Zemstvo of Kirillov. On the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary

The exhibition “Zemstvo of Kirillov. On the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary” was opened in the Museum of Town and District History in March 2015. The zemstvo was a form of local government instituted in the second half of the 19th century. The Kirillov district was a part of the Novgorod province where the zemstvo bodies were opened in 1865.

The abolishment of serfdom in Russia in the 19th century inevitably resulted in the changes in the state mechanism of the autocratic country. In the 1860s, it was not a question of changes in the autocratic and bureaucratic system in general. The matter concerned introduction of a new institute of self-government for all classes – zemstvo - into this system. The power of the Russian emperor was still unrestricted; the higher state institutions were still federal, but some elected bodies with an independent sphere of action were established at the local level along with the state run public authorities.

Alexander II issued the “Regulations on the Provincial and District Zemstvo Institutions” on January 1, 1864, but they started to form them only a year later. This document stipulated district and provincial zemstvo institutions. They consisted of administrative, decision-making bodies – district and provincial representative councils (zemskoye sobranye) and executive bodies - district and provincial boards (zemskaya uprava). Both decision-making and executive bodies were elective.

The elections to the district representative council were hold at three congresses of: district landowners, town electors and delegates from rural communities. The number of members of the district representative councils called glasny was various in each district (from 10 to 96 members) depending on the population of the district. All landowners and owners of other immovable property, trade and industrial enterprises that located in the district and corresponded to the certain size stipulated in the Regulations could take part in the congress of district landlords. Owners of trade and industrial enterprises and immovable property of the certain size that were situated within the town participated in the town electoral meetings. Delegates elected by the volosts were among members of the rural communities.

In 1865, the zemstvo bodies were introduced in 18 Russian provinces, including the Novgorod province. The Kirillov district was a part of it. There were four representatives of the Kirillov district among 55 delegates of the Novgorod province.

Along with the elected officials (glasnys), employees working for hire played a prominent part in the economic and public life of the Kirillov district: secretaries and accountants of the district board, teachers, doctors, veterinarians, agronomists, insurance agents and others.

The goal of the exhibition “Zemstvo of Kirillov. On the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary” is to reconstruct the history of development of the zemstvo institute in Russia in general by the example of the zemstvo bodies of the Kirillov district using documentary materials.

The display is based on the unique documents of the Archive and Manuscript Section of the Kirillo-Belozersky Museum-Reserve. They reflect the personal composition and the main aspects of activity of the zemstvo in the Kirillov district. There are documents from the magazines of the Kirillov District Representative Council, “Bulletin of Popular Zemstvo”, lists of the members of the district representative council, certificates of the zemstvo figures, working papers of the zemstvo institutions in the Kirillov district.

Among the exhibited photos, visitors can see a picture taken by local photographer P.D. Kopytov in the early 20th century (Photo 1). Members of the Kirillov District Board are depicted in it: clerk Pyotr Alexeevich Trubnikov (1887-1943) (the first on the right in the lower row), accountant of the district board Ivan Ivanovich Nikolaev (the first on the right in the second row), accounting assistant Alexander Matveevich Baldin (the fifth in the upper row), secretary of the board Alexander Polikarpovich Nikonov (the second on the left in the second row), and Arkady Ivanovich Vedenin (the second on the left in the upper row). Ivan Matveevich Tyutryumov, chairman of the district board who was elected for this position twice, can be probably seen in the centre of the second row. His brother Igor Matveevich Tyutryumov (1855-1943) who was a delegate (glasny) of the Kirillov district since 1881 became an outstanding lawyer later. He wrote numerous works on peasant, family and civil law, fundamental comments on the Russian civil legislation “Civil Laws with Interpretations of the Directing Senate and Comments of Russian Lawyers”.

Photo 1. Members of the Kirillov District Board. Early 20th century.

The issues of public education, public health, repair of bridges and roads, food security, assistance to agriculture, development of post, fire insurance of buildings and others were under the jurisdiction of the zemstvo.

