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Agricultural Structure and Proto-Industrialization in Russia: Economic Development with Unfree Labor

Richard L. Rudolph
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 45, No. 1 (Mar., 1985), pp. 47-69
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2122007
Page Count: 23
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Agricultural Structure and Proto-Industrialization in Russia: Economic Development with Unfree Labor
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Abstract

A revised view of the nature of Russian industrialization is proposed. It is argued that economic conditions on the serf estates did not hinder industrialization; they in fact facilitated proto-industrialization by promoting the nonagricultural pursuits of the peasantry. In opposition to the traditional view that industrialization took place after the Emancipation of the serfs in 1861, and that there was an "agrarian crisis" in the nineteenth century, it is argued that industrialization was well underway on a wide scale on the basis of serf labor before 1861. The so-called agrarian crisis may really have been a period of increased proto-industrial activity by the peasants.

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