Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)


Historical Implications of the Decree of Farmers Free from Serfdom in the Russian Empire.

Author(s): Barykina Inna Evgenievna & Alexandra Valerievna Balyasnikova

At the beginning of the reign of Alexander I in the Russian Empire, "The decree of farmers free from serfdom" outlined a new course of government policy towards the peasants. For the first time, the supreme power announced the possibility of freeing the peasants for ransom, which would later become the key provision of the reform on February 19, 1861. The text of the "The decree of farmers free from serfdom" reflected the instability of the position of Alexander I after his accession, when he was in no hurry to proclaim his political program. This explains the hidden meaning of the legislative act, which contained references to the historical and legal precedents of the previous century. During the reign of Catherine II, cautious attempts were made in legislative acts to start solving the peasant question, to which Alexander I refers. Among the precedents, the decree on free farmers does not mention the "Manifesto of the Three-Day Corvee" not only because it did not correspond to the statement of the young emperor to rule according to the precepts of his grandmother, and not his father. At that time, the government leaders, realizing the economic and moral harm of serfdom, still retained the idea of the need for control and guardianship over the peasants by the nobles. The analysis of the historical implications of the decree allows us to reconstruct the law-making laboratory of autocratic power and expand our understanding of its steps towards solving the peasant question. Refs 15.

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