Zemstvo, State, and Peasants in Arkhangel’sk Province, 1917-20
This chapter discusses peasant political attitudes during the Russian Revolution and Civil War on the example of their interaction with zemstvos. Focusing on the zemstvo self-government in Arkhangel’sk province in the Russian North between 1917 and early 1920, it tells two interconnected stories: an institutional story of the Northern zemstvo during the Revolution and Civil War and a story of effective peasant collaboration with changing political regimes. I argue that peasants did support different forms of local government if these served the needs of the village and mediated between rural communes and the state. The example of zemstvo self-government in the Russian North highlights the importance of particular local conditions for shaping political and administrative structures of the Civil-War era. An examination of zemstvo activities in the Northern countryside also reveals that during the Civil War when political authority was increasingly fragmented, northern peasants did not seek to break ties with the state. Instead, they tried to engage the state power that was currently controlling their territory.