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1. (Historical Terms) (in the former Soviet Union) a cooperative union or organization, esp of producers, such as peasants
2. (Historical Terms) (in prerevolutionary Russia) a quasi-cooperative association of people engaged in the same activity
[from Russian artel', from Italian artieri artisans, from arte work, from Latin ars art1]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



(in Russia or the Soviet Union) an association of workers or peasants for cooperative effort.
[1880–85; < Russian artél']
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Institutions of a somewhat similar character, called "artel," exist in Russia to-day, cf.
On reaching ToboT'sk, the artels dissolved and reformed within new and stable marching convoys organized by the ToboT'sk Exile Office.
These informal instructors operated within the "permissive task-oriented habits of their preindustrial work culture," teaching new migrants "not only to operate machinery but also to avert managerial discipline and circumvent norms." (p.82) Another peasant institution also helped the new migrants: artels, or working cooperatives headed by an elder.
Nor was urban life on this raw industrial frontier so anomic as Wynn implies: the artels and landsmannschaften in which miners and mill workers lived and labored produced nothing like a class, but did make up a checkerboard of tiny communities.