August Haxthausen

Haxthausen, August

 

Born Feb. 3, 1792, in Bökendorf; died Dec. 31, 1866, in Hanover. Baron, Prussian official.

With material support from the Russian government, Haxthausen traveled through Central Russia, the Ukraine, the Volga Region, and the Caucasus from April to October 1843 to study the Russian obshchina (peasant commune). In his account of his trip, published from 1847 to 1852, he indicated the unpreparedness of the country for freely hired labor and advocated the gradual abolition of serfdom. Haxthausen considered the obshchina a patriarchal institution headed by the pomeshchik (landholder). He saw in it a means of binding the peasants to the land and preventing the rise of a proletariat (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 29, p. 295). A. I. Herzen and N. G. Chernyshevskii sharply criticized Haxthausen for his monarchism and reactionary views, although they also recognized the value of the great amount of factual material contained in his work.

WORKS

Studien über die inneren Zustände, das Volksleben und insbesondere die ländlichen Einrichtungen Russlands, vols. 1-3. Hanover-Berlin, 1847-52.