The Ties that Bind: The Role of the Russian Clan in Inheritance and Property Law

  • Lee A. Farrow


In Woe from Wit, Alexander Griboedov’s character Famusov describes the central role of the family in Imperial Russia:

Very few people work with me who aren’t relations

Most of them are my sister’s children,

Or else my sister-in-law’s; there’s only one exception—

Molchalin—that’s because he is so capable

But when it comes to putting up a name

For a nice post, or some small decoration,

One has to think of kith and kin!1

Russia was not unique in this, of course. Aristocratic societies across Europe relied on family ties and patronage for positions at the court, in the church, and in the military. Nepotism was the rule, rather than the exception, and family members were bound together by their successes and failures, politically, economically, and socially.2


Clan Member Immovable Property Family Land Noble Family Service Land 
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Copyright information

© Susan P. McCaffray and Michael Melancon 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee A. Farrow

There are no affiliations available

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