Beggar singers. Painting by V. Vasnetsov, 1873. Vyatka Art Museum of V.М. I am. Vasnetsov
“Give to him who is hungry for your bread, and to those who are naked from your clothes; from everything in which you have excess, do alms, and let your eyes not pity when you do alms. "
“The king leaves the cathedral. The boyar in front distributes alms to the poor.
- Boris, Boris! Children offend Nikolka.
- Give him alms. What is he crying about? "
(Boris Godunov. A.S. Pushkin)
It's always nice when someone can help you in difficult times. But how to determine who really needs help, and who is simply lazy, but cunning by nature? That is why the problem of social protection of the population has always presented a certain problem for the state ...
Charity in pre-revolutionary Russia. Recently, another article on the topic of social protection of the working people of post-revolutionary Russia appeared on VO. And it seems - yes, who can argue, the topic is important and interesting, only you need to approach it seriously, without replacing historical analysis with nice words. There was a paragraph like this:
No matter how much admirers of pre-revolutionary Russia liked to talk about charity and good merchants and landowners - patrons, a full-fledged system of social protection of the population, which covered all the inhabitants of the country, was formed only after the victory of the Bolsheviks. The 1917 revolution created a welfare structure that no other country in the world had in those years. Real help to the working people began to be rendered.
Process and result
The highlighted phrase makes you wonder what is more important - the process or the result? So, after the revolution of 1917, the creation of this structure was only DECLARED, but its creation took a long, and even very long time. It is one thing to print the text of the decree on newsprint, and quite another to implement it in a country ravaged by war, seized by turmoil and disease.
There was one more important problem that made it difficult for young Soviet Russia to quickly create an effective system of social protection of the population. It is about her that we will tell you today.
The variety of forms of social assistance
And the thing is that the system of social protection of the population in tsarist Russia took shape gradually over many, many decades and consisted of different structural elements. For some reason, this is what the critics of the tsarist time say least of all about, and meanwhile, everything that has developed historically is the most difficult to rebuild and replace with something else.
And now we note that in tsarist Russia there was a multi-stage system of providing assistance to the population, which included many components.
First of all, it was private charity, which was the most widespread type of charitable activity and consisted of donations by individuals to help those in need of both money and things, or, say, the same medicines. They accumulate such assistance and distribute it to charitable foundations, for which such donations were the basis of all funds. Usually foundations turned to citizens to respond to acute social problems, promising them help in solving them.
It is clear that immediately after the revolution, the activities of all these funds were terminated, and all the work that they carried out was now entrusted to the state. And since these funds were mostly private, it simply, like the same banks, for example, could not nationalize them.
Large companies are able to provide systematic support for science, culture, solve problems in the field of education and healthcare on a regional or even countrywide scale. This kind of charity has the character of social investment. Medium and small businesses usually support very specific institutions: orphanages, hospitals, disabled people's societies and veterans. Some enterprises could help not with money, but with their products, or provide services: for example, supply bricks for the construction of a temple. However, since all enterprises in Soviet Russia were nationalized, and besides, there was a civil war in the country, there was no question of any help from small and medium-sized businesses to anyone. Well, during the NEP period - yes, the NEPs again began to provide assistance, but when the NEP was closed, then this form of social assistance fell on the shoulders of the state. And, of course, at the same time it became ... less targeted. Although the state's own capabilities to provide it have certainly increased!
Philanthropy and patronage
In Soviet Russia, such a type of social assistance as philanthropy (translated from Greek: "love for people") has completely disappeared. "Philanthropy" is the same as charity, but it must be emphasized that the difference between philanthropy and charity lies not in specific forms of action, but in the sphere of motivation. Although not helping specific people and their groups, but investing in nature, art and science, sooner or later, it will certainly also "reach" society. However, who would be engaged in philanthropy in our country then, and then? Well, except that one of them can be attributed to the laureates of the Stalin and State Prizes, donating them for the defense of the country? However, such a contribution is, in fact, a drop in the ocean, nothing more than ... an example.
Another form of social assistance in tsarist Russia was patronage. Initially "patron" is a proper name. Gaius Cilny Maecenas was a friend and advisor to the Emperor Augustus - he was famous for giving money to aspiring poets. Few concrete examples of his activities have come down to us, but the fact that such was, can be judged by the statement of Martial:
If Patrons were with us - and Virgils would be found right away!
At first glance, patronage differs from charity in a narrower field of activity: the patron provides support to people involved in culture, science and art. However, a deeper difference can be found, again in the area of motivation. The philanthropist helps not so much a person as, so to speak, the social role that he plays. He supports a beggar artist of genius, not because he is poor, but because he is an artist. That is, it is not the person himself that is supported, but his talent; its role in the development of culture, science, art. In Soviet society, there was a clear line: "our talent" - "not our talent." “Not ours”, no matter how talented they were, were not socially supported, it is good that at least they could work as janitors, but for “ours” there were studios, and dachas, and ... “sturgeon of the first freshness”. That is, it was not talent in this case that was the criterion of social assistance, but the support by "talent" of the course of the party and government. In principle, this was the case in tsarist Russia, but there such talent could be supported by private patrons. In Soviet Russia, there were simply none. There was no sponsorship then either, because there was no one and no one to sponsor ...
