Vladimir Ilyich Lenin


Chapter II. The Differentiation of the Peasantry

XII. Zemstvo Statistics On Peasant Budgets

To finish with the problem of the differentiation of the peasantry, let us examine it from yet another aspect—that of the highly specific data of peasant budgets. We shall thus see clearly how profound is the difference between the types of peasantry under discussion.

In the appendix to Evaluation Returns on Peasant Landownership in Zemlyansk, Zadonsk, Korotoyak and Nizhnedevitsk Uyezds (Voronezh, 1889) there are “statistics on the composition and budgets of typical farms,” which are distinguished for their extraordinary completeness.[1] Of the 67 budgets we leave out one, as being quite incomplete (budget No. 14 for Korotoyak Uyezd), and divide the rest into six groups according to draught animals, as follows: a—with no hoses; b—with 1 horse; c—with 2 horses; d—with 3 horses; e—with 4 horses and f—with 5 horses and more (we shall designate the groups only by these letters a to f). True, classification along these lines is not quite suitable for this locality (in view of the enormous significance of “industries” in the economy of both the bottom groups and the top), but we have to take it for the sake of comparing the budget data with the above-examined house-to-house census data. Such a comparison can only be made by dividing the “peasantry” into groups, whereas general and all-round “averages” are purely fictitious, as we have seen and shall see further on.[2] Let us note here, incidentally, the interesting phenomenon that “average” budget figures nearly always characterise the farm of above average type, i.e., they picture the facts in a better light than they actually are.[3] This happens, probably, because the very term “budget” presupposes a farm that is balanced to at least a minimum degree, a kind that is not easily found among the poor. To illustrate this let us compare the budget and other data of the households, classified according to draught animals held.

Number of budgets.

This makes it clear that the budget figures can only be used by striking the average for each separate group of peasants. This is what we have done with the data mentioned. We give them under three headings: (A) general budget results; (B) characterisation of crop farming; and (C) characterisation of the standard of living.

(A) The general data regarding the magnitude of expenditure and income are as follows:

Magnitude of expenditure and income.

Thus, the sizes of the budgets of the different groups vary enormously; even if we leave aside the extreme groups, the budget in e is over five times that in b, whereas the size of the family in e is less than three times that in b.

Let us examine the distribution of expenditures[4]:

Average expenditure per farm.

It is sufficient to glance at the farm expenditure as compared with the total expenditure for each group to see that here we have both proletarians and proprietors: in group a the farm expenditure is only 14% of the total expenditure, whereas in group f it is 61%. The differences in the absolute figures of farm expenditure go without saying. Such expenditure is negligible in the case not only of the horseless but also of the one-horse peasant, and the one-horse “peasant” is much closer to the ordinary type (in capitalist countries) of allotment-holding farm labourer and day labourer. Let us also note the very considerable differences in the percentage of expenditure on food (a’s nearly double f ’s); as we know, a big percentage is evidence of a low standard of living and is what most sharply differentiates the budget of the proprietor from that of the worker.

Now let us take the items of income [5]:

Average income per farm.


Thus, income from “industries” exceeds the gross income from agriculture in the two extreme groups: the proletarian horseless peasant, and the rural entrepreneur. The “personal industries” of the bottom peasant groups consist, of course, mainly of work for hire, while income from the leasing of land is an important item in the “miscellaneous incomes.” The group of “independent farmers” even includes those whose income from the leasing of land is slightly less, and sometimes even more, than the gross income from agriculture. For example, in the case of one horseless peasant, the gross income from agriculture is 61.9 rubles, and from the leasing of land 40 rubles; in the case of another, the income from agriculture is 31.9 rubles and from the leasing of land 40 rubles. It must not be forgotten, furthermore, that the income from the leasing of land and from farm labouring goes entirely to cover the personal needs of the “peasant,” while from the gross agricultural income we must deduct expenditure on the conduct of the farm. After making this deduction, we shall find that the net income of the horseless peasant from agriculture is 41.99 rubles, and from “industries” 59.04 rubles, and in the case of the one-horse peasant, 69.37 and 49.22 rubles. The mere juxtaposition of these figures shows that we have before us types of agricultural labourers with allotments which cover part of the subsistence expenditure (and because of this reduce wages). To confuse such types of peasants with proprietors (agriculturists and industrialists) means blatantly to disregard all the requirements of scientific research.

At the other pole of the countryside we see just such proprietors as combine with independent crop farming commercial and industrial operations which yield an income that is considerable (under the given standard of living) and amounts to several hundred rubles. The utter indefiniteness of the heading “personal industries” conceals the differences between the bottom and the top groups in this respect, but the very size of the incomes from these “personal industries” reveals the extent of this difference (let us remind the reader that in the Voronezh statistics the category “personal industries” may include begging, agricultural labouring, service as steward, manager, etc., etc.).

