Dvorovye Liudi

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dvorovye Liudi


(1) In ancient Rus’, courtiers of grand and appanage princes, including boyars and okol’nich’ie (members of the administrative and judicial councils).

(2) A category of nonlanded serfs in Russia from the end of the 17th century to the abolition of serfdom (1861). The majority lived in their masters’ households under conditions of near slavery and performed services and provided diversion for the noble family. The sale and exchange of dvorovye liudi was widespread, and, beginning in the second half of the 18th century, pomeshchiks (landowners) increasingly were sending these serfs to work in factories and mills. On the eve of the reform of 1861, they constituted approximately 6.8 percent of the total serf population. The liberation of the peasants in 1861 from serfdom did not entitle the dvorovye liudi to land allotments.


Semevskii, V. I. Krest’iane ν tsarstvovanie irnperatritsy Ekateriny II, part I. St. Petersburg, 1881.
Zaionchkovskii, P. A. Otmena krepostnogo prava ν Rossii, 3rd ed.Moscow, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The oprichnina would require artisans (mastery), grooms for horses (koniukhi), masters of hounds (psari), and all kinds of "household people" (dvorovye liudi) to see to its provisioning (obikhod), as well as a special unit of musketeers (strel 'tsy osobno) for Ivan's security.