Assigned peasants


Assigned peasants: In the early eighteenth century, when large-scale industry took root and a labour force was needed, the government "assigned" state peasants to work in government and private or merchant-owned factories, or to supply them with raw materials, fuel and transportation. Most of the factories were mining and metallurgical plants in the Urals. The wages were too low, the work too hard, and the conditions too poor for the peasants to take the jobs voluntarily, so they were forced. The assigned peasants received less than half the wages of free employees. The peasants had to travel great distances to fulfill their work obligations. There was no thought for the health and welfare of the peasants working in the factories, which were run with military severity. As a result, in the mid-18th century the peasants revolted and troops had to be called in to restore order. By March 1807, all but 8% of the peasants working in the Urals were freed from this obligation. By the nineteenth century, their name was changed to "possessional peasants".

Church peasants


Church peasants were peasants owned by monasteries, bishops, the Patriarch, the Holy Synod, and individual churches, and comprised 13% of the total peasantry in the middle of the eighteenth century. From the time of the Christianization of Kievan Rus, the church received gifts of peasants and land from princes. The church gained a considerable number of estates during the Mongol Yoke, when the princes preferred to give their holdings to the church rather than have them confiscated by the oprichniki. In the eighteenth century, unrest was common among the church peasantry, because of the disparity between their obligations and those of crown peasants. Government troops had to be sent to quell unrest, and as a result, Catherine II secularized the church estates and church peasants became crown peasants.

Crown peasants


Crown peasants, also called state or treasury peasants, were created by decrees issued by Peter the Great, comprising of the remaining agricultural workers in Russia who had not yet been subjected to serfdom. They lived on state-owned lands, worked on the lands, paid rent or obrok to the state treasury, and were considered personally free. They were referred to as "free rural inhabitants" but their freedom of movement was restricted. In 1856, there were struggles between the crown peasants and private peasants or serfs, so in 1857 Alexander II approved reforms that brought the status of crown peasants equal to that of private. In 1886, when peasants could completely own the land, the size of land allotment was greater and the redemption payments smaller for crown peasants than among former private serfs.