Maxim Os’kin

Support for the poorest strata of population in Central Russia during the First World War (1914-1916) (examplified by Elizabethan Committee)

Maxim Os’kin (2018) "Support for the poorest strata of population in Central Russia during the First World War (1914-1916) (examplified by Elizabethan Committee) ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2018, vol. 80, pp. 107-120 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII201880.107-120


The First World War became a deadly trial for all the peoples involved in it. The fate of the war was decided not only in battlefi elds but also in the rear. Among other tasks, before the Russian state and society arose the problem of succour to the needy. A prominent role in this played Елизаветинский комитет (“Elizabethan Committee”), the statesupported public organisation. Head of the Committee, Grand Duchess Elizaveta Fedorovna, made great eff orts in the area of support for the poor. The state and society did not refrain from this support. Diverse state institutions, e.g. the Ministry of Domestic Aff airs and Ministry of Agriculture, participated in the initiative. The public involvement focused on fi nancial charity, practical work and organisational side. In provincial cities, fundraising initiatives for the poor were organised, canteens for the poor, nurseries for babies, orphanages were built. In rural areas, farmers also helped their neighbours and families of soldiers. As the war became prolonged, the size of support gradually decreased. On the one hand, the population became poorer; on the other hand, there appeared more and more those who needed support. Underpinned by state resources, Elizabethan Committee coordinated eff orts of the regions and provincial communities that were involved in the help for the poor in general and for soldiers’ families in particular. The main task was to overcome the food crisis and to provide victuals to people. Despite many real-life problems, in 1914 — early 1917 the tasks of supporting the poorest population strata was generally accomplished. The most vulnerable groups received the necessary assistance of society and the state. This assistance contributed to self-preservation of Russian society in the dismal wartime.


First World War, Elizabethan Committee, help for the poor, canteens, food supply, food crisis, charity, children’s shelter, soldiers’ families


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Information about the author

Maxim Os’kin

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: Institute of Law and Management, All-Russian Police Association; 98 Boldina str., Tula 300028, Russian Federation;
Post: Assistant Professor;
ORCID: 0000-0003-1112-8715;
Email: maxozv@yandex.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.