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Context, Cause and Consequence in Understanding the Molochna Land Crisis: A Reply to John Staples

by James Urry

James Urry is Reader in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand; and author of numerous works on Russian Mennonite history.

John Staples argues that the Molochna landless crisis of the 1860s constituted "a watershed event in Tsarist Mennonite history" but he suggests that accounts of the crisis to date have failed to contextualize the event properly in terms of Russian history. He identifies the impact of the Crimean War (1853-1855) and the emancipation of Russia's peasant serfs in 1861 as key factors that have not been identified by earlier writers. In the course of presenting his argument, Staples makes a number of critical comments on existing historical interpretations of the crisis, their moralizing tone as well as the bias of contemporary sources upon which these studies are based.(1) As a consequence of these criticisms, he hints at -- but does not present -- a new interpretation of the crisis. He also identifies possible consequences of his broader view of the crisis in understanding the later development of Mennonite economy and society. His article therefore not only criticizes sources and later interpretations, but also raises questions about the importance of considering context, causation, and consequence in any interpretation and explanation of historical events.

First, let me briefly dispose of Staples' criticisms of existing scholarly interpretations of the landless crisis. He claims that "even the best of them" have dealt with the events as "an exclusively Mennonite story" with little consideration of "the broader context of Tsarist Russia." As one of those obviously included in these comments, all I can say is that I, and the late David Rempel whom he also mentions, both attempt to contextualize the Mennonite experience in Imperial Russia in our writings. More specifically, our accounts of the landless crisis are connected with larger circumstances preceding and following the Crimean War, especially the Great Reforms initiated by Tsar Alexander II that included the emancipation of the serfs.(2) However, both of us also argued that other contextual issues need to be considered and neither of us suggests that the crisis can be understood exclusively in terms of localised events in Molochna.

In terms of David Rempel's and my own "moralizing tone," as quoted by Staples, our comments draw upon, in rhetorical fashion, the opinions expressed in earlier sources whose authors were directly in contact with the events. In my own case the comments rhetorically echo those of P. M. Friesen, also quoted by Staples, and in the case of David Rempel those of Bethel College's pioneer historian Cornelius Wedel, whose opinion predates those of Friesen.(3) Rempel also had direct experience of a later clash between Mennonite farm owners and landless in Khortitsa when his father's attempts to assist local landless to obtain land under the Stolypin land reforms after 1905 resulted in the village's landowning farmers boycotting his father's store, an affair that nearly ruined the family's fortunes.(4)

Staples suggests that much of the historiography on the landless is based on "shaky foundations" as it is too often based on "statements made by participants," mostly the landless and their supporters, who had "clear vested interests" in a settlement in their favour. He singles out for criticism Franz Isaak, whose collection of documentary sources on a variety of religious and social conflicts in the Molochna have until recently been central to any understanding of the crisis. Isaak, who was dead by the time the collection was published by his son in 1904, was for a long time a minister of the Ohrloff congregation who appears to have possessed some expertise in legal matters. He was not a professional historian. What concerns Staples is that his selection of sources is biased because Isaak was a supporter of the landless. It is worth noting, however, that Isaak's son points out in his preface to the collection that his father recognized his partisanship and that is why he preferred to present original documents and let the reader judge for themselves.(5) Of course Staples may well be correct that other key documents may have been excluded by Isaak, but he presents no evidence of this through a comparison with other sources. However, in passing, he dismisses one important new source on the crisis that has come to light in recent years: "[l]etters to newspapers." Readers might pass over this rather cryptic comment, but it requires further explanation especially for those who might be unaware of what Staples is referencing.

