Sunday, 15 September 2019

Redemption procedure

Andrew Stepanenko
June 02, 2019 <>

Translated by Berenkova Violetta Michailovna

Let us analyze general data though they differ.
In 1856, the population of Russia was 74.556 million people (Wikipedia. Census revisions)
In 1859 the population of Russia was 67.081 million people (A.G.Trojnitskiy "the Serf population of Russia according to the 10th national census". А.Г. Тройницкий "Крепостное население России по 10-й народной переписи", 1861 г.)
The difference is 7 million, that is about 10 %.

In 1857 there were 10.551 million serfs in Russia (I.I.Ignatovich. Landowner’s peasants on the eve of freedom. И. И. Игнатович. Помещичьи крестьяне накануне освобождения. Изд. 3. Л., «Мысль», 1925, стр. 85.)
In 1859 there were 23.07 million serfs in Russia.
11.245 million people of them were men (A.G.Trojnitskiy "the Serf population of Russia according to the 10th national census". А.Г. Тройницкий "Крепостное население России по 10-й народной переписи", 1861 г.)
In the first case, they mean only male population, therefore the difference in figures is insignificant.

To have a correct comparison, we take only one source - A.G.Trojnitskiy's book.
The serf share (23.07 million) in the total population (67.081 million) was 34.4 % - about  third. One third of property belonged to the Church soon after the epoch of enslaving of peasants. It means that almost all acts of enslaving passed through monasteries. The reason: monasteries were main usurers lending villages during the hunger periods with grain, and, following those rules, the debt enslavement owing to debt irrevocability was inevitable.

The only answer: secularization. Secularization is presented as the Church robbery, but, if to take the Teutonic order as an example, the process is transparent: the lord was clerical, then it became secular and remained all property as the family property. There has never been other way to relieve the Church of responsibility for the third of population of the country in the history: one legal act - and a huge governmental problem was divided into thousands of private ones.

The role of the serfdom for history of Russia is excessively emphasized. One third of the population is a large quantity, and, nevertheless, this minority, in practice did not differ from free peasantry. In the civil, family and property relations, rural inhabitants equally submitted to customary law – both free and serfs. The community always made a decision. If the question demanded external interference, serf addressed to their landowner and free peasants - to the elective rural court, that is all difference.
As for their welfare, the difference and was imperceptible: free peasants crowded cities in times of droughts and hunger, and free peasants formed teams of false homeless victims of a fire and became professional beggars. In the Volga region the share of serfs was scanty - 3-15 %, but 400 thousand people died in 1891-1892 in the Volga region, but not in historically serf regions.
Peasants had many problems, but they were most likely connected with a price situation in the markets, than with serf status of about one third of communities. The myth about historically slavish Russia it is inadequately boosted, and it was created for political reasons, actual in the quite short historical period.
Enslaving is functionally entering of external management over the hopeless debtor till the creditor could not return the invested money on the loan. So it is necessary to consider enslaving in this way, so it actually worked. The act of 1861 reflected not goodwill, not gift from the power top, but the banal completion of the line of credit.

In 1833 84 % of landowners had on average less than 19 serfs per landowner.
In 1857 77.5 % of landowners had on average 25 serfs per landowner.

The main idea: 77-84 % of landowners’ families possessed a small village with  about twenty houses. Who was the landowner by origin? Probably, that he was former village elder who got into debt together with his village and became free after acknowledgement of his debt and signing official loan papers - not in a secularized monastery, but in a bank - the new owner of the monastery’s securities.
So giving liberty to the nobility was not simply a beautiful phrase, especially if we remember the fact that it happened not only in Russia of the times of Catherine the Great, but all over the world.

