chapter  II
27 Pages

. BEFORE THE EMANCIPATION

This explains why serfdom was abolished in Russia only in 1861. The institution of serfdom was “an envelope, and the actual solutions which existed within that envelope were extremely varied. In

labourers and to codify the various decrees and laws. One of the motives for this was the fear that the hired labourer might raise his head and turn one day against his master, and even against the Government itself, as soon as the seeds of free-thought, dropped by the Decembrists’ movement in 1825, reached the factories and the peasantry. And such a codification was made in 1857, which was called “The Rules of Employment of Persons freely-hired.”*

The general impression of these Rules is that men were treated not as citizens and human beings, but rather as domestic animals who must be looked after in order to ensure the productivity of their labour. The Rules did not improve the position of the workers, and no wonder, therefore, that they protested against onerous conditions of work, and that there were many serious conflicts with factory owners.