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History Russia's state statistics 1802-1996

Spon ascending the throne after the death of Nicolai the First in 1855, his eldest son Alexander the Second (1855-1881), in search of more flexible methods, carryed out some major state transformations. At the Government's instructions, there were created in guberniys (the Provinces) committees of noblemen for preparation of the peasant reform. On February 19, 1861, Alexander the Second signed draft laws on the abolition of serfdom. After the fall of serfdom, there were carried out some reforms of a political nature, including the reform of local self- government.
          In 1864 there were created elective bodies of power on the scale of a gubernia (province) and a uyezd (district) - zemstvo institutions (Zemstvos). In the process of reforms of the 60ies, zemstvos appeared in 33 gubemias of Russia (by 1914 - in 43). They were to be occupied with supply of provisions to the population, charity, industry and trade, road construction, postal services, insurance, material help to people's education and health care, etc. Zemstvos' bodies included gubemia (provincial) and uyezd (district) sobraniyes (assemblies) convened once a year, gubemiya (provincial) and uyezd (district) upravas (boards) in the capacity of executive bodies in charge of zemstvo's affairs, elected for a two-year term. The Zemstvos were controlled by the Ministry of the Interior and the respective governors (chiefs of provinces) who had the right to annul any resolutions of a zemstvo institution. The main source of funds for the activity of zemstvo institutions were local taxes collected with due regard for the immovable property and its profitability.
          Zemstvo institutions needed detailed statistical data necessary for correct economic management, and the government bodies were unable to provide them with such data. Many zemstvos started organizing their own local statistics. By the end of the XIXth century, 25 out of the 34 zemstbo gubernias had statistical bodies. They were created either by inviting individual statisticians for jobs that included search for, and systematization of, materials required, or by setting up a statistical bureau. One of the ways to obtain information was to retrieve data from existing primary reports and, in addition, to collect data on the spot from volosts (small rural districts), through teachers of people's schools, other agents, without sending there any staff members.
          Having emerged as an instrument of appraisal, for collection of materials on objects of zemstvo taxation, zemstvo statistics very soon set the tasks of studying the economic life of Russia, the current position and further development of the Russian village. In those zemstvos where the targets of statistics were not limited to determination of value and profitability of the sources of taxation, the organization and activities of statistical bureaus (offices) were more complicated. and the materials collected were richer and more diverse. Among such zemstvos, two types could be singled out: Moscow and Chernigov zemstvos. Their common feature was collection of data by way of expeditions, that is, the members of the statistical bureau travelled over all the uyezds, one by one, and gathered on the spot materials on all the issues that were covered by the investigation programme. The aims and methods of work made all the difference.
          The Chernigov statistics focussed on the determination of quantity and quality of arable lands whereas the Moscow branch centered around the situation with the agriculture and agricultural population, the ways and forms of labour application to the land. With the Chernigov statisticians, land was the foremost object of investigation, whereas the Moscow statisticians directed their attention to the people who tilled that land. According to the Chernigov system, work started from listing' the lands, drawing on the map the plots' boundaries, identifying the classes of soils on the spot with the help of a specially assigned bureau member according to the adopted classification, obtaining data on the specific productivity of soils on every plot. From the data received, there was derived the mean productivity of soils in the uyezd, the mean productivity of the plots.
          According to the Moscow system, information was received on every economic unit in the uyezd and on the general conditions of life and activities of the population through personal observation by statistical workers travelling to the spots. An essential operation in the local study of villages consisted in the "podvorny" (house-to-house) census providing the following information on each household: the number of dwelling houses and uninhabited buildings and their dimensions, the family composition and the number of workers by sex, the acreage of allotted and bought land and the ways of its cultivation, the acreage of rented land and the rent rates, the numbers and types of cattle, the numbers and the sizes of uncultivated Helds, the number of hired hands, etc. Before the "podvomy" censuses started to be taken, there was practised extraction of various data from the documents provided by the volosts (small rural districts). Additional data were derived by the statistical bureau from the multitude of available books and documents. The "podvorny" census was complemented Ьу a survey of the general conditions of the village. The Moscow way of organizing zemstvo statistics got disseminated on a wider scale and was adopted by many zemstvos. The original differences gradually faded away, the work programmes drew nearer to each other, and there was elaborated a certain type of zemstvo statistics that was similarly organized in all the gubernias (provinces) of Russia.
