Rumiantsev census

Rumiantsev census (Generalnaia opis Malorossii). A comprehensive demographic and socioeconomic survey of the Hetman state in Left-Bank Ukraine instituted on the instruction of Empress Catherine II by governor-general Petr Rumiantsev in October 1765. Its aim was to determine the legal status of persons and properties and to gather other information that would facilitate the introduction of the Russian tax system, court system, and military system in the Hetman state. It also laid the groundwork for the eradication of Ukrainian autonomy, the prevention of the mobility of peasants and rank-and-file Cossacks, and the eventual imposition of serfdom. The census was conducted on the territory of each of the Hetman state's 10 regiments by a special commission headed by a Russian officer. Altogether 3,500 settlements were surveyed. Family property (the dvir) constituted the basic unit in the census. The information gathered included population figures (age, marital status, state of health, place of birth, social status, occupation), corvée obligations, the equity and income of each family and the taxes paid, the means by which properties were acquired, the number of buildings and domestic animals on each property and their description, and the description of towns, villages, homesteads, cultivated land, forests, hayfields, and manufacturing enterprises. Copies of documents on which property ownership was based (hetmans' universals, regimental decrees, purchase and transfer records, and wills) were submitted with the data.

The census met with passive resistance from the majority of the population. Except in Kyiv regiment it was not completed, because of the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish War of 1769–74. Nevertheless the data that were collected provide invaluable socioeconomic information about the Hetman state prior to its abolition. Not all of the materials gathered have been preserved. Initially they were dispersed among the archives of the gubernial capitals (see Gubernia) of Chernihiv, Kyiv, and Poltava. In the late 19th century the materials in Chernihiv were transferred to the library of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg, those in Kyiv were deposited in the Kyiv University library, and those located in Poltava perished in a fire. In the 1920s all of the extant materials were deposited in the Kyiv Central Archive of Old Documents. Now they fill 969 volumes, each with 300 to 1,000 folios; the volumes are housed in Kyiv, mostly at the Central State Historical Archive in Kyiv, but also in the Manuscript Division of the National Library of Ukraine. Scholars who have studied the census include Dmytro Bahalii, Ivan D. Boiko, Vasyl Danylevych, Pavlo Fedorenko, Oleksander Hrushevsky, I. Kovalsky, T. Kruglova, Oleksander Lazarevsky, Pylyp Klymenko, Ivan Luchytsky, M. Lytvynenko, Yurii Maksymovych, Venedikt Miakotin, N. Lepenko, O. Putro, Mykhailo Rklytsky, Viktor Romanovsky, V. Semevsky, Serhii Shamrai, Mykhailo Slabchenko, Mykola Tkachenko, and Mykola Vasylenko.

Lazarevskii, Aleksandr; Konstantinovich, Nikolai. Obozrenie Rumiantsevskoi opisi, 4 fasc (Chernihiv 1866–85)
Bagalei, Dmitrii. General’naia opis’ Malorossii (Kyiv 1883)
Miakotin, Venedikt. Ocherki sotsial’noi istorii Ukrainy XVII–XVIII vv., 3 vols (Prague 1924–6)
Popova, L.; Revnyvtseva, K. Heneral’nyi opys Livoberezhnoï Ukraïny, 1765–1769 rr.: Pokazhchyk naselenykh punktiv (Kyiv 1959)
Lytvynenko, M. Dzherela istoriï Ukraïny XVIII st. (Kharkiv 1970)
Kruglova, Tat’iana. Ekonomicheskaia struktura gorodskikh khoziaistv Levoberezhnoi Ukrainy v XVIII v. (po materialam General’noi opisi, 1765–1769 gg.) (Moscow 1989)

Oleksander Ohloblyn, Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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