This is a passage from K.T. Khlebnikov's Zapiski about people who hosted him in Kamchatka. A Toen (Тойон) is a native chief or elder.

Zapiski extract

  1. Василiй Волковъ Тоенъ Каряцкой, будучи хорошимъ хозяиномъ, дѣятельнѣйшее участiе беретъ и въ Нацiональномъ состоянии въ разсужденiи промысла.

A friend provided a subpar translation:

  1. Vasiliy Volkov from Toen Koryatss, good master, has some good thoughts about National status in trading.

Was Volkov "from" a Toen Koryatss, a person, because of the latter's "mastery", or was Volkov a Toen of the Koryak tribe? Since there is no word between the two names perhaps this comes down to a matter of grammatical case.

Also, what is meant by "National status"?


Vasily Volkov, the Toyon of Koryaks, being a good husband, most effectively participates in the welfare of the nation through his hunting business.

There are a couple of archaic and legalese phrases here:

  1. Тоен Каряцкий means "the Toyon of the Koryaks". These days this would most probably be put as коряцкий тойон or тойон коряков.

  2. деятельное участие, "effective participation": a participation that makes a difference, something more than a token effort. This is mostly legalese.

  3. брать участие, "to take a part, to contribute". Nowadays, it's mostly принимать участие, however брать участие is still used every now and then.

  4. в рассуждении, "about, in relation to, through". This is archaic legalese and these days is mostly used jokingly. Most people these days are familiar with this phrase through Chekhov's short story "The Complaints Book" (Жалобная книга).

  5. национальное состояние, "the welfare of the nation". These days, it's usually национальное благосостояние.

  6. промысел "hunting business". The word промысел and its derivative промышленник usually mean "industry" and "industrial businessman" these days, however, охотничий промысел, рыбный промысел, золотой промысел are still used in the original sense of "activity", especially when describing the business of taking its raw products from the nature.

  • This is great, thank you. Can you please say more about "husbandman" (хозяиномъ)? This is not about animal husbandry (животноводство), is it? Google Translate suggests "host", which makes some sense in context; or maybe he was a good husband to his wife? Jun 14 '19 at 16:21
  • @AaronBrick: this was my attempt at conveying the meaning of хозяин. This means a person who's in charge of an estate and manages its resources, and this meaning is outdated (in modern language хозяин means "host" or "proprietor"). See meaning 6 here: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/husband#Noun
    – Quassnoi
    Jun 14 '19 at 16:26
  • @AaronBrick: I meant "husband" of course, not "husbandman"
    – Quassnoi
    Jun 14 '19 at 16:27
  • OK. I've almost got it. Did хозяин have some domestic implication which it has since lost? I'm sure you are using a better dictionary than I am (Müller). It seems like a toen could definitely be the boss or manager of resources other than his wife, and we know that he hosted Khlebnikov. Jun 14 '19 at 16:49
  • 1
    @AaronBrick: yes, хозяин is related to хозяйство, which means "economy" in народное хозяйство or "household" in домашнее хозяйство. Хороший хозяин is used figuratively these days as well, meaning "a frugal manager or proprietor", the one who's not wasting any resources and putting them to good use.
    – Quassnoi
    Jun 14 '19 at 17:09

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