Volostnoi Starshina

Starshina, Volostnoi


(volost starshina), an official of the peasant communal administration created in Russia by the peasant reform of 1861. The volostnoi starshina was elected by the volost assembly for a term of three years; he was confirmed in office by the mirovoi posrednik (mediator of the peace) and, from 1889, by the zemskii uchastkovyi nachal’nik (district land captain). He proclaimed the government’s laws and decrees, saw to the execution of such laws and decrees, was responsible for the maintenance of “tranquility and welfare” in the volost, and saw to the peasants’ fulfillment of their obligations. He had the right to fine peasants as much as one ruble, to arrest them for a period not exceeding two days, and to order them to perform work in behalf of the public. The volostnye starshiny were usually prosperous peasants who zealously met the requests of the judicial and police-administrative authorities. The office of volostnoi starshina was abolished after the February Revolution of 1917.