The difference between rent and corvee.

It seems to us that the phenomena of past eras are infinitely far from us, hidden by the veil of time... But in fact, in order to better understand and correctly evaluate the events taking place in reality, one must necessarily know the history. How did such obligations of peasants as quitrent and corvee differ from each other? Let's try to figure it out.


Obrok - payment, expressed in food or money, which the peasants gave to the landlords.

Barshchina - forced free labor of serfs on the landowner's land with their own personal tools.


Barshchina, the free work of serfs on the landowners' land, was borrowed from Western Europe and appeared during the times of Kievan Rus. At first, it spread to those parts of the country that were under Polish-Lithuanian occupation. It was compulsory free labor, and the peasant cultivated the landowner's allotments with his own implements. The duties included plowing, and harvesting grain and hay, and building houses, and cultivating gardens, and spinning flax, and brewing beer, and baking bread. It developed gradually: at first it was one day of compulsory work per week. At first, corvee was not legally supported, the peasant could pay off his duties by paying a tax. But then the conditions of corvee became more and more stringent with every century, becoming unbearable for the peasants. The peasants had to serve up to 30-40 days of duty for each of their land. After the reform of 1861, which consisted in the abolition of serfdom, corvee remained only as a temporary obligation and was determined by a voluntary agreement between the landlord and the peasant. Monetary quitrent became the main form of duty.

The rent existed from about the same time as the corvee, but was less common. The rent is money or products that the peasant gave to the landowner. The rent paid in food was called in kind, and money, respectively, was called monetary. Natural quitrent, in contrast to corvee, consisted in the collection of the surplus product by the landowner, which was produced by the peasant on his farm. Money quitrent was charged less frequently, since it was more difficult for peasants to get money.


  1. Barshchina - unpaid labor of a serf on the land of a landowner with his personal tools, quitrent - cash or food payment.
  2. The corvee could be served by the peasants not only in favor of the landowner, but also in favor of churches, monasteries, educational institutions.
  3. Corvee has existed since the times of Kievan Rus and was more common than quitrent.
  4. Corvee was based on the cultivation of the land. The rent could be obtained by a third-party trade, not related to agriculture.
  5. The landowner could demand payment of the rent in advance.
  6. The landowners preferred that the peasant served corvee, since in this case the amount of labor was determined only by the desires and needs of the landowner. But for the nobles, living in cities without leaving, it was more profitable to receive a quitrent.
  7. It was believed that the peasant became theoretically freer on the quitrent than on the corvee.