Now let's move on to at least some figures (which for some reason were completely absent in the above-mentioned article) in order to more easily navigate in relation to what was then and what was subsequently done.
Social assistance in numbers and facts
So, the number of those in need of charitable assistance in Russia at the end of the XIX - beginning of the XX century. accounted for about 5% of the population - that is, about 8 million people. More than 1 million people regularly used charitable assistance, which in monetary terms exceeded the amount of 500 million rubles. In addition to everything in Russia during the period under study, there were 361 thousand beggars, among whom, in addition to the disabled, there were those who could well work, but deliberately preferred to parasitize. 14 institutions provided charitable aid throughout the country, of which 854 were societies and 7 institutions. For example, 349 charitable institutions belonged to the Department of Institutions of Empress Maria, 7 to the Russian Red Cross Society, 505 to the Imperial Philanthropic Society, and 683 to the guardianship of industrious and workhouses.
Now let's think about it: the revolution canceled all this almost at once. This whole system ... fell apart. And we needed funds (and considerable), personnel and time to recreate all this at least at the same level. So it was physically impossible to do it by decree-decree. Therefore, we can only talk about when, in the renewed Russia, at least this pre-revolutionary level of social security was achieved. This is what should have been written about, but ... what was not, that is not.
Go ahead. I have no data other than the above for the whole country. But there is interesting data on the Penza province. About how social protection was carried out there before the revolution. That is, the fact that 8 million needed, and only 1 million used constantly, seems to indicate a lack of it. But at the same time, very often help was targeted, that is, it was received by those who needed more than others. Well, in general, let's take a closer look at the "social protection" of those days far from today. So…
Gubernia in the center of Russia
The population census of 1897 showed that about 1,5 million people lived on the territory of the Penza province, of which only 140 thousand were in cities. Moreover, before the revolution, the Penza province was much larger in area than the modern Penza region, and it included 10 counties.
And so one of the forms of public charity was the creation of public libraries. In the period 1899-1903. The Penza zemstvo annually opened 10 national libraries, one in each district. And in 1904, the provincial zemstvo already contained 50 public libraries with eight thousand readers. In 1907, there were already 91 public libraries in the province. Their maintenance cost the zemstvo 9 rubles. In 700 - 1910 rubles, that is, libraries were supplied with literature in increasing quantities.
The readership of public libraries looks interesting. In 1907 - 12 thousand readers, of which 34% were readers over 18 years old, 30% - 12-18 years old, 36% - schoolchildren from 8 to 12 years old. In total, the zemstvo institutions of the Penza province opened and maintained 102 public and 50 school libraries.
Donated 10 thousand and received a medal!
In the care of the poor, it was customary to celebrate the most prominent benefactors. For example, on May 7, 1862, a merchant of the 1st guild, Ivan Kononov, was awarded a gold medal with the inscription: "For diligence", to be worn around his neck on the Stanislavskaya ribbon. He donated 10 thousand silver rubles to the trusteeship, and his wife also helped with things and supplies. Although, of course, such zeal was the exception rather than the rule.
For girls from poor families, a school was created, their stay in which was paid for by private benefactors, the state had nothing to do with this form of assistance. And here is what was reported about his work:
Actually, the upbringing is the best, the adopted girls and children are excellent. They all study well and start working. Anyone who wanted to see them made sure of the good purpose of the school. Two girls from the orphanage and two orphans were brought to the school, after the deceased official. Placed by private benefactors with a fee of 50 rubles in silver in the first year and 25 rubles in the next.
A little about the life of those who are being looked after ...
The school reports show that the pupils were taught: the Law of God, reading, writing, counting and handicrafts.
To monitor the health of the pupils, they are placed in clean and tidy rooms, always dressed in clean linen and dress. Each pupil has: 3 shirts, 3 dresses, 3 towels, 3 sheets, 3 skirts, 6 aprons, 6 capes, 2 caps, 2 blankets, 2 pillowcases, 2 handkerchiefs, 2 neckerchiefs, 3 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs stocking.
According to the documents, the pupils who left the school were given 88 rubles 39 kopecks, which means that the girls left the school with some means of subsistence. Considering that the salary of a class lady (not a teacher!) At the gymnasium at that time was 30 rubles, an ensign - 25, a turner of the "first hand" in Penza - 40, and in St. Petersburg - 80, then one can imagine that ... they were released, having provided, in fact, a month's earnings for a good artisan in the capital.
The pupils were allowed to take holidays and temporarily leave the school, this was allowed by the corresponding order of the emperor of May 21, 1862:
Vacation allows all pupils only for summer vacations, with the exception of those girls who complete the course of studies. These last girls for the rest of one year of their stay in the institution must stay there hopelessly and carry out their scientific education during vacations and holidays by reading Russian and foreign writers under the guidance of their superiors; an exemption in this respect can only be allowed for girls in poor health, with a certificate from an institute doctor.
And you can say as much as you like that this assistance was insufficient - quite possibly it was. But replacing it like this, with a simple stroke of the pen, was completely impossible, especially in the conditions of the Civil War and the devastation that followed. However, charity in pre-revolutionary Penza was by no means limited to the maintenance of public libraries, charity and education of girls from poor families.
To be continued ...