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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

History

First Advisor

Aaron B. Retish

Abstract

The space that the Russian peasantry occupy in history is unique. During the hundreds of years that serfdom existed in Russia, peasants were controlled by landowners and their privileges nearly nonexistent. After their freedom was signed over to them in 1861 they were forced by necessity to purchase land at exorbitant prices charged by landowners. Though they were free, their plight remained. However, with Russia's industrializing efforts during the second half of the 19th century came opportunity. At the turn of the century, millions of Russian peasants made seasonal journeys to industrial centers for side work. Millions more left their villages for the army after the passing of the conscription bill in 1874. With this increased movement to and from the village, the collective identity of the peasantry began to shift and during the 1905 Revolution they actively fought for political change with a frequency previously unseen.