The article is devoted to the analysis of “The Letter of Partition of Assets…” (peasant juristic document of the 17th century) in the context of modern common law practices. The materials are field research records, made in the villages of the Mezen’ and Leshukonsky districts of the Arkhangelsk Oblast. The document fixes an agreement on the division of the father’s inheritance between three brothers. The practice of written documental division of property among peasants was finished by the middle of the 21st century, in particular, due to the confiscation of private property and dispossession of “kulaks” in the Soviet period. However, the participant observation of modern day-to-day village life and field data shows complex skills of evaluation of shares, social responsibility, limiting self-interest and striving for a harmless division of resources (a division of inheritance, production, land, and places for construction). The principles of modern partition skills echo the principles of distribution of benefits, recorded in the old separate literacy. The first principle is that only male siblings are involved in the distribution of goods. After years of socialist’s women rights program, it has been preserved only in the practice of division of fishing grounds and tool’s inheritance. The second principle of equal division of goods takes into account not only the size of the share but also its quality, as well as potential future risks and their compensation, the ratio of the effort invested into good’s production process and the tools used together. If it is impossible for objective reasons to observe the principle of equality, the decision is made by drawing lots. An additional protection of all participant interests is an appeal to the village non-official authorities who are not materially interested in a result of the agreements.
|Translated title of the contribution||“The Letter of Partition of Assets by Kilits’s Brothers Andreevs”, or Discourses and Practices of Equal Division among the Peasants on the Russian North|
|Issue number||1 (3)|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|