N.M. DRUZHININ. Abolition of the Feudal System in the Russian Countryside
(1882 - 1882)
The abolition of serfdom in 1861 did not put an end to the Russian peasants' feudal dependence on the landlords: although proclaimed personally free, the serfs were made to contribute unpaid labour to the landowner for an indefinite period (corvee) or to pay money rent: they could redeem their allotments and become independent owners only with the consent of the landlord. Disappointed of their hope to receive land and freedom, the former serfs refused to reconcile themselves with this situation and openly protested against the promulgated Emancipation Act and, what is partucularly important, evaded the performance of corvee services for the landlords and were reluctant to pay money rent. Faced with this mass sabotage, most of the landowners who had objected to the complete emancipation of the peasants only a short while ago now altered their tactic and, relying on the government's support, began to impose redemption contracts on the peasants. In the first six years since the abolition of serfdom this phenomenon could be observed most frequently in the Black-Earth provinces where the overwhelming majority of the landlords operated at a loss under the corvee system; in the subsequent period the conclusion of redemption contracts began to proceed more rapidly in the non-Black-Earth provinces with their developed industry and trade. Since the redemption price was inordinately high, the peasants were reluctant to redeem their plots, preferring to get from the landlord a paltry gift allotment; only an insignificant proportion of well-to-do peasants bought out their plots ahead of time, paying the redemption price at once. Not infrequently the redemption took place at the landlord's demand, without the consent of the peasants. From the very introduction of the redemption scheme many peasants were not in a position regularly to contribute their annual instalments (the whole redemption price had to be repaid in 49 years). Despite the ruthless methods of exacting the arrears at the cost of undermining the peasant households, they reached catastrophic proportions by 1880's. Faced with mounting peasant unrest and the growing revolutionary movement of the Narodniks, the tsarist government was compelled to lower the size of redemption payments and declare the redemption scheme obligatory for all peasants. Thus the system of feudal ground rent was abolished in Russia. The redemption operation, which bled the peasants white by pumping millions of rubles out of the countryside, was an important element of the primitive accumulation of capital in Russia.
V.Z. DROBIZHEV. Certain Peculiarities of the Soviet System of Industrial Management in 1926 - 1932
The author briefly examines the development and improvement of the methods of industrial management in the period marked by the nation-wide effort to lay the foundations of a socialist economy in the U.S.S.R. The Communist Party, guiding itself by Lenin's theoretical heritage, creatively developed the methods of economic management in adaption to the new conditions. The unprecedentedly high rates of industrial development necessitated deep-going changes in the system of financing and material and technical supplies in the organizational structure of state economic bodies. At the same time, a series of measures were carrid out to ensure the further development of cost accounting. The contraction of the sphere of operation of commodity relations and a higher degree of centralization in the management of factories and mills were determined by objective causes. A certain amount of overexpenditure made in the process of industrial development was more than compensated by the remarkable progress in the upbuilding of heavy industry, in the solution of the cardinal tasks of industrialisation.
N.F. GORODNICHY. Little-Known Aspect of ARA Activity in Soviet Russia
The author sets out to prove, by drawing on new factual material, how the American intelligence service used the ARA (American Relief Administration) for conducting espionage and subversive activity in Soviet Russia in 1921 -1923. The article makes an attempt to characterize the main directions of espionage and subversive activity, the
forms and methods of collecting espionage information by experienced intelligence officers disguised as ARA officials, as well as by agents recruited from among anti-Soviet elements. Citing irrefutable documentary evidence, the author shows how Party and government bodies reacted to the activity carried on in our country by the American Relief Administration, to every attempt made by its personnel to violate the established order of rendering aid to the famine- stricken population. In conclusion the author highlights the role of the Extraordinary Commission for combating counter-revolution and of the Government Political Administration (which succeeded the former in 1922) in exposing and suppressing the subversive activity carried on by individual ARA functionaries.
M.A. ALPATOV. Universal History Conceptions in Russian Historical Tradition (12th-18th centuries)
The article examines the conditions attending the emergence of universal history conceptions and their role in Russian historical thought of the 12th-18th centuries. In the Kiev Rus there predominated the biblical conception of the world historical process, in which Russian history already appeared as part of universal history. In the period of formation of the centralized Russian State the dominant theories ("Muscovy - The Third Rome," "A Tale of Babylon," "A Story of the White Hood of Novgorod") regarded Russia as a country that came to replace Byzantium and to become a new centre of world history. Simultaneously with these theories there appeared "A Tale of the Vladimir Princes" which, tracing the genealogy of the Great Princes of Muscovy, developed the thesis alleging their descent from Augustus. This was the Western variant of the origin of the Moscow State. During the reign of Peter the Great there emerged conceptions regarding Russia as a successor of the West-the theory of rotation expounded by Gottfried von Leibnitz and a new variant of the well-known four monarchies theory set forth in "Essay on the Origin of Monarchies." The Varangian question, which arose in the middle of the 18th century, passed through several stages in its development. In conclusion the author briefly describes the subsequent, struggle between Normanism and ahti-Normanism. The inference drawn by the author is that the development of Russian historical thought was a reflection of the complicated historical path traversed by the Russian people.
V.A. RYZHIKOV. What Is Behind the Documents Kept in the Public Records Office of Great Britain
The article briefly characterizes a number of documents of the British government and Foreign Office kept in the Public Records Office of Great Britain and covering a period from 1917 to 1937. Drawing on these documents, the author analyzes the basic trends of British home and foreign policy and the character of Soviet-British relations during that period. The documents under review shed a new light on the anti-Soviet policy followed by the ruling circles of Great Britain in 1922 - 1937 and incontrovertibly prove that the men who ruled Britain in those years left no stone unturned in their efforts to appease nazi Germany and incite her against the U.S.S.R. At the same time, British archive documents furnish another confirmation that the Soviet government undeviatingly adhered to the Leninist policy of peaceful coexistence in its relations with Britain and steadfastly championed the cause of peace in Europe.
A.M. KHAZANOV. "Military Democracy" and the Era of Class Formation
The article stresses that the closing period in the history of primitive society was far more complex and multiform than most of the 19th-century historians supposed it to be, although its content was everywhere the same, namely, the transition from the pre-class formations to the class society. "Military democracy" as a form of the emerging political organization of society was not universal in character: as a phasic concept it does not cover the whole period. This period is called by the author "the era of class formation" because he believes that this concept conveys the meaning of the transition period more precisely. Military-democratic institutions are intrinsic only to the early stages of the era of class formation. In its final stages there already appeared "barbarian stages," that is, political structures which already contain, albeit in an embryonic form, certain elements of future statehood.
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