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A Life Under Russian Serfdom

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Boris B. Gorshkov

The Memoirs of Savva Dmitrevich Purlevskii, 1800–1868

Our village, its inhabitants and owners

Texte intégral

(I)

  • 1 Versta is a pre-revolutionary Russian measure of distance. One versta is approximately 1.067 km or (...)
  • 2 Here Purlevskii is referring to Empress Catherine I (r. 1725–1727). Her reign is explored in John (...)
  • 3 Here the author apparently means Prince Anikita Ivanovich Repnin (1668–1726), a military commander (...)
  • 4 Zemstvos were the local governmental bodies, which should not be confused with the local represent (...)

1Our birthplace, the village of Velikoe (“Great”), Yaroslavl’ province (thirty-five versts1 from Yaroslavl’ city eastward along the main road to Rostov), had, from time immemorial, along with the surrounding villages, belonged to the sovereign’s court department. A church, two market days a week, and the production of peasant shoes, mittens, gloves, and woolen stockings remain relics of those old days. Traditionally, these crafts sustained the local market, which in the summer was enlivened with the additional sale of cloth and fine handkerchiefs (perhaps even better known than the village itself), and, during the winter, became brisk with the sale of a type of flax called “glinets.” The area historically produced a large quantity of flax, which was always famous for its quality. In the eighteenth century the entire estate, with all its twenty-three hamlets and the village of Pleshcheevo, somehow (I cannot explain how, probably Ekaterina gifted it2) passed into the possession of Prince Peter Ivanovich Repnin.3 This dignitary loved the village, built a wooden mansion there where he frequently lived himself, befriended the contemporary governor, maintained a kennel with hounds of a special breed, hunted rabbits with his guests, and went out searching for bears. He was so fond of home building, adding, and rebuilding that his whimsical refurbishments kept the peasants busy with lots of work. In return he did not greatly encumber the peasants with money obligations and gave them freedom in everything else. The elderly people even used to brag: “What a life it was under the prince! Local zemstvo4 officials never showed up. When we happened to get drunk and got up to mischief, we would get away with it: we would go in the morning to express our regrets to the prince, take a little treat for the butler, and no one would be any the wiser. If any bold spirit stepped forward to complain against us and make claims, he would be treated with a whip in the stable.”

2The prince definitely protected his peasants and did not burden them with rent. But it was bad that he did not care about the estate economy at all and, in this respect, he did not serve as a good ex-ample to his peasants. His kindness turned into an indulgence of evil. People became villains, they drank and were lazy and did not bother to learn how to make money. At that time, the village had only two stone peasant houses, although both were very significant—one of them because its owner, a serf, made bricks himself, and the other for another reason. The owner of this house was a tanner of raw leather. Once, when an epidemic occurred among the cattle, he skinned the deceased animals, cured the hides under the prince’s protection, and sold them for a big profit. Thus, with the help of carrion he built his mansion. People say that, besides the brick-maker, perhaps only one other person earned his bread by fair work: the elderly man who bred doves and for several years took them to Moscow on the order of a well-known notable who lived there at that time. (The breed is still famous.)

3The neglected economy of the village soon made itself apparent. Affluent peasants were practically absent. Eventually, the prince suddenly found himself in need of money. First of all, he appealed to his own peasants, offering them freedom with all their land and forests for a redemption fee of sixty thousand for 2,500 souls, which meant twenty-four rubles a soul. The peasants could not muster even that! When they had duties to pay, if the prince did not help, they would often get into trouble.

  • 5 Kuptsy (pl.), kupets (sing.), was a social estate in Russia and usually referred to the upper-midd (...)
  • 6 According to other contemporary sources, the village was sold to Savva Iakovlevich Sobakin (Iakovl (...)
  • 7 The Russian surname Sobakin is derived from the word sobaka (dog). This name was probably consider (...)
  • 8 The imperial Russian state possessed a monopoly on alcohol (and some other goods, including salt) (...)
  • 9 The meshchane was a social estate in Russia and referred to the ur-ban petite bourgeoisie (townspe (...)

