Serfdom in Russia

Last updated
A Peasant Leaving His Landlord on Yuriev Day, painting by Sergei V. Ivanov S. V. Ivanov. Yuri's Day. (1908).jpg
A Peasant Leaving His Landlord on Yuriev Day , painting by Sergei V. Ivanov

The term "serf", in the sense of an unfree peasant of tsarist Russia, is the usual English-language translation of krepostnoy krest'yanin (крепостной крестьянин) which meant an unfree person who, unlike a slave, historically could be sold only with the land to which he or she was "attached". Emperor Peter I ended slavery in Russia in 1723. Contemporary legal documents, such as Russkaya Pravda (12th century onwards), distinguished several degrees of feudal dependency of peasants.

Contents

Serfdom became the dominant form of relation between Russian peasants and nobility in the 17th century. Serfdom most commonly existed in the central and southern areas of the Tsardom of Russia and, from 1721, of the subsequent Russian Empire. Serfdom in Ukraine, in other Cossack lands, in the Urals and in Siberia generally occurred rarely until, during the reign of Catherine the Great (r. 1762–1796), it spread to Ukraine and to the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth; noblemen began to send their serfs into Cossack lands in an attempt to harvest their extensive untapped natural resources.

Only the Russian state and Russian noblemen had the legal right to own serfs, but in practice commercial firms sold Russian serfs as slaves – not only within Russia but even abroad (especially into Persia and the Ottoman Empire) as "students or servants". Those "Students and servants" were in fact owned by rich people, sometimes even by rich serfs, who were not noblemen. Emperor Nicholas I banned the trade in African slaves in 1842, though there were almost no Russians who participated in it, but Russian serfs were still sold and bought. [1] [2]

Emperor Alexander I (r. 1801–1825) wanted to reform the system but moved cautiously, liberating serfs in Estonia, Livonia (both 1816) and Courland (1817) only. New laws allowed all classes (except the serfs) to own land, a privilege previously confined to the nobility. [3] Emperor Alexander II abolished serfdom in the emancipation reform of 1861, a few years later than Austria and other German states. Scholars have proposed multiple overlapping reasons to account for the abolition, including fear of a large-scale revolt by the serfs, the government's financial needs, changing cultural sensibilities, and the military's need for soldiers. [4]

Terminology

The term muzhik, or moujik (Russian:мужи́к,IPA:  [mʊˈʐɨk] ) means "Russian peasant" when it is used in English. [5] This word was borrowed from Russian into Western languages through translations of 19th-century Russian literature, describing Russian rural life of those times, and where the word muzhik was used to mean the most common rural dweller – a peasant – but this was only a narrow contextual meaning. [6]

History

Origins

The origins of serfdom in Russia (крепостничество, krepostnichestvo) may be traced to the 12th century, when the exploitation of the so-called zakups on arable lands (ролейные (пашенные) закупы, roleyniye (pashenniye) zakupy) and corvée smerds (Russian term for corvée is барщина, barschina) was the closest to what is now known as serfdom. According to the Russkaya Pravda , a princely smerd had limited property and personal rights. His escheat was given to the prince and his life was equated with that of the kholop, meaning his murder was punishable by a fine of five grivnas.

Thirteenth to fifteenth centuries

In the 13th to 15th centuries, feudal dependency applied to a significant number of peasants, but serfdom as we know it was still not a widespread phenomenon. In the mid-15th century the right of certain categories of peasants in some votchinas to leave their master was limited to a period of one week before and after Yuri's Day (November 26). The Sudebnik of 1497 officially confirmed this time limit as universal for everybody and also established the amount of the "break-away" fee called pozhiloye (пожилое). The legal code of Ivan III of Russia, Sudebnik (1497), strengthened the dependency of peasants, statewide, and restricted their mobility. The Russians persistently battled against the successor states of the Golden Horde, chiefly the Khanate of Crimea. Annually the Russian population of the borderland suffered from Tatar invasions and slave raids and tens of thousands of noblemen protected the southern borderland (a heavy burden for the state), which slowed its social and economic development and expanded the taxation of peasantry.

