The Economic and Social Development of Russia in the Eighteenth Century.

Serfdom lasted much longer in Russia than in other Western countries because of the economic disadvantages Russia faced. As a result of Peter the Great and the developments he made to the social and economic structures. However, there still seemed to be a huge separation between the nobility and wealthy upper class and the peasants. It seemed that during this time, the rich became richer and the poor became poorer, even clergy lost the status they once had. Clergy became poorer as they lost more revenue and were taxed more and lost land to accommodate for the immense changes being made to the general structure of the empire. Catherine the Great’s empire grew in numbers and in strength and power, however the tsars of Imperial Russia began spending outside of their means to promote the Russian Enlightenment.

In this class, most of the material we’ve read focused mainly on the nobility and upper classes so it was interesting to read a bit more on the lower classes and the struggles they went through while the nobility and upper classes experienced the Russian Enlightenment. Which makes me question how many people were actually affected by the Russian Enlightenment and how was the response to it? How many peasants and lower class citizens aware of the tsar and was there any real contact between the two classes? And how aware were the tsars of the great difference between the lower and upper classes and was there anything really done to rectify it?

One thought on “The Economic and Social Development of Russia in the Eighteenth Century.

  1. The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer is a clear example of the level of influence the wealthy nobility class has on the Russian monarchy. The rich get richer simply because of the Russian rulers, such as Catherine the Great, providing the wealthy nobility with gifts including greater positions of power in order for the rulers to receive greater hold on their reign. Ultimately, I found that the wealthy nobility during this time arguably played an equally essential role to society as the monarchs themselves.

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