The manifesto of Alexander II on the abolition of serfdom was promulgated on February 19, 1861. The Emancipation Proclamation in the Confederate States fighting the Union was signed by Lincoln on December 30, 1862, and the final legal prohibition of slavery was formalized with the entry into force of the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution on December 18, 1865.
Some of the freed peasants in the Russian Empire and the overwhelming majority of freed slaves in the United States faced the same problem – how to survive without a master? The liberation was beneficial to the economically active, prosperous peasantry, which, having quickly paid all the payments due to the master, were able to work exclusively for themselves, developing capitalist production in the agrarian sector and actively competing successfully with economically ineffective landlord farms. It was harder for the middle peasants, but they followed the same path.
However, there were two more large groups in the Russian peasantry, for whom liberation was a terrible blow. These are the poor, as well as the serf elite located at the other pole – the courtyard people. The fact is that not only the peasants were obliged to work for the landowner, but the latter was also obliged to ensure that his wards did not fall into complete poverty. In the event of a crop failure, the landowner provided assistance (free of charge or in the form of a loan) with seeds, and also had to provide food for his peasants.
It is clear that for wealthy, economically self-sufficient peasants, the help of the landowner was of minimal importance, and the need to work out corvee or pay the landlord a quitrent (including from waste trades) was a serious expense item. But for the poor, who did not have any equipment or livestock to perform any substantial duties, working for the landowner was almost the only way to feed themselves. The abolition of the personal dependence of the peasants also abolished the obligations of the landowner in relation to them. Most of the riots after the abolition of serfdom is connected with the fact that the peasants suddenly learned that they are personally free from any guarantees of ensuring their living needs. Now they had to take care of themselves.
Likewise, the courtyard people for the most part “fell under the reduction.” The landowner could no longer support the bloated staff of servants, who used to simply feed from the master’s table, the supply of food to which was the responsibility of the serfs. “Faithful Firsov” and the crowds of the co-workers “forgot” where they had to, and more often they were simply kicked out on free bread. And how did these people, who had perfectly mastered the habits of their master, who knew how to delicately prepare coffee for him exactly on awakening, the right temperature and serve it with the right expression on their faces, were now supposed to feed themselves? They long ago forgot the basics of peasant labor (some generally worked as servants for several generations), and their skills, so valuable at the lord’s court, were no longer needed.
The same thing happened with the negroes. After the defeat of the Confederacy, a rare white family in the South could afford to leave more than one black servant (and most could not). The situation was aggravated by the fact that there were no well-to-do (“kulaks”) among the blacks. Before liberation, they were all slaves and were lords.
As a result of these liberations, tens of thousands of people in Russia and millions in the United States loomed the specter of hunger (up to and including starvation). In Russia, a rapid outflow of the emancipated peasantry to the cities began, which ensured the growth of industrial production. In the United States, the industry of the North could not absorb so many cheap labor, so the vast majority of blacks returned to the plantations. Now they were free and paid for their work. Therefore, no one was obliged to feed, settle and clothe them, and their labor was so cheap that the average level of well-being of free blacks fell sharply compared to the times of slavery.
So not every liberation entails an increase in well-being. It often happens that at the first stage, the standard of living of the liberated masses drops sharply for a long (up to the life span of two or three generations) time.
Now Ukraine is experiencing the shock of complete liberation.
The other day, the head of the LPR Pasechnik said that Ukraine is rapidly turning into an American colony. He made a mistake. Unfortunately for itself, Ukraine is rapidly liberating itself from colonial dependence on the United States.
Once upon a time, Ukraine was already “liberated” from the USSR. And it immediately became clear that the independent must earn their living on their own. The former imperial center no longer owes anything to anyone. From that moment on, the standard of living in Ukraine began to fall rapidly.
