The way of peasant life of the tsarist era
The way of peasant life of the tsarist era

Every era has its positive and negative features. Therefore, it is not entirely objective to pull out individual episodes of perversion and judge the entire era by them. Although the number of hard-hitting facts in itself can give an approximate assessment of the mores of a particular historical period. But, we repeat, it is approximate, not exact.

How, then, should one approach the assessment of the stages of the past history? Apparently, one should take into account the direction of the development vector, its components. And always consider the position of the main, overwhelming massthe people- the main component of this vector.

Then we will see, using the example of the last fifty years of the tsarist regime, that development proceeded exclusively in the interests of a small stratum of society - the capitalists and the nobility. This is unambiguously confirmed by the famous circular "about the cook's children."

“Gymnasiums and gymnasiums will be freed from the children of coachmen, lackeys, cooks, laundresses, small shopkeepers and the like from entering them, whose children, except perhaps gifted with genius abilities, one should not at all strive for secondary and higher education

Of course, the peasants who made up overwhelmingthe mass of the population of the Russian Empire. And this majority did not even bother to mark separately, having shoved it into the column „etc. people".

But against the background of such a demonstration of the course of tsarism not on the development of the people, but on its degradation, other negative features of the era acquire a completely different meaning. They become a characteristic of the social arrangement of society, its integral feature. About this - in an excerpt from the article G.A. Ibraeva "Milk rivers, jelly banks".



Prince Kurakin in his estate Nadezhdino imitates court life.

For a large fee, the poor nobles take from him the positions of butlers, equestrians and masters of ceremonies; with him are: a secretary, a doctor, a conductor, a librarian and a huge retinue. Sometimes large exits were arranged at the court, and strict etiquette and complex ceremonies were observed.

The general-in-chief and cavalier of Andreev, Count Devier, started his own artillery in the Voronezh estate. Once (at the end of the 18th century) he shot from two cannons the entire Zemstvo court that was traveling to him.

Count Sheremetev in Kuskovo had his own rycap squadron of 12 men with a commander; there were their own marshals, chamber junkers, maids of honor, recruited from the courtyard.

Prince Golitsyn has his own yard. The courtiers, instead of the order, wore a portrait of the prince on their chests.

Count Kamensky had 400 servants, Count Orlov had 500, General Izmailov had 800. The latter had 17 lackeys in one of the lobbies; everyone has their own business: one serves a pipe, another a glass of water, etc.

The same gene. Izmailov several hundred hounds and 2000 greyhounds.

Golovin, who had 300 servants, served 40 meals daily for dinner; a special chef for each meal; lunch - a whole sacred action performed according to a special ritual; 12 waiters serve the master at lunch.

Korsakov (who "came out on the spot" under Catherine II) has at least 80 guests every day; champagne flowed like a river; not only the guests drank, but also the servants of Korsakov, as well as the servants of his guests.

Chancellor Prince Bezborodko spent 8,000 rubles on monthly ordinary household expenses; often arranged evenings; every evening cost 50,000 rubles.

He paid the Italian singer Dazio 8,000 rubles a month; when leaving abroad, she received 500,000 rubles in money and diamonds.

To the dancer Lenushka, the prince presented the town of Rozhdestven (now abolished) granted to him (by Paul I), which brought 80,000 income annually.

Many landowners had their own theaters; corpses consisted of serfs.

Prince Shakhovsky had more than 100 people in the troupe.

The theater of Count Kamensky in Orel was famous. The production of "Caliph of Baghdad" cost him 30,000 rubles. For one serf family that played on stage, he gave an entire village of 250 souls. This family consisted of a husband, wife and 6-year-old daughter, who was especially good at dancing "kachuchu".

The Kuskovsky theater of gr. Sheremetev, who competed with the palace.

In the Yusupov serf theater, dancers appeared in front of the audience in their natural form.

The landowners had their own orchestras, their own artists, composers, astronomers, even "theologians", jesters, fools, araps and araps.


Lev Naryshkin is known for his masquerades. On the occasion of the end of the Turkish war, he arranged a magnificent celebration: the whole war was presented, expanding mountains, temples, etc. were erected.

The festivities of the book. Potemkin's were a miracle of luxury: pyramids set in gold, gilded elephants fringed with precious stones; 3000 invited guests; during one festival (April 8, 1791), 70,000 rubles worth of wax was burned for lighting.

The wardrobe of the wife of the famous temporary worker Biron was valued at half a million, her diamonds at two million; one dress covered with pearls cost 100,000 rubles.

Field Marshal Apraksin had several hundred dresses.

Prince Gr. Orlov, when leaving for Focsani for the congress, received as a gift, by the way, a caftan worth 1,000,000 rubles.

Enough. It is clearly clear that there is something to bless, there is something to regret, gentlemen. N N and other "bison" !!