As regards the size of net income, the horseless and one-horse peasants again stand out very sharply, with their most miserable “balances” (1 to 2 rubles) and even deficits on the money side. The resources of these peasants are no larger, if not smaller, than those of wage-workers. Only beginning with the 2-horse peasants do we see at least some net incomes and balances of a few dozen rubles (without which there cannot be the slightest question of proper farming). Among the well-to-do peasantry net incomes reach sums (120 to 170 rubles) that raise them well above the general level of the Russian working class.[6]

Naturally, the combining of workers and employers in one category and the striking of an “average” budget provide a picture of “moderate sufficiency” and of a “moderate” net income: income 491 rubles, expenditure 443 rubles, balance 48 rubles, including 18 rubles in cash. But that sort of average is absolutely fictitious. It simply conceals the utter poverty of the mass of peasants in the bottom groups (a and b, i.e., 30 budgets out of 66), who with their trivial incomes (120 to 180 rubles per family gross income) are unable to make ends meet and live mainly by regular farm labouring and day labouring.

An exact calculation of income and expenditure in cash and kind enables us to determine the relation of the differentiation of the peasantry to the market, for which only cash income and expenditure are important. The proportion of the cash part of the budget to the total budget in the various groups is as follows:

Percentage of cash part.

We see, consequently, that the percentage of the cash income and expenditure increases (expenditure with particular regularity) from the middle groups to the extreme ones. The farming is of the most sharply expressed commercial character in the case of the peasant with no horses and of the one with many. This means that both live mainly by selling commodities, except that in the one instance the commodity is labour-power, while in the other it is goods produced for sale, with (as we shall see) a considerable employment of wage-labour, i.e., a product that assumes the form of capital. In other words, these budgets also show that the differentiation of the peasantry creates a home market for capitalism by converting the peasant into a farm labourer, on the one hand, and into a small-commodity producer, a petty bourgeois, on the other.

Another, and no less important, deduction from these data, is that in all the peasant groups farming has to a very large extent become commercial, has become dependent upon the market: in no case does the cash part of income or expenditure fall below 40%. And this percentage must be regarded as a high one, for we are discussing the gross incomes of small agriculturists, in which even the maintenance of cattle is included, i.e., straw, bran, etc.[7] Evidently, even the peasantry in the central black-earth belt (where money economy is, on the whole, more feebly developed than in the industrial belt, or in the outlying steppe regions) cannot exist at all without buying and selling and are already completely dependent on the market, on the power of money. It is needless to say how tremendously important this fact is, and how grave the error our Narodniks commit when they try to hush it up,[8] being carried away by their sympathies for the natural economy which has passed out of existence never to return. In modern society it is impossible to exist without selling, and anything that retards the development of commodity production merely results in a worsening of the conditions of the producers. “The disadvantages of the capitalist mode of production,” says Marx, speaking of the peasant, “. . . coincide here therefore with the disadvantages occasioned by the imperfect development of the capitalist mode of production. The peasant turns merchant and industrialist without the conditions enabling him to produce his products as commodities” (Das Kapital, III, 2, 346. Russ. trans., p. 671).[29]

Let us observe that the budget data utterly refute the view, still fairly widespread, that taxes play an important part in the development of commodity production. Undoubtedly, quit-rents and taxes were at one time an important factor in the development of exchange, but at the present time commodity economy has become firmly established, and the indicated importance of taxes is becoming altogether secondary. A comparison of the expenditure on taxes and duties with the peasants’ total cash expenditure shows a ratio of 15.8% (for the respective groups it is: a—24.8%; b—21.9%; c—19.3%; d—18.8%; e—15.4% and f—9.0%). Hence, the maximum expenditure on taxes is one third of the remaining cash expenditure unavoidably incurred by the peasant under the present conditions of social economy. If, however, we do not take the role of taxes in the development of exchange, but take them relative to the income, we shall see that it is an excessively high one. How heavily the traditions of the pre-Reform epoch weigh down upon the peasant of today is seen most strikingly in the existence of taxes which absorb one-seventh of the gross expenditure of the small farmer, or even of the allotment-holding farm labourer. Moreover, the distribution of taxes within the village community is astonishingly uneven: the better off the peasant, the smaller the part of his total expenditure that goes in taxes. The horseless peasant pays in proportion to his income nearly three times as much as the peasant owning many horses (see above, table on distribution of expenditure). We speak of the distribution of taxes within the village community, because if we calculate the amount of taxes and duties per dessiatine of allotment land, it will be found to be nearly uniform. After all that has been stated, this unevenness should not astonish us; it is inevitable in our village community, so long as the village community retains its compulsory, feudal character. As we know, the peasants share all taxes according to land held: share of taxes and share of land merge in their minds in the one concept “soul,” or person.[9] As we have seen, however, the differentiation of the peasantry leads to a diminution of the role of allotment land at both poles of the contemporary countryside. Naturally, under such conditions the distribution of taxes according to allotment land held (which is inseparably connected with the compulsory nature of the village community) leads to the shifting of the tax burden from the well-to-do peasants to the poor. The village community (i.e., collective responsibility[30] with no right to refuse land) becomes more and more harmful to the peasant poor.[10]

(B) Passing to the characterisation of peasant farming, let us start by citing general data on the farms:

General data on peasant farming.