Transition to full serfdom

The Sudebnik of 1550 increased the amount of pozhiloye and introduced an additional tax called za povoz (за повоз, or transportation fee), in case a peasant refused to bring the harvest from the fields to his master. A temporary (Заповедные лета, or forbidden years) and later an open-ended prohibition for peasants to leave their masters was introduced by the ukase of 1597 under the reign of Boris Godunov, which took away the peasants' right to free movement around Yuri's Day, binding the vast majority of the Russian peasantry in full serfdom. These also defined the so-called fixed years (Урочные лета, urochniye leta), or the 5-year time frame for search of the runaway peasants. In 1607, a new ukase defined sanctions for hiding and keeping the runaways: the fine had to be paid to the state and pozhiloye – to the previous owner of the peasant.

The Sobornoye Ulozhenie (Соборное уложение, "Code of Law") of 1649 gave serfs to estates, and in 1658, flight was made a criminal offense. Russian landowners eventually gained almost unlimited ownership over Russian serfs. [7] The landowner could transfer the serf without land to another landowner while keeping the serf's personal property and family; however, the landowner had no right to kill the serf. [8] About four-fifths of Russian peasants were serfs according to the censuses of 1678 and 1719; free peasants remained only in the north and north-east of the country. [9]

Most of the dvoryane (nobles) were content with the long time frame for search of the runaway peasants. The major landowners of the country, however, together with the dvoryane of the south, were interested in a short-term persecution due to the fact that many runaways would usually flee to the southern parts of Russia. During the first half of the 17th century the dvoryane sent their collective petitions (челобитные, chelobitniye) to the authorities, asking for the extension of the "fixed years". In 1642, the Russian government established a 10-year limit for search of the runaways and 15-year limit for search for peasants taken away by their new owners.

The Sobornoye Ulozhenie introduced an open-ended search for those on the run, meaning that all of the peasants who had fled from their masters after the census of 1626 or 1646–1647 had to be returned. The government would still introduce new time frames and grounds for search of the runaways after 1649, which applied to the peasants who had fled to the outlying districts of the country, such as regions along the border abatises called zasechniye linii (засечные линии) (ukases of 1653 and 1656), Siberia (ukases of 1671, 1683 and 1700), Don (1698) etc. The dvoryane constantly demanded that the search for the runaways be sponsored by the government. The legislation of the second half of the 17th century paid much attention to the means of punishment of the runaways.

Serfdom was hardly efficient; serfs and nobles had little incentive to improve the land. However, it was politically effective. Nobles rarely challenged the tsar for fear of provoking a peasant uprising. Serfs were often given lifelong tenancy on their plots, so they tended to be conservative as well. The serfs took little part in uprisings against the empire as a whole; it was the Cossacks and nomads who rebelled initially and recruited serfs into rebel armies. But many landowners died during serf uprisings against them. The revolutions of 1905 and 1917 happened after serfdom's abolition.

Rebellions

Vengeance of Serfs. Engraving by Charles Michel Geoffroy, 1845 Vengeance of Serfs (Geoffroy, 1845).JPG
Vengeance of Serfs. Engraving by Charles Michel Geoffroy, 1845

There were numerous rebellions against this bondage, most often in conjunction with Cossack uprisings, such as the uprisings of Ivan Bolotnikov (1606–07), Stenka Razin (1667–71), Kondraty Bulavin (1707–09) and Yemelyan Pugachev (1773–75). While the Cossack uprisings benefited from disturbances among the peasants, and they in turn received an impetus from Cossack rebellion, none of the Cossack movements were directed against the institution of serfdom itself. Instead, peasants in Cossack-dominated areas became Cossacks during uprisings, thus escaping from the peasantry rather than directly organizing peasants against the institution. Rich Cossacks owned serfs themselves. Between the end of the Pugachev rebellion and the beginning of the 19th century, there were hundreds of outbreaks across Russia, and there was never a time when the peasantry was completely quiescent.

