The abolition of serfdom happened in 1861. But the beginning of enslaving of the most numerous at that time of estate began for several centuries before. And one of fundamental documents in this sphere is the Decree on fixed litas.
Fixed summer is the term specifying the time frame during which the landowner or the feudal lord had the right to demand initiation of criminal proceedings and prosecution of the peasant who ran away or passed to other owner.
Main dates and events
The first time this phrase was used in the royal decree of February 20, 1637 in which the five-year term of investigation of peasants was established. In other places and sources this law a nose the name "decree summer". Finally the term was fixed after 1641. Then there was the next decree which established already ten-year term of investigation. In it were used only "fixed summer". But even before term some steps were taken. So, Ivan the Terrible cancelled the right of peasants to pass to other owner on the St. George's day, having published "Reserved summer".
Besides change of the above-stated term, there was some more. So in 1607 in Cathedral the code of 5 years increased to 15. It was one of reasons for Bolotnikov's Revolt. After its suppression this change was not accepted. In 1639 it was necessary to look for peasants 9 years, and in three years this figure increased to 10 if the person ran away. When he was taken away by the new feudal lord, to this number 5 more years increased. And, at last, in 1649 the next Cathedral code the limitation period was cancelled that led to the adoption of the Serfdom.
Reasons and consequences
The decree on fixed litas was necessary for several reasons. First, peasants economically depended on feudal lords, and the last demanded officially it to legalize. Secondly, because of severe natural and climatic conditions the landowners could use cheap labor of peasants, providing the last housing and livelihood. Besides, the state stability of an economic system suffered as individual country farms had extremely small performance. Fixed summer and other documents were necessary for fixing of the dominating estate and creation of the strong base for development of all industries of the country. Thus, peasants finally lost the freedom. At the same time the social structure of the state which existed up to 1917 was fixed. The city population officially had to bear duties. Besides, the official monarchy was approved. Fixed summer 40 years existed then in the 17th century the wave of national protests swept that only aggravated position of peasants.