Alexander II

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Emancipation of the Serfs: Positives and negatives

Peasants: Positives 

  • Serfs could continue to work in agriculture - for most their only known field. 
  • In theory, were given a democratic voice in elections. 
  • State peasants recieved better treatment. 
  • Are officialy legally free. 

Peasants: Negatives 

  • On average peasant families now farmed 20% less land than before. 
  • Peasants had to pay back state redemption taxes for 49 years, 6% interest rate - only when this money is paid back is the land officially theres - many had to pass the tax down to their offspring. 
  • Serfs now realised that they had owned their own land. 
  • Labour services limited to 40 days continued for 2 years. 
  • Separation of a peasant and his land could only be granted by the mir, until the redemption tax is paid.
  • State serfs had to wait until 1866 for freedom.
  • Household Serfs recieved no land.
  • Confusion - many of the Serfs were uneducated and didn't understand the terms of the emancipation. 
  • 647 riots - 449/647 troops got involved.
  • Land shortages 
  • Land was valued at a higher rate than it was worth.

Gentry: Positives

  • Were compensated by the state - on a very high valuation of the land.
  • Retained 2/3 of their land - the best parts. 

Gentry: Negatives

  • Estates unprofitable and slavery sold off the land. 
  • Financially lead to social ruin. 
  • Did not like the idea of the social gap closing. 
  • In 1905 the gentry owned 40% less land - mainly because it was unprofitable and sold. 
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