4What came of this story of the prince’s need for money? Of course, the estate was sold. In those days people were sold easily, like cattle. If the landlord happened to need money, several peasants would be taken to the market. Any free person could buy serfs—no formal deed of purchase was needed, only a written landlord’s acknowledgment. An entire estate could be turned over to the marketplace. There were special people for this, something like dealers (these dealers were also solicitors in courts and had friendships with affluent people). With the help of such a dealer, our entire estate was sold to a rich man from the merchant class (kuptsy5), not to a nobleman.6 The merchant, Savva Iakovlevich Sobakin (he later changed his surname to Iakovlev),7 was an alcohol tax farmer.8 Elderly people said that this Savva Iakovlevich originally came from the Ostashkovo meshchane,9 that he worked in St. Petersburg for a court supplier of vegetables, and that he was a handsome man, blooming with health—a man of excellent appearance. He knew how to present himself to people and was in high favor with certain persons of that time who knew how to make a landless peasant (bobyl’) into a rich man. I am not sure whether it was luck or ability and natural wit that brought Savva Iakovlevich into the good graces of so many influential nobles. But one day, on a special occasion, free drinks were served in all St. Petersburg’s drinking establishments, as a sort of treat for the people. Relying on his patrons, the tax farmer charged the treasury far more money than he had really spent—the sum was twice as much or more than his entire annual income. This time he had gone too far, but, more importantly, he had fallen out with someone. A denunciation was issued—Savva Iakovlevich lost his tax farm and was himself expelled from St. Petersburg.

  • 10 Savva (Sobakin) Iakovlev later became one of the biggest metallurgy entrepreneurs in Russia. He ow (...)

5Of course this was unpleasant, but with money one can live well anywhere. He therefore bought our princely estate, as well as Demidov’s metalworks in Siberia and a linen manufacturing establishment in Yaroslavl’, with one thousand hereditary serf workers.10 As for St. Petersburg and Moscow, he owned many houses in both places.

  • 11 According to various state provisions, among the different ways of achieving noble status was prom (...)
  • 12 Desiatina is a pre-revolutionary Russian unit of area. One desiatina equaled 2.7 acres.

6Whether before that time or after, I do not know, he had five sons and a daughter: Peter, Ivan, Gavrilo, Mikhail and Sergei. Customarily, sons of affluent people could enter state service, receive a rank, and eventually enter the nobility.11 After the death of their father, the five sons (all unmarried) divided the estate into five parts. Sergei, at the time already a lieutenant-colonel, got our village without the surrounding hamlets, 3,051 acres (1,130 desiatinas12) of arable land, 432 acres (160 desiatinas) of forest, 1,620 acres (600 desiatinas) of meadowland, and, in addition, he inherited the Siberian metalworks with souls attached.

  • 13 The Nikonshchina refers to the reforms within the Russian Orthodox Church introduced by Patriarch (...)
  • 14 Purlevskii’s attitude toward women reflected the universal male view. For a discussion of this, se (...)

7From the time the rich tax farmer bought the estate, peasant life took on a different form. Unbound freedom turned into slavish obedience; reproaches were heard from all sides regarding the peasants’ past deeds; rural bureaucrats began to visit the village endlessly, with or without reason, and practically lived and ate there; now there was no longer any princely protection—now everything had to be paid off with money! The new owner set up a cotton mill on the river near the village and forced everyone who could not pay the designated rent to work there—in other words, almost the entire estate. Only then did the senior people realize that in order to get rid of the heavy corvée one needed to seek a means of making money. But in contrast to the old days, people went too far to the other extreme. Everyone began to care only about himself, resorting to any small-minded calculations and any means to get money. Then, realizing their past miscalculations, the elderly men began to say, “God is angry with us—our life has been made dismal because of our sins.” Others would add, “God is against us not for our impudent behavior under the prince but because we ceased to believe in the Old Scriptures; we’ve been ruined by the Nikonshchina13 and life with tobacco users.” Homegrown intellectuals even began to speak about the last days, about the seal of the Antichrist, and about the imminent appearance of the beast with the title 666. However, the contemporary priests not only paid no attention to the state of peoples’ minds but themselves further demoralized the peasants by their own way of life. These ignorant rumors reinforced the schism among all who revered the importance of Christian ceremonies. Speculations about crossing with two fingers and performing church services according to the old texts preoccupied all weak minds, and especially women.14 They fell victim to Pokhomych, who was one of the major teachers of the schism (although, on the sly, he was fond of the bottle). He established a chapel in the village.