1820. Noblemen acquired the right to dispose of the land property. Many hidalgos began to sell their lands.

1811. In Georgia the church noblemen were actually liberated and then transferred to the treasury department.
1833. In Eastern Georgia, and later in 1840s in Western Georgia, many princely noblemen were liberated with or without their lands, granted with class independence.
Sketches of history of Georgia. Очерки истории Грузии. Том 5. Т.5 : Грузия в XIX веке / [Ред.: М. Гаприндашвили, О. Жорданиа] - , 1990 - 614с. : ил. - - Библиогр. в подстроч. примеч. - ISBN 5-520-00499-4 : [4л.], 18500экз. [MFN: 2513]

1839. According to the law of April 21, officers and officials were liberated from their feudal bonds
Civil struggle in the North Caucasus, by N.L. Janchevskiy Гражданская борьба на Северном Кавказе Автор: Янчевский Н. Л.

We will remind that vassal was personally not free and legally indistinguishable from the serf. In 1854 in Denmark the same process as in Georgia (1833) came to the end: landowners acquire total legal capacity.
The law of 1850 allowed landowners and peasants in Denmark to buy out their corvee.
The law of 1854 gave all owners of former fees in Denmark the right to sell their lands
Encyclopedia. Peasants. ЭСБЕ. Крестьяне

Final all fee relations in Czechia were abolished owing to the imperial laws of 17 December 1862 and 12 May 1869, which established the conditions and sizes of redemption payments for repayment of feudal obligations. Along with large fees, in Czechia there were also small ones, which owners served as arrows or should take part in a war armed with spear and a bow. Such fees which could survive till 1869 were 8 knight and 22 ministerial fees of the Karlstejn tower, 7 fees of the Prague tower, 2 fees of Dobrush, 3 of Trutnov, 7 of Friedland, 2 of Melnick and 6 of Krivoklatsk.
Encyclopedia, Feudalism. ЭСБЕ, Феодализм.

So, till a certain moment in history, noblemen were not proprietors of their lands. For the right to manage the fee, the landowner was personally obliged to the mister, and, in particular, in Denmark the landowner was encumbered with the corvee. In other places, that corvee had a different name, but the meaning was the same: a nobleman personally served the mister a particular number of days.

During the period between 1783 and 1869 vassals were liberated, to be exact, transferred to the redemption of their serf duties. This process in the history of Europe is named as liberation of serfs or liberation of farmers, and it not a false act; it is accurate substitution. At this stage, only the uppermost and a very thin layer of the dependent population could redeem their debt - noblemen. For this reason, serfdom cancellation in European countries had two stages: as a rule, at the end of 18 century and in the middle of 19 century.

Any redemption procedure needs crediting. From 1848 till 1852 in Russia peasants had a chance to redeem themselves, but banks were not ready to give credits, and during four years 964 people could redeem their debt in Russia.
Today we have a base of several hundred certificates on feudalism liquidation by means of redemption of tithe (as a tax), corvee and feudal duties totally or just the land, but only 43 there is loan interest, there is neither the term, nor estimate cost. There are only four exceptions with all necessary figures: two redemption schemes in Ireland and two redemption schemes in Russia.

Ireland. Scheme № 1. Credit term: 1881-1916 (35 years), 17.5 usual annual payments with an interest rate of 5 %. As a result, 35 years are equal to 37.4 annual payments.
Ireland. Scheme № 2. Credit term: 1885-1934 (49.5 years), 17.5 usual annual payments with an interest rate of 4 %. As a result, 49.5 years are equal to 40.18 annual payments.
Russia. Scheme № 1. Credit term: 1883-1917 (34.5 years), 16.667 usual annual payments with an interest rate of 6 %. As a result, 34.5 years are equal to 39.44 annual payments.
Russia. Scheme № 2. Credit term: 1883-1932 (49.5 years), 16.667 usual annual payments with an interest rate of 6 %. As a result, for 49.5 years are equal to 53 annual payments.

