The New Student's Reference Work/Zemstvos
Zem'stvos, district and provincial assemblies in European Russia, established by Emperor Alexander on Jan. 1, 1864. Under certain restrictions they administer the economic affairs of districts and provinces, under Upranas. They are composed of representatives elected by the peasantry, the householders of the towns and the landed proprietors. By the law of June 12, 1890, important modifications were introduced, increasing the powers of noble landowners in the affairs of the zemstvos and suppressing the right of peasants to elect deputies to the zemstvos (they present candidates out of whom the governor of the province names a deputy), thus reducing the number of representatives and limiting their powers. The institutions of the zemstvos are in force in 34 provinces (361 districts) of European Russia. The towns and cities have municipal organizations of their own, organized on nearly the same principles as the zemstvos by the law of June 16, 1870. Consult The Statesman's Year-Book: Russia. See Duma.