Top 10 Facts About the Abolition of Serfdom

1. This year is the 160th anniversary of the abolition of serfdom, but no one celebrates it, although a great number of our contemporaries are precisely the descendants of liberated peasants.

2. 2. The Tsar Alexander II, who dared to do this, was subjected to attempts on his life only after the abolition of serfdom, and after nearly a dozen unsuccessful attempts he was assassinated on the exact 20th anniversary of this emancipation.

3. By 1861, more than 20 million people in Russia were serfs, a third of the population of the entire country. And together with the appanage and other dependents, their number could have been even higher.

4. Yard servants, who worked not on the land, but serviced the masters, also received freedom, but unlike the peasants they were not entitled to land allotments. In fact, they were entitled to nothing but freedom. Therefore, in the best case, they could go to work for another landlord.

5. But the peasants were entitled to land. But not for nothing. Capitalism, after all. They could buy it back. But the state helped. A down payment of 20%, and then a 49-year loan repayment at 6% per annum. Would you agree to a government loan like that?

6. A separate question is how fair was the value of the land to be bought? The landowner could set almost any price, much higher than the market price.

7. Serfdom was a purely Russian affair. In the national regions, there were practically no serfs. But in Smolensk province, for example, almost 70% of the population was serfdom.

8. Historians note that for a number of peasants the reform has benefited. People began to take more care of their land. Even within a few years the growth of people increased. After all, people were now taking care of their own food, without regard for the kindness of the landlord.

9. Not everyone was used to the new life. Some coped with the allotment, others blighted everything and went to work for the same former serfs, who had now become prosperous peasants. A new class of agrarian entrepreneurs was being formed.

10. 10. Part of the freed people migrated to the cities, forming there, among other things, an additional number of criminal elements.


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