One of the important directions of work of the Russian zemstvo was creation of the health care system. 131819 people lived in the Kirillov district according to the data of 1911. The Kirillov District Hospital was opened during the first years of the zemstvo existence (Photo 2). There were “30 operating beds” in the 1910s and it was located in two two-storeyed buildings on the bank of Lake Siverskoye. One was stone and another one – wooden (today these houses have the following addresses: 97 Gagarin St. and 1A Parizhskaya Kommuna St). There were 6 medical stations and 13 independent medical assistant’s stations in the district in the early 20th century. The zemstvo also maintained a pharmacy in the town along with the hospital. Its personnel consisted of a pharmacist, a pharmacist assistant, three apprentices and two servants.

Photo 2. Building of the Kirillov District Hospital. Early 20th century.

Joachim Yakovlevich Nodelman, head of the district hospital who served in Kirillov over 30 years, enjoyed a great reputation and won the respect of all. He was a doctor of the Kirillov Theological School from 1888 to 1919. He died on November 21, 1919. One of the exhibition halls in the Museum of Town and District History tells about J.Y. Nodelman. It is not by chance: the doctor’s family used to live in the wooden house that was handed over to the museum in 2010.

The system of veterinary treatment was organized in the district thanks to the Kirillov zemstvo. A new veterinary clinic was consecrated in Kirillov in December 1899. The information about it was published in “Bulletin of Novgorod Zemstvo”. The veterinary treatment of the zemstvo was much in demand: 5735 animal patients were treated there in 1901. There were 76668 head of cattle and 46857 head of small cattle in the Kirillov district in 1913. One veterinarian and 2 assistants in the town and 3 assistants at the stations treated them. Vladimir Sergeevich Shturman, Fyodor Alexandrovich Travinsky worked as veterinarians at different times and Pavel Alexandrovich Maurinov as an assistant.

A high percentage (about 30%) of the funds of the Kirillov zemstvo was spent on public education. In 1908, the zemstvo bodies discussed the issue of introduction of universal primary education in the district. They approved the draft of the school network made by inspector V.P. Kornakov according to which it was intended to open 52 schools during 8 years. This project could be considered quite real taking into account that the number of schools in the district increased from 47 to 107 from 1901 to 1911 and that 16 new schools were opened in the 1910-1911 academic year. In all, 2885 people attended the district schools in 1910 and only 1057 – went to parish and ministerial schools.

The zemstvo also had its agronomical service. An agricultural fair, beekeeping and gardening courses were organized in the town under its direction in 1903-1904 (Photo 3).

Photo 3. Selection Committee of the District Agricultural Fair in Kirillov, 1904

Most of the executive bodies, including the Kirillov district board, arranged their postal services to send correspondence within the districts and to change correspondence with the state postal service. The Kirillov postal service was opened on January 1, 1870. Correspondence was sent from the town to the district twice a week. Since 1871, the delivery was paid using stamps of the zemstvo. The stamps were issued six times till 1898. All private correspondence was delivered free of charge since 1898. The payment was introduced again in 1901 and they started to issue stamps. All of them were printed in the local printing offices. In all, the Kirillov district board issued 27 stamps (with variants). The postal service of the Kirillov district was closed on January 1, 1910.

The Soviet power was established in the town and district in December 1917. The district board dissolved the town duma in January 1918. Soon the zemstvo bodies ceased their activities.

The activity of the zemstvo didn’t lead and couldn’t lead the district and the town to prosperity. It had few capabilities under the conditions of difficult and contradictory development of the country. But the zemstvo institutions promoted revival of the economic and cultural life of the town and the district and laid the basis for further improvement of enlightenment, public health, library services, agronomy, veterinary medicine, road construction and so on.

Along with documentary materials, the exhibition “Zemstvo of Kirillov. On the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary” presents pictures, books, articles of some specialized equipment of various zemstvo bodies. Some documents, photographs and museums items are exhibited for the first time.

E.S. Petrushova spacer

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