A Land to Call Their Own. Russian peasants, the question of modern citizenship and land disputes in the Ufa governorate, 1861-1917
Dijk, P. van
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Combining Russian peasant studies and new imperial history, this thesis focuses on the question of changing peasant identities in the late nineteenth century. In order to investigate whether a colonial context influenced the development of a modern citizenship among the ethnic Russian peasantry, I study land disputes between Russian peasant migrants and Bashkir patrimonial landowners in the Ufa governorate, which were settled at the Ufa court of appellation. These court cases originated at a time when the imperial government sought to promote Russian peasant landownership at the cost of the Muslim and semi-nomadic Bashkir tribes and their historical rights to the land. Despite the advantages ethnic Russian peasants hypothetically had over their Bashkir opponents in court, they did not make significant use of their ethnicity to gain land. This did not mean, however, that the Russian peasants did not change at all as the colonial context of Bashkiria for example stimulated private landownership among many Russian peasant colonists long before the Stolypin reforms.