Russian army raids

The Polish historian, Jerzy Czajewski, wrote that Russian peasants were escaping from Russia to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in significant enough numbers to become a major concern for the Russian Government and sufficient to play a role in its decision to partition the Commonwealth. [10] Increasingly in the 18th century until the partitions solved this problem, Russian armies raided territories of the Commonwealth, officially to recover the escapees, but in fact kidnapping many locals. [10]

Slaves and serfs

Punishment with a knout Supplice du Grand Knout.jpg
Punishment with a knout

As a whole, serfdom both came and remained in Russia much later than in other European countries. Slavery remained a legally recognized institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter the Great abolished slavery and converted the slaves into serfs. This was relevant more to household slaves because Russian agricultural slaves were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. [11] [12]

Formal conversion to serf status and the later ban on the sale of serfs without a land did not stop the trade in household slaves; this trade merely changed its name. The private owners of the serfs regarded the law as a mere formality. Instead of "sale of a peasant" the papers would advertise "servant for hire" or similar.

By the eighteenth century, the practice of selling serfs without land had become commonplace. Owners had absolute control over their serfs' lives, and could buy, sell and trade them at will, giving them as much power over serfs as Americans had over chattel slaves, though owners did not always choose to exercise their powers over serfs to the fullest extent. [13]

The official estimate is that 10.5 million Russians were privately owned, 9.5 million were in state ownership and another 900,000 serfs were under the Tsar's patronage (udelnye krestiane) before the Great Emancipation of 1861.

One particular source of indignation in Europe was Kolokol published in London, England (1857–65) and Geneva (1865–67). It collected many cases of horrendous physical, emotional and sexual abuse of the serfs by the landowners.

Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Peter III created two measures in 1762 that influenced the abolition of serfdom. He ended mandatory military service for nobles with the abolition of compulsory noble state service. This provided a rationale to end serfdom. Second, was the secularization of the church estates, which transferred its peasants and land to state jurisdiction. [14] [15] In 1775 measures were taken by Catherine II to prosecute estate owners for the cruel treatment of serfs. These measures were strengthened in 1817 and the late 1820s. [16] There were even laws that required estate owners to help serfs in time of famine, which included grain to be kept in reserve. These policies failed to aid famines in the early nineteenth century due to estate owner negligence. [17]

The Bargain by Nikolai Nevrev (Sale of a serf girl) NEVREV Torg.jpg
The Bargain by Nikolai Nevrev (Sale of a serf girl)

Tsar Alexander I and his advisors quietly discussed the options at length. Obstacles included the failure of abolition in Austria and the political reaction against the French Revolution. Cautiously, he freed peasants from Estonia and Latvia and extended the right to own land to most classes of subjects, including state-owned peasants, in 1801 and created a new social category of "free agriculturalist", for peasants voluntarily emancipated by their masters, in 1803. The great majority of serfs were not affected. [3]

The Russian state also continued to support serfdom due to military conscription. The conscripted serfs dramatically increased the size of the Russian military during the war with Napoleon. [18] With a larger military Russia achieved victory in the Napoleonic Wars and Russo-Persian Wars; this did not change the disparity between Russia and Western Europe, who were experiencing agricultural and industrial revolutions. Compared to Western Europe it was clear that Russia was at an economic disadvantage. European philosophers during the Age of Enlightenment criticized serfdom and compared it to medieval labor practices which were almost non-existent in the rest of continent. Most Russian nobles were not interested in change toward western labor practices that Catherine the Great proposed. Instead they preferred to mortgage serfs for profit. Napoleon did not touch serfdom in Russia. What the reaction of the Russian peasantry would have been if he had lived up to the traditions of the French Revolution, bringing liberty to the serfs, is an intriguing question. [19] In 1820, 20% of all serfs were mortgaged to state credit institutions by their owners. This was increased to 66% in 1859. [20]

Bourgeois were allowed to own serfs 1721–62 and 1798–1816; this was to encourage industrialisation. In 1804, 48% of Russian factory workers were serfs, 52% in 1825. [21] Landless serfs rose from 4.14% in 1835 to 6.79% in 1858. They received no land in the emancipation. Landlords deliberately increased the number of domestic serfs when they anticipated serfdom's demise. In 1798, Ukrainian landlords were banned from selling serfs apart from land. In 1841, landless nobles were banned also. [22]

Abolition

A 1907 painting by Boris Kustodiev depicting Russian serfs listening to the proclamation of the Emancipation Manifesto in 1861 Reading of the Manifest (Liberation of peasants) - Kustodiev, 1907.jpg
A 1907 painting by Boris Kustodiev depicting Russian serfs listening to the proclamation of the Emancipation Manifesto in 1861

In 1816, 1817, and 1819 serfdom was abolished in Estland, Courland, and Livonia respectively. [23] However all the land stayed in noble hands and labor rent lasted till 1868. It was replaced with landless laborers and sharecropping (halbkörner). Landless workers had to ask permission to leave an estate.

