Tyurin A. S. “Gypsy Problem” in the Activities of the Chamber of State Properties in the Nizhny Novgorod Province (1839–1866) (.pdf)


In the Russian Empire, the Gypsies were a separate group of the population. Since the traditional Gypsies’ lifestyle clashed with the current legislature, the government attempted to prevent the vagrancy of the Gypsies and accustom them to a settled life. One of the most serious attempts was made in the reign of Emperor Nicholas I. The Ministry of State Property was responsible for the implementation of this policy. The Gypsies were regarded as state peasants, who were supposed to be placed on state lands and provided with the opportunity to conduct tillage and household furnishing. To complete that task, the Ministry provided bread for crops, timber for housing and money for utility installation. In addition, the newly settled Gypsies were given privileges on tax payments and natural duties. On the territory of the Nizhny Novgorod province, the implementation of the state policy on this question involved the Nizhny Novgorod chamber of state properties. In the study period, the number of Gypsies registered in the Nizhny Novgorod province increased 10 times. However, in spite of the authorities’ attempts to accustom Gypsies to a settled life, the program failed. The main reasons for its failure was the unwillingness of Gypsies to change the existing lifestyle, and also the fact that the Nizhny Novgorod province belonged to the land-poor provinces, so that for the local authorities, it was not possible to provide all placed Gypsies with the necessary amount of land.


Key words: Gypsies, Nicholas I, the Nizhny Novgorod chamber of state properties, district offices, state peasants, state-owned land.


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