In a dramatic chronicle dedicated to the good old times, the first role, of course, should be given to Saltychikha.

There was such a landowner who owned estates inhabited by serfs in the provinces of Vologda, Kostroma and Moscow.

"A torturer and murderer who inhumanely torturously killed her people to death." This characteristic of Saltychikha was made in the Imperial Decree of 1768.

For the slightest offense, she subjected the serfs to cruel executions. I beat it myself with a stick, a log, a roll, a rolling pin. At her order, the grooms beat with batogs, rods, and whips. The beatings often ended in death. Some cases of executions were distinguished by exquisite cruelty:

the woman's hair was singed on her head; the man banged his head against the wall, poured boiling water from the kettle,; tugged at her ears with hot tongs; she drove the girl up to her throat into the water in winter.

In total, she tortured 75 people, mostly women. The tyranny of Saltychikha brought superstitious terror to the peasants: she was suspected of cannibalism; it was said that she used women's breasts for roast.

Mrs. Briskorn, landowner of Kursk province. In several of its villages and the villages of the Kursk estate, there were 2,135 male souls. In 1822, the peasants of Briskorn, driven to poverty, filed a complaint with the Sovereign. A commission has been appointed to investigate the case. The commission's report revealed a picture of inhuman exploitation and terrible cruelty.

The landowner cut off the best land for herself, gave the peasants

the worst. The three-day corvee law was not enforced.

Work for the landowner was carried out according to lessons; lessons ended on their own days, on Sundays and holidays; corvee work continued until late at night, and sometimes was carried out at night. In addition to agricultural work, the peasants were engaged in construction work, making bricks and transporting firewood.

Most of the construction workers were women; women with babies and pregnant women were expelled to work; mothers were beaten for taking off from work to breastfeed their babies; pregnant women were also beaten, so there were miscarriages.

Children from 8 to 15 years old were engaged in transporting bricks and sand; carried at night and on holidays.

Particularly difficult was the situation of the peasants who worked in Mrs. Brieskorn's cloth factories.Whole families were taken to the factory and worked constantly; they were given the worst food; there were no special rooms for them, only some were allowed to spend the night in the village, the rest spent the night at the factory, all together, without distinction of gender or age.

In 1820 the factory was moved to a new damp stone building; illness and death began: during the 1st year, 122 people died out of a total of about 400 workers. The landowner herself punished the serfs, usually hitting them on the head, some died very soon after the punishment.

Staff-captain Pashevkina was put on trial (in 1825) on charges of killing a serf girl. A 12-year-old girl decided to run away. Was caught. The head-captain ordered the maids to punish her first with rods, then with a coachman's whip; I helped myself. The maids and mistress were tired. Having rested, they again began to beat with a whip. The girl died the next day.

Princess Kozlovskaya. Russian Messalina. Women were flogged on breasts and genitals. Dogs poisoned naked serfs tied to pillars. The maid was jealous of her lover: she tore her lips to her ears with her own hand, stuck pins into her shoulders and arms.

Countess Saltykova kept her hairdresser in a cage for three years so that she would not let slip that she was wearing a wig.

Nastasya Minkina. The famous housekeeper and mistress of the all-powerful Arakcheev. She was not ashamed of any measures to curb.. the "willfulness" of the serfs. She punished the courtyard girls with batogs and rods twice a day, so that they would not seduce Arakcheev, who was greedy for women. She burned the girls' faces with hot iron, pulled out the meat in pieces. Was stabbed to death by serfs.

These are the female roles. And here are the men:

Ensign Shenshin. In 1767 he set up a prison on his estate - s. Shumovo, Oryol province. The prison had the most sophisticated instruments of torture: rears, pincers, etc.

The court was sent by the master himself; with him there was a priest who admonished the dying of torture, and 30 executioners, executors of the sentences imposed by the master. In 1769 he decided to go beyond the framework of serf justice: to play in a dungeon with a Moscow merchant.

He ended up in the dock and ended up in hard labor. The investigation found out that in two years of torture, 59 people were killed by Shenshin.

Landowner Karmatsky. In the middle of the 18th century. on his estate in the Kazan province a castle with towers, caches and dungeons towered. It was a grim prison with chains, slingshots, blocks, cast-iron chairs and other instruments of torture.

Major Orlov, the landowner of the Oryol province, also had a prison with all kinds of instruments of torture. Only in cases of unimportant misconduct were chains, iron, slingshots, pads used. In more important cases, "tortures are invented with such unbridled ferocity that it is impossible to utter without a shudder."

This is what is said in the court verdict in the case of this landowner.

Major General Pobedinsky, the landowner of the Yaroslavl province, also resorted to torturing the serfs. The nobility itself made an investigation. In the general's house, various tyrannical weapons with caked blood were found: a cruciform hoop, pads, a chain with hoops driven into the wall …

Struysky, a landowner of the Penza province, a former governor of Vladimir. "Highly educated lawyer." On his estate he arranged a "properly organized European trial of the peasants."

