Peasantry, Bank of the

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Peasantry, Bank of the


(Peasant Land Bank) a state bank in Russia, established in 1882 to provide loans to peasants for the purchase of private lands.

The Bank of the Peasantry had branches in a number of provinces. It charged between 7.5 percent and 8.5 percent annual interest on loans. The bank acted in close concert with the Bank of the Nobility and facilitated the rapid rise of land prices. In 1895 it obtained the right to purchase land from thepomeshchiki (landlords). Between 1895 and 1905 it acquired about 1 million desiatinas (1.09 million hectares) of land in this manner. The price for a desiatina of land rose from 49 rubles in 1896 to 111 rubles in 1905. During the Revolution of 1905-07, the bank counteracted the decline in land prices by purchasing some 2.7 million desiatinas of land from the pomeshchiki, at an average price of 107 rubles per desiatina. Between 1906 and 1916, the bank bought more than 4.6 million desiatinas of land for a total of about 500 million rubles. Of this land, 3.8 million desiatinas were sold to individual heads of households during the decade. The bank’s activity during the Stolypin agrarian reform encouraged the formation of private family-run farms. From 1906 to 1915, peasants purchased 10.4 million desiatinas from the bank or with its assistance.

By 1914, the price of land had risen to 136 rubles per desiatina. High mortgage payments led to a growth of arrears among borrowers: from 9 million rubles in 1910, these jumped to 45 million rubles in 1915. Failure to make payments forced borrowers to forfeit 200,000desiatinas of land between 1883 and 1895; between 1906 and 1915, peasant borrowers lost a further 600,000 desiatinas of land. The number of borrowers began to decline: there were 134,000 in 1910 but only 64,000 in 1914. By 1917 the Bank of the Peasantry had managed to sell only 61 percent of its land reserve. The bank was liquidated by a Soviet decree of Nov. 25 (Dec. 8), 1917. The Decree on Land nationalized its holdings and transferred them to the peasants. The peasants were relieved of their debts to the bank, which amounted to 3.31 billion rubles.


Vdovin, V. A. Krest’ianskiipozemel’nyi bank (1883-1895 gg.). Moscow, 1959.


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