To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zemstvo having a dinner by Grigoriy Myasoyedov. 1872.
Zemstvo having a dinner by Grigoriy Myasoyedov. 1872.

A zemstvo (Russian: земство, IPA: [ˈzʲɛmstvə], plural zemstva – Russian: земства)[1] was an institution of local government set up during the great emancipation reform of 1861 carried out in Imperial Russia by Emperor Alexander II of Russia. Nikolay Milyutin elaborated the idea of the zemstva, and the first zemstvo laws went into effect in 1864. After the October Revolution the zemstvo system was shut down by the Bolsheviks and replaced with a multilevel system of workers' and peasants' councils ("soviets").

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/3
    1 369
  • Alexander II - History of Russia in 100 Minutes (Part 17 of 36)
  • Okhrana
  • Russian Empire


The rule of Alexander II was an era of liberalism and long-awaited reforms. The Emperor abolished serfdom and earned the name "Alexander the Liberator." He also introduced other domestic reforms that modernized Russian society a great deal. BACKGROUND Alexander II was the eldest son of Nicholas I. He was well-educated and convinced that Russia needed reforms. The first thing Alexander II did, was to sign the Treaty of Paris in 1856, which ended the Crimean War. EMANCIPATION OF THE SERFS The one thing that Alexander II is most remembered for, is that he liberated the serfs. He earned the name, “Tsar-Liberator,” for that. When Alexander first opened a debate about the emancipation of serfs, the nobility opposed him. He then concluded in a famous speech: “It is better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait for the time when it will begin to abolish itself from below.” In 1861, The Emancipation Manifesto was issued. The Manifesto finally declared all privately owned serfs free. In 1866, all state-owned serfs were also declared free. These great reforms affected the lives of about forty million people in all. However, they still had to pay to the landowners for their allocation of land in a series of redemption payments. OTHER REFORMS Emperor Alexander II also enforced numerous other reforms: He modernized the judicial system, reduced censorship, and started to build railroad networks in Russia. In 1864, Zemstvos, local government institutions were also introduced, but their effect was not as expected. ASSASSINATION When the living conditions of people did not improve as fast as was desired, people became disappointed with Alexander. Members of several radical movements made plans to assassinate the emperor. In 1881, a group of terrorists of the Narodnaya Volya revolutionary organization killed Alexander II with a bomb. It was not known, then, that he had been secretly working on a constitution project with his Minister of the Interior, Count Mikhail Loris-Melikov. Today the site of his assassination, in Saint Petersburg, is marked by The Church on the Savior on Spilled Blood, that was built in his memory.


The system of local self-government in the Russian Empire was represented at the lowest level by the mir and the volost and was continued, so far as the 34 Guberniyas (governorates) of old Russia were concerned, in the elective district and provincial assemblies (zemstvo). The goal of the zemstvo reform was the creation of local organs of self-government on an elected basis, possessing sufficient authority and independence to resolve local economic problems.[2]

Alexander II instituted these bodies, one for each district and another for each province or government, in 1864. They consisted of a representative council (zemskoye sobranye) and of an executive board (zemskaya uprava) nominated by the former. The board consisted of five classes of members:

  • large landed proprietors [nobles owning 590 acres (2.4 km2) and over], who sat in person
  • delegates of the small landowners, including the clergy in their capacity of landed proprietors
  • delegates of the wealthier townsmen
  • delegates of the less wealthy urban classes
  • delegates of the peasants, elected by the volosts[3]

The nobles received more weight in voting for a zemstvo, as evidenced by the fact that 74% of the zemstvo members were nobles, even though nobles were a tiny minority of the population.[4] Even so, the zemstvo allowed the greater population to have a say in how a small part of their communities would operate.

In 1865 zemstvos were opened in nineteen provinces, and between 1866 and 1876 another sixteen were established.[2] Twelve provinces had no zemstvos, the three Baltic provinces and the nine western governments annexed from Poland by Catherine II.[5] Created in 1875 after much consultation with Cossack officials, the Zemstvos of the Don Host Oblast collapsed and were abolished after six years of operation.[2]

The rules governing elections to the zemstvos were taken as a model for the electoral law of 1906 and are sufficiently indicated by the account of this given below. The zemstvos were originally given large powers in relation to the incidence of taxation and such questions as education, medical relief, public welfare, food supply, and road maintenance in their localities, but radicals, such as the Socialist Revolutionary Party and the nihilists, met them with hostility, believing that the reforms were too minor. These powers were, however, severely restricted by Alexander III (law of 25 June [O.S. 12 June] 1890); the zemstvos were then subordinated to the governors, whose consent was necessary for each decision. The governors had drastic powers of discipline over the members.

Despite all these restrictions, during the 50 years of the zemstvos, they succeeded in solving many problems of general education, public medical service, construction and maintenance of roads and sponsoring local economic development. The Zemstva hired professional experts from the Intelligentsia in aid of their activity, who came to be known as the 'third element'.[4]

Zemstvo expenditure grew from 89.1 million rubles in 1900 to 290.5 million rubles in 1913. Of the latter sum, 90.1 million rubles were spent on education, 71.4 million on medical assistance, 22.2 million on improvements in agriculture, and 8 million on veterinary measures. The chief sources of zemstvo revenue were rates on lands, forests, country dwellings, factories, mines and other real-estate.[6]

Philately uses the term zemstvo stamp to refer to local-issue Russian postage stamps from this period.

All-Russian Zemstvo Union

The All-Russian Zemstvo Union was set up in August 1914 to provide a common voice for all the Zemstvos. It was a liberal organisation which after 1915 operated in conjunction with the Union of Cities.[7]


  1. ^ The word derives from земля (zemlyá), "land", "country", "state").
  2. ^ a b c Volvenko, Aleksei (2007). "The Zemstvo Reform, the Cossacks, and Administrative Policy on the Don, 1864–1882". In Burbank, Jane; Von Hagen, Mark; Remnev, A.V. Russian Empire: Space, People, Power, 1700-1930. Indiana University Press. p. 348. ISBN 9780253219114.
  3. ^ By the law of 12 (25) June 1890 the peasant members of the zemstvos were to be nominated by the governor of the government or province from a list elected by the volosts.
  4. ^ a b Ascher, Abraham (2014). The Russian Revolution: A Beginner's Guide. Oneworld Publications. p. 3. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. ^ Terence Emmons, Wayne S. Vucinich, The Zemstvo in Russia: An Experiment in Local Self-Government (Cambridge University Press, 2011) p34.
  6. ^ RUSSIA, U.S.S.R. A Complete Handbook. 1933. Edited by P. Malevsky-Malevich. p. 500.
  7. ^ "Unions of zemstvos and cities". Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
This page was last edited on 2 July 2018, at 01:41
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.