Landrat Books: Characterising a Source and Its Potential

Keywords: Landrat books, census of homesteads, Peter the Great, Landrats, capitation census, fairytales, gentry


This article considers Landrat books compiled between 1715 and 1720, which contain the results of the last census of homesteads carried out by the Russian state. Even though a comprehensive study of the Landrat books has not been conducted, scepticism prevails when it comes to the reliability of their results. The author argues that there are no grounds for such scholarly scepticism. The materials of the Landrat census have great potential. The reason for distrust of the Landrat data is that they are often compared with the 1710 census, which was badly conducted. Historians also often point out that the transition to the poll tax was caused by the authorities’ lack of confidence in the work of the Landrats. However, this was not the case. This transition was due to the fact that the 1715–1720 census made it clear to the government that it had to change the principle and methods of tax collection (to increase taxes). The article focuses on the potential of the Landrat books as a valuable historical source. Particular attention is paid to social and economic information. The author refers to the Landrat book of Tula. As a result, the article concludes that, regardless of the extent to which the Landrat books may be considered complete and accurate, they reflect real socio-economic processes taking place in Russia under Peter the Great. The practical purpose of the Landrat books is very significant; although these documents were not dedicated specifically to the service population, they inevitably tell the story of this large social group; also, they contain a lot of data on the history of the Russian nobility. As a result, the Landrat censuses, together with “fairytales,” register extracts, and other documents of this kind, can help recreate the overall picture of important changes in the lives of the provincial service elite in the time of Peter the Great.

Author Biography

Denis Lyapin

Dr. Hab. (History), Head of the Department of History and Historical and Cultural Heritage, Yelets State University named after I. A. Bunin. 

28, Kommunarov Str., 399770, Yelets, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-2078-2404


Anisimov, E. V. (1982). Podatnaya reforma Petra I. Vvedenie podushnoi podati v Rossii 1719–1728 gg. [The Tax Reform of Peter I. The Introduction of the Capitation Tax in Russia 1719–1728]. Leningrad, Nauka. 296 p.

Bogoslovskii, M. M. (1904). Oblastnaya reforma Petra Velikogo. Provintsiya 1719–27 gg. [The Regional Reform of Peter the Great. Province 1719–27]. Moscow, Universitetskaya tipografiya. XVI, 521, [1], 44, [1] p.

Chernikov, S. V. (2016). Pravyashchaya elita Rossii 1725–1762 gg.: massovye istochniki biograficheskogo kharaktera i metodika ikh analiza [The Ruling Elite of Russia 1725–1762: Mass Sources of a Biographical Nature and Methods of Their Analysis]. In Gumanitarnyi vestnik. No. 12 (50), pp. 2–18. DOI 10.18698/2306-8477-2016-12-405.

Dubrovin, N. F. (Ed.). (1901). Doklady i prigovory, sostoyavshiesya v pravitel’stvennom Senate v tsarstvovanie Petra Velikogo [Reports and Sentences in the Governing Senate during the Reign of Peter the Great]. St Petersburg, Tipografiya Imperatorskoi Akademii nauk. Vol. 6. Book 1. 464 p.

Fursov, S. V. (2018). Gorod Dobryi i uezd po materialam landratskoi perepisi 1716 g. [The Town and Uyezd of Dobry with Reference to the Landrat Census of 1716]. In Istoriya: fakty i simvoly. No. 4 (17), pp. 86–94. DOI 10.24888/2410-4205-2018-16-3-86-94.

Kafenhaus, B. B., Pavlenko, N. I. (Eds.). (1954). Ocherki po istorii SSSR. Period feodalizma. Rossiya v pervoi chetverti XVIII v. Preobrazovaniya Petra I [Essays on the History of the USSR. Feudal Period. Russia in the First Quarter of the 18th Century. Reforms of Peter I]. Moscow, Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk SSSR. 815 p.

Klochkov, M. V. (1911). Naselenie Rossii pri Petre Velikom po perepisyam togo vremeni [The Population of Russia under Peter the Great According to Censuses of That Time]. St Petersburg, Senatskaya tipografiya. VI, 435 p.

Klyuchevskii, V. O. (1989). Istoriya soslovii v Rossii [A History of Estates in Russia]. In Klyuchevskii, V. O. Sobranie sochinenii v 9 t. Moscow, Mysl’. Vol. 6, pp. 225–388.

Kranichfeld, A. (1845). Vzglyad na finansovuyu sistemu i finansovye uchrezhdeniya Petra Velikogo [A Look at the Financial System and Financial Institutions of Peter the Great]. St Petersburg, Izdatel’stvo Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta. 53 p.

