(also “whitewashed” or “whitened”), in the Russian state of the 16th and 17th centuries, the lands of secular and church feudal lords, whose inhabitants were exempt from paying state taxes. White lands usually belonged to pomeshchiki (fief holders). According to the law promulgated about 1591, the arable lands of those landowners who personally bore military service and lived on their estates were “whitened.” In the 17th century, with the introduction of the farmstead as the unit of taxation, all of the landowners’ tillage was already completely exempt from taxation. People who were dependent on secular or church feudal lords—including former posadskie liudi (merchants and artisans) and also in certain slobody (settlements), sluzhilye liudi po priboru (servitors by contract), made up of cossacks, dragoons, and others in white-land locations—lived in the cities and certain slobody located on white lands belonging to those landlords. The posadskie liudi protested the fact that the mercantile-industrial inhabitants of the “white slobody” in cities, especially privately owned slobody, were exempt from bearing their tax and service obligations. After the Moscow Revolt of 1648, the government granted the demands of the posadskie liudi; privately owned “white slobody” were confiscated and their inhabitants were assigned to posads (merchants’ and artisans’ quarters).
REFERENCESmirnov, P. P. Posadskie liudi i ikh klassovaia bor’ba do serediny XVII v., vols. 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947–48.
V. S. BAKULIN