Kuznetsov I.A. The agrarian revolution of 1917 in Russia: Is it worth studying economic history and forgetting the sad end? // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2019. V.4. №1. P. 22-44.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2019-4-1-22-44


The article considers the possible further studies of the economic history of agriculture and the peasantry of the Russian regions in 1861–1914. The author analyzes the theory of Russian revolutions developed by Boris Mironov and identifies logical contradictions in his argumentation. This theory overvalues the significance of random and subjective factors and underestimates the agrarian overpopulation and economic contradictions determined by the agrarian development. The author’s criticism of the “optimistic” paradigm in the economic history of post-reform Russia outlines the objectives of the study of agricultural development and its social consequences for the peasantry. The article proposes to discuss the idea that economic progress and growth of agricultural production in the Black-Earth regions of the South and South-East with their low production costs were the key factors of the crisis due to the relative overproduction of grain in Russia. Many small peasant farms in the old agricultural center could not compete in the grain market and, thus, were pushed out of it and marginalized, reinforced the natural-consumer activities and lost incentives for intensification of production. Market restrictions determined by the overproduction of grain became an important factor of agrarian overpopulation in the central regions. Institutional constraints that existed long before the Stolypin reform were aggravated by agrarian overpopulation that also created the social base for revolution. The agrarian revolution of 1917 was to strengthen the position of the family-labor economy by eliminating payment for the access to land as the main factor of production.


history of Russian revolutions, agrarian revolution, agrarian overpopulation, peasant economy, modernization, B.N. Mironov

About the author

Kuznetsov Igor A., PhD (History), Senior Researcher, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. 119571, Moscow, prosp. Vernadskogo, 82.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


Russian Peasant Studies. Scientific journal

Center for Agrarian studies of the Russian Presidental Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)

Hard copies of the journal can be purchased at the Delo e-store or by subscription in the "Press of Russia" Agency (subscription index - Т81017).

Friends and Partners

Rosa Luxemburg foundation
was a partner of Russian Peasant Studies before it was removed from list of approved foundation in 2022


Here you can make free subscription to mailing list of our Journal.
Subscription allows to receive letters with links to download latest Volume and articles in PDF.