The trial took place in the master's office, which bears the name "Parnassus". Barin was a judge and prosecutor. He "delivered speeches of accusation in accordance with all the rules of Western jurisprudence."

And then the accused went from the office to the underground, where torture awaited him according to all the rules of the Barbarian legal procedure.

Landowner Douglas, Governor of Estonia. Sec serfs in his presence. He ordered - to sprinkle the tortured backs with gunpowder and then ignite.

Count Arakcheev created a whole system of punishments. In the estate of the Georgians, there were always tubs with brine in the arsenal, in which rods and sticks for execution were soaked.

During the execution, the "beautiful girls" sang in chorus: "God rest with the saints!"

For the first blame, the count secures the courtyards in the stables; for the second he was sent to the Preobrazhensky regiment, where they were punished with special thick sticks, Arakcheev's; for the third execution was carried out by specialists summoned from the Preobrazhensky regiment by executioners, in the house in front of the count's office or in the library.

After the execution, the punished came to the count to show their back swollen and streaked with blows of a whip or sticks. There was a home prison in the Georgians - a dark, damp, cold and narrow room; here the perpetrators sat for weeks and months.

Lieutenant Karpov. In December 1851 in the Kherson province. on the estate of the landowner Karpova, an 11-year-old peasant boy was stabbed to death. The investigation is dressed up. It turned out that the boy committed suicide for fear of punishment, that the landowner's husband, Lieutenant Karpov, used the most severe punishments. I put them in shackles, put slingshots around my neck, chained them to a pole; subjected to corporal punishment up to 700 blows with sticks, and sprinkle the broken places with spicy vodka.

At the trial, not only peasants, but also neighbors, relatives, showed that Lieutenant Karpov treated the serfs barbarously. The same was confirmed by his wife.

General Izmailov. The one that Pushkin portrayed in the person of Troyekurov in the story "Dubrovsky". The one about whom Griboyedov said in "Woe from Wit": "Nestor of the noble scoundrels."

He had up to 6,000 serfs in Tula, Ryazan and other provinces. They drove out to the corvee every day. For the slightest disobedience to the will of the master, peasant houses were burned, the third peasant and the tenth woman were flogged.

There were a lot of courtyards: in the Tula estate, out of a total of 1,500 male souls, up to 500 men and women made up the courtyard.

The courtyard was punished almost hourly. The lackeys close to the general constantly wore rods in their belts for immediate punishment of the guilty.

The matter was not limited to the rod. Were in use whips, sticks, wall targets, neck slingshots, hand and foot shackles. Imprisonment was also practiced. The prison is housed in the wing.

The other wing housed the master's harem. There were 30 girls in the harem, day and night they were kept under lock and key. The hospitable host provided the inhabitants of the harem and his guests.

The peasants endured for thirty years. Complained. In 1827, the general was put on trial. A verdict was passed: having placed custody of the estates, sent to live in Tula or Ryazan. But this sentence was not carried out. The general lived calmly and died on one of his estates.

Privy Councilor Zhadovsky. Landowner of the Orenburg province. He was put on trial in 1835. He was found guilty of rape and molestation of many serf girls.

He punished the stubborn with rods. Installed in his estate something like an ancient jus primae noctis (right of the first night); allowed him to marry his serf women on the condition that the first night belonged to him, the master. One husband refused to comply with this condition. Was sent to the soldier.

And again enough: there is more than enough material for a dramatic chronicle. There is too much evidence to prove that those who curse the good old days and who rejoice that it will never return are right.

And - These (recent examples) were also published in the newspapers, the liberal intelligentsia did not want to see such a shame in impoverished, uneducated Russia.

Peasant unrest in 1905 was caused by the fact that the manifesto of 1904, the Russian bureaucratic machine did not give a go.

If, after the manifesto of 1861, the conditional release of the peasants from the tutelage of the landowners took place, but they (the peasants) fell into complete dependence on the zemstvo and district chiefs, whom these local nobles served.

The Imperial Decree on December 12, 1904 obliges to abolish this last right of the authorities, namely zemstvo and peasant chiefs, volost elders and village elders, the first of which is given: then punishment (arrest or a fine), and volost elders and village elders were given - "for minor offenses" (including for non-payment of taxes due to persistence or negligence), subject the guilty to: Appointment to community service …, monetary punishment … or arrest, to put it simply, the rods replaced both the prison and the fine."

The recognition of peasants as full free rural inhabitants, of course, is incompatible with the right of government and public authorities to impose penalties on peasants "without any formal production."


However, we still have many sufferers from the “good tsarist-whiteguard” times. Nostalgia, you see, gnaws at them. Shoulder straps of the tsarist time on their own heroic shoulders feel nice …

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