From this table it is evident that the relationship existing between the groups in regard to the leasing out and the renting of land, size of families and area under crops, hiring of farm labourers, etc., is identical with that shown by the budget data and the above-examined mass data. But that is not all: the absolute figures on the economy of each group also prove to be very close to the data for whole uyezds. Here is a comparison of the budget and above examined data:

Budgets with no and one horse.


Thus, the position of the horseless and one-horse peasants in all the localities indicated is almost identical, so that the budget data may be regarded as sufficiently typical.

We cite data on the property and implements of the peasant farms in the different groups.

Per farm value.

This table graphically illustrates the difference in the extent to which the various groups are provided with implements and livestock, a point we mentioned above on the basis of the mass data. We see here the completely different degree to which the various groups hold property, this difference being such that even the horses of the poor peasant are very different from those of the affluent peasant.[12] The horse of the one-horse peasant is a veritable “living fraction”—not a “quarter of a horse,” to be sure, but fully “twenty-seven fifty-seconds” of a horse![13] [31]

Let us take further the data regarding the items of farm expenditure.[14]

Composition of farm expenditure.

These data are very eloquent. They strikingly reveal to us how utterly wretched is the “farm” not only of the horseless but also of the one-horse peasant; and how utterly wrong is the customary method of lumping such peasants with the few but powerful peasants who spend hundreds of rubles on their farms, are in a position to improve their implements, hire “working folk,” and “buy in” land on a large scale, renting to the amount of 50, 100 and 200 rubles a year.[15] Let us note, by the way, that the relatively high expenditure of the horseless peasant on “labourers and job-work” is very likely to be explained by the fact that the statisticians have placed under this heading two entirely different things: the hiring of a worker who has to work with his employer’s implements, i.e., the hiring of a farm labourer or day labourer; and the hiring of a neighbouring peasant who has with his own implements to cultivate the hirer’s land. These types of “hire,” diametrically opposite in significance, must be strictly distinguished from one another, as is done, for example, by V. Orlov (see Statistical Returns for Moscow Gubernia, Vol. VI, Pt. 1).

A page from V. I. Lenin’s copy-book.

Let us now examine the data on income from agriculture. Unfortunately, in the Returns these data are far too inadequately analysed (partly, maybe, because of their paucity). For example, the question of yield is not examined: there is no information on the sale of each particular kind of produce and on the conditions of sale. Let us therefore confine ourselves to the following brief table:

Income from agriculture.

What immediately strikes one in this table is the glaring exception: the huge drop in the percentage of cash income from agriculture in the top group, despite the fact that it cultivates the biggest area. Farming on the biggest scale is thus apparently in the greatest degree natural economy. It will be extremely interesting to make a closer examination of this seeming exception, which throws light on the highly important question of the connection between agriculture and “industries” of an entrepreneur character. As we have already seen, the significance of industries of this type is particularly great in the budgets of the peasants owning many horses. Judging from the data under examination, especially typical of the peasant bourgeoisie in this locality is the tendency to combine agriculture with commercial and industrial enterprises.[16] It is not difficult to see, firstly, that it is wrong to compare farmers of this type with cultivators pure and simple, and, secondly, that agriculture under such circumstances very often only seems to be natural economy. When agriculture is combined with the technical processing of agricultural produce (flour milling, oil-pressing, potato-starch manufacture, distilling, etc.), the money income from such farming may be assigned to income from the industrial establishments and not from agriculture. Actually, indeed, the agriculture in this case will be commercial, not natural, economy. The same thing has to be said of the farm in which a mass of agricultural produce is consumed in kind on the maintenance of farm labourers and of horses employed on some industrial enterprise (for example, mail-carrying). And it is precisely this type of farm that we have among the top group (budget No. 1 in Korotoyak Uyezd. Family of 18 persons, 4 working members, 5 farm labourers, 20 horses; income from agriculture—1,294 rubles, nearly all in kind, and from industrial enterprises—2,675 rubles. And such a “natural-economy peasant farm” is combined with the horseless and one-horse farms for the purpose of striking a general “average”}. This example shows us once again how important it is to combine classification according to scale and type of agricultural activity with classification according to scale and type of “industrial” activity.

