«Karelian Refugees» in the 17th Century Olonets Karelia
Events of the end of the 16th  -  beginning of the 17th centuries which led to passage of the Karelians (»Korelian refugees» according to terminology of the 17th century documents) from Korela (Keksholm) uezd, turned over to Sweden in accordance with Stolbovo treaty of 1617, to the Russian lands have been thoroughly studied in historiography. The significance of that mass migration in the history of the Karelian people and Russian-Swedish relations has been defined.

Though some mentions and observations concerning the life of «korelian refugees» settled in the North-West and in the central part of Russia are not rare in Russian scientific literature, the book by A. S. Zherbin published in 1956 stays to be the only special research of the problem.  On the basis of the original sources known at that time A. S. Zherbin showed the North-Western Ladoga area population conditions under the Swedish feudal lords. The causes of the spontaneous passage of the Karelians were revealed. The very century long process of migration which took place despite of prohibitions and even forcible deportation at the time of aggravation of relations between two countries in 1620-1640s was also examined.

We have to remained that the settling of the Karelians on the Russian territory has its certain features during each stage, established in historiography. Thus, in the first half of the 17th century most of them stayed on the lands which belonged to the monasteries or landowners (pomeshchiki). The reason for that was the necessity of concealing the migrants, as the Russian government, following the conditions of the treaty, could not promote the migration and moreover, it was supposed to resist the migration. Thus, the concealment of «foreign deserters» was forbidden under the threat of a death penalty. But we must, of course, mention the pretentious character of such measures. The monasteries, which were interested in attracting new workers, had a lot of possibilities for accepting and concealing the migrants. It is quite clear, that the amount of the Karelians who moved to Russia at that time, is hard to count. R. B. Muller, referring to the Border acts, determines it by the number of 2 thousand families (data for 1636).

The second stage of the «exodus» took place at the end of the 1650s - the beginning of the 1660s. During the war between Russia and Sweden, in 1656 - 1658, the population which stayed on the territory of the Keksholm uezd, did their best to help the Russian army, hoping for a close liberation. When the army, which was suffering a defeat, started to retreat, the Karelians moved together with the troops to the territory of the Russian state. Russian diplomacy managed to reach an agreement of free migration, which was valid until the signing of the Kardiss peace treaty in 1661. During that time, the «refugees» got a support from the government, which promoted the migration of as big groups of the Karelians as it was possible. It was then that their settling on the  lands of the Bezhetzky Verh was organized (Bezhetzk, Novotorzhsk, Tver, partly Yaroslavl and Uglich uezds), which belonged to the court. The Karelians of Tver region nowadays are the descendants of these migrants. As it was determined by the historiographers, the largest part of the «Korelian refugees» crossed the border between Russia and Sweden on the Olonetzs isthmus and moved into the Russian lands through Olonets. A. S. Zherbin has no doubts that «a great amount of migrants stayed here [in the Olonetzkaja Karelia - I.Tch.] forever, or for a longer or shorter period of time.»

Pointing out that «the process of migration of the Karelians to the Eastern Karelia is reflected in sufficiently in the written sources»  he has to substantiate this theses  with the indirect evidences: analyzing the retrospective notes of the census book of Karelians in Bezhetzky Verh 1650, which make it clear, that a lot of those, who lived there in the middle of the century, had stayed for several years «on Olonetz» earlier; arguments, based on linguistic facts, which demonstrate the resemblance between the language of the Karelians of Tver, and those, who live in Karelia; and also a reference to an unexpectedly fast settling and cultivation of ploughed fields  in Zaonezhye and Olonets regions, which had been burned down at the beginning of the 17th century. That fact was pointed out by R. B. Muller. A. S. Zherbin presumes that this could happen thanks to the Karelian-settlers, who had moved there from the Keksholm uezd.
As for the rapidity of process of the revival, it was greatly exaggerated by R. B. Muller due to a wrong interpretation of the final record in the cadastres of 1628 - 1631. During the alteration of the book after  a decree on new unit of tax «zhivushchaja vot» a mistake appeared in the final record: the same ploughed fields belonging to the same people was noticed twice for the guit-rent. With this, the complete territory of «empty» ploughed fields was decreased unfairly, what made the scientists assume that the revival of the economy in the region went much faster, than it was actually.

