Russia in the late 19th and early 20th century was riddled with social and economic hardships throughout the countryside and inner cities. The Russian peasant was faced with widespread poverty and poor living conditions throughout their entire life. The economic situation and the living conditions drove the peasants and working class to rebel and begin the Russian revolution that would change the face of the country and impact the world forever.
The peasants were the lowest ranking social group in Russia. Some peasants owned tracks of land that they farmed, while others worked nobles’ land for money and food. Peasants had literally no rights under czarist rule. The nobles bought and sold the peasants as needed. The women usually cooked the food, while the men served the nobles and all of their guests. The peasants ate only a few basic foods, which consisted mainly of dark bread, porridge, cereal, or meal boiled in water.
Peasant families who owned land normally owned strip farms. In strip farming, tracks of land were divided up into different parcels. Each peasant family in a village had control over a certain number of parcels and they could farm it as necessary. This type of farming was ineffective because the different tracks of land were spread about, sometimes at a distance of miles. This resulted in peasants wasting time “needless journeys-to-work, consumed land in boundary furrows and headlands, resulted in fields that were too remote to cultivate properly and prevented innovation” (Pallot, 276). This also created tension between neighbors in disputes over confusing land boundaries. Peasants being forced to live together in small villages also increased the risk of...
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... scare that swept the world in response to communist Russia.
- Edelman, Robert. Proletarian Peasants. New York: Cornell University Press, 1987.
- Dunn, Stephen and Ethel Dunn. The Peasants of Central Russia. Holt, Rinehart and
Winston Inc., 1967
- Worobec, Christine D. Peasant Russia. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press,
- Inkeles, Alex. Social Change in Soviet Russia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press,
- Geiger, Kent. The Family in Soviet Russia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968.
- Pallot, Judith. “Imagining the rational landscape in late imperial Russia.” Journal
of Historical Geography, 26, 2 (2000): 273-291.
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