Slavgorod Mennonite Volost (administration) came into being with the establishment of the Slavgorod Mennonite settlement in the Kulundian Steppes of Siberia. The seat of the administration (volost) was in Orloff. The first Oberschulze was Jacob A. Reimer, who was followed by Abram Koop, Abram Wittenberg, Abram Fast, Gerhard Klippenstein, Abram Töws, and Heinrich Friesen. Reimer did much for the establishment of the settlement. The first secretary was Peter Renpenning. The Oberschulze received 300 rubles and the secretary 500 rubles per year. In connection with the volost there was a court which met a number of times monthly to take action on minor offenses. Judges were Johann Fast and Andreas B. Siebert. The volost building at Orloff had a small jail.
In 1916 the Slavgorod settlement was divided and a second administration was created in the Chortitza Volost, Nine villages belonged to this district. No special building was erected. The first Oberschulze was Jacob Nickel, and the secretary was Johann Löwen, who was succeeded by Peter Töws, H. Philippsen, and Helen Friesen. In 1920 Peter B. Epp became the Oberschulze of the Chortitza Volost, later succeeded by Heinrich Goossen and Isaak Derksen.
In 1923 the two Mennonite volosts of Orloff and Chortitza were merged with the Russian volosts of that region. The Orloff administration was transferred to the Russian volost of Znamenka and the Chortitza administration to the volost of Slavgorod. This brought the Mennonite self-administration to a close. In 1927 the German settlements of the Slavgorod region were merged into one district (rayon) with the seat of the administration at Halbstadt. All Mennonite, Lutheran, and Catholic German villages were under this administration, which was dominated by Communists, who received their directives from the Communist Party. In the 1930's this administration was dissolved and the pattern of administration established in 1923 was revived.
After the Revolution of 1917, when efforts were made to establish an independent Siberian government in Tomsk, the Mennonites also sent their representative, Franz F. Froese, to the Siberian Duma. After a defeat of the Communists in 1918, and a revival of the Duma with the help of the Czechoslovaks, Mennonites were again represented by such men as Franz F. Froese, Johann Penner, Peter Boldt, and Heinrich Boldt. Kolchak, the leader of the White army, dissolved the Duma.
The Mennonites also participated in the establishment of the Verband Deutscher Bürger Russlands (Union of German Citizens of Russia) in 1917, which aimed to establish an autonomous Siberia with an independent German state. Mennonite representatives in this Union were Peter A. Friesen, Franz F. Froese, H. H. Wiens, and others. This organization aimed to prepare a legal pattern for a better future of the settlement.
Another organization which played a significant role was a Slavgorod section of the Allrussischer Mennonitischer Landwirtschaftlicher Verein, of which Heinrich Friesen, Johann Görz, and Abram Friesen were the first officers. After the permanent establishment of the Soviet government, Mennonite self-administration and organizations in any form disappeared. (See also Slavgorod Mennonite Settlement.)
Fast, Gerhard. In den Steppen Sibiriens. Rosthern, 1957: 87.
Cite This Article
Krahn, Cornelius. "Slavgorod Mennonite Volost (Siberia, Russia)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 31 Jul 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Slavgorod_Mennonite_Volost_(Siberia,_Russia)&oldid=96436.
Krahn, Cornelius. (1959). Slavgorod Mennonite Volost (Siberia, Russia). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 July 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Slavgorod_Mennonite_Volost_(Siberia,_Russia)&oldid=96436.
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