8Although I am not sure about the specific years when all these things happened, I know that our predecessors lived in this disastrous corvée state for about fifteen years until the division of the estate, mentioned above, among the heirs of the rich tax farmer. It must have happened well before 1800, because in 1790 the young owner, the lieutenant-colonel, declared, by written order, that the peasants of our village (1,250 souls) were liberated from factory work and that they owned all the arable and meadowlands and forest for an annual rent of fifteen thousand paper rubles. The annual state revenue dues were 1.5 rubles a soul. For that time this landlord’s rent seemed quite burdensome; besides that, the peasants got less than 2.7 acres (one desiatina) per soul of arable land— only enough for grazing cattle; as for planting grain, don’t even bother thinking about it! Our elderly people were almost in tears thinking of the time when the prince had asked only sixty thousand for the entire estate and it would have been free for ever, but they had not been able to collect the money because of their dissipated life at that time.

9There was nothing that could be done—the past cannot be brought back! People began to say, “Thank God we at least got rid of the corvée. Although the rent is heavy, it is still better for the peasants to make a penny. Women can be of help here: they are good at weaving fine new articles that visiting merchants praise and pay a lot of money for. Also, we must be grateful to the young lord for allowing us to elect a bailiff ourselves. Someone from our own village, whoever he is, is still better than a stranger. Take for example the mill manager, a stout German. However well one accomplished one’s work, if one did not bring the manager a treat for a holiday—eggs, butter, or towels and cloth—one would get into trouble. The damned manager would carp at anything and order a flogging. And there was no one to complain to. If the manager could not find anything to pick on, he would ask you to enter his room, and if you accidentally got dirt on the floor, he would get you to lick it off or to wipe it with your beard, and the unpleasant man would not let you go unless you wiped it clean...”

10In my youth, these stories told by the elderly people made little impression on me. When I remembered them later, they reinforced my belief that our peasant dependence was bitter!

(II)

  • 15 Nevskii Prospekt is the main street in St. Petersburg.
  • 16 “Down the Mother Volga River” (Vniz po matushke Volge) is a Russian folk song known among the popu (...)
  • 17 The idiomatic expression “in Adam’s suit” probably meant without clothing and the “warm room” woul (...)

11Although not an unkind man, our new owner, the lieutenant-colonel, was, right from his childhood, undisciplined. He had no particular interest in the sizable circle of his father’s family friends and even felt it burdensome to make visits. He lived independently. As a result, the old ties with his family friends were destroyed and even his relatives did not want to keep contact with him. In their place he found other people, anxious to please—unattractive individuals, fond of drinking, going on a spree, or meeting a beautiful face, willing to praise his virtues and his wisdom of Solomon, and loving gossip. His life went on smoothly. A table for thirty or more people of various rank and gender was laid copiously every day. At six the dinner came to a close, the windows on Nevskii15 were shuttered (the lieutenant-colonel lived in St. Petersburg), and the fun began: musicians, singers, and a buffet. Before drinking, they usually cried, “Brothers, fill the wineglasses and drain them to the bottom!” Then there would be singing and dancing. When they got tired of this they would put soft rugs in the hall, sit on them, and strike up with their beloved “Down the Mother Volga River.”16 When this too got tiresome, another game awaited: dressing in their Adam’s suits in a warm room...17

  • 18 Chervonets were golden coins of five- and ten-ruble denomination in pre-1917 Russia.

