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(Russian, mezha), a narrow strip of uncultivated land, usually overgrown with weeds (mezhnik), that served as the zone between two pieces of landed property.
Boundaries were established by land surveys; sometimes they were indicated by boundary marks. They came into existence when the individual peasants or peasant families began to hold land and when the primitive clan commune developed into a communal organization of neighbors. As part of a system in which private property in land existed, boundaries served to separate the lands of one holder from those of another (separating peasant landed possessions from each other and from those of the pomeshchiki [landlords], state, and crown), as well as to demarcate peasant plots within the lands of the commune. Boundaries were altered when lands were purchased, sold, or, in the case of communes, repartitioned. Special legislation existed to deal with boundaries. During the class struggle of peasants against pomeshchiki, there were instances of the former seizing the lands of the latter; the seizures were usually accompanied by the ploughing up and destruction of the boundaries. Often there were arguments and sharp clashes among the village population over the accuracy of the boundaries and over their preservation.
In the USSR, where the system of socialist land tenure exists, the imperfect system of boundaries has been replaced by a more accurate system of land boundaries determined on the basis of modern land allocation.