best sources for micro-level information on rural living standards: the publications of the provincial and district
-level zemstva. These institutions were founded in 34 provinces of European Russia after 1864 to carry out various tax and administrative functions for the populations under their jurisdictions (in effect replacing and supplementing the functions of the former serf owners and the administrative apparatus of the state peasantry). In carrying out these functions, many zemstva established research offices to document taxable resources and social/economic conditions. These offices produced an incredible amount of statistical information on topics ranging from literacy rates and public health conditions, to agricultural productivity and the local market turnover. The zemstva of Vladimir and Iaroslavl’ provinces produced streams of research publications that spanned the entire period. Of particular note are household and village surveys of the rural populations of these provinces.38 Zemstvo publications offer a unique window into rural economic conditions in the post-1861 period, but Western scholars have only begun to explore them. We consider these household surveys, other zemstvo publications, research by central government and provincial statistical authorities (including the 1897 census), and various secondary sources to develop some “stylized facts” about rural living standards in Iaroslavl’ and Vladimir provinces in the post-1861 period. These sources allow for more detailed study of living standards in the post-1861 period than is possible for the pre-emancipation era.