12Those who wanted not only to take advantage of the booze but to play cards in the rich gentleman’s house also wormed their way into our lord’s favor. The ring-leaders of this “golden cut company,” as they were called—people subtle and shrewd—conducted their business skillfully. They lured along several young nobles who loved to gamble. Although he himself was not particularly fond of gambling, the landlord, enticed by the kindness of his notorious visitors, would sometimes participate in the games and lose. What was it to him to lose several thousand rubles! Once he gained a fat profit from the sale of iron to a foreign company. His fellows sniffed it out. They came to lunch, carrying with them a sack of gold coins (chervontsy).18 Others appeared when the lieutenant-colonel, already full and drunk, holding a glass of wine, uttered his usual verse, “Well, friends, God gave us wine for our pleasure. In it, old age will find youth and all misfortunes shall be over.” They joined in, drank well, and then started gambling. The money was laid out on tables. Initially they placed small bets, so that even the lord himself, not a great gambler, became disappointed to see that nobody wanted to stake more. In order to encourage the game he himself placed bets at all tables: three won, one lost. Overall he won about ten thousand rubles—not a big gain for a rich person. The lord just wished to encourage his guests, and soon left the gamblers for diversion in another room.

13“Sergei Savich!” the guests cried, “The game has again become boring without you.”

14“Well,” he said, “I’ll show them now!”

15He came in, looked for the table with the largest pile of money on it, and took six cards—“I bet everything!”

16He lost...

17There was nothing to do but pay. “How much?” he asked. They counted the heap of gold coins and calculated its value at two hundred thousand in banknotes... He ordered the steward to pay the money in full and got himself roaring drunk that evening.

18Besides his bragging and his habit of going on sprees, our lord also adored horses, about which he possessed no sense but wanted to outdo everyone else. This sort of horse lover is a big find for horse dealers. They rounded him up—befriending his servants and coachmen. At first they dealt honestly with him, but then began to palm off every kind of jade on him. These purchases packed the lord’s stables, both in the city and in the country. When the horse dealers realized that the lord had no more space for horses, they began to use different tactics. They would come to him, and one of the more persuasive among them would start:

“Ah, little father, Sergei Savich, your horses are just great but they have become restless and you keep them stabled all the time. You had better get some fresh ones. There are some steeds coming from Bitiug, of the Mosolov breed, which are just right for you. Here is a certificate!”
“Well fellows, as to purchasing I would certainly do so, but I have no more room. Perhaps we could do an exchange?” he replied.
“If you please, father—anything, if only to please your Excellency...”
The lord ordered an exchange of three horses, plus some cash in addition, for one horse; otherwise the horse dealer would never have left him alone.

  • 19 In his text Purlevskii wrote “za zhidovskii rost vpered.”

19That was how our domestic affairs went. The steward, Ivan Savich Skvoznik, a shrewd person, enjoyed the unquestioned confidence of our lord. During his ten years of service for the lieutenant-colonel, the steward studied him well, accommodated himself to all the lord’s whims, and gained control of everything. He was incredibly accurate in maintaining records. Whenever the landlord wanted to check his finances, everything would seem to be in place, to the last penny. Only it did not occur to him that with every sale of iron and copper, with every purchase for the estate’s needs, Ivan Savich gained a huge profit, paid to him by the merchants and suppliers in order to get him to sell for less and buy for more. He made a fortune. When it happened that the lord was short of cash— whether the iron had not yet been sold off or the rent not yet received—and he needed some for his daily expenses, the lord would say, “Take care of this, dear Savich. Find money wherever you can and pay what has to be paid.” Savich would then use his own money but pretend that he had borrowed it for a paid-in-advance Jew’s interest.19 He pretended to be a poor man, and to prove his poverty and keep the lord’s favor he married one of our serf lasses—not unknown to the lord, so people said, who then gave her freedom and two hundred rubles. The money, of course, was a matter of indifference to Skvoznik but the woman was handy. She took care of the household as a housekeeper—it was convenient to work together.

