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07 May 2022

Ad Fontes: source capacity of the first General Census of the Russian Empire population of 1897

East European Historical Bulletin
Ad Fontes: source capacity of the first General Census of the Russian Empire population of 1897

In fact, this situation with using the materials of the First All-Russian Census of the Russian Empire in 1897 determines the purpose of the article — to prove the fruitfulness of the Census results of 1897 for the analysis of a new, industrial society formation in sub-Russian Ukraine at the end of the ХІХth century and the crisis of the old class structure. The research methodology is determined by the fact that all demographic phenomena recorded by the Census of 1897are considered in the context of historical events and reflect their consequences, i.e., in this case it was an industrial modernization. The authors proceeded from the need to use new methods of calculating the Census results to analyze the social consequences of an industrial modernization in the Ukrainian provinces of the Russian Empire, which are based on the adaptation of the demographic statistics methods to the processing of the Census data of 1897. The scientific novelty consists in the fact that for the first time in historiography new methods have been used to recalculate the results of the Census of 1897 to characterize the trends and consequences of changes in the social structure of the society due to an industrial modernization. This allowed us to correct the existing in historiography ideas about the social consequences of the first post-reform 40th anniversary of 1861 — 1897. The Conclusions. Summing up, first of all, we note that the source analysis of the First All-Russian Census of the Russian Empire in 1897 is quite topical taking into account the preparation for the second, after the restoration of independence, demographic census in Ukraine. The Census materials are published, recognized as a reliable source of a historical demography and are widely used in the domestic and foreign historiography. However, the Census programme does not make it possible to record the social consequences of an industrial modernization and the crisis of the population class structure, and in historiography there are almost no attempts to list the results of the Census. Accordingly, the authors set a goal to analyze possible ways of recalculating the Census data of 1897. The authors suggested the feasibility of using three methods of recalculating the Census results. The first one consists in grouping of 64 groups of population occupations, registered by the Census, into industrial clusters (groups) — civil service, public activities, finance, industry, construction, transport and communications, agriculture, services and traditional industries. On the example of the largest city in the Ukrainian provinces — Odesa, it was proved that the Census recorded considerable progress in forming the social structure of the industrial era, but the remnants of the past, traditional society remained significant (the correspondent observations were compared with other cities). The second method aims at analyzing the mobility of the population, clarify the role of individual social sources in the formation of new strata of the society and urbanization. The method was used to analyze the data of Kharkiv province, especially Kharkiv and other major cities of the province. The method allowed to characterise the mobility of both the population as a whole and its individual states, the role of local people and migrants in the formation of industrial centers, the role of individual social groups in modernization processes. The content of the third method is an attempt to overcome the main flaw of the Census programme of 1897 — the lack of information on the formation of new social groups and the collapse of the states of the Russian Empire. On the example of Katerynoslav and Kamyanets-Podilsky, the formation tendencies of the new social structure elements and disintegration of the old one were characterized. In other words, the source analysis of the results of the First All-Russian Census of the Russian Empire in 1897 proves that its heuristic potential is far from exhausted, and the multiplicity of methods of its study (including recalculation of results) seems appropriate. The Census results make it possible to characterize the leading social consequences of the industrial modernization of the Russian Empire at the end of the ХІХth century.

Source: Vodotyka, S., Robak, I. (2020). Ad Fontes: source capacity of the first General Census of the Russian Empire population of 1897. East European Historical Bulletin. 16: 127–139

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