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)


  • At the same time Stolypin, with cooperation of the Duma, continued his reform activities: social insurance, zemstvo reform, education, police reorganization, land banks, encouragement of emigration to Siberia.


  • But the Napoleonic Code remained operative in the kingdom, and the zemstvo reforms in Russia were not instituted in the kingdom for fear that they would be used for nationalist purposes.


  • This group consisted largely of intellectuals, members of the liberal professions, and zemstvo workers.


  • These counterreforms included the establishment of land captains, gentry named by the minister of the interior to provide direct supervision of peasants (1889), and the creation of a distinct group for the gentry in the zemstvo system with increased representation (1890).


  • The assembly appointed an executive committee which is in permanent session, but the zemstvo assembles once a year.

    The Story of Russia

  • Above the district zemstvo is the goubernkoé zemstvo or provincial assembly, whose members are elected from the district zemstvos.

    The Story of Russia

  • The representatives of each county constituted a county-zemstvo and the representatives elected by all the county-zemstvos in a province constituted a province-zemstvo.

    Bolshevism The Enemy of Political and Industrial Democracy

  • The power of the zemstvos themselves was lessened by taking from them such important functions as the provisioning of famine-stricken districts and by limiting in the most arbitrary manner the amount of the budget permitted to each zemstvo.

    Bolshevism The Enemy of Political and Industrial Democracy

  • The zemstvo of former times was made up of only class representatives; _the elections to the new zemstvos were effected by universal suffrage, equal, direct, and secret_.

    Bolshevism The Enemy of Political and Industrial Democracy

  • The zemstvo of Saratov was one of the best in Russia.

    Bolshevism The Enemy of Political and Industrial Democracy


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