Allotment Land Tenure

Allotment Land Tenure


(Russian, nadel’noe zemlepol’zovanie), the basic form of peasant land tenure under feudalism. Peasants were bound to the land, which was owned by feudal lords or the state. In return for use of the nadel, or land allotment, the peasant was obliged to perform various services for the lord. This form of land tenure provided the economic basis for the domination of the feudal class (pomeshchiki) and to some extent permitted the development of small-scale peasant farming. It was the most common form of land tenure in Russia prior to the Peasant Reform of 1861. After the reform, the system of allotment landownership was introduced.

Allotment land tenure existed in two forms, communal (the peasant community as a whole) and household. Land held in communal tenure was managed by the peasant commune, which regulated its distribution and determined how the common pastures were to be used. The commune also established the order of crop rotation. The constant repartition of allotment land in the commune hindered the development of agriculture and did not bring about a true equalization of peasant landholding. After the abolition of serfdom, different categories of peasants received unequal land allotments.


Lenin, V. I. “Krupnoe pomeshchich’e i melkoe krest’ianskoe zemlevladenie v Rossii.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23.
Ignatovich, I. I. Pomeshchich’i krest’iane nakanune osvobozhdeniia, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1925.
Litvak, B. G. Russkaia derevnia v reforme 1861 g. Chernozemnyi tsentr 1861–1895 gg. Moscow, 1972.