Repartition of Land

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Repartition of Land


in Russia, the way that the rural commune periodically equalized peasant land holdings, which became unequal through changes in family size and in the number of households in the commune. Prior to the emancipation, land repartition was carried out or controlled by the owners of estates. From 1861 it became the exclusive prerogative of the commune and was decided upon by a two-thirds vote of the village assembly.

There were three types of repartitions: general, partial, and exchange. Partial repartitions affected only a few households; general repartitions involved all the members of the commune; and exchange repartitions were the compulsory exchange of equal land holdings to reduce strip farming. Exchange and general repartitions were sometimes carried out simultaneously.

Between 1881 and 1893 several laws were enacted to strengthen the rural commune and halt the “plague of proletarization.” The Regulations of 1893 limited general repartitions to one every 12 years and prohibited partial repartitions. Repartitions were placed under the supervision of zemstvo district chiefs. Nevertheless, the peasants continued to repartition land in spite of the law.

Repartition of communal land became increasingly rare in the early 20th century. Incomplete data for the year 1910 indicate that there had been no general repartition of land since 1861 in 124,965 rural communes, controlling 28.9 percent of all the allotment land. Most of these communes were located in northwest European Russia, the Central Industrial Zone, the Southern Steppe Zone, and the Central Chernozem Zone. As part of the Stolypin agrarian reform the law of June 14, 1910, stipulated that all communes that had not carried out a general repartition since their organization were to shift to land ownership by households. Under the reform, peasants who left the commune became the owners of their allotted land (otrub, khutor,) which then could not be repartitioned.

Repartition of land was resumed in Soviet villages after the October Revolution of 1917 in accordance with the Decree on Land. Land repartition was also included in the Law on the Socialization of Land, adopted in 1918, and the Agrarian Code of 1922. The practice ceased with the disappearance of rural communes in the course of complete collectivization.

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