The reformers of the previous reign had sought to make the new local administration (zemstvo) a system of genuine rural self-government and a basis for future parliamentary institutions; these later conservatives transformed it into a mere branch of the ordinary state administration, and took precautions against its ever assuming a political character.
In the zemstvo congress of November the " Cadets " protested against the " grant " of a constitution already elaborated, and demanded the convocation of a Constituent Assembly.
When the first Russian revolutionary movement developed in 1905 he took part in the meetings of Zemstvo representatives, but did not join the Cadets, whom he considered to be too doctrinaire and cosmopolitan.
Further, Lithuania was specially excluded from the Zemstvo system which was introduced into Russia in 1864.
As a big landowner of the Simbirsk province he took an active part in the Zemstvo life and was elected member of the executive board of the Simbirsk Zemstvo and marshal of the nobility of the Simbirsk province.