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1. (Historical Terms) (in the former Soviet Union) a rural soviet
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (in the former Soviet Union) a rural soviet
3. (Historical Terms) (in tsarist Russia) a peasant community consisting of several villages or hamlets
4. (Human Geography) (in tsarist Russia) a peasant community consisting of several villages or hamlets
[from Russian]


(ˈvoʊ ləst)

1. (formerly) a small administrative peasant division in Russia.
2. a rural soviet.
[1885–90; < Russian vólost'; Old Russian volostĭ region, state, authority, c. Old Church Slavonic vlastĭ sovereignty, power, derivative of Slavic *vald- rule, c. Lithuanian valdýti, Gothic waldan to rule; compare wield]
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References in periodicals archive ?
A number of scholars have used volost' courts to show how rural lower-class residents engaged actively and meaningfully with state structures.
The name of the unit may have been changed to the Russian term volost' (canton), and official communication with the authorities was now in Russian rather than German, but its "autonomous status in regard to purely local issues concerning education, health, welfare, insurance, etc.
13) Arsen'ev intended for the all-estate volost' to become an organic link between rural society and the state, and to act as the foundation for a harmonious administrative structure resting on a broad popular base.
Ianin claimed that the trouble began when the secretary of the Pitelinskii district party committee was replaced by one Fediaev "who was considered a talentless worker even in the volost' (district).
2] This is hard to reconcile with the author's statement that volost' county clerks "were often the only literate figures within township administrations (especially before the 1890's)" (p.
If the Gulag inheritance is obvious in aspects of how people are punished in Putin's Russia, there are echoes linking both Liudmila's and Sonia's experiences to more distant penal practices originating in the self-regulatory peasant commune and volost' (township) court, and in the punitive powers of the gentry (pomeshchik) and imperial Russian state.
For state peasants, the volost' (subdistrict), consisting of a group of villages, was the basic unit.
15) Finally, Russian peasants overwhelmed the volost ' (township) courts with property disputes and other civil actions, and although these cases were governed by customary law and technically off-limits to professional advocates, peasants sometimes turned to the consultation bureaus for assistance with their volost' claims.