During the 1980s I discovered in the columns of the colonists' newspaper the Odessaer Zeitung (1863-1914), held on microfilm at the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Winnipeg, a rich new resource for understanding Mennonite life in Imperial Russia. The paper contains news reports, letters, and other material written not just on Mennonites but more importantly by Mennonites on the affairs of their community and their engagement with current affairs. Among the earliest of these are a number of letters on and by those involved in the landless struggle in Molochna in the 1860s and extending into the 1870s and beyond, not available elsewhere. I used some of this new material in my book published in 1989, but the range and quality of the sources is much greater than I could use for my specific purposes at that time. In spite of my leaving a rough index of the newspaper at the Centre, including a listing of these items, not much use has been made of this material.(6)

The newspaper reports, however, are not the only sources available on the landless to assess a charge of bias in Isaak's selection and to interpret the events of the crisis in a new light. There is, for instance, at least one contemporary diary of events from the perspective of a Molochna Mennonite who later immigrated to the United States.(7) Another very important source not mentioned by Staples is the account by the government official Alexander Klaus who was directly involved in the affair, and which is available in both Russian and in a nineteenth-century translation into German by a person of Mennonite descent.(8) There is also a careful consideration of the larger legal context by another official, Johann von Keussler. (9) In addition, sources collected by David Rempel in the 1960s in the Leningrad archives, which have been available on microfilm for some years, contain material on the landless, including government reports and other material.(10) These also include new sources on Abraham Thiessen whose efforts to seek justice for those Mennonites who did not receive land in the "settlement" of the original crisis in the 1860s resulted in his exile from the colonies and eventually his resettlement in the United States.(11) During his lifetime Thiessen published a number of pamphlets, wrote letters to Mennonite and non-Mennonite newspapers in Russia and America, and generally provoked the ire of government officials, especially upon a return visit in the 1880s.(12)

Instead of engaging these sources and other secondary literature, Staples proceeds to raise questions about the factions involved in the crisis, their membership, motives, and solidarity. He questions the "unity" of the landless and their supporters although no one has ever suggested that they formed a solid front with exactly the same motives and aims. His argument at times reads like an apology for the colony officials who attempted to suppress the appeals of the landless and their supporters as well as support for the rump of Mennonite landowners who, according to contemporary accounts, opposed any redistribution of land and an extension of the rights they enjoyed as landowners to the landless. Staples provides no real new evidence to sustain his argument and it is made in spite of the overwhelming condemnation of the administration and landowners by the Russian officials who investigated the crisis.(13) More importantly, Staples again misrepresents existing scholarly interpretations. For instance, he suggests that "[d]espite assumptions implicit" in the literature "there is no explicit evidence that the landed united as a corporate body" to oppose the landless. I cannot recall anywhere in the scholarly literature that anyone has argued that all landowners were united against the landless or that they formed a corporate group -- a social entity that most social scientists require to be named, have clear rules of membership, and to persist through time.(14) Instead the crisis involved what might best be termed a variety of interest groups, loosely formed and in no way corporate.(15) And it was recognized by contemporaries -- and by later scholars -- that not all landowners were opposed to some of the claims of the landless and that their supporters included people with other interests, such as merchants who were suffering financial problems with a shortage of credit in the inflationary, post-Crimean War world.(16)

Staples asserts that in my own interpretation of events I have "seized upon" the land crisis as "a particularly clear instance of class conflict in an industrializing society."(17) In fact in my book I do not use the term "class" in my discussion of the dispute but instead raise issues about the impact of increased social inequality in Mennonite society.(18) Social inequality was present among Mennonites from the outset of their settlement in Russia as it was present in their Prussian homeland where the terms Einwohner/Anwohner and Vollwirt were already part of a social vocabulary closely tied to land ownership, residence, occupation, and, of course, wealth. Indeed, one contemporary correspondent to the Odessaer Zeitung drew a comparison between the situation in Prussia, including social attitudes and conflict, and the Russian situation.(19) Ownership of a farm and land reflected social status; an absence of land and being forced to work as a labourer for Mennonite landowners lowered a person's status. As more land was brought into cultivation in the Mennonite colonies and demand for labour increased, the interests of some landowners in keeping a pool of cheap, local Mennonite labour available meant also denying their Mennonite workers land and keeping them subservient. This was not a new problem nor would it be the last time that such a situation would occur. Shortly after Mennonites emigrated from Russia to Manitoba in the 1870s, the issue of labour and attitudes of the wealthier in the Mennonite community to their poorer brethren was commented upon by an outside observer:

Even the charity of the Mennonites has its dark side. The poorer brethren are assisted by the richer, but the richer take care lest the poorer should be so well paid as to grow independent and make their own terms. Rich Mennonites are thoroughly convinced of the advantage of employing cheap labour.(20)

