A stanitsa (Russian: станица, IPA: [stɐˈnʲitsə]; Ukrainian: станиця, romanizedstanytsya) is a village inside a Cossack host (Ukrainian: військо, romanizedviys’ko; Russian: казачье войско, romanizedkazach’ye voysko, sometimes translated as "Cossack Army"). Stanitsas (Russian: станицы, romanizedstanitsy) — Cossack military settlements — were the primary unit of Cossack hosts.

While the word stanitsa survives in modern usage, the stanitsa as a social system in its historic context was effectively destroyed in the aftermath of the 1917 Russian revolution, when the Russian Civil War (1917–1922) and subsequent collectivisation (1928–1940) of the land by the state in the Stalinist period and the Holodomor (1932–1933) destroyed the culture and the economic foundations of stanitsas.

Historical definitionEdit

Historically, the stanitsa was a unit of economic and political organisation of the Cossack peoples — primarily in the southern regions of the Russian Empire.

Each stanitsa held much of the local land in common, subject to annual allocation to Cossack families by the Ataman, the appointed leader of the community. This was a fully democratic, unique process, characteristic of Russia's South only. (A similar democratic system operated only in the Novgorod Republic, prior to its annexation by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in 1478.)

Modern usageEdit

Regions of Russia where stanitsas are a type of settlement

In modern Russia, the administration classifies a stanitsa as a type of rural locality. Stanitsas mostly predominate in the southern regions of Rostov Oblast, Krasnodar and Stavropol Krais and most of the Republics of the Northern Caucasus.

See alsoEdit

  • Yurt [ru], or Cossack stanitsa