All four schemes measure land cost in standard annual payments for peasants: in Ireland it is equal to 17.5 payments, in Russia - 16 and two thirds.
Both first schemes were calculated for the accelerated redemption in 34.5-35 years, but it did not justify itself: in Ireland this scheme redeemed only 731 houseowners, and in Russia the scheme remained just as a project. The reason: it required payments exceeding the standard level of annual payments, and peasants simply could not cope with it.
Therefore both countries passed to the long redemption - in 49.5 years. In Ireland it was 0.82 annual payment, and in Russia – 1.06, and it was acceptable sum of payment.
In Ireland payments should come to the end in 1934. Britain forgave all debts at the moment of seceding Ireland from the UK, but the young Irish government considered it as money squandering and continued to take debt money, it resulted in a scandal. The reason: the British banks invested their money in this redemption, and the Irish banks started to make money out of it.
In Russia the redemption should come to the end in 1932, but in 1907 all unpaid debts were forgiven to peasants - for political reasons.
In Russia loan interest was higher owing to risks of agriculture.

It is always measured by annual payments. Tithe is usually specified in the documents (this is not only church version of the tax), and exact name of other kinds of payments are avoided they are specified simply as annual payments - that, most likely, shows their certain feudal character.
Our database has 11 figures: 14; 16.6; 17.5; 18; 20; 20; 20; 20; 20; 25; 25 years. The most popular estimation of the land cost is 20-year-old payment.

Most terms of crediting for noblemen and peasants range from 20 t0 49 years; but there are two most reliable and numerous figures: 24-26 years and 49.5 years.

In Britain the land redemption by copyholders lasted from 1851 till 1925 - only 74 years. It is logical to assume that the redemption went on in two stages: 24.5 years and 49.5 years. In total it is 74 years. It is significant that in 1875 the law was issued which put workers and their employers on the same legal basis.
In Saxony the feudal law was cancelled in 1855, and the bank created for the land redemption was closed in 1932 – it took only 77 years. Here is a similar term and, probably, a similar situation.
In Russia the land redemption was accurately divided into two stages: 1861-1883 and 1883-1932 - 71 year total.
It is logical to assume, as there were two lines of credit: for landowners – about 24.5 years, and for peasants – 49.5 years.
After crash of the Viennese Stock Exchange in 1872, in our opinion, caused by end the fees redemption, activation of the banks began specializing just in the agrarian sector: peasants got involved in the Redemption procedure. As a result, completion terms of the Redemption procedure appeared expectedly late even in the developed countries: in Denmark tithe payments came to the end in 1918, and it happened preterm as a result of solution by force. In Germany peasants’ debts to landowners were totally paid off preterm by 1918 because of inflation.
The situation becomes clear through the history of the Redemption procedure in Russia. According to the balance of operation on 1January, 1881, the peasants’ redemption loan was 748 531 385 rubles 29 kopeks, while the landowners’ debt to the former credit institutions was 302 666 578 rubles 88 kopeks. The peasants’ payments liquidated the landowners’ debts whose manors were in pledge. The phenomenon had mass character, landowners could not pay off even by 1907, and it meant that the first stage of the Redemption procedure first arranged only for landowners failed almost everywhere.
It is known that first the variant of liberation of peasants without the land was considered as preferable. So began the redemption in Russia: no credits: those peasants who could pay all and at once, were free. The American scheme was assumed: the latifundists owning almost 100 % of the land and landless seasonal workers, hired only when they were necessary. Out of a season, workers went to build cities. It did not work only because in Europe and especially in Russia the land gives less profit, than coffee plantations in Brazil, coca plantations in Peru and cocoa plantations in Mexico. Noblemen were forced to redeem the lands under obviously impracticable conditions – if they did not agree, they would find another one. As a result, in Russia it became necessary to involve peasants to the redemption, and in Europe manors were divided in some places to level of one yard - that means exactly same.

It is necessary to recognize that objectively the match “the latifundist and seasonal workers” is closer to a capitalist ideal and it is theoretically more favorable than that steam that won in Russia. However, practice is the means to check the theory.

