Social estates in the Russian Empire

Social estates in the Russian Empire were denoted by the term soslovie (sosloviye), which approximately corresponds to the notion of the estate of the realm. The system of "sosloviyes" was a peculiar system of social groups in the history of the Russian Empire. In Russian language the terms "сословие" and "состояние" (in the meaning of the civil/legal estate) were used interchangeably.

The Code of the Law of the Russian Empire of 1832, vol. 9, "Laws about Estates" (Законы о состояниях) defined four major estates: dvoryans (nobility), clergy, urban dwellers and rural dwellers (peasants). Within these, more detailed categories were recognized. See "" for dvoryans. Clergy was subdivided into "white" (priests) and "black" (monks). Urban dwellers (Городские обыватели) were categorized into потомственные почетные граждане (hereditary distinguished citizens), личные почетные граждане(personal distinguished citizens), merchantry (), urban commoners (), and guilded craftspeople (цеховые ремесленники). There also existed the military estate, which included lower military ranks (higher ranks were associated with the estate of dvoryans), and discharged and indefinite-leave. Dependent families were usually included into the estate of the head of the household.

Urban commoners included people who had some real estate in a town, were engaged in some trade, craft, or service, and paid taxes. Subject to these conditions, a person could assign himself into this category, which was hereditary, and one may be excluded from it in the court of law or by the urban commoner's self-government (мещанская управа).

The category of rural dwellers (сельские обыватели) included a special estate of cossacks, often also included in the military estate, for obvious reasons. Some rural dwelers had permanent residence in towns, and they were correspondingly classified as "urban peasants" (городовые крестьяне) and "urban cossackhood" (городовое казачество).

A separate category, not assigned to any of the above estates were "raznochintsy" (literally "persons of miscellaneous ranks", but in fact having no rank at all).

A separate stratification existed for governmental bureaucracy, who were classified according to the Table of Ranks. The higher ranks belonged to the "sosloviye" of dvoryanstvo, while the indication of a lower rank of a person was comparable to that of the indication of a "soslovie" for various formal purposes (e.g., for the Russian Empire Census). Finally, in Siberia, the estate of "exiled" was officially recognized, with the subcategory of "exiled nobility".

The institution of distinguished citizenship (or two categories) was introduced by the manifesto of Nicholas I of Russia of April 10, 1832. The distinguished citizens ranked above merchantry and below nobility. They were freed of personal taxes, military service obligation (рекрутская повинность), corporal punishments, etc. Distinguished citizenship was available for persons with a scientific or scholar degree, graduates of certain schools, people of arts and destinguished merchants and industrialists subject to certain conditions.

The estates were classified into two major groups: taxable estates (податные сословия), i.e., which had to pay the personal tax, and non-taxable ones.

With the development of capitalism and the abolishment of the serfdom in Russia in the second half of the 19th century the estate paradigm no longer corresponded to the actual socio-economical stratificstion of the population, but the terminology was in use until the Russian Revolution of 1917. At the same time the legal and governmental system gradually became estate-independent, with the property grade (имущественный ценз) of a person playing the decisive role.

References

* [http://new.hist.asu.ru/biblio/gon1/83-97.html "Urban Family in Siberia, Second Half of 19th - early 20th Centuries"] , by Yu. M. Goncharov ru icon


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Military history of the Russian Empire — Armies of Russia Kievan Rus Druzhina (862–1400s) Voyi …   Wikipedia

  • Georgia within the Russian Empire — Between 1801 and 1918 the country of Georgia was part of the Russian Empire. For centuries, the Muslim Ottoman and Persian empires had fought over the various fragmented Georgian states in the southern Caucasus. By the 18th century, a third… …   Wikipedia

  • Estates of the realm — Cleric, Knight, and Workman : the three estates in a French medieval illumination The Estates of the realm were the broad social orders of the hierarchically conceived society, recognized in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period in Christian… …   Wikipedia

  • Russian Empire — Infobox Former Country native name = Российская Империя (ru Cyrl) Rossiyskaya Imperiya (translit) conventional long name = Russian Empire common name = Russia| continent = Eurasia status = Empire government type = Monarchy| year start = 1721 year …   Wikipedia

  • Russian history, 1721–1796 — The era of Russian palace revolutionsPeter changed the rules of succession to the throne after he executed his own son, Aleksey, who had opposed his father s reforms and served as a rallying figure for antireform groups. A new law provided that… …   Wikipedia

  • Russian neoclassical revival — was a trend in Russian culture, mostly pronounced in architecture, that briefly replaced eclecticism and Art Nouveau as the leading architectural style between the Revolution of 1905 and the outbreak of World War I, coexisting with the Silver Age …   Wikipedia

  • Russian Mennonite — The Russian Mennonites are a group of Mennonites descended from Dutch and mainly Germanic Prussian Anabaptists who established colonies in South Russia (present day Ukraine) beginning in 1789. Since the late 1800s, many of them have come to… …   Wikipedia

  • Russian Revolution (1905) — The 1905 Russian Revolution also known as the Failed Russian Revolution of 1905 was an empire wide struggle of violence, both anti government and undirected, that swept through vast areas of the Russian Empire. It was not controlled or managed,… …   Wikipedia

  • Russian Armenia — (Armenian: Ռուսական Հայաստան) is the period of Armenia s history under Russian rule beginning from 1829, when Eastern Armenia became part of the Russian Empire to the declaration of the Democratic Republic of Armenia in 1918.BackgroundFor… …   Wikipedia

  • Russian architecture — follows a tradition whose roots were established in the Eastern Slavic state of Kievan Rus . After the fall of Kiev, Russian architectural history continued in the principalities of Vladimir Suzdal, and Novgorod, and the succeeding states of… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.