(mediator of the peace), office established by the Statutes of Feb. 19, 1861, in Russia to assist in the implementation of the peasant reform of 1861.
Mediators of the peace were appointed by the Senate on the recommendation of provincial authorities from among local gentry landowners. The term of office was originally set at three years but later became indeterminate. At the start of the 1860’s there were more than 1,700 such officials, each assigned an area and grouped by district.
The mediator’s basic task was to examine, approve, and implement the statutory charters of 1861, as well as to review peasants’ complaints against landowners and resolve disputes arising between them. These officials also assured the formation of organs of peasant communal selfgovernment on the volost (small rural district) level and supervised their operation. The mediator of the peace had both judicial and police powers over the peasants. His actions could be appealed to a congress of all the district’s mediators, in which a representative of the government and the marshal of the nobility for that district would also take part. The final instance of appeal was the provincial board on peasant affairs.
Among the “mediators of the first convocation,” that is, those appointed during the revolutionary situation of 1859–61, were a number of progressive-minded people. These included the former Decembrists A. E. Rozen and G. S. Baten’kov, the author L. N. Tolstoi, and the mediators of Tver’. As the government became more reactionary after 1863, the composition of mediators of the peace changed sharply and their role declined. The office was abolished in 1874, except in the western and Transcaucasian provinces, and their functions were transferred to the district boards on peasant affairs. In 1862, the newspaper Mirovoi posrednik appeared, and in 1863 the journal Vestnik mirovykh uchrezhdenii (Herald of the Communal Institutions).
REFERENCESKrest’ianskaia reforma v Rossii 1861 goda: Sb. zakonodatel’nykh aktov. Moscow, 1954. Pages 136–55.
Kornilov, A. A. “Deiatel’nosf mirovykh posrednikov.” Velikaia reforma, vol. 5. [Moscow, 1911.]
Zaionchkovskii, P. A. Otmena krepostnogo prava v Rossii, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1968. Pages 183–93.
P. A. ZAIONCHKOVSKII