20There was also a fellow, the chef, some mus’e (monsieur). He was in charge of purchasing provisions and wines, in a word—for the buffet, the lord’s table and the servants’ meals—but in reality he in fact did almost nothing. He would come every morning to the lord, wearing a white jacket and a cap, and made a bow. Then he would drop into the kitchen to give the cooks the order for the day’s menu and afterwards walk to a fellow-countryman’s wine shop for a drink and a snack. And then he would visit his suppliers with his own interests in mind. By lunchtime the chef would return, check the kitchen, have his lunch at a special table, and after that go to the wine shop again and stay there until midnight, smoking pipe tobacco and sipping Madeira and grog. It was not too bad though, for he kept everything in order. What was bad was that he skimped a lot on the servants’ provisions. There were many servants of various ages and genders, over a hundred, and many of them were without even a piece of bread. Servants and cooks could perhaps get something from the lord’s table, while the poor musicians and singers frequently bawled and blew on empty bellies.

21And we in the village also had hard times. We needed to pay the rent in full and, besides, had to send our best fellows to serve as menials in his house. In one year alone, forty people were taken as musicians, servants and carriage footmen, and then the lord wanted twenty girls.

22Finally, this careless, happy-go-lucky life got on the lord’s nerves. Suddenly he stopped carousing and displayed an interest in theater. He rented a box at the theater and went there almost every evening. As table companions at his huge dinners there remained only those who also loved theater. The house calmed down, the junkets stopped, and the gambling company lost its warm shelter. The lord even became concerned about cleanliness, changed his garments every morning, dressed foppishly, and made visits somewhere... Suddenly, he gave orders to refurbish the countryside house and buy new furniture for it. And he left for the country house earlier than usual. People began saying that the lord was going to marry some actress.

23And so it happened. The house obtained a mistress, Nastas’ia Borisovna, who, the very day after arriving, called together all the household servants and asked them about their work and if they needed anything. She was so kind and nice to them that the servants hardly knew how to appreciate it. Order prevailed. It was suggested to Skvoznik that he look for another job, and the chef was also dismissed. They set up a home office to maintain the household records, put the main cash-desk in the lord’s study, and in place of the steward hired a butler from among our own serfs, a kind, good man. From that time on everyone in the house was well fed and happy. Favorable rumors about the lord’s new life spread around the city and reached his brothers. Their former coolness gradually began to disappear. At first infrequently, as if informally, the lord’s former friends started to visit him as well. And the lord, along with his young spouse, also became a frequent visitor at gentry houses. So everything went well.

  • 20 The cemetery of the Alexander Nevskii Lavra in St. Petersburg.

24The family happiness lasted for nine years. In those years life was good for everybody. The number of household servants decreased by half; some obtained their freedom. The birth of every daughter (God did not provide sons) was reported to the estate administration, and the priests were given a hundred rubles for their service. When the great fire occurred in our village, the peasants were exempt from rent payments for a year and, moreover, were given subsidies for rebuilding. In the tenth year of their marriage, Nastas’ia Borisovna, two weeks after giving birth to her seventh daughter, passed away... She was buried in Lavra20 under a grim tombstone upon which is carved a little nest with nestlings.

25With her decease the daughters came under the supervision of governesses; although the reined-in former uproar was not restored to the house, nor did the established order prevail; visits were thinned out and occurred only if someone came by to see the children. The lord also almost abandoned his own house and frequently stayed in another—whose German mistress, so people said, began to give birth to babies that looked like him, and where food provisions, servants, and the carriage were constantly sent. It was also heard that this German family consequently gained half a million rubles in Treasury Bonds.

  • 21 Purlevskii is referring to the continental system introduced by Napoleon in 1806, which prohibited (...)

