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Reviewed by:
  • Tamozhennye knigi Velikogo Novgoroda 1610–11 i 1613–14 godov, and: Tamozhennye knigi goroda Velikie Luki 1669–1676 gg, and: Tamozhennye knigi sibirskikh gorodov XVII veka
  • Jarmo Kotilaine
Vladimir Alekseevich Varentsov, Gennadii Mikhailovich Kovalenko, and Valentin Lavrent′evich Ianin, eds., Tamozhennye knigi Velikogo Novgoroda 1610–11 i 1613–14 godov. St Petersburg: AO “PiK,” 1996, 288 pp. ISBN 5861610169.
Andrei Viktorovich Iurasov, ed., Tamozhennye knigi goroda Velikie Luki 1669–1676 gg. Moscow: Institut rossiiskoi istorii RAN, 1999. 279 pp. ISBN 5805500280.
Dmitrii Iakovlevich Rezun, Z. V. Bashkatova, and I. R. Sokolovskii, eds., Tamozhennye knigi sibirskikh gorodov XVII veka. Novosibirsk: “RIPEL plius,” 1997–. Vol. 1: Surgut i Tara, 1997. 128 pp. Vol. 2: Turinsk, Kuznets, Tomsk, 1999. 124 pp. ISBN 584060524X.

Recent years have witnessed the revival of an old Soviet tradition: the publication of 17th-century customs books. Although the scholarly study of Muscovite customs books admittedly stretches back into the 19th – or arguably even the 18th – century, the popularity of these sources increased dramatically starting in the 1930s, as they became one of the chief weapons of the Soviet scholarly community eager to "prove" the veracity of Lenin's claim about the creation of a single, unified national market in 17th-century Russia. Konstantin Vasil'evich Bazilevich was effectively the pioneer of the Soviet study of customs records, which he used in his research on Ustiug Velikii. He further published a methodological article on customs records as a source for late Muscovite history.1 The scholarly study of customs books established itself during and after the war. Konstantin Grigor'evich Mitiaev applied Bazilevich's approach to a set of 1670s customs books for Smolensk.2 In the late 1940s, Elena Viktorovna Chistiakova [End Page 655] produced a detailed analysis of the sole surviving complete customs book for the important northwestern Russian border town of Pskov.3

Ultimately, the further development of this subfield of history came to rely quite heavily on two important sets of 17th-century customs records: one for the Northern Dvina cities of Ustiug Velikii, Sol'vychegodsk, and Tot'ma, and the other for the Siberian border fortresses, especially Tobol'sk, Tara, Tomsk, and Surgut. Two historians in particular – Aleksandr Tsezarevich Merzon and Iurii Aleksandrovich Tikhonov – built on Bazilevich's pioneering work on Ustiug and produced detailed analyses of the local economy.4 Merzon, moreover, authored a book on customs records as a historical source, as well as a detailed article describing the Ustiug books, the largest surviving set of 17th-century customs data for any Russian city.5 In the case of Siberia, Oleg Nikandrovich Vilkov laid the foundation for the "Novosibirsk school" of socio-economic research on early modern Siberia.6

The study of customs data received a major new impetus from the publication in 1950–51 of an ambitious three-volume set of customs data on the Sukhona-Dvina waterway.7 Not only did this make the single most complete complex of 17th-century customs data readily accessible to scholars internationally, [End Page 656] but it also stimulated interest in a region dominated by the main artery of trade between central Russia and the country's leading port, Arkhangel'sk. In spite of its impressive scope of nearly 3,000 pages, the set does not reproduce all the customs books for the northern river route. Instead, it focuses on three important periods for which clusters of data survive on all the three main towns: Ustiug, Sol'vychegodsk, and Tot'ma. An important additional contribution to the study of northern Russian economic history was made by the subsequent publication of a long-lost fragment of a customs book for Vologda, the only one of its kind.8 A complete 1692 customs book for Saransk was another pioneering publication of the new field,9 as was a collection of some fragments of customs data for Moscow.10 An important set of southern Russian customs records from the first half of the century was published in 1982 as part of a linguistics project on Russian dialects.11 Other comparable publications have not seen the light of day until the trio reviewed here. However, there has been a steady increase in the number of analytical...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-5000
Print ISSN
1531-023x
Pages
pp. 655-663
Launched on MUSE
2008-03-26
Open Access
No
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