Potato Riots


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Potato Riots

 

a mass antiserfdom movement in Russia of the udel peasants [those on lands belonging to the imperial family] in 1834 and the state peasants from 1840 to 1844.

The forcible measures accompanying the introduction of the sowing of potatoes provoked the disturbances; the peasants’ best land was chosen for potatoes, they were subjected to severe penalties for failure to observe the directions of the authorities, and various requisitions were imposed on them. In 1834 riots flared up in the udel estates of Viatka and Vladimir provinces, but the movement assumed its broadest scope among the state peasants from 1840 to 1844, being simultaneously a response to the potato measures and to the reform of the state countryside carried out by P. D. Kiselev (1837–41).

More than 500, 000 peasants arose in the provinces of the North, the Ural area, and the Middle and Lower Volga areas alone. They destroyed the potatoes that had been planted, beat officials, elected village elders (starosty and starshiny) who lacked proper endorsement by the authorities, and launched armed attacks on the punitive brigades. Cheremis, Chuvashes, Udmurts, Tatars, and Komi joined in the movement with the Russians. The government hurled troops into the drive to suppress the rebels. In a number of places, military executions of peasants were carried out. Thousands of insurgents were brought to trial and were exiled to Siberia or conscripted as soldiers.

REFERENCES

Tokarev, S. V. Kresl’ianskie kartofel’nye bunty. Kirov, 1939.
Druzhinin, N. M. Gosudarstvennye krest’iane i reforma P. D. Kiseleva, vol. 2. Moscow, 1958. Pages 456–524.
Krest’ianskoe dvizhenie v Rossii v 1826–1849 gg.: Sb. dok-tov. Moscow, 1961. Pages 248–55, 407–524.

V. A. FEDOROV

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