The nobility was too weak to oppose the emancipation of the serfs. In 1820 a fifth of the serfs were mortgaged, half by 1842. [24] By 1859, a third of noble's estates and two thirds of their serfs were mortgaged to noble banks or the state. [25] The nobility was also weakened by the scattering of their estates, lack of primogeniture, and the high turnover and mobility from estate to estate.

The Tsar's aunt Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna played a powerful role backstage in the years 1855 to 1861. Using her close relationship with her nephew Alexander II, she supported and guided his desire for emancipation, and helped mobilize the support of key advisors. [26]

In 1861 Alexander II freed all serfs in a major agrarian reform, stimulated in part by his view that "it is better to liberate the peasants from above" than to wait until they won their freedom by risings "from below".

Serfdom was abolished in 1861, but its abolition was achieved on terms not always favorable to the peasants and served to increase revolutionary pressures. Between 1864 and 1871 serfdom was abolished in Georgia. In Kalmykia serfdom was abolished only in 1892. [27]

The serfs had to work for the landlord as usual for two years. The nobles kept nearly all the meadows and forests, had their debts paid by the state while the ex serfs paid 34% over the market price for the shrunken plots they kept. This figure was 90% in the northern regions, 20% in the black earth region but zero in the Polish provinces. In 1857, 6.79% of serfs were domestic, landless servants who stayed landless after 1861.[ citation needed ] Only Polish and Romanian domestic serfs got land. 90% of the serfs who got larger plots were in Congress Poland where the Tsar wanted to weaken the szlachta . The rest were in the barren north and in Astrakhan. In the whole Empire, peasant land declined 4.1%, 13.3% outside the ex Polish zone and 23.3% in the 16 black earth provinces.[ citation needed ] These redemption payments were not abolished till January 1, 1907.

Impact

A 2018 study in the American Economic Review found "substantial increases in agricultural productivity, industrial output, and peasants' nutrition in Imperial Russia as a result of the abolition of serfdom in 1861". [28]

Serf society

Labor and obligations

In Russia, the terms barshchina (барщина) or boyarshchina (боярщина), refer to the obligatory work that the serfs performed for the landowner on his portion of the land (the other part of the land, usually of a poorer quality, the peasants could use for themselves). Sometimes the terms are loosely translated by the term corvée . While no official government regulation to the extent of barshchina existed, a 1797 ukase by Paul I of Russia described a barshchina of three days a week as normal and sufficient for the landowner's needs.

In the black earth region, 70% to 77% of the serfs performed barshchina; the rest paid levies (obrok). [29]

Marriage and family life

Group of Russian peasant women Russia then and now, 1892-1917; my mission to Russia during the famine of 1891-1892, with data bearing upon Russia of to-day (1917) (14761087826).jpg
Group of Russian peasant women

The Russian Orthodox Church had many rules regarding marriage that were strictly observed by the population. For example, marriage was not allowed to take place during times of fasting, the eve or day of a holiday, during the entire week of Easter, or for two weeks after Christmas. Before the abolition of serfdom in 1861, marriage was strictly prohibited on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Because of these firm rules most marriages occurred in the months of January, February, October, and November. After the emancipation the most popular marrying months were July, October, and November. [30]

Imperial laws were very particular with the age in which serfs could marry. The minimum age to marry was 13 years old for women, and 15 for men. After 1830 the female and male ages were raised to 16 and 18 respectively. To marry over the age of 60, the serf had to receive permission, but marriage over the age of 80 was forbidden. The Church also did not approve marriages with large age differences. [31]

