Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

  • S. H. Steinberg
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


In 1863 the Russian Empire was an absolute monarchy; the whole executive, legislative and judicial power was united in the Tsar. The area was 7•6m sq. miles (including the grand-duchy of Finland, the kingdom of Poland and the colony of Alaska); the population was 74m. Until 1861, 22m. of these had been serfs owned by 109,340 proprietors and another 22m. crown serfs owned by the Tsar. By imperial decree of 3 March 1861 effective on 3 March 1863 serfdom was abolished, but the redemption payments, calculated for 49 years, left the peasants in abject poverty. The Orthodox Church with about 56m. adherents was the established religion; no member was permitted to leave it; there were also 6•5m. Roman Catholics (mainly in Poland), 4m. Protestants (mainly in the Baltic provinces), 2•5m. Moslems and 2m. Jews (who were excluded from Russia proper).

Soyuz Sovyetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik


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Books of Reference

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1963

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. H. Steinberg
    • 1
  1. 1.The Royal Historical SocietyUK

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