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 (zĕmst′vō, zyĕm′stvə)
n. pl. zemst·vos
An elective council responsible for the local administration of a provincial district in czarist Russia.

[Russian, from Old Russian zemĭ, land; see dhghem- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈzɛmstvəʊ; Russian ˈzjɛmstvə)
n, pl -stvos
(Historical Terms) (in tsarist Russia) an elective provincial or district council established in most provinces of Russia by Alexander II in 1864 as part of his reform policy
[C19: from Russian, from zemlya land; related to Latin humus earth, Greek khamai on the ground]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈzɛmst voʊ)

n., pl. -stvos.
one of a system of elected local assemblies in Russia from 1864 to 1917.
[1860–65; < Russian zémstvo, derivative of zemlyá land, earth; see humus]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Combining elements of a clan system with connections to parts of the political establishment and court circles, the Krupenskii family succeeded in placing under their control most of the elective positions in the zemstvos and noble assemblies.
Moreover, he believed that zemstvos, organs of rural self-government in late imperial Russia, had held out significant political promise.
He disdains the zemstvos and therefore cannot see any possible good emerging from them.
The Journal evaluated modernization based on the performance of local self-government institutions known as the zemstvos that Alexander II's Great Reforms had created on two levels (province and district) in Russia's European territories in 1864.
Zemstvos, the provincial and local governmental institutions created by the Great Reforms of the 1860s, administered local roads.
A particularly interesting point is the emergence of the new problem of self-arson in the 1870s and 1880s, a result, ironically, of the compulsory fire-insurance programmes sponsored by the organs of rural local self-governance, the zemstvos. Given the weakness of the Russian state in the countryside, arson remained an apparently insurmountable challenge, despite educated society's sponsoring of fire prevention and fighting programmes.
The situation began to change in 1864 when Czar Alexander II initiated a system of local government, the Zemstvos, with responsibility for, among other things, health (Krug 1976).
A congress of delegates from institutions of local administration (zemstvos) passed a resolution favoring a national assembly with real powers.
Self-governance, grassroots opinions, municipal and "small area" democracy he sees as growing out of the Russian Orthodox medieval tradition of zemstvos (local assemblies).
A congress of delegates from provincial assemblies (zemstvos) passed a resolution favouring a national assembly with real powers.
While state ministries took the lead in trying to organize large-scale resettlement, zemstvos and other public organizations, like relief societies and local agricultural committees, actively assisted in the process because resettlement was widely regarded as the kind of "all-national cause" (vsenarodnoe delo) that seemed to require educated society's (obshchestvo) commitment and participation.