in the villages, called forth great disquiet in government circles. Unlike 1861, there existed a party which expressed the interests of the peasantry and tried, although in truth unsuccessfully, to draw it into the struggle for social revolution." P. A. Zaionchkovskii, Krizis Samoderzhaviia na rubezhe 1870-1880 godov (Moscow, 1964), p. 14. The party referred to was the Party of the People's Will (Narodnaia Volia).


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