A complex research, which was undertaken by a group of Petrozavodsk scholars and was aimed at studying history and culture of the Karelian nation, showed, that the big groups of migrants from the north-western Priladozhye stayed in Zaonezhye and Olonetz region,   but it is still not clear, how large the quantity of the Karelian migrants here was.
The researches determine the amount of those who left the Keksholm uezd during the war between Russia and Sweden or just after its end,  by the number of 4350 families.     As for the total number of migrants  from the Western Karelija before the 1660s it is determined by the number of 50 thousand.  Spontaneous migration of the Karelians continued in the second half of the 17th century and in the beginning of the 18th century also.

The complication of exposure of the «Karelian refugees», who settled in the Olonetz region after coming from abroad, is connected with several reasons. As A. S. Zherbin presumes, «almost the same language, the same customs, the same religion - all that promoted the unification of migrants with the eastern (Olonetz) Karelians into one whole group».   Besides, he is quite right, saying that «the native Karelian population tried hard to conceal the newcomers, being interested in having extra persons liable to be taxed».

We have to add that the medieval documentary sources do not give much base for determining the national structure of the population on the territory of modern Karelia. Though we have no doubts that the Karelians have been living in a large region of Priladozhye as well as of Prionezhye for ages, written sources of the 16th and 17th centuries remain silent about that. This silence is easy to be explained. We have to keep in mind that the official Christian names of most of the Karelians, which were recorded in the cadastres and census books, could not be distinguished from the names of Russian peasants, and even the villages, the unrussian names of which could evidence the presence of the Karelian population, are mentioned in the scribe business correspondence of that time being derived from the name of the owner or the description of the location. For instance: in the valley («v dolu») Kuznetzovskaya Ón the lake Putkoozero, in Toymova inlet (guba) of Karpov Navolok, waste plot Titovshina by the Lisyi Norki (word for word - near the Fox Barrows). The local names which existed simultaneously can be found nowadays in quite a few sources. R. B. Muller came to the conclusion that many villages had double names: local and official, which were written down in the cadastres, after comparing the names given in the cadastres and in «Census of burned  and  ravaged  villages  of  the Olonetzky pogost after a foray from the Swedish boundary in 1657s». This comparison showed that, describing the same region, one of the cadastres names the village: «na Dolgom ruchju» (word for word - on the Long stream), «na Nizu» (on the Down), «na Dedove Gore»  (on the Grandfather's Hill), while the «Census...»: Kerbala, Goshkila, Koochila, etc.  Though it is necessary to add that the identification of them is rather complicated.

Keeping in mind all the circumstances mentioned above, we can realize the importance of the unknown to the historiography documents which we present now. First, let us say a few words  about the pre-history of the discovery.
In 1860s an ethnographer and historian of the Olonetz region, E. V. Barsov got a chance to participate in sorting out the archive of the provincial legal court. There he found a document concerning a lawsuit of an Olonetz landowner Fursov, who had bought an estate in the Andomsky pogost and claimed the rights of the possess or towards the peasants-dissidents («raskolniki»), who lived here - Ignatiy Ivanov and Login Trophimov. But those claimed that their forefathers had been «Korelian refugees», which meant that they had always been state peasants and never belonged to the landowners.

During the court  examination a document was shown to prove their origin: it was a copy of the tzar’s Alexei Mikhailovich charter, dated June 1665. E.V.Barsov published it in the  Olonetz Provincial newspaper under a headline «A privilege deed for the Karelians...»
We have to explain first of all that the document is a copy of a Letters patent, which was sent to Olonetz as an answer to a petition from 200 families of the «Korelian refugees», who lived in the Olonetz region after coming from abroad and complained that they «have got no privileges and many of them ... are wandering from one household to another ,  and farmstead or waste plot ... do not  give, and some receive empty pieces of land, where they exact from them quitrents, and grain, and all kinds of profits, and odd jobs for former citizens of Korela ...»

And this deed orders «to make a list of all the »Korelian refugees«, who live on ploughed fields in the Olonetz region, liable to taxes and privileged, how many families have got their farmsteads and how many peasants with no land there are, and how many liable to tax or free land they have, and how many years of privilege have passed for each of them ...»
Djak of the Olonetz departmental house («voevodskaja izba») Ivan Oluhov (called Sluhov in the publication by mistake) had to send these census books «signed by his own hand» to Moscow, Novgorod Chetvert.
During our investigation, it was found out that, in fact, in order to fulfill this instructions, the local administration (from February 12.1667 to Oktober 10.1669 «dumny dvorjanin», Zamjatna Fedorovich Leontyev was the voevode on Olonetz, djak of the departmental house was Ivan Oluhov, mentioned above) had undertaken a detection of «Korelian refugees» in the Zaonezhskiye and Lopskiye pogosts in August-October of 1667, which ended up with making special census books. These books are preserved.
The task of this theses is to analyze the information which these census books contain, the information concerning the position of «Korelian refugees» in the Olonetz region in 1660s-1670s. But before we pass over to the source study, we have to mention one more thing, which has determined our task.