          The detalization of accounting in the zemstvo statistics surpassed everything encountered earlier in the statistical practice. Detailed programmes of observation were used, methods of observation were improved, groupings were widely employed, statistical tables received further development. Congresses and conferences of statisticians played a major positive role in the development of statistics. From 1887 to 1917 there were convened 17 congresses (conferences). Apart from studying the peasants' everyday life, the budgets, the zemstvo statisticians were engaged in the studies of people's education, and from the beginning of the 80ies, worked in the sphere of sanitary and medical statistics.
          In its development, the zemstvo statistics passed three stages:
          - the emergence and systematic implementation of statistical work (1870-1894); during this period the zemstvo statistical bodies were independent from the government in respect of organization and finances;
          - the extention of the programme of work, including the property appraisal (1894-1900); during this period the activities of the zemstvo statistical bodies was put under the government control;
          - the period when the zemstvo's statistical work was subsidized by the government (1900-1917), which restricted their independence. Practically, all the zemstvos' statistical work was suspended at the beginning of the first world war.
          Zemstvo statisticians not only widely and masterfully interpreted the various statistical methods, but were also busy working out and applying them in combined ways. They made a success in elaborating the methods of interrogation (the main data source at that time), the observation card forms; skillfully using the methods of non-complete accounting and combining them with complete accounting, sample surveys, etc. A significant feature in the process of elaboration of materials by zemstvo statisticians was a systematic and wide use of groupings, especiflly combination ones proposed by Alexander Polikarpovich Shlkevich (1849-1909). In the works of zemstvo statisticians there were revealed the functions of groupings as a method of analysing relationships and as a mode of singling out the type of phenomena, which paved the way for subsequent development of the theory of typological grouping.
          A considerable contribution to the development of zemstvo statistics was made by V.I. Orlov (Head of the Moscow zemstvo statistical bureau in 1876-1885), P.P. Chervinsky, V.E. Varzar, S.A. Kharizomenov, V.G. Groman (Head of statistics of the Penza zemstvo), F.A. Scherbina (Head of the Statistical Bureau of the Voronezh zemstvo, a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1904), and others.
          The work for the organization of state statistics, activated in the 40-50ies of the XIXth century, also continued in the 60ies. Having been formed in these years, it was maintained almost unchanged during the entire post-reform period.
          The Emperor's command of July 27, 1861, singled out the Zemstvo Division from the Central Statistical Committee into an independent agency "for ensuring a success in the progress of the peasants' affairs". According to the approved regulations, cases lodged with the Minister's Council on matters subject to zemstvo-economic settlement were preceded and executed in the Zemstvo Division (Full Code of Laws of the Russian Empire, Collection 2, Volume 36, Section 2).
          The Regulations on the statistical organization at the Ministry of the Interior were approved on April 30, 1863, by Emperor Alexander the Second (Opinion of the State Council with the resolution of Emperor Alexander the Second: "So it shall be". Full Code of Laws of the Russian Empire, Collection 2, Volume 38, Section 1).
          The Regulations provided for the establishment of the Statistical Council and the Central Statistical Committee of the Ministry of the Interior.
          In accordance with the Regulations of 1863, the object of the Statistical Council's activities was "the establishment of the Tightest and truest ways of collection and processing of statistical data in the Empire and the uniform direction of all the work of this kind". The Statistical Council was entrusted with: discussion of ways for implementation of all the statistical work and measures concerning collection of data throughout the Empire and requiring co-operation of various agencies; discussion of production of private statistical work of different agencies and establishment of a common form for their publication: improvement of ways for registration of statistical data obtained in the process of regular clerical work in various agencies.
          In accordance with the royally approved Regulations of May 24, 1875, the Council had to "assist to Ministries and other main departments in work on administrative statistics", and "... only such matters are subject to indispensable consideration of the Council that refer to the statistical arrangement or implementation of any statistical work through the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior".
