a privileged corporation of Russian merchants from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 18th; second in the wealth of its members, and in its significance, after the gosti
In the gostinaia sotnia, the government included trading people from the posad (merchants’ and artisans’ quarter) and peasants. The term sotnia (100) was a relative term; the number of members in the gostinaia sotnia varied. The members of the gostinaia sotnia had many privileges, including exemption from state fiscal and service obligations and exclusion from the jurisdiction of the local authorities. In the national assemblies the gostinaia sotnia customarily had two elected representatives. The members of the gostinaia sotnia fulfilled, as did the gosti, complicated state-treasury missions but in less responsible posts, such as service as administrative heads (golovy) and administrative deputies (tseloval’niki) of customs houses and the corporation’s trading areas and as sellers of treasury goods at fairs and abroad. They bore material responsibility in the case of arrears in state tax collections. The gostinaia sotnia carried on a large-scale trade, in which a great number of their agents participated. In the 1720’s, with the introduction of the soul tax, the members of the gostinaia sotnia, together with the posadskie liudi (merchants and artisans), were included in the merchant social class.
A. N. KOPYLOV