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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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
(6) It is true that recent studies of the Russian justice system do not emphasize political tension, but on the contrary talk about the harmony of state and society as evidenced in the successful functioning of the volost' courts or the normalization of dialogue between lawyers and the government after the First Russian Revolution of 1905-7.
Second, as Rempel explained, "wherever an ethnic or denominational group of colonists, comprising a varying number of communities, had constituted a separate administrative district, this unit of local self-government was left intact." 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., was left largely undisturbed." (45)
(12) Calling for freedom of the press and of conscience, as well as a basic national education system, Arsen'ev also demanded the lowering of property requirements for zemstvo elections and the creation of the all-estate volost', a local administrative unit smaller than the zemstvo that would serve as a grassroots peasant-dominated institution.
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)." According to Ianin's recollection, the new chairman of the district soviet executive committee was a "mediocre" member of the local police, one Subbotin, who had been transferred to Pitelino from Shatsk--in other words, both incompetent and an outsider.
The kinds of cases peasant litigators took to the township (volost') courts established after the emancipation of 1861, were remarkably similar to those Stevens cites.
[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.
A number of scholars have used volost' courts to show how rural lower-class residents engaged actively and meaningfully with state structures.
For state peasants, the volost' (subdistrict), consisting of a group of villages, was the basic unit.
In 1782, Count James Bruce, governor-general of Novgorod and Tver', reported to the Senate on an event in the village of Valukhino in Vaksalovskaia Canton (volost').
These are underpinned by a pervasive militarism and notoriously harsh "penal backup." 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.
(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.