Ladies in yellow. Legalized prostitution in the Russian EmpirePictolic
Until the beginning of XVIII century courtesan in Russia was on the free bread. The first monarch who introduced legislative restrictions, was the Peter I. He ordered to close all the brothels located at the distance of cannon shot from the troop barracks, and the girls who were caught in the company of soldiers, sent to prison. Later, by order of Catherine the great brothel keepers were put behind bars, and under Paul I of prostitutes from Moscow and St. Petersburg were exiled to Irkutsk.
However, all these draconian measures, in fact, had no effect. To replace the repressed prostitutes came new provincial, clandestine brothels was wildly popular, and the French disease was the main concern of the military doctors. Then Emperor Nicholas I, desperate to eradicate this scourge, in 1840 legalized prostitution, setting above the representatives of the oldest profession strict supervision.
In the autumn of 1843 was established the Medical-police Committee in charge of the Affairs on control of walking. Women took the passport, and in return received the so-called replacement ticket in the nation — the yellow ticket. It was a book of eight pages, which were printed rules of conduct for public women, as well as guidance for soderjatelno brothels. Owner of the yellow ticket had no right to do another craft, and return the passport back was extremely difficult.
From "Rules to soderjatelno": "2. Permission to open a brothel can only get a woman from 30 to 60 years, is trustworthy. 8. In the number of women in brothels do not take under the age of 16... 10. Debt claims of soderzhateley in public women should not serve as an obstacle to the abandonment of the last of the whorehouse. 20. The landlady is subjected to strict liability for bringing living at her girls to the extreme exhaustion of excessive consumption... 22. Soderjatelno prohibited on Sundays and holidays to receive visitors until the end of the mass, and during Holy week. 23. Juvenile men, still pupils of educational institutions in any case are not allowed in brothels".
All the brothels were divided into three categories. In the most "prestigious" maximum fee per night was about 12 rubles, and every employee could not serve more than seven people a day. These places were buried in silks, and the girls wore expensive rings and bracelets. In brothels middling clients to pay six rubles. And stormy night in the most sleazy brothels were seized and 50 cents. However, instead of the beds had straw flooring.
In addition to the replacement ticket be issued a medical ticket. With him prostitutes regularly came for a visit to the doctor. It put a mark on payment of the registration fee.
In 1903 the minimum age for prostitution raised to 21 years. By that time in Russia, there were 2400 brothels, despite the fact that in 1889 there were half that. For every thousand residents of St. Petersburg had more than three courtesans, in Moscow — almost five times more. This is the official data, what were the actual numbers, we can only guess.
In addition, not all women who earned a living with his own body, had the status of a prostitute. "Ticketless" girls — often of peasant origin — had offered their services through ads in the Newspapers. They came in their thousands at major fairs to entertain rich merchants.
Much more serious competition for full-time courtesans were girls who worked in the theater. Often in their contracts to prescribe the duty to "have dinner" with guests after the performance. For such dinners in many cabarets were built secluded rooms.
Finally, a special caste was kept. Their eyes called the camellias, associating with the heroine of the novel by Alexander Dumas, "the Lady with camellias". The cocottes, as a rule, was foreign and led a bourgeois lifestyle. "They get up later, noted the anonymous author of the "Essay on prostitution in St. Petersburg", — riding along the Nevsky prospect in a carriage and are exhibited in the French theater."
In General, the society treated prostitutes, though arrogant, but not derogatory. Many realized that women sell their body not a good life. Some writers, including Gorky, and Kuprin, even has romanticized this profession. Everything changed after October revolution when the Soviet government banned prostitution.