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A Public EmpireProperty and the Quest for the Common Good in Imperial Russia$
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Ekaterina Pravilova

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159058

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159058.001.0001

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Nationalizing Rivers, Expropriating Lands

Nationalizing Rivers, Expropriating Lands

(p.93) 3 Nationalizing Rivers, Expropriating Lands
A Public Empire

Ekaterina Pravilova

Princeton University Press

The previous discussion on forests and minerals showed that Russian professional and industrial elites were quite unhappy with the state's passivity and its reluctance to take on the management of common resources. The government explained its withdrawal from this sphere as an expression of its allegiance to the principle of private property. This chapter analyzes how the Russian state used its power to regulate the use of one publicly important resource—rivers, which had been rendered into the private ownership of nobles by Catherine the Great's manifesto of 1782. A comparison of the treatment of rivers with other spheres of expropriation, across diverse geographical areas, including the Russian southern colonies, will show when and why the state was eager to seize private properties, when it refused to do so, and why.

Keywords:   property rights, public property, private property, Russian state, rivers, expropriation

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