Landowners were interested in keeping all of their serfs and not losing workers to marriages on other estates. Prior to 1812 serfs were not allowed to marry serfs from other estates. After 1812 the rules relaxed slightly, but in order for a family to give their daughter to a husband in another estate they had to apply and present information to their landowner ahead of time. If a serf wanted to marry a widow, then emancipation and death certificates were to be handed over and investigated for authenticity by their owner before a marriage could take place. [32]

Before and after the abolition of serfdom, Russian peasant families were patriarchal. Marriage was important for families economically and socially. Parents were in charge of finding suitable spouses for their children in order to help the family, and were not interested in true love when there were mouths to feed and fields to tend. The bride's parents were concerned with the social and material benefits they would gain in the alliance between the two families. Some also took into consideration their daughter's future quality of life and how much work would be required of her. The groom's parents would be concerned about economical factors such as the size of the dowry as well as the bride's decency, modesty, obedience, ability to do work, and family background. Upon marriage, the bride came to live with her new husband and his family, so she needed to be ready to assimilate and work hard. [33]

Serfs looked highly upon early marriage because of increased parental control. At a younger age there is less chance of the individual falling in love with someone other than whom his or her parents chose. There is also increased assurance of chastity, which was more important for women than men. The average age of marriage for women was around 19 years old. [34] [35]

During serfdom, when the head of the house was being disobeyed by their children they could have the master or landowner step in. After the emancipation of serfs in 1861, the household patriarch lost some of his power, and could no longer receive the landowner's help. The younger generations now had the freedom to work off their estates; some even went to work in factories. These younger peasants had access to newspapers and books, which introduced them to more radical ways of thinking. The ability to work outside of the household gave the younger peasants independence as well as a wage to do with what they wanted. Agricultural and domestic jobs were a group effort, so the wage went to the family. The children who worked industrial jobs gave their earnings to their family as well, but some used it as a way to gain a say in their own marriages. In this case some families allowed their sons to marry whom they chose as long as the family was in similar economic standing as their own. No matter what, parental approval was required in order to make a marriage legal. [36]

Distribution of property and duties between the spouses

According to a study completed in the late 1890s by the ethnographer Semyonova, husband and wife were assigned to different duties in the household. In regards to ownership, the husband assumes the property plus any funds required to make additions to the property. Additions include fence, barns, and wagons. While primary purchasing power belongs to the husband, the wife was expected to buy certain items. She was also expected to buy household items such as bowls, plates, pots, barrels and various utensils. Wives were also required to purchase cloth and make clothes for the family by spinning and using a dontse. Footwear was the husband's responsibility and he created bast shoes and felt boots for the family. As for crops, it was expected for men to sow and women to harvest. A common crop harvested by serfs in the Black Earth Region was flax. Most of the livestock, such as pigs and horses, was owned by the husband. Cows were the property of the husband, but were usually in the wife's possession. Chickens were considered to be the wife's property, while sheep was common property for the family. The exception was when the wife owned sheep through a dowry (sobinki). [37]

The extent of serfdom in Russia

Kateryna, painting of a Ukrainian serf girl by Taras Shevchenko, who was himself born a serf Shevchenko Kateryna Olia 1842.jpg
Kateryna, painting of a Ukrainian serf girl by Taras Shevchenko, who was himself born a serf

By the mid-19th century, peasants composed a majority of the population, and according to the census of 1857, the number of private serfs was 23.1 million out of 62.5 million citizens of the Russian empire, 37.7% of the population.

The exact numbers, according to official data, were: entire population 60909309; peasantry of all classes 49486665; state peasants 23138191; peasants on the lands of proprietors 23022390; peasants of the appanages and other departments 3326084. [38] State peasants were considered personally free, but their freedom of movement was restricted. [39]

 % serfs on estates [40]
Estate of17001861
>500 serfs2642
100–5003338
1–1004120
 % serf owners with <100 serfs [41]
177718341858
838478

Russian serfdom depended entirely on the traditional and extensive technology of the peasantry. Yields remained low and stationary throughout most of the 19th century. Any increase in income drawn from agriculture was largely through increasing land area and extensive grain raising by means of exploitation of the peasant labor, that is, by burdening the peasant household still further.

