Changes and Continuities in labor systems in Russia
Between 1750 and 1914, England, Germany, and Western Europe were all expanding. England was gaining land and trust in the Middle East, Germany was becoming an established nation, and Western Europe was thriving due to the Industrial Revolution. After recognizing all of this, Russia decided it was time for reform or be left in the dust. This caused major changes in Russia’s labor system such as emancipation of the serfs and industrialization to keep up with the changing world. Although they were going through these changes, there were continuities such as the treatment of the serfs and the type of reform they were doing.
Huge changes came to Russia when the tsar Alexander II came to power. His reforms freed the serfs and industrialized the nation’s economy. In the past, Russian serfs were tied to the land and worked on the land for the land owners and received no pay. While they were permitted to have farms of their own, serfs had to work the lord’s land whenever called upon, even during times of harvest when their own crops need harvesting or tending. Due to Alexander II’s reforms, these serfs were freed. Once these serfs were freed, they either went into the city to look for work or out to the country to find land. Many also fled to surrounding societies to escape the Russian hardships of being a serf. Russian labor was also changed through Industrialization, also influenced by Alexander II’s reforms. Factories and railroads expanded and industries like coal, steel, and petroleum boomed. Serfs who were emancipated found easy work in factories that were booming. With new industries creating new jobs and plenty of freed serfs to take them, the Russian labor system greatly changed between 1750 and 1914.
Even though there were many changes like the emancipation of the serfs and industrialization, some continuity remained such as the treatment of serfs and...