Village Communities: Manner of Division and Allotments--Large Com-
munities and Free Use of Vacant Lots--The Mir of the Present Day and
Periodical Re-allotments--Division by "Souls" and by Tiàglos--Epochs
of Division; Disadvantages of Frequent Re-allotments--A Portion of the Defects Charged to the Mir Due to the Large Agglomerated Villages --Consequences of Excessive Parcelling.
AT the times when population was more sparsely distributed than it is now, the Russian communities, at present limited to mere villages, were able sometimes to cover much more extensive tracts of land. Such instances are still to be encountered at both extremities of Russia--in the north, in the government of Olònets, on the confines of Finland, and in the south, amongst the Cosacks of the Ural, Great-Russians by descent, mostly oldbelievers by religion, and as much attached to the old customs as to the old rites. There, by the river Ural, a vast commune has existed down to our own time, covering an entire extensive geographical region; there a whole army, sole proprietor of the soil it occupied, formed one undivided community. Here was to be found, nearly intact, in the nineteenth century, the form of property and usufruct of the tribe or clan of prehistoric ages.*
Immense steppes, but moderately fertile and almost desert, to say the truth,--a space of nearly 27,000,000 acres,--composed the collective property of the Cosacks of the Ural. Along the entire____________________