And similar situations would remerge as descendants of Mennonites from Russia settled in Mexico and South America and shortages of land and labour became apparent.(21)

The issues involved in the landless crisis in Molochna, however, went far beyond concerns over land and labour or the misuse of land intended for other purposes than intensive cultivation or subletting. The issues included, just to cite the nearly contemporary account of the independent Russian official Alexander Klaus, landless Mennonites being overcharged rent for land, refused access to common pasture, being forced to pay the head-tax ("soul tax") at the same rate as full-farm owners but without the same income, being excluded from voting in village and community elections, and finally being forced to contribute to the communal grain stores in quantities similar to those of full farmers. Klaus also states that the landless who complained about injustices were persecuted by Mennonite officials: they were arrested, fined, and sentenced to forced labour. He also notes that false accusations were made against the landless as being "idle" and finally that many congregational ministers failed to deal equally with their members and favoured the landowners.(22) A careful consideration of these wider social and political issues involved in the crisis is beyond the scope of this reply, but readers are directed to the sources and later interpretations by people like David Rempel and me.

It is interesting, however, to consider Staples' arguments concerning the larger context that he considers central to any understanding of the crisis. These involve the impact of the Crimean War and the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. Unfortunately, he is rather vague about how these are directly connected to the specific events in Molochna. In referring to the Crimean War (into which Mennonites were directly drawn) he mentions economic factors and the post-war exodus of the Nogai Tatars, issues which, along with the war itself, he claims have "gone completely unmentioned by historians who focus narrowly on Mennonite historians" (my emphasis). In fact both Rempel and I mention these along with other scholars and also older Mennonite commentators.(23)

I have already mentioned that modern scholars locate the landless crisis in the context of the Great Reforms that includes the emancipation of the serfs, but Staples does not mention the fact that this area of New Russia, and especially the province of Tavrida in which Molochna was located, contained a far larger proportion than other provinces of state peasants to serfs. The changes in the legal status of state peasants, in which social category Mennonites were included, occurred during the events of the crisis. Staples states that administrative area in which Molochna was located was flooded by 10,000 peasants between 1861 and 1864, but unfortunately he provides no source for his statement and does not identify whether these peasants were freed serfs or state peasants. At the period in question, passport restrictions were still in force and indeed one of the accusations levelled against Molochna officials was that they denied Mennonite landless persons passports, thereby forcing them to seek work in the colony.

By identifying these particular influences, Staples moves rather rapidly from an argument about context into arguments about cause. Indeed he asserts that the key contextual features he identifies were not just contextual but also causal, as they "coincided to provoke a crisis in the Molochna" (my emphasis). I would suggest that what we have here is a confusion of context with cause in an attempt to conflate context with cause in a rather simplistic manner. Questions arise therefore over which contexts might be relevant to an understanding of the landless crisis in Molochna, what the causes involved might be, and how context and cause might best be related.

In any historical interpretation and explanation arguing for the significance of context is a matter that must be handled with care. A whole range of more immediate contexts besides those Staples suggests could be considered as equally important in understanding the landless crisis. In economic terms, for instance, global developments in demand and production for agricultural trade goods in the second quarter of the nineteenth century can also be associated with technological changes in transportation that allowed new production centres in distant lands to meet the increasing demands for produce in Western Europe and these could be considered as contextual. Certainly such economic developments affected the prosperity of the Mennonite pastoral industry in southern Russia and hastened diversification in agriculture with a subsequent development of grain production, particularly of wheat, for European markets. The wheat trade would become the major source of income for Mennonite farmers in southern Russia until the outbreak of the First World War. These changes that began in the 1840s rapidly altered land use and increased the demand for and value of land. In turn this meant a greater need for farm labour and in time the cost and limited availability of labour would encourage the rapid adoption of agricultural machinery. Demand for such machines would eventually help build and sustain a Mennonite agricultural machine industry. Increased wheat production, associated with other technological advances, also built a Mennonite milling industry. All these economic changes would help produce the prosperity upon which the social and institutional life of the Mennonite Commonwealth was built in late Imperial Russia.(24)

One could argue for other contexts such as the political, social, and judicial situation which launched and sustained the Great Reforms. These reforms were in many ways a continuation of earlier attempts at reform in the reigns of Nicholas I, Alexander I, Catherine the Great, and reaching right back to Peter the Great. The political context in Europe could also be considered, including the growing power of Prussia which would eventually form the German Second Reich, a situation which threatened Russia's western borderlands and further encouraged the modernization of the economy, society, and military forces.

