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31 Around 1620 someone had put up two watchtowers on high tumuli on the Chelnovaia and Belyi Kolodez, for surveillance against Tatar attempts to ford the Chelnovaia or Pol’noi Voronezh; but these soon fell into disrepair. 32 The Novospasskii and Chudov monasteries had built their own small forts so that their tenants would not have to take refuge behind the walls of distant Riazhsk or Lebedian’. 33 Subsequent events suggest the votchinniki and pomeshchiki of the region were reluctant to alter this state of affairs.

N. Romanov and D. M. Pozharskii and the Chudov and Novospasskii monasteries founded votchina estates in the wilderness beyond Elets and Lebedian’, for example. But large-scale, capital-intensive magnate colonization did not begin in earnest until the end of the seventeenth century. In fact it was in most instances blocked by the state until then, a series of acts called the Forbidden Towns Decrees (from 1637) banning all magnate colonization in many borderland districts in the interests of military security, so that boyars and monasteries might not undermine the new borderland garrison towns by usurping the plowlands, meadows, and woodlands smallholder garrison colonists needed for their survival.

By the 1620s nearly all aspects of defense, taxation, policing, civil and criminal justice, the remuneration of servicemen, and the regulation of pomest’e landholding at the local level had come under the authority of the town governor and his staff; it was upon their performance that resource mobilization and the maintenance of order ultimately hinged. Ideally, Moscow wanted the governor’s office (“assembly house,” s’ezzhaia izba) to operate like a miniaturized provincial chancellery, with a staff of experienced clerks who received their appointments and entitlement rates from Moscow, divided their labors by bureau, took their general guidance from working orders and ordinance books and chancellery rescripts, and followed chancellery rules of deloproizvodstvo.

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