The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a category of feudally dependent persons in Russia from the tenth to early 18th centuries. The legal status of kholopy closely resembled that of slaves.

The term kholop is encountered for the first time in the chronicles in an entry for the year 986. During the 11 th and 12th centuries the word was applied to various categories of dependent members of the population, especially slaves. A master could dispose of the person of a kholop in any way he pleased; for example, he could kill the kholop, sell him, or give him to someone else in payment of a debt. By the same token, the master was responsible for such actions on the part of the kholop as injuring a freeman or stealing. A man became a kholop as a result of being taken prisoner, selling himself, being sold for debts or crimes, or marrying a kholopka (female kholop).

Until the late 15th century, the kholopy constituted the majority of the cheliad’, who worked the masters’ lands. Many kholopy, primarily those in household service, engaged in handicrafts, agricultural labor, and administrative duties and filled the ranks of the princes’ servants, which included soldiers. Over the course of the 16th century, as increasing numbers of peasants were drawn into servitude, the importance of kholopy in the barshchina (corvée) economy diminished. In the late 16th and the 17th century, it was very common for kholopy to serve in the military. At the end of the 17th century there appeared kholopy who lived on the land, farmed specific plots, and paid obrok (quit-rent). Between 1722 and 1724, those kholopy who had been household servants were required to pay the poll tax, thus becoming ordinary serfs.

The kholopy were active participants in the antifeudal struggle.


Kliuchevskii, V. O. “Podushnaia podat’ i otmena kholopstva v Rossii.” Soch., vol. 7. Moscow, 1959.
lakovlev, A. Kholopstvo i kholopy v Moskovskom gosudarstve XVII v., vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1943.
Paneiakh, V. M. Kabal’noe kholopstvo na Rusi v XVI v. Leningrad, 1967.
Paneiakh, V. M. Kholopstvo v XVI-nachale XVII v. Leningrad, 1975.
Kolycheva, E. I. Kholopstvo i krepostnichestvo (konets XV-XVI v.). Moscow, 1971.
Zimin, A. A. Kholopy na Rusi. Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sin embargo, cabe notar que el vocablo deriva del lexico economico, "donde el dueno de la tierra era llamado gossudar y sus inquilinos eran sus kholopy o esclavos".
The index includes few conceptual nouns and is absent kholopy, strel'tsy, "and many other terms repeated throughout the text are absent.