The Empire of the Tsars and the Russians

By Anatole L. Leroy-Beaulieu; Zaenaefde A. Ragozin | Go to book overview
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BOOK VIII. CHAPTER VII.

The Communal System and the Struggle between "Great" and "Small"
Landed Property-The Mir, the Peasant's Entail--Transformations
which the Agrarian Commune might Undergo--Can this System be
Adapted to Modern Manners?--What is Legislature to Do with Regard
to Collective Tenure?--Can we See in the Mir a Palladium of Society?
--Illusions on this Subject--The Communal System and the Population
Problem--Collective Tenure and Emigration--Village Communities
and Agrarian Socialism.

THE competition between personal and collective tenure will be made more complicated in Russia by the habitual competition between "great" and "small" property, "great" and "small" culture. There is not only the question as to which mode of tenure, but also that as to which mode of culture is finally to carry the day. Habit and succession laws are not alone to regulate the extent of the land to be owned or tilled by one individual; the structure of the soil, its agricultural aptitude and that of the climates also have their say. There are localities cut up, slashed into strips by nature herself, which seem meant for small farms. There are cultures, that of the vine, for instance, which demand division of labor, and consequently call for division of the soil. The question is, what system, from this double point of view, would be the most remunerative and the most natural to the country? If any spot on earth seems to be made on purpose for wholesale culture carried on by machinery, is it not those immense tchernoziòm plains, where there is nothing to hinder the machines? or those boundless steppes where flocks sometimes have to be taken miles to water? True, just now the great landholders are

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