Did Tsarist Russia's political and industrial backwardness result from its rigid and archaic agrarian structure? Did the Russian revolution stem in large part from a parasitical elite's exploitation of an enormous peasant class? Was the Russian peasantry itself backward and 'dark' as a result? The attention contemporaries and historians have lavished on these questions has enshrined them as fundamental issues in Russian history. This text endeavours to recast our understanding of the agrarian problem by uncovering the history of both the physical and mental dimensions of agriculture. Employing literary, agronomic and statistical information on peasant labour and culture, this book also offers new perspectives on the limitations of traditional agriculture to adapt to a rapidly changing economic geography, such as that of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Russia. By taking a ground level view of the evolution of Russian agricultural technique, the author arrives at a very different understanding of the agrarian problem.
The book identifies both the achievements and limitations of peasant farmers in adapting farming practices to the economic and technological challenges of the half century preceding the revolution. Most importantly, the book delves deeply into peasant life and culture to demonstrate how and why farming imrovements did not pass determinable levels.
Publisher: Central European University Press ISBN: 9789639116948 Number of pages: 400 Weight: 905 g Dimensions: 230 x 165 x 34 mm
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