(obligated peasants), former enserfed peasants in Russia who entered into contracts with landlords on the basis of the ukase of Apr. 2, 1842. The ukase was the result of the work of a secret committee established on Nov. 10, 1839, in order to fix the conditions under which peasants could be emancipated. This ukase was not related to the previous ukase on free cultivators. By an agreement of the landlords with the peasants, confirmed by the government, peasants acquired personal freedom, although the landlords retained the right to maintain an estate police force. The land remained the property of the landlord, who granted the peasants a plot in return for a “commensurate” obrok (quitrent) or barshchina (corvée). No provisions were made with respect to limiting the power of the landlords, and it was not incumbent on the landlords to conclude such agreements. The ukase of 1842 was not of fundamental significance: of 10 million serfs, only 24,708 males were transferred to the status of obligated peasants before 1855.
REFERENCESPolnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi imperii: Sobranie vtoroe, vol. 17. St. Petersburg, 1843, no. 15462.
Semevskii, V. I. Krest’ianskii vopros v Rossii v XVIII i pervoi polovine XIX v, vol. 2. St. Petersburg, 1888.
Ocherki istorii SSSR: Vtoraia chetvert’ XIX v. Leningrad, 1957.