Agrarian Reform of 1861 in the Perception of the Peasants of Uman County of Kyiv Province
The paper deals with the agrarian reform of 1861 in the perception of the peasants of Uman county of Kyiv province (gubernia). It is noted that the changes did not justify the hopes of the main part of the population, though, on the one hand, the peasants received personal liberty, the right to own immovable property, to trade, to engage in crafts, to enter the guilds, to start a private business. However, on the other hand, the reform kept landlord land tenure, and the peasants had to pay redemption payments, poll and land taxes, and perform labour conscriptions. The attention is paid to the special indissoluble link of the peasant with the land, which since the beginning of time was perceived as private, despite the absence of any legal grounds for this. That is why the redemption operations were performed so emotionally and painfully, a persistence in the defense of land rights grew harder, and also appeared the readiness to conflict with the landlord, with the authorities, and intransigence in litigations, which lasted for decades. It is determined that in April-May the culmination of the peasants movement was reached, since during those months the promulgation and attempts of local implementation of the Statutes of February 19, 1861, took place. It is ascertained that in almost every settlement of Uman county the peasants resisted the reform of 1861 implementation.
The growth of protest activity in the villages of Krasnyi Kut, Zelenkiv, Korsunka, Maidanetske, Rozsochovatets, Kryvets, Dovhenke, Kosenivka is considered in details. It is emphasized that the general lack of understanding and rejection of the conditions of the reform implementation became a favorable ground for the dissemination of rumors in the peasant environment, and for the unauthorized interpretation of the Manifesto of February 19, and that naturally caused the inevitable conflict with the authorities and, as a result, punishment for the display of freethinking and disobedience. The role of the clergy in carrying out the peasant reform of 1861 is traced. Attention is drawn to the fact that in a crisis situation peasants easily trusted the opinion of another person who was able to read and was literate. The author retraces the distribution of propaganda leaflets, brochures, among the people and conversion of peasants to so-called «reliable sources of information» which they perceived with absolute trust.