The emancipation edict was a decree made by the than tsar of Russia, Alexander II, which changed Russian society forever. Before the decree the Russian society was dominated by the use of serfs who were slaves. Since this was the 19 century it was a common practice to have slaves, but this was detrimental for the Russians as they contributed 90% of the total population. This lack of freedom meant that Russia as a whole could not progress as progression required education and innovation, both elements greatly lagging in the Russian experience. This also showed with their mortality rate of only having a life expectancy up to the age of 40 whereas the other western world had it up to 50, a staggering 10 year difference. The tsar recognised this and in 1861 announced a decree which would free all serfs with them being given land and their freedom. Although the Crimean war was the real catalyst which demanded reform as Russia’s humiliating defeat in it threatened their superpower status. The decree stated that the serfs would be given land to them by their Mir, village, and freedom immediately. In return the serfs would pay a 49 year redemption payment to the government and were not allowed to leave their commune until it was paid. The Mir was responsible for the allocation of the land under the supervision of the volosts who had replaced the landowners. There was also a 2 year obligation period for the serfs to work on their allotted land before being completely free. The results of this decree were varied. It created people on both sides of the economic spectrum. The decree created kulaks that did well on their land allocations. Some of the serfs who made money and ended up changing their social class became known as kulaks. The kulaks made their money in two ways, some bought up extra land and increase their yield for surplus to export and others sold their allocations and raised their living standard by simply moving to the now industrialising city. However, some serfs felt cheated due to the fact of the partisan land distribution. The distributions were also impractical as they were to small and due to inheritance the land kept on growing smaller which was a deterrence to innovation in agriculture as the families could not afford a year of bad harvest. In 1878 only 50% of the peasantry was able to produce a surplus which meant that they had no improvement in their living standards. The Mir’s did not allow their inhabitants to leave as they did not want to increase the burden on the other peasantry as if some of the peasantry left than the Mir would have to pay on redundant land no being operated on. There were also violent outbreaks in the country side from the less fortunate peasantry who resented the kulaks success and missed previous safety net of the commune which was now slowly being abolished. The Tsars decree can be seen as necessary for the growth of the Russian society, and it was but in doing so it created and fuelled social unrest. It caused the vast majority of the Russian population to resent each other despite causing good from the perspective of hindsight. The decree helped create a middle class in a society that previously has only a ruling and a slave class, but by doing so they implanted the seeds of revolution which would later come and overthrow the Romanov dynasty which ruled Russia for over 300 years. The edict was the start of the end of the autocratic Russian society.