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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in Russia, the temporary departure of peasants from their permanent residences in villages to earn money in regions where industry and agriculture were well developed. This practice arose in the period of late feudalism as a result of intensified feudal exploitation and the increasing importance of cash obrok (quitrent), and it played a significant role during the rise of capitalism. Otkhodnichestvo promoted the breakdown of the peasant economy by drawing the peasantry into money relations, and it resulted in the destruction of the conservative ideology. The peasant temporarily became a hired laborer.

Arising in the 17th century on a small scale, otkhodnichestvo increased sharply in the second half of the 18th century, becoming one of the signs of the decline of feudalism. It flourished in the Central Industrial Region, the Urals provinces, and the northern provinces, all of which were unsuited for agriculture and offered opportunities for nonagricultural earnings. In the 1750’s some 15–20 percent of the men in the provinces of Moscow, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, and Vladimir were migrant workers. In the first half of the 19th century, seasonal peasant workers numbered more than 1 million. After the Peasant Reform of 1861, otkhodnichestvo increased sharply owing to the dispossession of peasants during the reforms, the growth of market relations, and the reinforcement of the social division of labor. The development of capitalist agriculture in the middle and lower Volga regions and southern Russia brought seasonal workers to these regions, including workers from the industrial provinces.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, nonagricultural otkhodnichestvo declined because of the emergence of an industrial proletariat and the increasing complexity of industrial production. In 50 years, the proportion of industrial otkhodnichestvo in Moscow Province declined 1½ times. Otkhodnichestvo stimulated class consciousness among the peasantry and helped revolutionize the countryside.


Lenin, V. I. “Razvitie kapitalizma v Rossii.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol: 3.
Shakhovskii, N. V. Sel’skokhoziaistvennye otkhozhie promysly. Moscow, 1896.
Rashin, A. G. “K voprosu o formirovanii rabochego klassa v Rossii v 30–50 gg. XIX v.” In the collection Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 53. Moscow, 1955.
Pankratova, A. M. “Proletarizatsiia krest’ianstva i ee rol’ v formirovanii promyshlennogo proletariata Rossii (60–90 gg. XIX v.).” Ibid., vol. 54. Moscow, 1955.
Koval’chenko, I. D. Russkoe krepostnoe krest’ianstvo v pervoi polovine XIX v. Moscow, 1967.
Fedorov, V. A. Pomeshchich’i krest’iane Tsentral’nopromyshlennogo raiona Rossii kontsa XVIII—pervoi poloviny XIX v. Moscow, 1974.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.