Outline History of the U.S.S.R

Outline History of the U.S.S.R

Outline History of the U.S.S.R

Outline History of the U.S.S.R

Excerpt

The slave states of Europe and the Near East underwent a process of decay between the 3rd and 6th centuries. The unproductive labour of slaves hampered the development of productive forces, and attempts on the part of slave-owners to increase production by intensified exploitation led to a sharpening of the class struggle and mass insurrections. At the same time the primitive clan communities of the "barbarians" (Slav and Germanic tribes) were disintegrating; this process was accompanied by armed raids on a gigantic scale that greatly enriched the tribal aristocracy; the barbarians dealt the decaying slave states heavy blows from without. In the middle of the 3rd century, for example, the Slav tribes took part in raids on the Roman Empire. The slave states had entered a phase of profound crisis.

The East Slavs bypassed the slave-owning period of history and found the labour of peasants, themselves interested in the improvement of their farms, to be more productive than that of slaves. An aristocracy grew up within the primitive clan community that had managed to accumulate considerable property and had begun to seize the chief means of production, the land; the aristocracy then turned to the exploitation of peasant labour. This was the beginning of feudalism, a new system of social relations with new classes -- the land-owning feudal lords and peasants dependent on and exploited by them. The basis of . . .

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