from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An elective council responsible for the local administration of a provincial district in czarist Russia.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A Russian districtual or provincial conciliary or elective local-governmental administrative division, founded in 1864 by Tsar Alexander the Liberator.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. In Russia, an elective local district and provincial administrative assembly. Originally it was composed of representatives elected by the peasantry, the householders of the towns, and the landed proprietors. In the reign of Alexander III. the power of the noble landowners was increased, the peasants allowed only to elect candidates from whom the governor of the province nominated the deputy, and all acts of the zemstvo subjected to the approval of the governor. Theoretically the zemstvo has large powers relating to taxation, education, public health, etc., but practically these powers are in most cases limited to the adjustment of the state taxation.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Russia, a local elective assembly, of recent institution, for the oversight and regulation of affairs within its territory.
Russian, from Old Russian zemĭ, land; see dhghem- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Russian земство (zémstvo), from земля (zemljá, "land”, “country”, “state"). (Wiktionary)