(C) Let us now examine the data on the peasants’ standard of living. Expenditure on food in kind is given incompletely in the Returns. We single out the most important items: agricultural produce and meat.[17]

Per head of both sexes.

This table shows that we were right in combining the horseless and one-horse peasants and contrasting them to the rest. The distinguishing feature of the groups of peasants mentioned is insufficiency of food and its inferior quality (potatoes). The food of the one-horse peasant is in some respects even worse than that of the horseless peasant. The general “average” even on this question is entirely fictitious, the insufficient nourishment of the mass of the peasants being obscured by the satisfactory nourishment of the well-off peasantry, who consume almost one and a half times as much agricultural produce and three times as much meat[18] as do the poor peasants.

For the purpose of comparing the remaining data on the peasants’ food, all produce must be taken at its value—in rubles:

Per head (rubles).



Thus, the general data on the peasants’ food confirm what has been said above. Three groups stand out clearly: the bottom group (horseless and one-horse), the middle group (two and three-horse), and the top group, whose food is nearly twice as good as that of the bottom one. The general “average” wipes out both extreme groups. Cash expenditure on food is highest, both absolutely and relatively, in the two extreme groups—among the rural proletarians and the rural bourgeoisie. The former buy more, although they consume less, than the middle peasants; they buy the most essential agricultural produce, that of which they suffer a shortage. The latter buy more because they consume more, increasing particularly their consumption of non-agricultural produce. A comparison of these two extreme groups shows us clearly how a home market is created in a capitalist country for articles of personal consumption.[21]

The remaining items of expenditure on personal consumption are as follows:

Per head, both sexes (rubles).

It is not always correct to calculate this expenditure per head of both sexes, because the cost of fuel, lighting, household effects, etc., for example, is not proportionate to the number of members of the family.

These data also show the division of the peasantry (according to standard of living) into three different groups. Moreover, the following interesting peculiarity comes to light: the cash part of the expenditure on all personal consumption is highest in the bottom groups (in group a about half the expenditure is in money), whereas in the top groups the cash expenditure does not increase, amounting to only about a third. How can this be reconciled with the above noted fact that, in general, the percentage of money expenditure increases in both extreme groups? Obviously in the top groups the cash expenditure is incurred mainly on productive consumption (expenditure on the farm), whereas in the bottom groups it is on personal consumption. Here are the exact data on this:

Cash expenditure per farm.

Consequently, the transformation of the peasantry into a rural proletariat creates a market mainly for articles of consumption, whereas its transformation into a rural bourgeoisie creates a market mainly for means of production. In other words, among the bottom groups of the “peasantry” we observe the transformation of labour-power into a commodity, and in the top ones the transformation of means of production into capital. Both these transformations result in precisely that process of the creation of a home market which theory has established for capitalist countries in general. That is why F. Engels, writing on the famine of 1891, said that it signified the creation of a home market for capitalism[32]—a proposition that is unintelligible to the Narodniks, who regard the ruin of the peasantry merely as the decay of “people’s production,” and not as the transformation of patriarchal into capitalist economy.

Mr. N.–on has written a whole book on the home market, without noticing the process of the creation of a home market by the differentiation of the peasantry. In his article “How Are We to Explain the Increase in Our State Revenues?” (Novoye Slovo[New Word], 1896, No. 5, February) he deals with this question in the following argument: the tables of the income of the American worker show that the lower the income, the larger is the relative expenditure on food. Consequently, with a decline in food consumption there is a still greater decline in the consumption of other products. And in Russia there is a decline in the consumption of bread and vodka; hence there is also a decline in the consumption of other products, from which it follows that the greater consumption of the well-to-do “stratum” (p. 70) of the peasantry is more than balanced by the diminution of the consumption of the masses.—This argument contains three errors: firstly, by substituting the worker for the peasant, Mr. N.–on skips over the question; the point at issue is the process of the creation of workers and employers. Secondly, by substituting the worker for the peasant, Mr. N.–on reduces all consumption to personal consumption and forgets about productive consumption, about the market for means of production. Thirdly, Mr. N.–on forgets that the process of the differentiation of the peasantry is at the same time one of the displacement of natural by commodity economy, that, consequently, the market cannot be created by increasing consumption, but by transforming consumption in kind (even if more abundant) into cash or paying consumption (even if less abundant). We have just seen that the horseless peasants consume less, but buy more articles of personal consumption than the middle peasantry. They become poorer, but at the same time receive and spend more money,—and both these sides of the process are necessary for capitalism.[22]

In conclusion, let us make use of the budget figures to compare the standard of living of the peasants and the rural workers. Calculating the extent of personal consumption, not per head, but per adult working person (according to the rates of the Nizhni-Novgorod statisticians in the above mentioned compilation), we get the following table:

Produce consumed per adult Working person.