26And so it went until 1808, when, due to the rupture with England, iron sales there stopped.21 Steel prices fell dramatically and the estate mills’ profits decreased so much that the lord was hardly able to sustain the mills’ serfs. Then, suddenly, his elder unmarried brother died. He had been known as a miser, about which one could judge by the fact that he never sold his metal but stocked it instead, so that after his death a pile of iron pressing deep into the ground was found. He saved money as well. One could do nothing with the iron at that time, but since one-quarter of the miser’s property went to our lord, his business improved. Consequently, in the year 1812, he was able to make a large charitable donation for which he received the title of state councilor (statskii sovetnik). Later on, as the result of another donation, he was granted the rank of active councilor (deistvitel’nyi sovetnik). With the rank of general, the lord was more willing to make visits and himself received visitors. Soon his two grown-up daughters were married to generals.

  • 22 The enterprise came to be known as “The Heirs of S. S. Iakovlev.” It also included the metalworks (...)

27The lord died in 1817. His heirs were two married ladies and five adult girls, who soon also got married. By mutual agreement, and without the division of the estate, they established a common estate management under the title “The heirs of such and such person.”22

3.
Peasant betrothal

4.
Peasant betrothal

Notes

1 Versta is a pre-revolutionary Russian measure of distance. One versta is approximately 1.067 km or 0.663 mile. Thirty-five versts is about twenty-three miles.

2 Here Purlevskii is referring to Empress Catherine I (r. 1725–1727). Her reign is explored in John Alexander, “Catherine I, Her Court and Courtiers,” in Peter the Great and the West: New Perspectives, Lindsey Hughes, ed. (Basingstoke, UK: Pargrave, 2000), and Lindsey Hughes, Russia in the Age of Peter the Great (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).

3 Here the author apparently means Prince Anikita Ivanovich Repnin (1668–1726), a military commander and politician during the reign of Peter I. Anikita Repnin led the Russian army at the Battle of Poltava (June 1709). For his military achievements Repnin was given the Order of Andrei Pervozvannyi and granted Velikoe. On the reign of Peter the Great see Paul Bushkovich, Peter the Great: The Struggle for Power, 1671–1725 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001); M. S. Anderson, Peter the Great (London: Longman, 1995); and Hughes, Russia in the Age of Peter. For a discussion of the Battle of Poltava see Robert Frost, The Northern Wars: War, State and Society in Northern Europe, 1558–1721 (New York: Longman, 2000). On Repnin see V. I. Buganov and A. V. Buganov, Polkovodtsy XVIII v. (Moscow: Patriot, 1992), 187–198.

4 Zemstvos were the local governmental bodies, which should not be confused with the local representative government zemstvos established after 1864.

5 Kuptsy (pl.), kupets (sing.), was a social estate in Russia and usually referred to the upper-middle-class people who engaged in large-scale commerce or business. On the topic of Russia’s middle classes, see Rieber, Merchants and Entrepreneurs; Blackwell, The Beginnings; and Entrepreneurship in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, Gregory Gurov and Fred V. Garstensen, eds. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983). Russia’s middle classes also receive attention in Elise Kimmerling Wirtschafter, Social Identity, chapter 3.

6 According to other contemporary sources, the village was sold to Savva Iakovlevich Sobakin (Iakovlev) in 1780 for 250 thousand rubles by I. I. Matveev, who was apparently a local real estate dealer. Fedorov, Pomeshchich’i Krest’iane, 119.

7 The Russian surname Sobakin is derived from the word sobaka (dog). This name was probably considered to have an unfortunate ring to it, which might have caused its owner to change it.

8 The imperial Russian state possessed a monopoly on alcohol (and some other goods, including salt) and sold the right to retail trade in these commodities in tax farms to merchants (or sometimes nobles), who paid a fixed amount to the state and retained the rest of the income as a profit. In 1863 the state eliminated alcohol tax farming. On this issue see John Le-Donne, “Indirect Taxes in Catherine’s Russia: Liquor Monopoly,” Jarbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas, 24 (1976): 175–207; R. E. F. Smith and David Christian, Bread and Salt: A Social and Economic History of Food and Drink in Russia (Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984); and David Christian, ‘Living Water’: Vodka and Russian Society on the Eve of Emancipation (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1990). For Russian-language studies see V. V. Pokhlebkin, Istoriia Vodki, 2nd edition (Novosibirsk: Russkaia Beseda, 1994).

