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The regional interactive encyclopedic portal «Bashkortostan»
Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Bashkortostan State autonomous institution of science of the Republic of Bashkortostan Bashkir encyclopedia


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CANTON SYSTEM, a form of military administration in Bashkortostan between 1798—1865. Main purposes: prevention of the Bashkir uprisings (ref. Bashkir Uprisings in the 17—18th centuries), colonization of the region, and creation of the bridgehead for attack of the Middle Asia. In 1789, Ufa and Simbirsk Governor General, I.A.Igelstrom, divided 20,908 Bashkir yards into 103 teams (yurts) led by yurt starshinas (heads). Officially, C.s. was introduced by the decree of April 10th, 1798, according to which the Bashkirs and Mishars were transferred to the military estate, and the territory of settlement of the Bashkirs, Mishars, and Orenburg and Ural Cossacks was divided into cantons. Bashkir and Mishar Tatars cantons were governed by canton chiefs, directly subordinated to the Governor General (MilitaryGovernor). In 1834, the post of Commander of the Bashkir and Mishar Army, to whom the administration in the cantons gradually passed, was introduced to strengthen supervision over cantons’ population. Also, that year, the military office, and institute of guardianship (17 Bashkir and Mishar cantons became members of 6 guardianships) were both created. The Stryapchy officers were engaged in land affairs. They were appointed from among the Russian civil officials. Stryapchy had controlled attorneys from the Bashkirs, attended the Bashkir lands survey and reported harassment of Bashkirs and Mishars. Disputes and criminal cases were resolved in the military and civic judicial institutions, and by a military governor. Since 1834, criminal cases had been transferred to military courts (Military Judicial Commissions). In order to strengthen control over the populationofcantons,thepopulation’s freedom of movement was restricted and unauthorized withdrawal from villages was prohibited. Leave certificates were issued for those whopreferredtomoveout. In 1831, the Gub. Administration announced the prohibition of Yiyins (People’s Assemblies). Later, the ban was cancelled on the condition of obligatory presence of an officer with soldiers or Cossacks at the Yiyins. Semi‑nomadic cattle breeding was gradually banned while agriculture was propagated (refusal led to punishment). In addition to military service (ref. Military Service of the Bashkirs) cantons’ population was obliged to perform different kinds of corvees, incl. free labour, road maintenance and building, postal service (in 1834, replaced by a cash postal fee) and housing service (provision of pastures, and building of infirmaries and stables for the quartered teams). The increase of taxes and corvees, discontent of population because of the religious and social policy of the Government et al., caused the 1835, 1846 and 1856 uprisings among the Bashkirs and Mishars. The uprisings were suppressed by government forces and participants of the uprisings were severely punished. The accession of Kazakhstan to Russia between 1840—50s led to the loss by Bashkortostan of its border location, leading to the Bashkirs and Mishars gradual transfer from service estate to tax estate. In 1848, cantons were divided into the sluzhiliye (service) ones (their population remained in the military servicemen estate and continued to conduct military service) and nesluzhiliye ones (their population was freed from military service and was subject to a fee, but continued to be registered in the military department). According to the Regulations on the Bashkirs dated May 14th, 1863, the Bashkirs, Mishar Tatars, bobyls (landless peasants) and Teptyars received the rights of free villagers. In 1865, C.s. was abolished. As a result, the Bashkirs and their Pripushchenniks passed into the subordination of the General Uyezd and Gub. Prisutstviyes (Bodies) on Peasant Affairs, and Miroviye (Communal) Mediators. By February 1st, 1866, cantons’ population, living on the territory of Vyatka, Orenburg, Ufa, Perm and Samara guberniyas started to be administered by civil administration, not military one. The abolition of C.s. was an integral part of the Peasant Reform of 1861.

Publication date: 25.06.2020
Last updated: 22.03.2021