Khutir [xutir] (plural: khutory). A term used in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union to denote a separate rural settlement built on privately owned land and consisting usually of a single farm. The name was also applied to offshoots of peasant villages and Don Cossack (see Don region) and Kuban Cossack (see Kuban Cossack Host) stanytsi (see Stanytisa) regardless of the number of farms. Similar settlements have existed in Europe and Central Asia for many centuries. Beginning in the 16th century Zaporozhian Cossacks built winter settlements (see Zymivnyk) to winter their horses and cattle. Khutory became widespread in Ukraine after serfdom was abolished in 1861 and spread throughout the empire during the Stolypin agrarian reforms. The decree of 9 November 1906, which initiated the reforms, permitted a household head to demand of the village commune (obshchina) an allotment of land as his very own, to farm, lease, and sell as he pleased. If the household settled on this land, the new farmstead and land together were called a khutir; if the household remained in the village, the land it received was known as an otrub (plural: otruby).

During the reform years (1906–16) 400,000 khutory and otruby (14 percent of all peasant households), with a land area of 2.7 desiatins, were created in the Ukrainian gubernias. They were most widespread in Southern Ukraine and Slobidska Ukraine. In Kherson gubernia and Kharkiv gubernia, for example, 22.5 percent of all farms were khutory or otruby, while in Poltava gubernia the number was only 12.9 percent. Better-off families or those large enough to be able to handle all the necessary farm work themselves settled on khutory. Often they leased or purchased other khutory; therefore, the land area at their disposal was often much larger than that of those who remained in the obshchina. Thus, in Poltava gubernia the average khutir household owned 26.7 ha while the average obshchina household had 7.7 ha of farmland. The rich khutir owners were often identified as kulaks, and poor and middle peasants strenuously opposed the detachment of khutory from the obshchina by fighting, chasing away land surveyors, and resisting the police.

After the October Revolution of 1917, Soviet land redistribution affected gentry landowners and khutir owners alike. About 20 percent of the richest farms had half or more of their land was redistributed among the poorer peasants. In 89 percent of the cases, the redistribution was forced and occurred only after violent struggle. By 1922 the proportion of khutory and otruby in the total number of farms had plummeted to 4 percent. During the Soviet collectivization drive the victims of dekulakization measures were first and foremost peasant khutir owners. By the time collectivization was completed, the khutir as a form of farming had disappeared. Part of the population, however, continued living on khutory while working on collective farms. Because this arrangement enabled people to avoid the system of social control, in 1939, 1940, and after the Second World War farmers living on khutory were moved to collective-farm settlements. After the war, part of the private farmsteads in newly annexed Western Ukraine were also eliminated.

Rubach, M. Ocherki po istorii revoliutsionnogo preobrazovaniia agrarnykh otnoshenii na Ukraine v period provedeniia Oktiabr’skoi revoliutsii (Kyiv 1957)
Dubrovskii, S. Stolypinskaia zemel’naia reforma (Moscow 1963)
Rozvytok narodnoho hospodarstva Ukraïns’koï RSR, 1917–1967, 2 vols (Kyiv 1967)

S. Maksudov

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