Postnikov, Vladimir Efimovich
Born 1844; died 1908. Russian economist and statistician.
Postnikov studied at the Petrovskoe Agricultural Academy in Moscow and served in the Ministry of Agriculture and State Property on the administration of crown lands. He was a member of the Free Economic Society. His most important works were Peasant Farming in South Russia (1891) and On the Economic Life of the Samara Region (1894).
Drawing on a wealth of factual material, Postnikov noted the increasing number of machines used in agriculture, the increasing size of the land holdings owned by the upper stratum of the peasantry, and related changes in rural life, as well as changes in the village peasant commune, which had ceased to be homogeneous. He cited statistical data on the differentiation of the peasantry and on the use of hired labor on large peasant holdings.
Postnikov’s statistical data were utilized by V. I. Lenin in his The Development of Capitalism in Russia (1896–99). Lenin highly regarded Postnikov’s Peasant Farming in South Russia and analyzed this book in a number of his own works. He wrote of it: “This book should be given first place in the literature on the differentiation of the peasantry …” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 3, p. 61). At the same time, Lenin criticized Postnikov for his liberal bourgeois prescriptions that aimed to cure the Russian peasantry and stressed that Postnikov displayed contradictions and methodological errors in his explanation of economic processes.