Pokhozhie Krestiane

Pokhozhie Krest’iane


(pokhozhie liudi; mobile peasants, mobile men), peasants in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 15th and 16th centuries who were vassals but retained the right of departure. They did not usually possess a hereditary plot of land but concluded an agreement with a feudal lord and settled on his land in exchange for rent or services; they were freed for an agreed-upon number of years from all or part of their obligations. The pokhozhie krest’iane had the right to leave their lord after they had fulfilled the terms of their agreement and lived on the land while supplying services for as many years as they had lived on the land without supplying services. Because of this right of departure, these peasants were also called free peasants.

As the corvée system developed in the 16th century, the nobility strove to impede peasant departure in every way possible. According to the Lithuanian statute of 1588, pokhozhie krest’iane who lived on land for ten years without paying off their debts lost the right of departure. In the early 17th century, this category of peasants merged with the mass of enserfed peasantry.


Pokhilevich, D. L. “Izmenenie pravovogo polozheniia krest’ian Velikogo kniazhestva Litovskogo ν XVI v.” Uch. zap. L’vovskogo gosudarstven-nogo universiteta, 1953. Page 25.