Uncle Vanya Historical Context

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In 1861, one year after Chekhov was born, Czar Alexander II abolished serfdom in Russia. Serfs were essentially slaves and were forced to work for their owners unless they could purchase their own freedom. Once peasants were no longer owned by others, they were not necessarily free because most of them had no possessions and were enslaved through indebtedness. In the 1860s, peasants constituted eighty percent of the population of Russia.

Once serfdom was abolished, Russia underwent a period of social unrest, characterized by student rebellion and protests by political radicals. In 1872, Karl Marx's Das Kapital was translated into Russian and the Russian people were introduced to the basic tenets of communism. In 1881, Czar Alexander II was assassinated by terrorists. Alexander III assumed rule of the country, and what followed was a time of mass arrests and deportations. Alexander III ruled until his death in 1894, when Czar Nicholas assumed...

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This section contains 663 words
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Uncle Vanya from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.