Posadskoe Stroenie

Posadskoe Stroenie


(posad [merchants’ and artisans’ quarters] reform), a series of land-reform, social, and economic measures relating to cities carried out by the Russian government between the late 15th and mid-17th centuries.

The posadskoe stroenie was directed against private feudal landholding in posady and against the zakladnichestvo (subordination) of merchants and artisans to church and secular feudal lords. The measures, also designed to reorganize the posad areas, were part of the state’s serfowning feudal policy regarding cities as of the late 16th century. A series of posadskoe stroenie measures were carried out by Ivan III, Vasilii III, the Selected Council, Boris Godunov, and Mikhail Romanov. The posadskoe stroenie became more extensive from 1645, when owing to uprisings of posadskie liudi (merchants and artisans) the government of B. I. Morozov carried out a policy of posad reform in Vladimir, Suzdal’, and a number of other cities. However, the government began taking measures to end private feudal landholding in cities only after the urban uprisings of 1648.

The principles of the posadskoe stroenie were formulated in Article 19 of the Assembly Code (1649): all private landholdings in the posady were to be confiscated without compensation, each posad was allotted suburban land for pasture and gardening, all persons under the protection of feudal magnates were to be returned to the posady, and inhabitants of the confiscated privately owned slobody (tax-exempt settlements) and feudal lords’ households became members of the taxed posad commune. Slu-zhilye liudi po priboru (servitors by contract) were compelled either to sell their commercial and artisan establishments to the posadskie liudi within three months or to become taxed members of the posad commune. Exclusions were made for strel’tsy (semi-professional musketeers) and for some military service cossacks. Trade and handicrafts were declared to be a monopoly of the posadskie liudi. It was forbidden to leave the posad and transfer from one posad to another. A new criminal office, established to enforce the reform and headed by Prince Iu. A. Dolgorukii, carried out the posadskoe stroenie throughout Russia between 1649 and 1652. As a result, and despite many departures from the articles of the Ulozhenie (Code) of 1649, the trading and commercial population of the posady increased by 10,095 households. The reform had a great impact on the further socioeconomic development of Russian cities.


Smirnov, P.P. Posadskie liudi i ikh klassovaia bor’ba do serediny XVII v., vols. 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947–48.
Nazarov, V. D. “Klassovaia bor’ba gorozhan i pravitel’stvo B. Godunova.” In Goroda feodal’noi Rossii: Sb. st. Moscow, 1966.