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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a category of state peasant in Russia, formed in the first quarter of the 18th century. The odnodvortsy were men who performed patrol and guard duty on the southern frontier at the time a regular army was being created. They were obligated to pay a poll tax (podushnaia podat’) and an obrok (quitrent) of 4 grivny (a monetary unit of 10 kopeks). Their lands can be divided into two groups. One group included plots of land granted to ancestors of the odnodvortsy in return for military service, plots of land granted by the state to eliminate a shortage of arable land, land seized by the odnodvortsy in the untamed steppe, and land purchased by the volost (small rural district) or settlement. The second group included lands personally purchased by the odnodvortsy or granted to them by the government as patrimony.

The principle of allocation of state lands was not by individual but by household, and it is possible that the name odnodvortsy (“one-householder”) was derived from this practice. Traditionally, state lands could be sold only to the odnodvortsy. The landholdings of the odnodvortsy were greatly reduced under the pressure of the noble landlords (pomeshchiki). In the 1730’s there were 453,000 male odnodvortsy, and in the 1830’s, more than 1 million. They owned a negligible number of peasants (about 11,000 in 1833–35) and as a rule settled with their peasants in a single household. The peasants of the odnodvortsy had the same obligations to the state as their owners.


Beliavskii, M. T. Krest’ianskii vopros v Rossii nakanune vosstaniia E. I. Pugacheva. Moscow, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(30) The settlement of the southern frontier also gave rise to new social groups, the Cossacks and other types of small independent landholders who came to be known as "single homesteaders" or odnodvortsy by the 18th century.
The 17th century brought more social change: Russian merchant groups; new model troops (most recruited from the peasantry) and the foreign experts to train them; garrison forces on the steppe and Siberia including odnodvortsy, Cossacks, musketeers (many recruited from runaway serfs); Bashkirs; Indian, Armenian, and Greek merchants in Astrakhan and Volga towns; Bukharan merchants in Siberia; a whole "German neighborhood" in Moscow; the entire Hetmanate of Ukrainian Cossacks, Ukrainian nobility, merchants, and state peasants; Old Believers.
(14) Especially significant variation in legal practice, service landholding norms, and the status rights and obligations of servicemen occurred south of the Abatis Line from the 1630s, when the military colonization of the new Belgorod Line frontier selected for settlement by odnodvortsy, yeomen recruited from plebeian social origins, with smaller service lands, smaller entitlement rates, few or no peasant tenants, and (until the 1650s) exemption from distant service in the campaign army.
The process of exclusion as well as inclusion affected thousands of Polish szlachta, Ukrainian starshina, Caucasian tribesmen, and the odnodvortsy. Most of the relevant decisions came top-down, from the tsarist administration to the aspiring local elites.
Davies's primary aim is to reconstruct the relations of the state, both central authorities and the local voevoda (military governor), to the population of the town and its district, primarily consisting of odnodvortsy who were expected to perform military service as the town's garrison with the rank of deti boiarskie (the rank of lower- to upper-middle landholders serving in the cavalry, usually owning serfs).