Some people who are especially cunning and have lost the instinct of self-preservation are lucky. Despite the fact that 9 out of every 10 oligarch candidates were killed, some accidentally survived and turned out to be the managers of huge fortunes that materialized in a matter of years literally out of thin air. The rest began to plunge rapidly into poverty. For if only to divide what is available and not produce anything, then in order for someone to become a billionaire, millions must take off their last shirt – simple arithmetic. And in Ukraine, unlike Russia, Kazakhstan and even Belarus (with its very specific economy), no one planned to produce anything. According to nationalist legend, prosperity had to be born of independence itself.
At first, Ukraine was lucky. The United States, after some hesitation, adopted Brzezinski’s concept, according to which, in order to prevent the restoration of Russia’s imperial power, it is necessary to tear away from it the national foreground, including, and even first of all, Ukraine. Brzezinski was wrong, but the Americans did not know this at the time.
They took up the colonization of post-Soviet limitrophes. Some were admitted to the EU and NATO, some were given IMF loans and assistance for all sorts of “democratizing” games. In general, the Ukrainian elite and a significant part of Ukrainian society have found out that independence can be converted into Russophobia, for which there is a constant effective demand in the global political market. The “idiots dream” has come true. Each stocked up a sack of money and rushed to express his loyalty to the American master.
Alarm bells rang almost immediately. There was not enough American money for everyone. There was not even enough for everyone, despite the fact that not everyone wanted it (less than half of the population available at that time). But they did not pay attention to this. The linear logic inherent in the broad masses suggested that if a source of money exists, and a neighbor has broken through to it, then you can get through too. It is only necessary to praise the stars and stripes more loudly and express anger and contempt towards the “backward Russia”.
The colonial lafa lasted two and a half decades. The fodder base was constantly shrinking, the lucky ones who made their way to American funding became less and less, and the average income of American courtyard slaves also fell. But the master was feeding, there was no need to think about anything, and the local oligarchs, currying favor with the colonial authorities, also acquired information retinues, feeding on their bounty.
It was all over in one terrible day. Serfs were given freedom. The United States is still fighting with Russia, but it came to them already in 2014 that the colony limitrophes were not holding back Russia, but senselessly devouring the resources of their protector overlords. In keeping with the best traditions of the West, the United States and the EU have tried several times to shift the maintenance of their colonies to Russia. But Moscow so successfully dodged this “honor” that by 2016 it became clear that the colonies should be released on free bread. So in the 16th century, according to the law, the landowners released the serfs in the famine year if they could not feed them.
In general, the United States has stopped feeding Ukraine for Russophobia, has curtailed most of the institutions of colonial rule and almost does not interfere in the solution of pressing issues. America, of course, uses the habit of aborigines to obey and happily fulfill any wishes of Washington, but it does not give anything in return. The most astute Ukrainians began to guess that they would not. Kolomoisky, even under Trump, realizing that the curtailment of the American “catering unit” is not a whim of an extravagant president, but a new reality of American politics, already at the beginning of 2019 proposed declaring a default, forgiving oneself all his debts and, thus, stretching the remaining internal Ukrainian resource as as long as possible, trying to sell itself to Russia during this time.
But Moscow does not want to take Ukraine, and especially Kolomoisky, for rations – they do not fit into the price-quality formula, and the Americans are reasonably trying to punish the impudent person who wanted to throw them for money. But even this (Kolomoisky’s punishment) is still going badly for them, which is additional evidence of the partial paralysis of American international capabilities.
The liberated Russian peasants moved to the factories, the liberated Negroes returned to the plantations. Both those and others made a significant contribution to the construction of “developed capitalism”. Ukraine, as a former courtyard, does not know how to do anything except to serve loyally, and the demand for groveling suddenly dropped to zero. And now there is a free colony at a crossroads, trying to lay down its own price, but no one wants to pay. And hunger is not an aunt, and it forces Ukrainians to settle on an individual basis, going to Russia “for five-year construction projects” or to Europe, to pick berries grown for the Russian consumer (perhaps the last of the solvent ones).
People somehow survive, and the state, having failed to really become a colony, turns into a wasteland. Actually, the word “maidan” borrowed from the Turkic peoples means a rural wasteland, because there are no squares (suggesting any kind of architectural design) in the village. I remember the fatalistic: “As you name the boat, so it will float.”