Rents, Land Prices and Economic Theory

The Russian Agrarian Crisis
  • Paul Gregory
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)


Established doctrine teaches that Russian agriculture went through an agrarian crisis following the 1861 emancipation. One finds references to the ‘agrarian crisis’ in the writings of Soviet and Western historians, and there appears to have been a consensus at the end of the nineteenth century that Russia was in the throes of an agrarian crisis. This agrarian crisis manifested itself in a number of forms — declining per capita rural incomes, ‘land hunger’, the rising incidence of rural poverty, and growing tax arrears. The agrarian crisis is said to be a prime contributor to the peasant unrest of 1902 and 1905–7. It has been argued that the failure of the tsarist regime to solve the agrarian crisis contributed mightily to its downfall. According to this view, Bolshevik revolutionaries were able to form an alliance or smychka with disaffected peasants, who had been denied the fruits of economic progress by a regime that had kept it confined to the traditional commune. The tsarist regime offered the peasants a viable form of agriculture too late. The Stolypin reforms of 1906 and 1910 came too late to establish a viable form of private agriculture in Russia.


Land Price Side Payment Rural Poverty Land Prex Agricultural Prex 
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© School of Slavonic and East European Studies 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Gregory

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