But to understand the relationship between context and cause in the landless crisis of the 1860s in Molochna -- as opposed to general problems about land and landlessness in Russian society and among other colonists including Mennonite colonists -- any analysis in the final instance has to return to the local situation. It must use local sources, carefully consider their value, and construct an explanation of the events, measure their causes and consider their contexts, past and present.

If the relationship between context and cause needs to be carefully considered, so too must the relationship between cause and consequence in relation to new, emergent contexts. The immediate consequence of the intervention of Russian officials involved a redistribution of land to some -- but not all -- the landless in Molochna and moves to settle other issues concerning their status. However, I do not think anyone has ever claimed, as Staples suggests, that the redistribution was "revolutionary" in terms of earlier experiences with the resettlement of the expanding populations of the colonies. As Staples points out in relation to the experiment associated with the Judenplan, the long term "solution" to the landless problem after 1870 through the foundation of daughter colonies in many ways resembled earlier efforts to found new settlements, although the Mariupol Mennonite settlement (more commonly known to Mennonites as the Bergthal Colony) settled by Khortitsa Mennonites might be a better example than the Judenplan.(25) In context, however, the daughter colonies established after 1870 occurred in a very different political and legal environment than that which existed before the Great Reforms, irrespective of events in Molochna.

Although the Molochna crisis was highly influential for all colonists in terms of the development of ways of dealing with growing populations and increasing demand for land, it did not settle disputes over land, even in the Mennonite colonies.(26) In Molochna the crisis persisted long after the land was redistributed in the 1860s, particularly with regard to the legal status of the new landowners, a matter complicated by wider legal changes in the status of colonists, state peasants, and landownership in general. The most bitter conflicts involved the right of the new landowners to access the common pasture land of a village; these arguments dragged on for years and required further official intervention and law changes.(27) And, one might note in passing, the daughter colonies did not settle disputes over land between landowners and the landless in both mother and daughter colonies as conflict shifted to issues concerning who had rights to settle in the new colonies with accusations that the children of landowners were often favored.(28)

Staples speculates that perhaps the most significant consequence of the Molochna landless crisis involves the industrialization of southern Russia in late Imperial history and the role Mennonites were to play in this process. What is surprising in this regard, as with the earlier foundation of "daughter-like" settlements, is that Staples does not discuss the importance of the Old Colony, Khortitsa, in this process. In fact he makes no mention at all of Khortitsa in his article, in spite of the fact that it too had landless problems with conflict over land although neither on the scale nor of the same bitterness as in Molochna.(29)

Mennonite industrialization is in many ways a Khortitsa more than a Molochna story. All the major modern industrial factories and mills were established in or close to Khortitsa, by members of the colony or by Mennonites connected with the colony.(30) By comparison with the Old Colony's massive industrial development after 1870, Molochna became a prosperous agricultural backwater with a few small industries but nothing of the scale or complexity of Khortitsa and its region. The reason lies in Khortitsa's strategic position on the transport routes of the Dnieper River and later as a crossing point for the railroads which, following the discovery of iron and coal in the surrounding region, would bring essential raw materials and sources of power to feed the factories and the mills.

Finally, let me return to Staples' initial statement that the landless crisis in Molochna constitutes "a watershed" in Russian Mennonite history of the Imperial period. I am not sure whether anyone else has suggested such a thing, but quite different historical watersheds have been proposed. For members of the Mennonite Brethren, the watershed is the establishment of their breakaway movement in 1860; for many descendants of the migrants to North America in the 1870s, it is what they see as the withdrawal of the non-resistant protections of the Mennonite Privilegium and the threat of the introduction of compulsory military service. While some have attempted to link the establishment of the Mennonite Brethren with the landless struggles, most modern scholars do not see a direct causal relationship.(31) Interestingly, the first generation of Mennonite immigrants to North America from Molochna would refer to the landless crisis, including at least two who returned later to visit their old homeland.(32) But this does not make it "a watershed event in Tsarist Mennonite history."

