By John R. Staples
A local historical past of colonization and variation in southern Ukraine, Cross-Cultural Encounters at the Ukrainian Steppe examines how assorted agrarian teams, confronted with universal environmental, financial, and administrative stipulations, sharply divergent paths of improvement. utilizing a large choice of resources, together with neighborhood Ukrainian and Russian documents 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 existence within the Molochna Valley.
Staples contends that the allocation and use of land shaped a important hub round which public existence in Molochna revolved, and decided the good fortune or failure of every staff. eventually, he concludes, it was once the settlers, now not the country, who made up our minds how they'd adapt to the arid southern Ukrainian steppe. might be most significantly, Staples makes a massive 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 great addition to the research of either Tsarist peasant heritage and Russian and Ukrainian agricultural and peasant history.
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Extra resources for Cross-Cultural Encounters on the Ukrainian Steppe: Settling the Molochna Basin, 1784-1861
The transportation and sale of grain, like every commodity in the empire, was the monopoly of members of Russia's three merchant guilds. 42 In 1812 Alexander I issued two decrees that opened a legal avenue for state peasants to take part in trading activities by permitting them to purchase trading licences. To all intents and purposes these decrees granted state peasants equal status with guild members, although the legislation avoided the word 'guild,' referring instead to four different 'groups' (rodi) of peasant traders.
Naturally, this exceptional source of material creates its own problems of interpretation. Mennonites recorded the world from the perspective of Polish/Prussian Anabaptist peasants, with all of the biases that this implies. Yet the Mennonite perspective has unique advantages, as well. Their high level of literacy and reputation for honesty led the Russian state to use Mennonites as agents of imperial colonization policy in Molochna, and thus they provide important insight into that policy. 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.
60 The resulting satellite villages often remained part of the original parent village's obshchina, thus creating multivillage obshchinas. 61 Nogai Tatars After the Russian state brought the Orthodox state peasants to Molochna it seemed to lose interest in them, leaving them to fend for themselves from their arrival until the Great Drought of 1832-4 (see Chapter 4). 63 The Nogai splintered off the Golden Horde in the early fourteenth century, breaking into smaller groups that scattered across the steppe from the lower Trans-Volga to Bessarabia.
Cross-Cultural Encounters on the Ukrainian Steppe: Settling the Molochna Basin, 1784-1861 by John R. Staples