To compare the data on the standard of living of rural workers with this, we may take, firstly, average prices of labour. For 10 years (1881-1891) the average pay of a farm labourer hired by the year in Voronezh Gubernia was 57 rubles, and including keep, 99 rubles,[23] so that keep cost 42 rubles. The amount of personal consumption by allotment-holding farm labourers and day labourers (horseless and one-horse peasants) is below this level. The total cost of a family’s keep amounts to only 78 rubles in the case of the horseless “peasant” (in a family of 4) and 98 rubles in the case of the one-horse “peasant” (in a family of 5), i.e., less than the cost of a farm labourer’s keep. (We have omitted from the budgets of the horseless and one-horse peasants farm expenditure and also taxes and duties, for in this locality the allotment is leased at not less than the amount of the taxes.) As was to be expected, the position of the labourer who is tied to his allotment is worse than that of the labourer who is free from such tie (we say nothing of the tremendous degree to which the tying of people down to allotments develops relations of bondage and personal dependence). The cash expenditure of the farm labourer is far higher than the cash expenditure on personal consumption of the one-horse and horseless peasant. Consequently, the tying of people down to allotments retards the growth of the home market.

Secondly, we can make use of Zemstvo statistics on consumption by farm labourers. Let us take from the Statistical Returns for Orel Gubernia the data on Karachev Uyezd (Vol. V, Pt. 2, 1892), which are based on information concerning 158 cases of agricultural wage-labour.[24] Converting the monthly ration into one for a year, we get the following:

Keep of a farm labourer in Orel Gubernia and of a 'peasant' in Voronezh Gubernia.


Consequently, the standard of living of the one-horse and horseless peasants is not higher than that of farm labourers, and if anything rather approximates to the minimum standard of living of the latter.

The general conclusion from our review of the data on the bottom group of the peasantry is, accordingly, the following: both in its relation to the other groups, which are ousting the bottom section of the peasantry from agriculture, in its scale of farming, which covers only part of the expenditure on maintaining the family, in its source of livelihood (sale of labour-power), and, lastly, in its standard of living, this group should be assigned to the allotment-holding farm labourers and day labourers.[26]

In thus concluding our exposition of the Zemstvo statistics on peasant budgets, we cannot but stop to examine the methods of treating the budget data employed by Mr. Shcherbina, the compiler of Evaluation Returns and author of the article on peasant budgets in the well-known book The Influence of Harvests and Grain Prices, etc. (Vol. II).[33] Mr. Shcherbina states on some point in the Returns that he is using the theory “of the well-known political economist K. Marx” (p. 111); as a matter of fact, he positively distorts this theory, confusing the difference between constant and variable capital with the difference between fixed and circulating capital (ibid.), and quite senselessly applying these terms and categories of developed capitalism to peasant farming (passim), etc. The whole of Mr. Shcherbina’s treatment of the budget figures is nothing but a gross and incredible abuse of “average magnitudes.” All the evaluation returns concern the “average” peasant. The income from the land computed for the 4 uyezds is divided by the number of farms (recall that for the horseless peasant this income is about 60 rubles per family, and for the rich peasant about 700 rubles). The “magnitude of constant capital” (sic!!?) “per farm” (p. 114), i.e., the value of the whole property, is determined; the “average” value of implements, the average value of commercial and industrial establishments (sic!) is determined as 15 rubles per farm. Mr. Shcherbina ignores the detail that these establishments are the private property of the well-to-do minority, and divides them among all “equally”! The “average” expenditure on the renting of land (p. 118) is determined; as we have seen, it amounts to 6 rubles in the case of the one-horse peasant and to 100 to 200 rubles in the case of the rich peasant. All this is added together and divided by the number of farms. Even the “average” expenditure on “repair of capitals” is determined (ibid.). The Lord alone knows what that means! If it means replenishment and repair of implements and livestock, here are the figures we have already cited: with the horseless peasant this expenditure equals 8 (eight) kopeks per farm, and with the rich peasant 75 rubles. Is it not evident that if we add such “peasant farms” together and divide by the number of items added, we shall get the “law of average requirements” discovered by Mr. Shcherbina in the returns for Ostrogozhsk Uyezd (Vol. II, Pt. 2, 1887) and so brilliantly applied subsequently? And from such a “law” it will not be difficult to draw the conclusion that “the peasant satisfies not his minimum requirements, but their average level” (p. 123 and many others), that peasant farming is a special “type of development” (p. 100), etc., etc. This ingenuous device of “equalising” the rural proletariat and the peasant bourgeoisie is reinforced by the already familiar classification according to allotment. Had we applied it, for example, to the budget data, we would have combined in one group such peasants, for example (in the category of those having large allotments, with 15 to 25 dess. per family), as: one who leases half his allotment (of 23.5 dess.) sows 1.3 dess., lives mainly by means of “personal industries” (how surprisingly well this sounds!) and secures an income of 190 rubles for 10 persons of both sexes (budget No. 10 in Korotoyak Uyezd); and another who rents an additional 14.7 dess., sows 23.7 dess., employs farm labourers and has an income of 1,400 rubles for 10 persons of both sexes (budget No. 2 in Zadonsk Uyezd). Is it not clear that we shall get a special “type of development” if we add the farms of farm labourers and day labourers to those of peasants employing workers, and divide the total by the number of items added? One has only to make regular and exclusive use of “average” data on peasant farming, and all “false ideas” about the differentiation of the peasantry will be eliminated once and for all. That is exactly what Mr. Shcherbina does by adopting this method en grand[27] in his article in the book The Influence of Harvests, etc. Here a huge effort is made to calculate the budgets of the whole of the Russian peasantry—and all by means of the very same, tried and tested, “averages.” The future historian of Russian economic literature will note with astonishment that the prejudices of Narodism caused the most elementary requirements of economic statistics to be forgotten, namely, that a strict distinction be drawn between employers and wage-workers, regardless of the form of land tenure that unites them, and regardless of the multiplicity and variety of the intermediary types between them.