Perhaps the great watershed of the nineteenth century for the Mennonites in Russia involves the context identified by Staples but, as I have indicated above, a situation that must be seen in an even larger context than that which he suggests, mainly Russia's Great Reforms subsequent to the Crimean War. In fact, in spite of differences in other areas of interpretation, all the major scholars on Mennonites in Imperial Russia agree that the defining watershed in Mennonite history is this period of reform.(33)

The proposed military reforms and other changes that were part of this larger reform process and which proved unacceptable to some Mennonites provoked the great move from Russia to North America in the 1870s and subsequent years. In fact, I have argued that the Reforms also had a major influence on the establishment of the Mennonite Brethren as a distinctive "church" as the Reforms of the 1870s forced some loosely affiliated groups formed during the religious crises of the 1860s to reassert their membership in a Mennonite world defined by new legal identities in order to gain the new privileges that came with the reforms, especially freedom from military conscription.(34)

The one point perhaps that Staples and I agree upon is that the landless crisis in Molochna needs to be reconsidered.(35) New sources need to be researched, its causes examined, and its consequences measured. This would necessarily require the crisis to be re-contextualised in terms of the history of the Russia of the period. Any study, however, must begin with a reconsideration of the existing known sources and previous interpretations and I think it is unwise to dismiss them without proper consideration.


1. Staples made similar critical comments on this issue in his earlier book, Cross-Cultural Encounters on the Ukrainian Steppe: Settling the Molochna Basin, 1784-1861 (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2003) and repeats them in his article, often in exactly the same words.

2. David G. Rempel "The Mennonite Commonwealth in Russia: a sketch of its founding and endurance, 1789-1919." Mennonite Quarterly Review, 48 (1974), 70; James Urry, None But Saints: the Transformation of Mennonite Life in Russia. (Winnipeg: Hyperion Press, 1989), 207-08. My discussion of the landless occurs in a chapter devoted to a consideration of the impact of the Great Reforms on the Mennonites.

3. Rempel quotes the passage in both his thesis and his later "sketch" of the Mennonite Commonwealth, "The Mennonite Colonies in New Russia: a Study of their Settlement and Economic Development from 1789 to 1914". Unpublished PhD Thesis, Stanford University, 1933, 200; "The Mennonite Commonwealth in Russia", 28; see C. H. Wedel, Abriss der Geschichte der Mennoniten. Dritten Baendchen: die Geschichte der niederlaendichen, Preussischen und russischen Mennoniten. (Newton: Selbstverlag von Bethel College, 1901), 163-64.

4. The affair is discussed in David Rempel with Cornelia Rempel Carlson A Mennonite Family in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union, 1789-1923 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), 127-30.

5. Franz Isaak, Die Molotschnaer Mennoniten: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte derselben (Halbstadt: H. J. Braun, 1908), [iii]: "Wenn der Leser den Standpunkt des Verfassers nicht unparteiisch genug finden sollte, so wird er doch fuer den Standpunkt desleben aus den Original, deren Nichtigkeit ausser allem Zweifel steht, den Beweis finden, dass der Verfasser zu dieser Anschauung einer gewisse Brechtigung hatte."

6. Including by Staples, who makes no specific reference to them in either his book or in the present article.

7. H. B. Friesen in the Mennonite Library and Archives collection (MS.51) at Bethel College. This has been used in interesting analyses of the landless by Jeffrey Longhofer, see his "Specifying the Commons: Mennonites, Intensive Agriculture and Landlessness in Nineteenth-Century Russia." Ethnohistory, 40 (1993), 384-409 and "Toward a Political Economy of Inheritance: Community and Household among the Mennonites." Theory and Society, 22 (1993), 337-62.

8. A.A. Klaus, Nashi Kolonii: Opyty i materialy po istorii i statistike inostrannoy kolonisazii v Rossii (St. Petersburg: V. V. Nusval'ta, 1869); new edition with an introduction by Roger P. Bartlett (Cambridge: Oriental Research Partners, 1972); translated by Jacob Toews as Unsere Kolonien: Studien und Materialien zur Geschichte und Statistik der ausländischen Kolonisation in Russland (Odessa: Odessaer Zeitung, 1887). Klaus published much of the material earlier in one of Russia's leading "thick" journals Vestnik Evropy (Herald of Europe).