9 The meshchane was a social estate in Russia and referred to the ur-ban petite bourgeoisie (townspeople). Ostashkovskie meshchane were townspeople from the city of Ostashkovo, in Tver’ province.

10 Savva (Sobakin) Iakovlev later became one of the biggest metallurgy entrepreneurs in Russia. He owned several large metalworks in Siberia and the Urals, including the famous Alapaevsk mill. For more information on Iakovlev’s enterprise see Metallurgicheskie zavody na territorii SSSR s XVII veka do 1917, M. A. Pavlov, editor-in-chief, 2 vols. (Moscow: Nauka, 1930) 1: 17, 107, 175, 195, 380.

11 According to various state provisions, among the different ways of achieving noble status was promotion to rank eight in the civil service or to rank fourteen in the military. Affluent non-nobles of the free estates could enter either civil or military service. For further discussion of this issue see Paul Dukes, Catherine the Great and the Russian Nobility (London: Cambridge University Press, 1967); idem, Making of Russian Absolutism, 1613–1801 (New York: Longman, 1982), and Brenda Meehan-Waters, Autocracy and Aristocracy: The Russian Service Elite of 1730 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1982).

12 Desiatina is a pre-revolutionary Russian unit of area. One desiatina equaled 2.7 acres.

13 The Nikonshchina refers to the reforms within the Russian Orthodox Church introduced by Patriarch Nikon (r. 1652–1658). These reforms aimed at making religious scriptures and liturgies used by the church uniform and clear from textual corruptions. The reform stirred up opposition and provoked a schism within the church. Those who opposed Nikon’s ideas became known as the Old Believers. On this topic see Robert O. Crummney, The Old Believers and the World of Antichrist: The Vyg Community and the Russian State, 1694–1855 (Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1970); Nicholas Lupinin, Religious Revolt in the Eighteenth Century: The Schism of the Russian Church (Princeton, NJ: Kingston Press, 1984); Paul Meyendorff, Russia, Ritual, and Reform: The Liturgical Reforms of Nikon in the Seventeenth Century (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Press, 1991); and Roy R. Robson, Old Believers in Modern Russia (DeKalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois University Press, 1995).

14 Purlevskii’s attitude toward women reflected the universal male view. For a discussion of this, see Becoming Visible: Women in European History, Renate Bridenthal et al., ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987).

15 Nevskii Prospekt is the main street in St. Petersburg.

16 “Down the Mother Volga River” (Vniz po matushke Volge) is a Russian folk song known among the popular as well as elite classes. It was specifically popular among barge haulers.

17 The idiomatic expression “in Adam’s suit” probably meant without clothing and the “warm room” would have been a sauna or steam room.

18 Chervonets were golden coins of five- and ten-ruble denomination in pre-1917 Russia.

19 In his text Purlevskii wrote “za zhidovskii rost vpered.”

20 The cemetery of the Alexander Nevskii Lavra in St. Petersburg.

21 Purlevskii is referring to the continental system introduced by Napoleon in 1806, which prohibited trade with Britain by closing continental ports to British ships.

22 The enterprise came to be known as “The Heirs of S. S. Iakovlev.” It also included the metalworks in Siberia and the Urals, a linen mill in the village, and the Bol’shaia Yaroslavskaia Manufactura, a famous linen mill in Yaroslavl’. See Metallurgicheskie zavody, and N. Paialin, “Bol’shaia Yaroslavskaia Manufactura v 50–80-kh gogakh XIX veka,” in Istoriia Proletariata SSSR, A. M. Pankratova, editor-in-chief, 5 vols. (20) (Moscow: Sotsekgiz, 1934): 93–106.

Table des illustrations

Légende 3.Peasant betrothal
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Légende 4.Peasant betrothal
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