Powers of Volost Zemstvos According to «Provisional Regulations on Volost Zemstvo Board» of 1917

The article contains analysis of powers of a volost zemstvo provided by legislation of the Provisional Government of Russia of 1917. Powers of a volost zemstvo were defined by «Temporal Regulations on Volost Zemstvo Administration» dated 21 May 1917. The jurisdiction of a volost zemstvo included affairs of the local economy and management. A vosolt zemstvo was given a status of a legal entity – it could exercise civil transactions, defend its rights in court. It was granted a right to impose a monetary tax on real property within a volost and set fees that ensured its financial independence. Powers of a volost zemstvo included disposal of rural property and cash means, management of zemstvo economic actors, management of educational, health, social and small credit institutions. It was trusted with affairs of sanitary and veterinary control, ensuring public welfare, providing legal aid to the population, supervision of compliance with health and safety, public order and safety. Volost zemstvos
were given a right to join unions and associations to carry out business activities. Legislation of the Provisional Government provided a volost zemstvo with executive powers, gave it a number of powers of local administration and significantly weakened an administrative control of the local government. Province and uyezd zemstvos were granted rights to control activities of volost zemstvo that is not peculiar to local government. Due to the fact that the legislation of the Provisional Government did not differentiate powers of district and uyezd zemstvos, there were conflicts between them. To differentiate powers of uyezd and volost zemstvos, uyezd zemstvos enacted their own resolutions that were in force on the territory of an uyezd. According to the publication in the press and archives, volost zemsvos could develop their activities in a short period of time. On the recommendation of the General Directorate of Local Economy of the Provisional Government, heads and members of volost boards regularly participated in meetings of uyezd zemstvo boards to gain experience, volost zemstvos exchanged information on gained experience. At the end of September and in October 1917, there were held meetings of volosts. Zemstvo meetings formed volost boards which included a head, two members of a board, a clerk, an accountant, a statistician and a tax collector. While holding elections, uyezd zemstvo boards and representatives from volosts were working on establishment of volost zemstvos’ territories, mapping out zemsvo volosts, calculating their future profitability. But even during volost meetings, uyezd zemstvos did not decide on the number of volost zemstvos and territory of zemstvo volosts. Only on 3 December 1917, there was held a meeting of Poltava uyezd zemstvo with representatives of volost zemstvos which adopted a final decision on the division of the uyezd into 20 volosts.