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?