S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Institute for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (러시아문화권연구소) 러시아연구 (Russian Studies) 러시아연구 Volume 15 Number 1/2 (2005)
러시아 식자층의 농민 담론: 토지소유권과 농민공동체를 중심으로
Discourses on Property Rights and Village Commune prior to the Abolition of Serfdom in Russia
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 러시아연구소
- 러시아연구, Vol.15 No.2, pp. 1-34
- This article attempts to analyze the discourses on property rights and village commune prior to the Abolition of Serfdom of 1861. It focuses on the discourses of the educated elite including economists, officials, and landowners on the grants of property rights and village commune to the peasants. The economists were eager to accept theories and ideas of property rights, agricultural productivity and prosperity from western countries. For them, the modem economic theories and ideas to promote the accumulation of wealth and to increase productivity could be introduced without ever calling into question the most traditional forms of power and privilege. Therefore, if introduced, the western theories and ideas tended to be revamped and transformed into those of limited meaning in Russia.
This circumstances were not quite different in the case of liberal officials, social reformers, agricultural experts, and scholars that drafted the Statue of 1861. Examining the cases of the western countries, the liberal members of the editorial commission energetically tried to find the models of agrarian reform. They inspected the occasion of the French revolution in that the peasants were benefitted from land indemnification, and scrutinized the Prussian reform favorable to the gentry. But they did not want to destroy "existing realities," and attempted to domesticate the notions of property rights and formulate a new concept that would
strengthen rather than undermine the power of the landed gentry and the state. Because of considering domestic security, their arguments for 'privatization' did not extend rights of freedom of actions to the peasants.
Although agreeing that it was necessary to give the peasants full property rights, they left contradictory resolutions, that is, the limited private property of land and village communal property to the peasants. The discourses on property rights and village commune of economists and officials reflected their traditional attitudes toward peasants. For them, peasants were not an actor but an object. They argued that the considerable backwardness of peasants in the communal institutions and possible instability of the peasant actions forced them to have no choice but to impose an indefinite and exceedingly long-term program of guidance, supervision, and control. In this context, both the communal property and grants of private property to the peasantry that seemed contradictory in nature were established for the interests of domestic security.