9. Johann von Keussler, "Das Grundbesitzrecht in den deutschen Kolonien Südrusslands", Russische Revue 23 (1883), 385-436; Keussler contextualizes the dispute within the legal changes concerning land ownership that occurred in the Great Reforms, including the impact of the emancipation decrees of 1861 and includes details on the long drawn out conflicts over land with reference to Molochna and elsewhere.

10. There is a listing with availability at see also; a listing of all Rempel's papers now deposited in the Fisher Library at the University of Toronto is also available online at:

11. Cornelius Krahn used some of the material discovered by Rempel to write a brief article on Thiessen in this journal, "Abraham Thiessen: A Mennonite Revolutionary? ML, 24 (1969), 73-77. See the Thiessen papers Krahn collected at the Mennonite Library and Archives, MS.252.

12. A number of these sources have come to light since Krahn wrote his article, including Delbert Plett's research into Thiessen's links with the minority congregation the Kleine Gemeinde and the landless affair (see Storm and Triumph: the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde (1850-1875) (Steinbach: D.F. P Publications, 1986), Chapter 8 and the location of sources in the Mennonitisches Rundschau and the Odessaer Zeitung concerning his return visit to Russia.

13. The very fact that the District Mayor, David Friesen, was subsequently removed from office is perhaps an indication that all was not well in the administration of the colony.

14. These conditions are recognized by social scientists as necessary for a corporate group to be identified, see M. G. Smith, Corporations and Society (London: Duckworth, 1974).

15. The formation of such groups would, anyway, raise the suspicion of Russian officials and would be in breach of the colony ordinances.

16. See Urry, None But Saints, 150-51 and James Urry and Lawrence Klippenstein, "Mennonites and the Crimean War, 1854-1856." Journal of Mennonite Studies, 7 (1989), 23-24.

17. Staple's makes a very similar statement in his book, Cross-Cultural Encounters, 172.

18. Class is only one form of social inequality recognized by social scientists and historians. Elsewhere, I have discussed the emergence of social classes among Mennonites in later Imperial Russia in relation to recent literature on class formation in modern society, James Urry, "Prolegomena to the study of Russian Mennonite society 1880-1914." Journal of Mennonite Studies, 8 (1990), 52-75.

19. Ein Mennonit, "Die gegenseitigen Verhaltnisse der landbesitzenden und der landlosen molotschnauer Mennoniten", OZ, 4 (10.) (January 1864), 26, see Urry, None But Saints, 199. The Einwohner cottages had originally been intended for old, retired farmers but were now inhabited by young families.

20. William Fraser Rae, Newfoundland to Manitoba: a Guide through Canada's Maritime, Mining, and Prairie Provinces (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington), 1881, 242, quoted in John Warkentin's Mennonite Settlements of Southern Manitoba (Steinbach: Hanover Historical Society, 2000), 350.

21. For Mexico see Harry Leonard Sawatzky, They Sought a Country: Mennonite Colonization in Mexico (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), 302-03.

22. Klaus, Unser Kolonien, 269-269, 271-272.

23. Rempel, "The Mennonite Commonwealth in Russia", 26; Urry, None But Saints, 197-98; Urry & Klippenstein, "Mennonites and the Crimean War", 24; for an example of an earlier Mennonite commentator on the Nogai issue see Heinrich Dirks, "Aus den Aufzeichnungen eines Alten", Mennonitisches Jahrbuch (1906-07), 86-100 reprinted in Warte Jahrbuch für die mennonitische Gemeinschaft in Canada, 2 (1944), 74-85.

24. Rempel, "The Mennonite Colonies in New Russia"; "The Mennonite Commonwealth in Russia"; James Urry, "Mennonite Economic Development in the Russia Mirror." In John Friesen ed., Mennonites in Russia: Essays in Honour of Gerhard Lohrenz (Winnipeg: CMBC Publications, 1989), 99-126; James Urry, "The Cost of Community: the Funding and Economic Management of the Russian Mennonite Commonwealth before 1914." Journal of Mennonite Studies, 10 (1992), 22-55.

