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Episode 8 - The Road From Serfdom in Imperial Russia

Uploaded: 18 Feb 2018

If you think of people gaining their freedom in the 1860s your mind will probably go straight to the American Civil War and the end of slavery, but in the same decade over 20 million Russians became free for the first time in their lives when Alexander II issued his Emancipation Manifesto.
We’ll talk about how this, in many ways medieval, practice survived for so long when Western Europe was surging ahead into the Industrial Revolution and find out whether it was the Crimean War, Russian intellectuals, a stagnant economy or a combination of all three and more that brought about its end.

But was this a new beginning for the lowest in Russian society or merely a false dawn?

Further sources:

Most information on this is readily available online, but a few extra sources are below:
  • Steven Nafziger, "Russian Serfdom and Emancipation: New Empirical Evidence", Nov 2012, found at: <https://economics.yale.edu/sites/default/files/nafziger-121210.pdf>
    (this is noted as "preliminary and incomplete" - but we have cited it anyway as it was so fascinating)
  • Leo Tolstoy, Anna Kerenina, 1873-77, free pdf at: <http://www.planetpdf.com/planetpdf/pdfs/free_ebooks/Anna_Karenina_NT.pdf>

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