Chernososhnye Krestiane

Chernososhnye Krest’iane


a category of the rural population of Russia from the 14th to 17th centuries directly dependent on the feudal government rather than on private owners.

By the mid-16th century the chernososhnye krest’iane had disappeared in central Russia but remained in the northern areas of European Russia and in Siberia, where they were known as pashennye liudi (plowmen). At the end of the 17th century they numbered more than 50,000 households. In the 16th and 17th centuries agricultural land, including plowland, was divided up and privately held by the families of the chernososhnye krest’iane; the bulk of the pastureland and the forests and rivers were communally owned and used. Generally speaking, the chernososhnye krest’iane were exploited to a lesser extent than privately owned peasants.

Among the chernososhnye krest’iane handicrafts and trade were highly developed, as were such activities as the extracting of salt, fur trapping, and fishing. In the mid-16th century property and social distinctions emerged. Great merchants and entrepreneurs, such as the Amosovs, Bosyis, Gusel’nikovs, and Stroganovs, came from the ranks of the chernososhnye krest’iane. The reform of the land of Ivan IV expanded the administrative, judicial, and financial responsibilities of elected bodies in the volosts (small rural districts) inhabited by the chernososhnye krest’iane; the bodies were headed by the richest peasants.

From the end of the 16th century, the government increased the taxes paid by the chernososhnye krest’iane, restricted their rights to dispose of land, and imposed limitations on local self-administration. Under the reforms of Peter I the Great, the chernososhnye krest’iane became part of the state peasants.


Bogoslovskii, M. M. Zemskoe samoupravlenie na Russkom Severe v XVII v., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1909–12.
Ocherkii istorii SSSR: Period feodalizma, XVII v. Moscow, 1955.
Nosov, N. E. Stanovlenie soslovno-predstavitel’nykh uchrezhdenii v Rossii: Izyskaniia o zemskoi reforme Ivana Groznogo. Leningrad, 1969.