25. William Schroeder, The Bergthal Colony (Winnipeg: CMBC Publications, 1974, 2nd edition, 1986).

26. On the importance of the legal changes made after the Molochna crisis for all colonists see the later reflections of Samuel Kludt "Die Verpachtgueter und Landlosenkassen im allgemeinen". Odessaer Zeitung 182-183 (12/25 -13/20 August 1900).

27. Urry, None But Saints, 205-06; Keussler, "Das Grundbesitzrecht in den deutschen Kolonien" and Samuel Kludt,"Berichte und Gesuche welche an die Staatsregierung in Angelegenheiten der deutschen Landgemeinden in Südrussland gerichtet worden". In R. H. Meyer ed., Heimstätten- und andere Wirthschaftsgesetze der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, von Canada, Russland, China, Indien, Rumänien, Serbien und England (Berlin: Bahr, 1883), 111-38. Kludt, long-time editor of the Odessaer Zeitung, often commented on issues over land as well as issuing separate guides for the colonists on these issues.

28. This is contrary to Harvey Dyck's view that following the establishment of daughter colonies "social tensions gradually lessened [and] controversy tailed off," see his "Landlessness in the Old Colony: the Judenplan Experiment 1850-1880." In John Friesen ed., Mennonites in Russia 1788-1988: Essays in Honour of Gerhard Lohrenz (Winnipeg: CMBC Publications, 1989), 184. The columns of the Odessaer Zeitung contain numerous complaints from Mennonite landless and arguments over daughter colonies right up to when the paper ceased publication in 1914.

29. Rempel, "The Mennonite Colonies in New Russia", 28-29.

30. Rempel, "The Mennonite Colonies in New Russia"; "The Mennonite Commonwealth in Russia"; Urry, "Mennonite Economic Development"; Neutatz, Dietmar, "Ländliche Unternehmer im Schwarzmeergebiet : die südukrainische Landmaschinenindustrie vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg". In Dittmar Dahlmann (ed.) "... das einzige Land in Europa, das eine große Zukunft vor sich hat." : deutsche Unternehmen und Unternehmer im Russischen Reich im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundrt (Essen: Klartext, 1998), 541 - 74; Natalia Ostasheva Venger, "The Mennonite Industrial Dynasties in Alexandrovsk" Journal of Mennonite Studies, 21(2003), 89-110.

31. Adolf Ehrt spoke of a "Prediger-Wirt-Schulz-Komplex" involved in opposition to the new sectarians, even if he attributed the landless crisis primarily to demographic issues, Das Mennonitientum in Russland von seiner Einwanderung bis zur Gegenwart (Berlin-Leipzig: Julius Beltz; reprinted Steinbach: Crossway Publications, 2003), 51-56. How much the early sectarian movement, particularly those involved in emotional excesses, involved poor, marginalized, and landless Mennonites would repay study but the particular events appear to be distinct in terms of organization.

32. M. B. Fast, Mein Reise nach Russland und zurueck (Scottdale, 1910), 57-58, 77-78. 195; J. J. Harms, "Landleben: ein historische Geschichte aus der Zeit von 1860 bis 1900 unter den Molotschna Mennoniten in Sued Russland." Zionsbote 42 (23 June 1926-23 August 1926); Harms visited in 1898 and Fast in 1908.

33. As well as the already quoted works by David Rempel and myself, see also Harvey Dyck "Introduction and Analysis." In A Mennonite in Russia: the Diaries of Jacob D. Epp 1851-1880 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991) and George K. Epp, Die Gemeinschaft zwischen Fortschritt und Krise (1820-1874) (Geschichte der Mennoniten in Russland Bd. 2.) (Lage: Logos Verlag, 1998).

34. Mennonites, Politics and Peoplehood: Europe - Russia - Canada 1525-1980 (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2006), 120.

35. This is precisely what I indicated in my book: "The full story of the land struggles has still to be told", None But Saints, 207; once again this is also a rhetorical reference, here to P. M. Friesen's phrase "this still unwritten 'land affair,'" see his The Mennonite Brotherhood in Russia (1789-1910) (Fresno: Board of Christian Literature General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, 1978), 855.