          According to the Regulations of 1863, the purpose of the Central Statistical Committee was implementation of statistical work under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Intwerior. It was entrusted with the collection, checking, processing of data annually received from local statistical committees, the elaboration of statistical information furnished by other agencies on the basis of decisions taken by the Statistical Council. As regards the work and scientific orientation, all the provincial, regional and urban statistical committees were subordinared to the Central Statistical Committee. The management of the Central Statistical Committee was effected by the Director who was a member of the Minister's Council and a permanent member of the Statistical Council. He was chosen from a range of persons with special accomplishments and knowledge in the field of statistics, was appointed and discharged on a presentation from the Minister of the Interior by Royal Decrees to the Governing Senate and by Royal orders.
          In 1866 there was published the first compendium of the Central Statistical Committee "The Statistical Time-book of the Russian Empire". It contained information on the surface area, population, industry, trade, transport, people's education, crime statistics, etc. This was the first Russia's statistical yearbook (since 1905 it was entitled "The Yearbook of Russia", and after 1912 - "The Statistical Yearbook of Russia").
          On the boundary between the XIXth and the XXth century, the experience of the government and zemstvo statistics in Russia allowed to scientifically comprehend the application of statistics in different areas. There started to emerge branch statistics: agricultural, industrial, of railway transport, of trade, of labour, budgetary, and statistics of population.
          This period was characterized by a wide use in statistical practice of various surveys and censuses.
          A long-lasting period of preparation preceded the most important Census of Population of the Russian Empire (1897) prior to which inspections served as sources of available data. From 1862 through 1897, there were conducted 98 local population censuses in cities/towns (in 1869 under the guidance of  P.P. Semenov, in 1881 and 1890 under the guidance of Yu.E. Yanson, and in 1882 under the guidance of A.I. Chuprov, I.I. Yanzhul, A.S. Posnikov). The General Census of Population was conducted as of February 9 (January 28), 1897, and was headed by P.P. Semenov. Three categories of population were taken into account: available, settled (permanent) and registered (ascribed). The programme of the Census included 14 indications, and three census forms were used. The Census was a success, its results were published in the two volumes of the "All-Imperial General Code of the processed results of the General Census of Population conducted on January 28, 1897" and individual volumes for gubernias, regions, four cities/towns. In agricultural statistics, there were conducted "podvomy" (house-to-house) censuses of peasants' households.
          In 1903 and 1910, the Central Statistical Committee conducted the Census of Agricultural Machinery and Implements.
          Since 1875 there were conducted censuses of military horses (altogether 9 censuses were carried out in the post-reform period).
          There were no cattle censuses. Since 1904, data on cattle numbers started coming annually. Since 1883, the Central Statistical Committee organized statistics of crop yields on the basis of data samples.
          In the field of industrial statistics, the most significant were the industrial censuses of 1900 and 1908 conducted on the initiative of, and under the guidance of, V.E. Varzar. The census of 1900 covered only unexcisable manufactures, and the census of 1908 - the entire manufacturing industry of factories and plants.
          The statistics of education was represented by school statistics. The first school census was conducted in 1880.
          Since the second half of the XIXth century there was raised the level of statistical science towards whose development a considerable contribution was made by the mathematical school of the St.Petersburg University founded by Paphnuti Lvovich Chebyshev (1821-1894). He and his disciples, and first of all Andrey Andreyevich Markov (1856-1922) and Alexander Mikhailovich Liapunov (1857-1918) set up the Russian school of the theory of probabilities.
          The achievements of the mathematical school started getting applied in demography and insurance business, in particular in construction of mortality tables. The understanding of the fact that, with time, statistics could become an exact, mathematical science was combined with the view of statistics as a social science that was ascending from description of phenomena to their analysis.
          However, not all the scientists shared the notion of statistics as a mathematical science. Yuly Edwardovich Yanson (1835-1893), a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, belonged to this group of scientists. He believed the revealment of cause-and-effect relationships to be the main purpose of statistics, and thought that the theory of probabilities could not ensure the finding of causes of studied phenomena. As an advocate of descriptive statistics, he admitted that statistics was a self-sustained science independent of mathematics, in particular of the theory of probabilities, negated the role of large numbers, paying much attention to the problems of observation and grouping, organization of practical statistics.
          Yanson's ideas produced a tremendous inHuence upon a whole generation of Russian statisticians: L.V. Feodorovich, A.N. Antsipherov, K.G. Voblyi, L.V. Khodsky and others.