[1] A big defect of these data is, firstly, lack of classification according to different indices; secondly, lack of text giving that information about the farms selected which could not be included in the tables (that sort of text is supplied, for example, to the data on the budgets for Ostrogozhsk Uyezd). Thirdly, extremely inadequate treatment of data on all non-agricultural occupations and all sorts of “employments” (all “industries” are given only 4 columns, whereas the description of clothing and footwear alone takes up 152 columns!).—Lenin

[2] “Averages” of exclusively this kind are used, for example, by Mr. Shcherbina both in the publications of the Voronezh Zemstvo and in his article on peasant budgets in the book The Influence of Harvests and Grain Prices, etc.—Lenin

[3] This applies, for example, to the budget data for Moscow Gubernia (Returns, Vols. VI and VII), Vladimir Gubernia (Industries of Vladimir Gubernia), Ostrogozhsk Uyezd of Voronezh Gubernia (Returns, Vol. II, Part 2), and particularly to the budgets cited in the Transactions of the Commission of Inquiry into Handicraft Industry[34] (of Vyatka, Kherson, Nizhni-Novgorod, Perm and other gubernias). The budgets given by Messrs. Karpov and Manokhin in the Transactions and also by Mr. P. Semyonov (in Material for a Study of the Village Community, St. Petersburg, 1880) and by Mr. Osadchy (Shcherbani Volost, Elisavetgrad Uyezd, Kherson Gubernia) compare favourably with the others in that they describe the various groups of peasants.—Lenin

[4] The Returns separate all “expenditure on personal and farm needs other than food” from expenditure on the maintenance of animals, and under the first heading, expenditures on lighting and on rent, for example, are put side by side. This is obviously wrong. We have separated personal from farm (“productive”) consumption, and under the latter heading we have included expenditure on tar, rope, horse-shoeing, building repairs, implements, harness; on labourers and job workers, on herdsman, on the renting of land, and on the maintenance of animals and poultry.—Lenin

[5] The item “balances from previous years” consists of grain (in kind) and cash; here the total figures are given, as we are dealing with gross expenditure and income, in cash and kind.

The four columns relating to “industries” are copied from the Returns, which give no other information about the “industries.” Let us observe that in group e, carting should obviously be put under the heading of industrial establishments; it furnishes two members of this group with 250 rubles income each, and one of them employs a farm labourer.—Lenin

[6] An apparent exception is provided by category e with its big deficit (41 rubles), which, however, is covered by a loan. This is explained by the fact that in three of the households (out of the 5 in this category) they celebrated weddings that cost 200 rubles. (The total deficit of these 5 households amounted to 206 rubles 90 kopeks.) As a result, this group’s expenditure on personal consumption, other than food, rose to the very high figure of 10 rubles 41 kopeks per person of both sexes, whereas in no other group, not excepting the rich group (f), does this expenditure amount to even 6 rubles. Consequently, this deficit is quite opposite in character to that of the poor peasants. It is a deficit resulting not from inability to satisfy minimum requirements, but from increased requirements out of proportion to the income of the given year.—Lenin