The table (V.Veshnyakov. Peasants-proprietors in Russia. The historical and statistical sketch. В. Вешняков.Крестьяне-собственники в России. Историко-статистический очерк. СПб. - 1858, стр. 59) shows that 1 land tithe cost 20 rubles in 1852. The figure as a whole also meets the realities of 1858-1864.
The average land allotment, judging by redemption figures in Wikipedia (Redemption procedure), was at this time 3.8 of tithe.
The redemption sum for 1 male peasant was 76 rubles total. This figure was verified in two more sources, - the result was the same, for a land allotment it was no more than 80 rubles.
Up the time of the peasant reform there were 44 166 manors in pledge in the state credit institutions with the debt for 425 503 061 rubles (Wikipedia. Redemption procedure)

In 1861 425 million rbl. of the landowners’ debt was equal to the cost of land allotments of 5.5 million serfs, thus, that total number of serfs at that time was 11 million That is, landowners owed to banks half of the cost of arable land in the country. It was hardly overdue indebtedness, the figure is too great; this are future payments. By 1881 indebtedness is lower - 302 million rbl., that is equal to 4 million land allotments.
In such situation it is possible to assume that the redemption of nobility was planned for 49.5 years, but in the middle of the paying-off period it became clear that the landowners could not cope with it. If 1883 was the end of the first half of payments, landowners should pay the second half of payments in 24 years. 1883 +25 = 1907. It is the year when the Duma discharged the rest of the peasants’ debt. The reason: noblemen had already paid off, and the help of peasants was not necessary any more.
We will not have an exact picture until it is not known, what credit conditions were for landowners, and whether they were given an easy time and if yes, when and how much. But as a whole this scheme confirms the basic conclusions extremely rigidly.

Noblemen in Russia have started to redeem their fees in about 1858, the redemption term was 49.5 years - till 1907.
The date 1858 is closely connected with 1856 when the Romanovs created their arms for the first time and specified, who was their relative and who was not, and all it is connected with defeat in the Crimean war and a year and a half absence of the emperor on the throne.
In 1861 the scheme of liberation of peasants without the land won, and the peasants were liberated with the land repurchase right, but without the credit support right.
In 1876 it became clear that landowners did not cope with the situation, and the General regulations about peasants in edition of 1876 was required for confirmation of the landowner’s ownership right to the land.
The CITATION: Recognizing essentially the land belonging to landowners (Общ. пол. ст. 3, изд. 1876г.), the legislator established measures to assist peasants in acquisition of a part of landowners' estates in property. (G.F. Shershenevich. The textbook of Russian civil law (under the edition of 1907) Г.Ф. Шершеневич. Учебник русского гражданского права (по изданию 1907 г.) / Вступительная статья, Е.А. Суханов. – М.: Фирма «СПАРК», 1995. – 556 с.)
Clearly that the situation reflects not complete redemption: while landowners do not payoff the mortgage entirely, their rights to the land are strongly limited by the rights of creditors. Modern realtors know this situation.
In 1883 peasants were forced to the redemption on purpose to solve the problem of landowners’ debt. It meant refusal from the latifundist schemes “peasants get freedom without the land”.
By 1907 landowners paid off their debt, and the need in the peasants payments disappeared. The reason for forgiveness of the debt for the country by the Duma is complex, but the most important thing is, probably, preparation for the war of 1914.
Nevertheless, up to 1932 (term of formal payments end) peasants were not involved in the USSR at the state level; perhaps, it was connected with the payment obligations recognized by the Soviet power.

Europe outstripped Russia in liberation of vassals and peasants in 13 years (1848-1861).
The redemption procedure had two steps everywhere: it began with the redemption landowners’ fees in about 1848. Vassals (the future landowners) were mentioned as farmers in documents, copyholders ad even peasants, that prevents to establish their clear social the status.
The choice of the liberation model for peasants directly depended on the land profitability. In Europe and Russia the liberation of peasants without the land actually appeared impossible.

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24. Chronological shifts: Catherine's shift and 59-year-old one.
25. The Roman numeration - a key to the chronology secret.
27. Lacuna
28. Lacuna

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