Russian Feudal Hierarchy

Russian feudal hierarchy was quite different than the European feudal hierarchy where a strong and immense central power was created as a result of the feudal system. On the other hand, the scenario was quite different in Russia, where to develop a strong feudal system a powerful central force was created.

Ever since the development of Russian government, there was always a lack of strong central power forces which further weakened the ruling government till the feudal system came into existence. The feudal system in Russia that was intentionally created proved to bring an economic, social and political order in the entire nation.

The system worked out as a land – lord – peasant system and slowly demolished repetitions of earlier failures of any king due to lack of power and influence to make a powerful force against any invader.

In comparison with the European feudal system, it took a much longer time period for the feudal system to flourish properly in the Russia but when it did it took over much adverse, harsher and acerbic form than any other feudal system existing in the world.

Peasants and serfs were given no rights and they were not even allowed to appeal against the non-justice. They were traded like animals and possessed no ownership, not even over their families. Everything that they possessed belonged to their lords.

The Russian feudal hierarchy is discussed as below in terms of increase in power and rights:

Russian Feudal Hierarchy

Russian Feudal Hierarchy

The Serfdom

This simply can be explained as enslavement. The people who were not free and were slaves to their lords were considered serfs. Their lord possessed them like a property or an animal. A lord could beat a serf to death and serf was not even allowed to protect himself against the lord. This was the cruelest and harshest outcome of the feudal system in Russia. They possessed no power or right, not even their families.


Peasants were free men who had taken lands form nobles and were restricted to provide some endowments to their respective lords in return for the favor. But still they were not allowed to take decisions of their own but do possessed their families unlike serfs.


The royal authorities came under this category. They were confined to obey their king and provide ministrations to the king whenever he asked for it. King provided nobles his land to govern and in exchange had their services, military, personal and advisory. Unlike European feudal hierarchy, nobles in Russian feudal hierarchy were allowed to leave the services of the king and return the land whenever they wanted. Nobles possessed powers less to king but more than anyone else in the kingdom.

King/ Prince

The ruler of the kingdom with the supreme power and full rights was the king. He could get any man in jail or got anyone to be sentenced to death. The king owned all the land of the kingdom.