[7] Expenditure on the maintenance of cattle is almost entirely in kind: of a total expenditure of 6,316.21 rubles on this item by the 66 households, only 1,535.2 rubles were spent in cash, and of this sum 1,102.5 rubles were spent by one farmer-entrepreneur who kept 20 horses, evidently for industrial use.—Lenin

[8] This error was particularly often met with in the debates (of 1897) on the significance of low grain prices.[35]Lenin

[9] V. Orlov, Peasant Farming, Statistical Returns for Moscow Gubernia, Vol. IV, Pt. I.—Trirogov, The Village Community and the Poll Tax.—Keussler, Zur Geschichte und Krttik des βauerlichen Gemeindebesitzes in Russland (A Contribution to the History and Critique of Peasant Communal Landownership in Russia. —Ed.).—V. V., The Peasant Community (Results of Zemstvo Statistical Investigation, Vol. 1).—Lenin

[10] It goes without saying that still greater harm will be done to the peasant poor by Stolypin’s (November 1906? breaking up of the village community. This is the Russian “enrichissez-vous” (“enrich yourselves”—Ed.). Black Hundreds—rich peasants! Loot all you can, so long as you bolster up tottering absolutism! (Note to 2nd edition.)—Lenin

[11] Area under crops not for 4 uyezds, but only for Zadonsk Uyezd, Voronezh Gubernia.—Lenin

[12] German agricultural literature includes several monographs by Drechsler containing data on the weight of the cattle owned by farmers of various groups, classified according to amount of land held.[36] These data show even more strikingly than the figures we have cited from Russian Zemstvo statistics the immeasurably inferior quality of the cattle owned by the small peasants as compared with those owned by the big peasants, particularly by the landlords. I hope to analyse these data for the press in the near future. (Note to 2nd edition.)—Lenin

[13] If these budget standards of the value of buildings, implements and animals to be found in the various groups of peasants were applied to the summary data for 49 gubernias of European Russia that were cited above, it would be seen that one-fifth of the peasant households owns a considerably larger quantity of means of production than all the rest of the peasantry.—Lenin

[14] Expenditure on the maintenance of livestock is mostly in kind, the rest of the farm expenditure is mostly in money.—Lenin

[15] How dear to the heart of such an “enterprising muzhik” must be Mr. Karyshev’s “theory of rent” which advocates long leases, lower rents, compensation for improvements, etc. That is just what he needs.—Lenin

[16] Of the 12 horseless peasants not one obtains any income from industrial establishments and undertakings; of the 18 with one horse each, one does; of the 17 with two horses two do; of the 9 with three horses three do; of the 5 with four horses two do; of the 5 owning more than 4 horses four do.—Lenin

[17] Under this head we combine the following items in the Returns: beef, mutton, pork and lard. Where other cereals are calculated in terms of rye it is according to the standards in Yanson’s Comparative Statistics adopted by the Nizhni-Novgorod statisticians (see Material for Gorbatov Uyezd. Basis of calculation: percentage of absorbable protein).[37]Lenin

[18] The extent to which the meat consumption of the village peasants is smaller than that of town dwellers is seen from even the following fragmentary data. In Moscow in 1900, cattle weighing about 4 million poods and of a total value of 18,986,714 rubles 59 kopeks were slaughtered in the city abattoirs (Moskovsktve Vedormosti[Moscow Recorder], 1901, No. 55). This works out per head, both sexes, at about 4 poods or nearly 18 rubles per annum. (Note to 2nd edition.)—Lenin

[19] Beef, pork, lard, mutton, butter, dairy produce, poultry and eggs.—Lenin

[20] Salt, salted and fresh fish, herrings, vodka, beer, tea and sugar.—Lenin

[21] Of the money expenditure on agricultural produce first place goes to the purchase of rye, mainly by the poor, then the purchase of vegetables Expenditure on vegetables is valued at 85 kopeks per head of both sexes (ranging from 56 kopeks in group b to 1 ruble 31 kopeks in group e), including 47 kopeks in money. This interesting fact shows us that even among the rural population, not to speak or the urban, a market is created for the produce of one of the forms of commercial agriculture, namely, market gardening. Expenditure on vegetable oil is 2/3 in kind; that is to say, in this sphere domestic production and primitive handicraft still prevail.—Lenin

[22] This fact, which at first sight seems a paradox, is actually fully in keeping with the fundamental contradictions of capitalism, which are met with at every step in real life. That is why close observers of rural life have been able to note this fact quite independently of theory. “For the development of his activities,” says Engelhardt about the kulak, the huckster, etc, “it is important that the peasants should be poor . . . that the peasants should receive much money” (Letters from the Countryside, p. 493). Engelhardt’ s sympathy for a substantial (sic !!) agricultural life” (ibid.) did not prevent him at times from disclosing the most profound contradictions within the celebrated village community.—Lenin

