The article examines one of the key problems of Russian history - the time of the rise and development of bourgeois relations in the country. This problem is now the subject of discussion by Soviet historians.
Drawing on the materials and conclusions set forth in the recently published work by the Smolensk historian D. P. Makovsky entitled "The Development of Money-Commodity Relations in the Agriculture of the Russian State in the 16th Century," the author maintains that the turn to capitalism in the social and economic development of Russia took place already in the 16th century. The article cites interesting facts on the development of Russian towns, money circulation, 16th century home and foreign trade, the impact of the "revolution of prices" on Russia and the mercantile policy pursued by Ivan the Terrible. All these facts, in the author's opinion, were by no means exceptional or accidental; they signified the initial stage in the process of disintegration of feudalism and fully harmonized with similar processes taking place at that time in the countries of Western Europe.
Contending the opinion that the relations of production at patrimonial and possessional manufactures continued to remain feudal in character, the author holds that any manufacture is the product of bourgeois development. Hence, he does not share the view that the appearance of the first manufactures employing wage or serf labour is the most important sign of the initial disintegration of feudal relationships. The process of disintegration, in his opinion, began earlier in the sphere of agriculture with the extension of its output for the market.
The article devotes considerable attention to the problem of disintegration of the basic natural economy elements in the countryside of feudal Russia. The author believes that the process of transition from duty in kind to money in mid - 16th century led to the extension of peasant trade in farm products, to the ruination of one ... Read more