Serfs owned by European Russian landlords [42]
No. of serfsin 1777 (%)in 1859 (%)
>10001.1
501–10002
101–50016 (>100)18
21–1002535.1
0–205943.8

% peasants enserfed in each province, 1860

>55%: Kaluga Kyiv Kostroma Kutais Minsk Mogilev Nizhny Novgorod Podolia Ryazan Smolensk Tula Vitebsk Vladimir Volhynia Yaroslavl

36–55%: Chernigov Grodno Kovno Kursk Moscow Novgorod Oryol Penza Poltava Pskov Saratov Simbirsk Tambov Tver Vilna

16–35%: Don Ekaterinoslav Kharkov Kherson Kuban Perm Tiflis Vologda Voronezh

In the Central Black Earth Region 70–77% of the serfs performed labour services (barshchina), the rest paid rent (obrok). Owing to the high fertility, 70% of Russian cereal production in the 1850s was here. [29] In the seven central provinces, 1860, 67.7% of the serfs were on obrok.

See also

Related Research Articles

Peasant Pre-industrial agricultural laborer or farmer with limited land ownership

A peasant is a pre-industrial agricultural laborer or a farmer with limited land-ownership, especially one living in the Middle Ages under feudalism and paying rent, tax, fees, or services to a landlord. In Europe, three classes of peasants existed: slave, serf, and free tenant. Peasants may hold title to land either in fee simple or by any of several forms of land tenure, among them socage, quit-rent, leasehold, and copyhold.

Serfdom Status of peasants under feudalism

Serfdom was the status of many peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism, and similar systems. It was a condition of debt bondage and indentured servitude with similarities to and differences from slavery, which developed during the Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages in Europe and lasted in some countries until the mid-19th century.

Emancipation reform of 1861 1861 edict by Tsar Alexander II which abolished serfdom throughout the Russian Empire

The Emancipation Reform of 1861 in Russia, also known as the Emancipation Edict of Russia, was the first and most important of the liberal reforms passed during the reign (1855–1881) of Emperor Alexander II of Russia. The reform effectively abolished serfdom throughout the Russian Empire.

Russian nobility

The Russian nobility originated in the 14th century. In 1914 it consisted of approximately 1,900,000 members.

The Robot Patent is an English-language scholarly term for the imperial decrees (patents) in the 1700s abolishing compulsory labor (robot) of serfs, issued by Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, who had carried out a register of all land with a division between peasant and noble holdings. Joseph II outlawed the buying of 'rustic' land by the nobility and at the same time giving the rusticalists security of tenure. His motive was to prevent the increase in 'dominical' land, which paid fewer taxes to the government. This led to the survival of the peasantry, with rustic land still having the robot. In 1789 it was abolished by Joseph II, but Leopold II restored it when his brother Joseph II died in 1790. The abolition of the Robot during the Revolutions of 1848 broke the last legal tie which held the peasants to the land, and was seen as a great victory by the peasants.

Pugachevs Rebellion Peasant revolt against Empress Catherine II of Russia

Pugachev's Rebellion of 1773-75 was the principal revolt in a series of popular rebellions that took place in the Russian Empire after Catherine II seized power in 1762. It began as an organized insurrection of Yaik Cossacks headed by Yemelyan Pugachev, a disaffected ex-lieutenant of the Imperial Russian Army, against a background of profound peasant unrest and war with the Ottoman Empire. After initial success, Pugachev assumed leadership of an alternative government in the name of the late Tsar Peter III and proclaimed an end to serfdom. This organized leadership presented a challenge to the imperial administration of Catherine II.

Nikolay Milyutin

Nikolay Alexeyevich Milyutin was a Russian statesman remembered as the chief architect of the great liberal reforms undertaken during Alexander II's reign, including the emancipation of the serfs and the establishment of zemstvo.

Slavery existed on the territory of present-day Romania from before the founding of the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia in 13th–14th century, until it was abolished in stages during the 1840s and 1850s, and also until 1783, in Transylvania and Bukovina. Most of the slaves were Roma. Particularly in Moldavia there were also slaves of Tatar ethnicity, probably prisoners captured from the wars with the Nogai and Crimean Tatars.

Villein

A villein, otherwise known as cottar or crofter, is a serf tied to the land in the feudal system. Villeins had more rights and social status than those in slavery, but were under a number of legal restrictions which differentiated them from the freeman.

