Definition of zemstvo in US English:


nounPlural zemstvos

  • One of a system of elected councils established in tsarist Russia to administer local affairs after the abolition of serfdom.

    • ‘Elected by the local zemstvo, the justice of the peace dealt with small cases where the parties desired a quick, comprehensible, inexpensive, and on-the-spot decision.’
    • ‘Under a further Statute of 1 January 1864, zemstvos or local government assemblies were elected at district and province level, essentially by the landed gentry.’


Russian, from zemlya ‘land’.