There is an opinion in historiography, which is partly based on this or similar documents effecting legal disposition, that the migrants from the Korela uezd were taken a good care of. One of such deeds says that in the Olonetz region by the decree 7164(1656) it was supposed to settle the migrants on the village lands of the peasants who were to be transferred to the Olonetz suburb. They think, «the Karelians got the best  lots under the condition to pay the former owners of the farmsteads the value of the lots.»  Moreover, it was pre-established, that thus could be done by installments, «by a year».   «Those, who did not get ready-made farmstead, were supposed to recieve 3 roubles, and big families 5 roubles «for erecting the farmstead»».  It is usually said with no doubts that the migrants were released from taxes for 10 years.

Even A.S.Zherbin, who noticed in this connection that «it happened ... that the local officials did not always follow the government decrees concerning the creation of favorable conditions for the migrants»,  does not doubt in general that all the «Korelian refugees» received «money and wheat loan, were released from the state taxes for several years and received land lots for personal usage,  that «they were settled in separate villages and waste plots» and «if there was not enough land for everyone, they were transferred to new places».

The new source which was found, let us see if it really was the way it is described above. Now, lets pass over directly to it.
The complex of documents known to us includes 10 census books, each of them has its own preamble, which informs of the date the detection in this or that pogost or region took place and who was the person that followed the voevode’s order in this case. Here the tasks of the detection are determined: «taking the village elders (starosta) and priests, then together with them take an official counting of all the «Korelian refugees» in every the region’s villages, who live in that...pogost...on ploughed fields, privileged or liable to tax, write down how many families live in the farmsteads of their own and how many peasants with no land there are, which lands are given, how many years of privilege have passed and who’s got no land plots...»   All the members of the commission are also named in each case. None of the books has a final record.

All ten are originals with signatures of the persons who participated in taking the census. All the books were sown together in the voevode house: on the right margin one can find a through counter-signature («skrepa»): « Dj-ak  I-van  O-lu-hov.»
While, analyzing the content of the main parts of the books-censuses themselves, we came to a conclusion that we can point  out four types of records, - according to their peculiarity of statements and completeness of information given in them. That is inspire of concrete takes given to the persons who took the census. These observations are confirmed and added by the analyses of the signatures.
In every pogost the documents were signed by the priests and village elders, local ones or from closest regions. The detectives put a through counter-signatures on their parts of the volume, which were put together in the departmental house. This could be a long or short phrase, which covered all the materials of the census made by  everybody of them.
We can find four counter-signatures like that in the source: I. (l. 1-25) «K se-mu Sten-ka  I-zho-rin ru-ku pri-lo-zhil» (literally: Stenka Izhorin put his hand to that); II. (l. 27-43) «...Iva-nov ko-re-ljan za-ru-bezh-skih v•-hod-cov v V•-te-gor-skom, i  v  Me-gor-skom, i v Osh-tin-skom, i v Ve-nitz-kom, i v Va-zhen-skom  po-gos-teh  i  teh  po-gos-tov  v  vo-los-tjeh   pe-re-pi-sal  i  ru-ku pri-lo-zhil» (... Ivanov took a list of all the foreign migrants of Korela in V•tegorsky, Megorsky, Oshtinsky, Venitzky  and Vazhensky pogosts and put his hand  to  that);   III. (l. 45-96) « K sim kni-gam Olo-nec-ko-go go-ro-da stre-lec-koy... A-ksen-tjev v me-sto pra-por-shchi-ka Fe-do-ta Mi-ki-fo-ro-va s•-na Na-z•-mo-va po ego ve-le-nju ru-ku  pri-lo-zh•l» (Axentyev, instead of an ensign Fedot, son of Mikifor, Nas•mov,  put  his  hand by  his order to these books as the [foreman] of strelitz garrison on Olonetz»; IV. (l.99-114) « K sim pe-re-pis-n•m kni-gam po-dja-chey La-zar-ko Fe-do-rov, vzjav po-pov i sta-rost, i vo-lost-n•h lju-dey u pe-re-pis-ki b•l i ru-ku pri-lo-zhil» (Lower clerk Lazarko Fedorov put his hand to this census looks, being at the census and taking priests and starostas and  regional people together with me).

