When referring in English to the dominant agricultural system in the southern US pre-1865, one typically says something like "plantation slavery," and reasonably-educated people "know what you're talking about"--estates with very large spatial extents and chattel-slave populations growing cash crops. Similarly, one can use the term "hacienda system" to refer to similar operations in Latin America (both before and after abolition of slavery), or "latifundia" for ancient Rome.

Is there a term widely used to refer to the serf-operated, large-estate system of the Russian grainbelt before the 1861 abolition? I sometimes see references to obshchina and mir, but IIUC (1) those are governing structures, and (2) even a relatively small estate would have several mir.

  • 1
    The threshold would be here around 1917, but– "помещики"? Another one is "крепостные", which is about pre-1861. But both terms are about people, not systems. And it's sort of too late for me to try and find the system-describing word. To throw in more: "барщина", "оброк", "надел". Nothing fits 100%. Commented Sep 2, 2018 at 0:01
  • Крепостное право? Not sure what exactly you’re looking for. Commented Sep 2, 2018 at 1:30
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serfdom_in_Russia
    – Alex_ander
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 4:53

2 Answers 2


I can't tell for certain, but after a bit of a research it seems that two terms could be used around the period in question to designate this type of economic system (if you're after the historical term)

помѣщичье хозяйство

крѣпостное хозяйство

Both occur in modern historiography but this fact alone wouldn't prove their use in the XIX century. Still their occurrence in pre-reform orthography is i think a good indication of their currency in or shortly after the relevant time period.

That said, помѣщичье хозяйство was practised until 1917 when it was abolished by the Land Decree which read:

  1. «Помещичья собственность на землю отменяется немедленно без всякого выкупа»

Крепостное право (serfdom) is the name for the economical system (and also a historical phase) in Russia before 1861. It is not about agriculture exactly, although most peasants worked in this area.

Поместье (estate) and помещик (landlord) is used to talk about land and its owners respectively. But the terms do not imply particularly big size of the household. For the owners of big amount of land you may use крупноземельный помещик. Помещики, however, survived the serfdom abolition in 1861 because they still owned most of the land after it.

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