Lyapin, D. A. (2010). Iz pomeshchikov v krest’yane: o proiskhozhdenii sosloviya gosudarstvennykh krest’yan-odnodvortsev [From Landowners to Peasants: On the Origin of the Estate of State Single Householders]. In Istoriya v podrobnostyakh. No. 6, pp. 11–16.

Lyapin, D. A. (2015). Rassloenie provintsial’nogo dvoryanstva v Rossii i sotsial’nopoliticheskaya bor’ba vo vtoroi polovine XVII v. [The Stratification of the Provincial Nobility in Russia and Socio-Political Struggle in the Second Half of the 17th Century]. In Rossiiskaya istoriya. No. 5, pp. 42–53.

Lyashchenko, P. I. (1930). Istoriya russkogo narodnogo khozyaistva [A History of the Russian National Economy]. 2nd Ed. Moscow, Leningrad, Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo. 566 p.

Milyukov, P. N. (1905). Gosudarstvennoe khozyaistvo Rossii v pervoi chetverti XVIII stoletiya i reforma Petra Velikogo [The State Economy of Russia in the First Quarter of the 18th Century and the Reforms of Peter the Great]. 2nd Ed. St Petersburg, Tipografiya M. M. Stasyulevicha. XIV, [2], 678, [1] p.

Nefedov, S. A. (2013). Proiskhozhdenie “regulyarnogo gosudarstva” Petra Velikogo [The Origin of the “Regulation State” of Peter the Great]. In Voprosy istorii. No. 12, pp. 53–65.

PSZ [Complete Collection of Laws of the Russian Empire]. Coll. 1. Vol. 5.

Redin, D. A. (2005). Sibirskie landraty. 1714–1720 gg. (Materialy k issledovaniyu) [Siberian Landrats. 1714–1720 (Materials for Research)]. In Petrovskoe vremya v litsakh – 2005. St Petersburg, Izdatel’stvo Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha, pp. 181–194.

Redin, D. A. (2012). Sibirskaya landratura: mesto vyatskikh landratov v strukture gubernskogo upravleniya perioda pervoi oblastnoi reformy Petra Velikogo [Siberian Landratura: The Place of Vyatka Landrats in the Structure of the Provincial Administration during the First Regional Reform of Peter the Great]. In Izvestiya Ural’skogo federal’nogo universiteta. Seriya 2: Gumanitarnye nauki. No. 3 (105), pp. 31–47.

RGADA [Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts]. Stock 350. List 1. Dos. 25, 35, 93, 111–112, 131, 136–141, 143, 153, 174, 176–177, 186, 200–201, 211, 215, 217, 240, 248–263, 266, 268, 270, 283–293, 307, 357, 361, 370, 372–373, 413, 416, 427, 430, 436, 446, 470, 479–504, 918–933.

Strumilin, S. G. (1960). Ocherki ekonomicheskoi istorii Rossii [Essays on the Economic History of Russia]. Moscow, Sotsekgiz. 548 p.

Vodarskii, Ya. E. (1977). Naselenie Rossii v kontse XVII – nachale XVIII v.: chislennost’, soslovno-klassovyi sostav, razmeshchenie [The Population of Russia at the End of the 17th – Early 18th Centuries: Size, Estate-Class Composition, Location]. Moscow, Nauka. 263 p.

Zakharov, A. V. (2013). “Gosudarev dvor” i tsaredvortsy Petra I: problemy terminologii i rekonstruktsii sluzhby [The “Sovereign Court” and Courtiers of Peter I: Problems of Terminology and the Reconstruction of the Service]. In Petrukhintsev, N. N., Erren, L. (Eds.). Pravyashchie elity i dvoryanstvo Rossii vo vremya i posle petrovskikh reform (1682–1750). Moscow, ROSSPEN, pp. 10–44.

Zakharov, A. V. (2015). Proekt informatsionnoi sistemy “Skazki general’nogo smotra shlyakhetstva 1721–1722 gg.” v kontekste izucheniya massovykh istochnikov i regestov [The Plan of the Information System “Tales of the General Review of the Gentry of 1721–1722” in the Context of Studying Mass Sources and Registers]. In Vestnik Chelyabinskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. No. 16 (371). Iss. 65, pp. 130–139.

How to Cite
Lyapin, D. (2021). Landrat Books: Characterising a Source and Its Potential. Quaestio Rossica, 9(1), 254–264.
Problema voluminis