in Russia, the period during which legal action for the return of fugitive peasants could be initiated by the peasants’ owners.
Urochnye leta were introduced in the 1590’s after the right of peasants to leave their lords on St. George’s Day had been abolished with the introduction of the forbidden years (zapovednye leta), during which there was a total ban on departure. A ukase of Nov. 24, 1597, established a five-year term for finding and recovering peasants. The term was lengthened to 15 years by the Ulozhenie of 1607, but as a result of the Peasant War of the early 17th century, the new term was not actually enforced. During the reign of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich, the five-year term was once more in effect, but in 1639 the term was lengthened to nine years. In 1642 it was increased to ten years for the recovery of fugitives and 15 for the recovery of peasants who had been abducted by other owners.
The Sobornoe Ulozhenie of 1649 completely abolished the time limit for the recovery of fugitive peasants, thus completing the formulation of the legal basis for serfdom.