By John R. Staples
A nearby historical past of colonization and variation in southern Ukraine, Cross-Cultural Encounters at the Ukrainian Steppe examines how different agrarian teams, confronted with universal environmental, monetary, and administrative stipulations, sharply divergent paths of improvement. utilizing a large choice of resources, together with neighborhood Ukrainian and Russian data by no means sooner than tested via a western student, John Staples compares and contrasts how the Mennonites, Nogais, Russians, Ukrainians, and different teams remodeled their environments and tailored to lifestyles within the Molochna Valley.
Staples contends that the allocation and use of land shaped a vital hub round which public lifestyles in Molochna revolved, and made up our minds the good fortune or failure of every workforce. finally, he concludes, it used to be the settlers, now not the nation, who made up our minds how they might adapt to the arid southern Ukrainian steppe. probably most significantly, Staples makes a big contribution to the research of the way peasant teams can emerge from their traditionalist mentality and lifestyle because the Mennonites of Molochna did. His considerate research should be a welcome boost to the research of either Tsarist peasant heritage and Russian and Ukrainian agricultural and peasant history.
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Additional info for Cross-Cultural Encounters on the Ukrainian Steppe: Settling the Molochna Basin, 1784-1861
This was not a serious drawback from the Nogai perspective, for the Nogai were nomadic pastoralists, accustomed to eking out a living on the arid steppe. Still, with just nineteen desiatinas of land per male soul, and this of the lowest quality, in 1810 Nogai landholdings were probably already insufficient for their pastoral economy. For the time being this was not a serious problem because much of the land to the north of their holdings along the upper reaches of the Kurushan and Tokmak rivers remained unoccupied.
54 In 1764 the focus had been on the positive development of the empire's newest territory. 1 Average village size in Melitopol uezd, 1821 Orthodox state peasants Serfs Sectarians Mennonites German colonists Nogai Villages Population Average 15 10 8 30 21 ? 41 ,483 6,494 2,514 4,983 5,028 ? 2,766 649 314 166 239 ? Source: GAKO, f. 26, op. 1, d. 5394. 56 The state granted Orthodox state peasants in Molochna land allotments of fifteen desiatinas per male soul. In practice, average landholdings most of the time would have been lower than this, because the peasants received their allotment upon arrival in the region, and it was then increased after each subsequent census to account for natural population growth.
At the same time Mennonites were themselves the subject of colonial policies as the Russian state sought to incorporate them into the state peasant system. As principled defenders of a highly distinct world view, Mennonites frequently found cause to debate among themselves and with their imperial masters the merits of official policy, thereby providing invaluable insight into Russian regional administrative practices. Of unique importance in this regard is the Mennonite Johann Cornies who, by the time of his death in 1848, was arguably the most influential man in all of New Russia.
Cross-Cultural Encounters on the Ukrainian Steppe: Settling the Molochna Basin, 1784-1861 by John R. Staples