Georgian feudalism

Georgian feudalism, or patronqmoba, as the system of personal dependence or vassalage in ancient and medieval Georgia is referred to, arose from a tribal-dynastic organization of society upon which was imposed, by royal authority, an official hierarchy of regional governors, local officials and subordinates. It is thought to have its roots into the ancient Georgian, or Iberian, society of Hellenistic period.

Abolition of serfdom in Poland occurred over a period of time. At the end of 18th century a reform movement in Poland resulted in the Constitution of May 3, 1791 which took the peasantry under protection of state. Full abolishment of serfdom was enacted by the Proclamation of Połaniec on 7 May 1794, but it was also short-lived as Poland got partitioned by her neighbours in 1795, beginning first 12 years of Polish inexistence as an independent state and later another 103 years. In the 19th century various reforms on Polish territories were taking place. Namely in all three of the Austrian partition, Prussian partition and the Russian partition. Serfdom was abolished in Prussia in 1807, in Austria in 1848, in Russia in 1861. Despite these facts 7th May 1794 remains the date serfdom was abolished in Poland.

Serfdom in Poland

Serfdom in Poland became the dominant form of relationship between peasants and nobility in the 17th century, and was a major feature of the economy of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, although its origins can be traced back to the 12th century.

Slavery in Russia

Legalized private slavery in Russia ended in February 19th, 1861 when Russian Emperor Alexander II issued The Emancipation of Russia's serfs in 1861, for which he is known as Alexander the Liberator. Emancipation of state-owned serfs occurred in 1866.

History of serfdom

Like slavery, serfdom has a long history that dates to ancient times.

State serfs or state peasants were a special social estate (class) of peasantry in 18th–19th century Russia, the number of which in some periods reached half of the agricultural population. In contrast to private serfs, state serfs were considered personally free, although attached to the land. They were liberated in 1866.

The Central Agricultural Zone is a traditional region of Russia. Historically it was the centre of agriculture and colonisation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and was the most densely populated area of the Russian Empire. It was also the poorest. Before the emancipation of serfs, it was home to most of the Russian serf population, and later it was also the centre of the communal system, which contributed to the areas relative poverty compared to the rest of Russia.

Fugitive peasants are peasants who left their land without permission, violating serfdom laws. Under serfdom, peasants usually required permission to leave the land they lived on.

The Government reforms imposed by Tsar Alexander II of Russia, often called the Great Reforms by historians, were a series of major social, political, legal and governmental reforms in the Russian Empire carried out in the 1860s.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, it became clear that the preservation of the power and political influence of the Russian Empire is impossible without reform and transformation of the entire political system. Among the economic prerequisites, it should be noted the crisis of the landlord economy, the poverty of the peasants, the low purchasing power of the population, from which the underdevelopment of the domestic market ensued. Serfdom held back the development of the wage labor market and created a shortage of labor for industry. Therefore, the reign of Alexander II became a period of fundamental transformations of Russian society.

Livonian Peasants' Laws were laws introduced in the 19th century for Governorate of Livonia of the Russian Empire. About the same time similar laws has been enacted in all Baltic governorates and Duchy of Courland and Semigallia. These laws changed and clarified peasants rights and obligations, who ethically were mainly Estonians and Latvians. This development culminated in Peasant Community Code of 1866 which codified peasants self-governance.

