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Development of Russia

  • Date Submitted: 11/29/2010 07:24 PM
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Development of Russia

      Russian society in the seventeenth century had undergone many changes. Almost every aspect of society was modified. One of the most important was the emancipation of the serfs and the development and growth of the city of St. Petersburg. Equally important was the leaderships of Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great.

      Serfdom was a legal and economic status of peasants in Russia. Serfs were not like slaves but they needed permission to leave their landlord’s property. They had to work for their landlords sometimes without pay and pay a percentage of what they produced to them. Instead of being independent farmers paying freely negotiated rents, peasants became forced laborers on the landlord’s estates. Slowly but surely Serfdom disappeared from Russia around 1300 due to the expansion of trade and loss of population particularly after the Black Death.

      Ivan the Terrible was the first to take the title tsar of Russia. He ruled from 1533-1584. Ivan was very cruel, but he was also one of the most famous rulers in Russian history. His mother passed when he was eight, which left Ivan to suffer from insults and neglect from the boyars, those of higher class. Ivan did not assume all control until he turned sixteen, when he assumed power and crowned himself tsar of Russia. Ivan’s wife Anastasia suddenly died in 1560, which caused Ivan to go on a reign of terror. Ivan executed many boyars and their peasants, servants, families and friends simply because he thought they opposed him. Ivan kept most of their land for his personal use and gave the rest to lower service. Ivan’s reign of terror and endless killing depopulated much of Russia. Service nobles did not have enough man power so they demanded more from the remaining peasants. This caused the peasants to flee to recently conquered countries. There they formed an army of outlaws called Cossacks. The Cossacks were led from a former slave named Ivan Bolotnikov who called...

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