Andrey Medushevsky. To what extent did serfdom define the so-called constants of Russian history?

Current debates on the institution of serfdom in international literature show that it is a universal institution that has had serious impact on modern society. Ideas to defend slavery that emerged over the entire span of history are diverse and include different religious, philosophical, economic and social arguments. No less impressive are the arguments against slavery proposed  in the Modern Age inspired  by the Religious Reformation, Enlightenment, the French  Revolution. They reached their maximal concentration during the Civil War in the U.S. (1861–1865) and the serfdom abolition in Russia (1861) and didn't immediately seize  the minds of traditional communities, developing in the struggle against slavery in other countries, movements against segregation and apartheid, modern forms of slavery and slave trade.

At the same time it is obvious that the problem of slavery, firstly, is not exhausted by its classical forms (that can be reduced to the formula of the Roman law of slaves as of "talking tools"); secondly, it doesn't have equal "weight" in national historical and cultural traditions, possessing the capability of being integrated in different economic lifestyles; thirdly, it doesn't stay constant over time, including the direct impact of slavery as social and legal institution, the peculiarities of legal conscience and political practice of different nations. If slavery existed everywhere, what is the difference in its impact on the culture of the U.S., Russia, Brazil, Western European and Asian countries?

Was its impact crucial or temporary? To what extent is it felt today? That's the point of view that underlies the author's perception of the contribution of the serfdom institution (serfdom is in many aspects close to the slavery institution, though they are not identical) to the formation of the so-called constants of Russian history, i.e. the stable and unchanging trends of development that reproduce themselves across historical periods despite the change of forms of their manifestation.