[23] Agricultural and Statistical Information Obtained from Farmers. Published by the Department of Agriculture. Vol. V, St, Petersburg, 1892, S. A. Korolenko, Hired Labour on Farms, etc.—Lenin

[24] The difference between the conditions in Orel and Voronezh gubernias is slight, and, as we shall see, the data given are of the usual kind. We do not take the data in the above-mentioned work of S. A. Korolenko (see the juxtaposition of those data in Mr. Maress’s article in The Influence of Harvests, etc., I, 11), for even the author himself admits that Messrs. the landowners from whom these data were obtained sometimes “were carried away”... .—Lenin

[25] Computed in the manner stated above.—Lenin

[26] The Narodniks will probably draw from our comparison between the standard of living of farm labourers and that of the bottom group of the peasantry, the conclusion that we “stand for” dispossessing the peasantry of the land, etc. Such a conclusion will be a wrong one. All that follows from what has been said is that we “stand for” abolishing all restrictions on the peasants’ right freely to dispose of their land, to give up their allotments, and to leave the village community. Only the peasant himself can be the judge of whether it is more advantageous to be a farm labourer with an allotment or without one. Hence such restrictions can on no account and in no way be justified. The defence of these restrictions by the Narodniks, on the other hand, turns the latter into servants of the interests of our agrarians.—Lenin

[27] Extensively.—Ed.

[34] The Transactions of the Commission of Inquiry into Handicraft Industry in Russia mentioned here and further on constitute a series of 16 volumes, which appeared from time to time in the years 1879 to 1887. The “Commission of Inquiry into Handicraft Industry in Russia” (called, for short, the “Handicraft Commission”} was set up in 1874 under the auspices of the Council of Trade and Manufactures, at the request of the First All-Russia Congress of Owners of Factories and Works, that took place in 1870. The Commission included representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Home Affairs, State Properties, and of the Russian Geographical Society, Free Economic Society, Moscow Agricultural Society, Russian Technical Society and Society for the Promotion of Russian Industry and Trade. The valuable material published by the “Handicraft Commission” in its Transactions were mainly the fruits of the work of local, often little-known, officials. Lenin, who made a detailed study of the Commission’s Transactions, drew from them numerous facts and figures showing the development of capitalist relations in Russia’s handicraft industry. [p. 149]

[28] In this column Lenin also includes incomes from fruit growing and stock raising.

[35] A paper by Prof. A. I. Chuprov on grain prices was discussed by the Free Economic Society in March 1897.

The Free Economic Society (F.E.S.) was a privileged scientific body, founded in 1765 with the aim, as its Statutes indicated of “disseminating information beneficial to agriculture and industry.” Scientists, from the ranks of liberal nobles or bourgeoisie, made up the membership of the F.E.S. The Society undertook investigations by questionnaire and sent out expeditions to study various branches of the national economy and parts of the country; it periodically issued Transactions of the F.E.S., containing the results of investigations conducted, and verbatim reports of papers read and of discussions held in the Society’s sections. The Transactions of the F.E.S. are frequently mentioned by Lenin in his works.

[29] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, Moscow, 1959, p. 791.

[30] Collective responsibility—the peasants of each village community were collectively responsible for making timely and full payments and for the fulfillment of all sorts of services to the state and the landlords (payment of taxes and of land redemption installments, provision of recruits for the army, etc.). This form of bondage, which was retained even after serfdom was abolished in Russia, was done away with only in 1906.

[36] Drechsler’s data are analysed by Lenin in his The Agrarian Question and the “Critics of Marx” (Chapter XI, “Stock Raising on Small and Large Farms”}. See present edition, Vol. 13. [p. 159]

[31] The expressions “quarter of a horse” and “living fraction” belong to the writer Gleb Uspensky. See his sketches Living Figures in the Selected Works of Uspensky, 1938 edition.

[37] See Y. E. Yanson, Comparative Statistics of Russia and West European Countries. Vol. II. Industry and Trade. Section I. Agricultural Statistics. St. Petersburg, 1880, pp. 422-423 326, etc.

[32] The famine of 1891 affected the east and south-east gubernias of European Russia with particular severity, its scale exceeding all similar calamities that had befallen the country. It ruined masses of peasants and at the same time hastened the process of the creation of a home market and the development of capitalism in Russia. This was dealt with by Engels in his article “Socialism in Germany.” He also referred to it in his letters to Nikolai-on dated October 29, 1891, March 15 and June 18, 1892.

[33] Lenin’s comments on F. A. Shcherbina’s article are published in the Lenin Miscellany XXXIII, pp. 70-84.

  XI. A Comparison of the Army-Horse Censuses of 1888-1891 and 1896-1900 | XIII. Conclusions From Chapter II  

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