          A considerable contribution to the development of the theory of statistical observation was made by Alexander Ivanovich Chuprov (1842-1908), a teacher at the Moscow University. In particular, he gave preference to the application of the expedition method of data collection when the quality of the observation materials increased, and to the inclusion in the observation programme of questions for obtaining "cross-data" with a view to strengthening the control of materials received during the observation. Theoretically he generalized the practice of zemstvo statistics regarding the compilation of combination tables, developed the theory of monographic survey.
          One can date the emergence of stohastic (from a Greek word meaning "to suppose") statistics back to 1880 when Vladimir Andreyevich Kosinsky, then a student of a law faculty and afterwards a well-known Russian economist, in his booklet "On Ways of Developing Statistical Materials" substantiated a progressive possibility of using mass sample surveys, based on the theory of probabilities, with a preliminary grouping of facts, so that it would be possible to apply inductive methods to the groups thus obtained.
          The formation of stohastic school in Russia was prompted by the work of A.V. Vassiliev, a Professor of the Kazan University (1853-1929), V.I.Bortkevich (1863-1931), A.A.Chuprov (1874-1926), and others. In A.V. Vassiliev's article "the Laws of the Accidental and Mathematical Statistics" ("The Herald of Europe", 1892) it was proven that, having at one's disposal data of a mass observation, it would be possible to judge whether any fundamental causes have changed or the observed changes stay within the boundaries of mere accidental things. His conclusion was that social statistics based on the theory of probabilities becomes a branch of mathematics - mathematical statistics.
          V.I. Bortkevich's best known work was "On Statistical Regularities" ("The Herald of Law", Nos.8. 10, 1905). He showed that statistics had nothing to do with the elementary probabilities described by Bernulli's theorem. In real life there occur events that represent the effect of several causes. Therefore, stohastic statistic must base its methodology not on the elementary but on the mean probability.
          А.А. Chuprov, the great Russian statistician, the real head of the stohastic school could generalize the ideas of this school, give philosophic justification to its fundamental notions, reveal the relationship between statistics and the theory of probabilities. He anticipated and stimulated the' turn to the probability-oriented justification of statistical knowledge, prompted the development of mathematical statistics. His theoretical and methodological works made considerable influence on the practice of statistical analysis and in particular, on the dissemination of the sampling method, to which there greatly contributed his connections with the zemstvo statisticians, his statements at the All-Russian congresses of the zemstvo statisticians, etc. The main ideas were expounded in his monographs: "The Essays on the Theory of Statistics" (St.Petersburg, 1909) "The Main Problems of the Correlation Theory" (Moscow, 1926), his article "The Main
          Targets of the Stohastic Theory of Statistics" ("The Herald of Statistics", 1925, Nos. 10-12). These works supported the idea of dividing all the sciences into nomographic sciences, studying general regularities - eternal and invariable, and ideographical sciences, explaining the regularities of specific phenomena in definite conditions of place and time. In accordance with this, statistics as an object science could be referred to the ideographical class and, as a methodological science, to the nomographic class. The scientist made important additional conclusions about the subject- matter of scientific cognition: on the occurence, alongside with the synonimous functional relationships, of the so-called free, varying relationships, appearing in the form of a complex entanglement of many stable, independent elementary causes; on the probability as a principal basis for measurement of free relationships, ensuring the objectivity of the characteristics thus received. А.А. Chuprov much contributed to the dissemination of the probability-oriented views in Russia as well as abroad.
          He also worked out the theory of groupings. His work "On the Ways of Grouping Statistical Observations" ("Proceedings of the St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute", Volume 1, Issues 1-2, St. Petersburg, 1904).
          The propositions of this article found practical application, in particular, in the works of Grigory Ivanovich Baskin (1866-1937), a zemstvo statistician, who put forth the principles of regioning, combination groupings, secondary groupings in the peasantry studies.
          The following trends were revealed in the statistical science of the second half of the XIXth century - the beginning of the XXth century: the establishment and elaboration of the probability-oriented statistics; the generalization of statistical methodology through the combination of the practical experience of statistics, zemstvo statistics in the first turn, with the mathematic-and-statistical methods; the differentiation of statistical science.
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