james armstrong james36armstrong at
Mon May 14 07:58:51 BST 2007

To stimulate discussion and about land reform and  help form our aims here 
is a quote from the historian David Thomson's "Europe Since Napoleon" 
(chapter 15)
(Quotation  starts)
Four years before slavery was abolished in the United States, serfdom was 
abolished in Russia.
The Imperial decree  of emancipation gave the Russian peasants legal freedom 
  without economic freedom.   They became subjects of the government.
Economic Conditions. Nor did emancipation lead to any marked improvements in 
the methods or output of Russian agriculture.   The government excluded  
priests and former landowners from the Mir, and this left the supervising 
authority  exceptionally ignorant and unenterprising. For the next forty 
years the land was still mostly cultivated in strips, and the time-honoured 
methods were used to grow the traditional crops. No fresh wind of scientific 
agriculture or progressive methods blew through the farmlands of Russia .  
Each male child had a right to land,  and the land of the mir had to be 
divided periodically  to provide for the new generation.     A growing 
population meant , for the most part,  a decline in the number of strips  
which each peasant held. As a man's holding shrank he had no incentive to 
improve land  that he might lose in the next redistribution.   He ceased to 
be able to live on his holding ,  unless he could get more land from some 
other source.  …….Great inequalities arose……
…..eighty percent of the money was advanced by the state  and repaid by the 
peasant  to the state in instalments over many years…… This additional 
burden proved unbearable and by 1905 outstanding arrears had to be cancelled 
in an effort to stave off revolution."
(Quotation ends)

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