Local Government Reform 1864 (A measure of self government at provincial…
Local Government Reform 1864
A measure of self government at provincial and district levels came into force. The Zemtsva.
They were elected by nobles, town dwellers and peasants.
Electoral system favoured the nobles, who would go to make up 40% of the district Zemstva and over 70% of provinvial councils. This was to try and allow them to retain control, as compensation for their losses from the emancipation.
These reforms only took place where Russians formed the majority of the population. This meant only 37 out of 70 Provinces by 1914.
in 1870, a similar system was set up in towns and cities with mnicipal councils elected by property owners.
Zemstva had general responsibilities for health, education, the maintenance of roads and bridges, as well as local economic affairs.
The councils had the powers to create a small tax to help them pay for their responsibilities.
The 'Third Element' became known for the range of the people the Zemstva employed, such as lawyers, agricultural experts and teachers.
Zemstva brought improvements to local roads, education, health servives and transport, street lighting, drainage and water supply.
Nobles and others running councils gained political experience. Many wanted this at national level.
Members of the 'Third Element' developed self-esteem and began demanding social reforms and improvements in living conditions.
Zemstva was only in a limited number of provinces, and they were slow to get going.
Restrictions were placed on their tax raising powers.
They were dominated by the nobility, and many didn't take their duties seriously. Many ran affairs in their own interests.
Some Zemstva's achived lots, some were idle.
Local Marshalls of the Nobility and governors could veto Zemstva decisions, therefore holding them back.
The Peasants didn't really participate. They were also taxed heavilier by the Zemstvo tax rather than private nobel estates.
The impact the Zemstva could have made on paper was whittled down by the interests of the landed nobility.
Some Liberal nobles like Prince Lvov had a passion for improving the local area.
Central government were uneasy about having Zemstva, who were these bodies with authority but outside the grasp of the central government.
Particulary up to 1905 Revolution, the relationship between Central Government and Zemstva was very tense.