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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 21, 2007

AN OPINION. Regarding the Prevention of Famine in White Russia and The Organization of the Way of Life of the Jews (1800). Translated from the Russian. With Comments and introduction edited by Alexander Fried

Gavriil Romanovich Derzhavin
From the journal

In the summer of 1800 an imperial command charged Senator Gavriil Derzhavin with the investigation of the relationships between peasants and the nobility in White Russia; it also charged the Senator – also a great poet who sometimes, when it humored him, played the politician – to act with the utmost severity against »those of the landed proprietors who for inordinate love of profit neglect their peasants and fail to support them with food supplies.« Furthermore, and aside from issuing a report, Derzhavin was licensed to »relieve them of their estates and to appoint custodians who would allot grain to the peasants from their masters' granaries.« This command commanded what would seem a run-of-the-mill investigative expedition until a certain Obolianinov, the Chief Procurator to the Senate, committed a curious addition to the text, with instructions issued in the name of the Czar; in doing so, Derzhavin's entire mission was altered, as was the fate of fledgling Russian Jewry.

Published Online: 2007-12-21
Published in Print: 2005-July-03

© Max Niemeyer Verlag GmbH, Postfach 2140, D–72011 Tübingen, 2004