It is necessary to say that some pages are gone, but these losses are not very significant: between pages 25 and 27 only fragments of text from the pages 26 and 26a are left and there are no pages  66, 67 and 68. In the first case, the beginning of the census book is lost, which is unified by the counter-signature No 2: together with a preamble and the description of the V•tegovsky pogost. We do not even have a chance to learn the name of the detective.

As for the second - it is a part of the description of the Olonetzky pogost, where the detection was undertaking by the ensign Fedot Mikiphor s. Nas•mov, as the text of the counter-signature shows.

Through counter-signatures of the detectives divide books into four parts, each of them in its turn is combined by several separate books ( parts, united by the counter-signatures I and IV) or finds to be an indivisible census, which is united by a common preamble, including one (part with the counter-signature III) or several pogosts (part with the counter-signature II).
Thus, the signature of podjachiy Stepan Izhorin, which is found on pages 1-25, unites 5 census books: in Kizhsky, Tolvuysky, V•gozersky pogosts, Kuzaranda volost and in Povenetzky rjadok. And the materials connected with the V•gozersky pogost, from which he had probable started his detection on September 5, are tied together after the materials connected with the Tolvuysky pogost, which he reached only on September 15. As for the book on Kizhsky pogost, where the detection took place on September 9, it is the first one. We must notice, that only this one can be mentioned as a census book: podjachiy found 9 families of «Karelians» in the villages of the volost Velikogubsky End, questioned them and wrote down the necessary information. As for the rest 4 books under the counter-signature of Stepan Izhorin - each of them is probably a preamble with the date of the arrival to a pogost, and also includes the story of the order received, and a list of the persons which were included into the detective commission, and after that only the names of the villages where he was are named together with the names of the peasants who said: « during the inquest... following the immaculate commandment of God sheer truth: not a single man of the foreign migrants, not among the poor landless peasants (bob•li), neither «zahrebetniki» nor  «pristalc•» on the village lots can be found.»

This part is finished with the record that it is written in the «skazki» (literally: tales) of starosts and volost people of Ostrechinsky, Andomsky, Pudozhsky, Shalsky, Vodlozersky, Lopsky pogosts that «no «Korelian refugees» can be found.»
This makes us believe that the duty of Stepan Izhorin was to search for the «Korelian refugees» in 8 Zaonezhsky and all Lopsky pogosts. (Look the map).

The second detective, whose first name is unknown, took a list of the families of refugees in 5 Zaonezhsky pogosts: V•tegorsky, Megorsky, Oshtinsky, Venizky and Vazhensky. Fedot Mikiphorov s. Naz•mov was the head of the detection commission in the Olonetzky pogost, and as for Lazar Fedorov, son Mihachov - in Shuysky pogost and Svjatozerskaja volost.
Nothing is said about only two of 24 pogosts of the Olonetz region-Cholmuzhsky and Shungsky. It is possible, that part of the information collected during the detection in autumn of 1667 is lost or simply was not included in to the documents known to us. More definite judgements can not be presented as neither unifying beginning nor a final result exist.
In  general,  this sourse is  quite  representative  both  for  judging  the  scale  of  the «korelians settling» here, in the border Olonetz district  and, especially, for finding out the conditions of their existence here.

The record of a census itself ( the name which appears in the source itself is « book of Korelian refugees» ) includes the names of the volosts or villages, the name of a peasant, data on his family status, information about the existence of a farmstead and ploughed fields of his own and the conditions of his possession with it ( privileges and taxes ).

The specialty of the information required on migrants make the books add to each other, letting us understand the situation even from the most  laconic records. Thus the detectives in Megorsky, Oshtinsky, Venitzky, Vazhensky, Olonetzky pogosts limited themselves with a simple enumeration of names of «refugees», who have got no lots, adding short notes : «single» , «with a family» or  indication of the number of the sons. We can do nothing but guess about the means of living of these people.
Copyright © Irina Chernyakova & Oleg Chernyakov,2007
Irina Chernyakova
Sorry, you can look on the pictures, mentioned here, in edition: Historia Fenno—Ugrica I:1. Congressus Primus Historiae Fenno—Ugricae. Oulu, 1996. P. 141—161.
Ch. IIRefugees_II.html