One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
One of a system of elected councils established in tsarist Russia to administer local affairs after the abolition of serfdom.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Russian, from zemlya ‘land’.
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