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A Public EmpireProperty and the Quest for the Common Good in Imperial Russia$
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Ekaterina Pravilova

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159058

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159058.001.0001

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Forests, Minerals, and the Controversy over Property in Post-Emancipation Russia

Forests, Minerals, and the Controversy over Property in Post-Emancipation Russia

(p.55) 2 Forests, Minerals, and the Controversy over Property in Post-Emancipation Russia
A Public Empire

Ekaterina Pravilova

Princeton University Press

The idea of private property, borrowed by Catherine the Great from Europe, was transplanted into an economic order based on serfdom and hierarchical patrimonial relations. Peasants were seen as being attached to land—along with rivers, forests, and whatever else this land might contain on and beneath its surface. This chapter traces the transformation of property rights set off by the reforms of the 1860s and, most importantly, the emancipation of the serfs, through the analysis of two acute issues in the Russian economy—the preservation of forests and the exploitation of mineral resources. It analyzes how the emancipation of peasants in 1861 affected the system of property rights designed in different economic conditions. It shows which elements of Catherine's vision of property survived through the reform, and how her legacy affected the post-emancipation vision, practice, and politics of property.

Keywords:   Catherine the Great, private property, serfdom, patrimonial relations, forest preservation, mineral resources, emancipation, peasants, property rights

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