This article examines the status of noble widows in Russia in the XIX c., focusing on studying various forms of social support and pension system. The article gives an answer to the question “what a widow should do” after her husband’s death: what belongs to her by the law and what to do if she can’t provide for herself. Authors come to the conclusion that the society was concerned by the question related to the status of widows, and it felt socially responsible for their existence. The State in the XIX c. pursued the policy aimed at the support of widows. But this help much depended on the social status of their husbands. The pension system was built in such a way that it was very important how long he had been in service and how high his rank was. If these criteria were unsatisfying for calculation of pension and lump sum grants, various committees and charitable institutions of different levels assisted widows providing for them not only financially, but also with full board and lodging. If it was impossi-ble to apply to the State almshouse, various private organizations came to widow’s help.
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