By Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii
It is a translation of 1 of the only a few Russian serfs' memoirs. Savva Purlevskii recalls his lifestyles in Russian serfdom and the lives of his grandparents, mom and dad, and fellow villagers. He describes kin communal lifestyles and the serfs' day-by-day interplay with landlords and specialists. Purlevskii got here from an in the beginning wealthy kinfolk that later turned impoverished. Early in his adolescence, he misplaced his father. Purlevskii didn't have an opportunity to achieve a proper schooling. He lived below serfdom until eventually 1831 whilst on the age of 30, he escaped his servitude.
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Additional info for A Life Under Russian Serfdom: The Memoirs of Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii, 1800-68
48 The meshchane was a social estate in Russia and referred to the urban petite bourgeoisie (townspeople). Ostashkovskie meshchane were townspeople from the city of Ostashkovo, in Tver’ province. OUR VILLAGE, ITS INHABITANTS AND OWNERS | 31 nunciation was issued—Savva Iakovlevich lost his tax farm and was himself expelled from St. Petersburg. Of course this was unpleasant, but with money one can live well anywhere. 49 As for St. Petersburg and Moscow, he owned many houses in both places. Whether before that time or after, I do not know, he had five sons and a daughter: Peter, Ivan, Gavrilo, Mikhail and Sergei.
No one can reproach me for laziness or dishonesty. If we, by Almighty Providence, must be serfs, at the same time we have not been deprived of the means to better our way of life. Although the arable land we have is not enough to sustain ourselves, we have the freedom of choice to do everything we can. The location of our village clearly compensates for the scarcity of arable land, because it provides the means for trade and for other business for everyone and as everyone pleases. We are sometimes clever in domestic trade, but how many of us really make good use of it?
I followed them, too. One guy would start digging at one place, another at a different one, but all without success. But I found either a half-kopeck or a five-kopeck coin everywhere I dug. I amazed everyone, and even I myself felt an unrestrained excitement. In the meantime, my grandma was sitting on a bench by our house with other peasant women. Several times I brought her my “discoveries,” and she and her company started talking about the former owner, the childless elderly man, who in reality did indeed hide his money.