Jericho941 wrote:Vonz90 wrote:Jericho941 wrote:Something a lot of Americans don’t realize when talking about Russia is that they’ve never had a conception of private property. In Tsarist times, all the property in the Empire belonged, personally to the Tsar, who would distribute it as he or she saw fit. The nobility’s money was measured not in land, but in souls. The Russian peasantry, going back to Prechristian times, ran communal farms known as mir that became the standard farming unit in Tsarist times. Private property didn’t exist in full in Russia until 2001. So when people talk about Russia in the 1990′s as “adapting to Capitalism for the first time”, they’re not talking about “for the first time since 1917.” They mean, quite literally, that Russia transitioned from feudal slavery to Communism, with a minor break to a hybrid Feudalistic-Capitalistic system that existed for roughly 40 years.
This is factually incorrect. The idea of owning serfs was true but not since 1861 when Alexander II freed them. The part of the Tsar owning all of the land is also incorrect and was forever going back to the powerful boyers who were at one time very powerful and obviously controlled their own properties. My own family had estates in several provinces, my great grandfather's estate having been purchased by him shortly before the war (he was a younger son so would not have inherited his father's). Likewise there were corporate interests that owned factories and other businesses. This goes back to at least Peter the Great.
The whole deal with the kulaks was that they were peasants who owned their own land.
The state was usually corrupt, overly powerful and overly centralized and owned a bunch of stuff they had no business in, but saying that there there was no private property in Tsarists Russia is just wrong.
My understanding is that Kulaks are what the guy was talking about with the "hybrid Feudalistic-Capitalistic system that existed for roughly 40 years" and that boyars owned the facilities, but not the land they were on. They didn't have the power of European aristocracy.
No, the kulaks owned the land they worked as opposed to the serfs who did not; this distinction goes back to a long time in Russia. There were not a ton of kulaks but they were definitely a separate class. Incidentally, that is part of the reason the communists persecuted the kulaks. Since they owned their own land, they were considered oppressors by communist doctrine even though from a class standpoint they were peasants.
There was also a 'middle class" of peasants who were not serfs but did not own their own land, but I forget the name for them.
BTW - there were analogous classes in other places in Europe. My mother's family traces back to the free peasant class in Saxony for instance. So while they were peasants, they were not serfs and did own small farms (could be very small down to a few acres or whatever) and also worked as hired hands on the larger holdings around. They actually made up a high percentage of immigrants to the US (relative their percentage of the German population - which was not large) because as industrialization became important in the second half of the 19th century, the value of their labor went way down and they had a very tough time economically.