References

  1. "Serfdom".
  2. «Наиболее сильный запрос был на красивых девушек» Как в России торговали соотечественниками (The greatest demand was for pretty girls: How they traded compatriots in Russia).//Commersant 2017] - "20 мая 1842 года в России был опубликован указ «О предании суду и наказании Российских подданных, которые будут изобличены в каком-либо участии в торге неграми»."
  3. 1 2 Susan P. McCaffray, "Confronting Serfdom in the Age of Revolution: Projects for Serf Reform in the Time of Alexander I", Russian Review (2005) 64#1 pp 1-21 in JSTOR
  4. Evsey D. Domar and Mark J. Machina, "On the Profitability of Russian Serfdom", (1984) p 919.
  5. The World Book Dictionary. World Book .com. 1 January 2003. ISBN   9780716602996 . Retrieved 18 December 2016 via Google Books.
  6. The Durham University journal – Volumes 45–46 – Page 237
    • Snippet: "Thus a Russian–English dictionary will give the Russian word muzhik as 'peasant'. Yet the English word 'peasant' brings to mind a being far different from the Russian muzhik who, unlike his Western counterpart, is presented to us in literature ..."
  7. "Rural Population Classes" . Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  8. "Language Centre – Language Centre – Home" . Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  9. Водарский, Ярослав Евгеньевич (1973). Население России за 400 лет (XVI-начало XX вв). Moscow: Просвещение. p. 32.
  10. 1 2 Jerzy Czajewski, "Zbiegostwo ludności Rosji w granice Rzeczypospolitej" (Russian population exodus into the Rzeczpospolita), Promemoria journal, October 2004 nr. (5/15), ISSN 1509-9091, Table of Content online, Polish language
  11. Historical survey > Ways of ending slavery
  12. Miller, David B. (1 January 1984). "Review of Slavery in Russia, 1450-1725". Speculum. 59 (3): 653–655. doi:10.2307/2846321. JSTOR   2846321.
  13. Kolchin, Peter (1987). Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom . Harvard University Press. pp.  41–42. ISBN   0674920988.
  14. David Moon. "The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia". Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2001. Page 37
  15. Gregory Freeze. "Russia: A History". New York: Oxford University Press, 2002
  16. David Moon. "The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia". Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2001. Page 39
  17. David Moon. "The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia". Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2001. Page 40
  18. David Moon. "The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia". Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2001. Page 33
  19. Lazar Volin (1970) A century of Russian agriculture. From Alexander II to Khrushchev, p. 25. Harvard University Press
  20. David Moon. "The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia". Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2001. Pages 22-23
  21. Geroid Robinson, Rural Russia under the old regime, page 59
  22. Geroid Tanquary Robinson, Rural Russia under the old régime: a history of the landlord-peasant world, page 37
  23. David Moon. The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2001. Page xiv
  24. Geoffrey Hosking, Russia: People and Empire, page 164
  25. Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy, p. 48
  26. Shane O'Rourke, "The Mother Benefactress and the Sacred Battalion: Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, the Editing Commission, and the Emancipation of the Serfs", Russian Review (2011) 70#4 pp. 584–607, online
  27. NUPI – Centre for Russian Studies Archived 2006-02-16 at the Wayback Machine
  28. Markevich, Andrei; Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina (2018). "The Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire". American Economic Review. 108 (4–5): 1074–1117. doi: 10.1257/aer.20160144 . ISSN   0002-8282.
  29. 1 2 Richard Pipes, Russia under the old regime, pages 147–8
  30. Alexandre Avdeev, Alain Blum  [ fr ], Irina Troitskaia, Heather Juby, "Peasant Marriage in Nineteenth-Century Russia", Population (English Edition, 2002–), Vol. 59, No. 6 (Nov.–Dec., 2004), (Institut National d'Études Démographiques), 742–43.
  31. Avdeev, Blum, Troitskaia, Juby, "Peasant Marriage", 731–33.
  32. Avdeev, Blum, Troitskaia, Juby, "Peasant Marriage", 726.
  33. Barbara Alpern Engel, "Peasant Morality and Pre-Marital Relations in Late 19th Century Russia", Journal of Social History , Vol. 23, No. 4 (Summer, 1990), (Oxford University Press), 695–98.
  34. Avdeev, Blum, Troitskaia, Juby, "Peasant Marriage", 733.
  35. Engel, "Peasant Pre-Marital Relations", 698–99.
  36. Engel, "Peasant Pre-Marital Relations", 701–05, 708.
  37. Olga Semyonova Tian-Shanskaia, Edited by: David L. Ransel. "Village Life in Late Tsarist Russia". Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993. Pages 124-127
  38. Donald Mackenzie Wallace (1905). "CHAPTER XXVIII. THE SERFS". Russia. Archived from the original on 2009-07-05.
  39. Assigned, Church and Crown Peasants
  40. David Moon, The Russian Peasant 1600–1930, pages 204–205.
  41. Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, page 87.
  42. Richard Pipes, Russia under the old regime, page 178.

Further reading

Primary sources