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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(State Standard), one of the basic categories of standards established by the state system of standardization in the USSR. Adherence to GOST is obligatory for all enterprises, organizations, and institutions of Union, republic, and local subordination in all branches of the national economy of the USSR and the Union republics. It is distinguished from other categories of standards by area of distribution (throughout the territory of the USSR), confirming authority (Council of Ministers of the USSR, Gosstandart [State Standard], and Gosstroi [State Committee on Construction]), and by the objectives of standardization, which are of importance to the state.




(1) A great merchant in Rus’ before the 16th century, trading with other towns or foreign countries. The gosti of several large towns were united in special privileged corporations, such as the Moscow 100. the Ivanovo 100. and Surozhans.

(2) From the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 18th, a member of the highest privileged corporation of merchants. Each gost’ had a special privilege-granting charter. na gostinoe imia (“in the merchant’s name”), from the tsar. The principal privileges of a gost’ were freedom from fiscal and service obligations, unrestricted travel abroad for trade purposes, right to acquire votchinas (patrimonial estates), and direct jurisdiction by the tsar. Gosti were represented by elected officials in the national assemblies (zemskie sobory). Government choices determined the composition of the gosti. In the 17th century in Russia there were 20–30gosti. Turnover in trade reached several tens of thousands of rubles annually for some of the gost’i. The gosti invested money in real estate (houses, land), and several acquired industrial enterprises, exploiting a great number of hired workers and serfs. In turn, a gost’ was obliged to carry out complex state-treasury commissions (usually lasting 1½ years): they headed the great customs houses (in Moscow and Arkhangel’sk), collected extraordinary emergency taxes, managed treasury enterprises, determined the value of treasury furs from the Siberian Prikaz (Siberian Office), traded treasury wares, and so on. In cases of shortages or arrears in the treasury, the gosti took responsibility. In the 1720’s they were incorporated into the merchant social class.


Bazilevich. K. V. Krupnoe torgovoe predpriiatie v Moskovskom gosudarstve v pervoi polovine XVII v Leningrad, 1933.
Syroechkovskii, V. E. Gosti-surozhane (XIV-XV vv.) Moscow-Leningrad. 1935.
Tikhomirov. M.N. Srednevekovaia Moskva v XIV-XV vv: Moscow, 1957.
Smirnov, P. P. Posadskie liudi i ikh klassovaia bor’ba do serediny XVII v., vol. I. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Bakhrushin, S. V. “Torgovye krest’iane v XVII v.” In his book Nauchnye trudy, vol. 2. Moscow, 1954.
Bakhrushin. S. V. “Torgi rostia Nikitina v Sibiri ¡ Kitae.” Ibid., vol.3, part 1. Moscow. 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.