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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) The merchants’ and artisans’ quarter, initially located outside the fortified section of Russian feudal cities. The posad was formed as a result of the development of the social division of labor, which led to the separation of crafts and agriculture, and as a result of the concentration of merchants and artisans in the cities (seeCITY: Historical survey of the development of the city). Initially these sections of cities were called podoly (“the flats”), since they were usually situated below the city fortress; this fortress, built on an elevated site, contained the residence of the feudal government and the households of the feudal lords. Beginning in the late 12th and 13th centuries, the term was replaced by posad.

From the 15th to the 17th century the population of merchants and artisans, called posadskie liudi, constituted one of the tax-paying classes of the Russian state, and the land on which the posad was located was considered to be the property of the supreme feudal state. In the 16th and 17th centuries private feudal estates within the posad, the “white” slobody (tax-exempt settlements) and households, were abolished in the process of posad reform.

The posady of large cities comprised the successively smaller subdivisions of the sloboda, sotnia, and polusotnia. As the posady grew in importance, walls were built surrounding them. The largest cities, such as Moscow, Novgorod, and Pskov, used stone for these walls; other cities used wood.

(2) In the 17th and 18th centuries, a commercial and industrial center, originally built without a fortress but considered to be a city; its population was included in the class of posadskie liudi

The above meanings of the term posad gradually disappeared as a result of Russian urban reforms carried out in the 1700’s, especially those of the last quarter of the century. The term posad was retained from the end of the 18th to the early 20th century for certain urban-type settlements.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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