Ulozhenie of 1607

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ulozhenie of 1607


a law code adopted on Mar. 9, 1607, at a joint session of the Boyar Duma and the Holy Council presided over by Tsar Vasilii Ivanovich Shuiskii. The Ulozhenie defined the status of the peasants and kholopy (slaves), affirmed the prohibition of the vykhod krest’ianskii (peasant’s right to leave his feudal lord), and restored the importance of the pistsovye knigi (cadastres) of the 1590’s as the ultimate legal basis of serfdom. The new code superseded the peasant legislation of Boris Godu-nov and the First False Dmitrii.

In accordance with the Ulozhenie, all suits concerning runaway and abducted serfs filed before Sept. 1,1607, were to be satisfied; claims arising after this date were subject to a 15-year limit on the submission of petitions concerning ownership of peasants. The Ulozhenie confirmed that a peasant was the personal property of his owner and had to be returned to the owner with his family and property. The new code also introduced a number of measures against persons who sheltered runaway or abducted serfs. The sanctions were not applicable to old cases, except those to be decided in 1607. The Ulozhenie instituted procedures for the apprehension of runaways: local government officials were required to keep watch over the composition of the populace and to investigate each new peasant or kholop who appeared in their area. Under the code, unmarried kholopy were to be freed if the owner did not arrange for their marriage or set them free.

The implementation of the Ulozhenie was cut short by the Peasant War of the early 17th century, and the 15-year term for the apprehension of runaways was not reestablished until the 1640’s.


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