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Piotr Arkadevich Stolypin was appointed as the Russian Minister of the Interior by Czar Nicholas II in May of 1906 and then as the Russian Premier in July. This was a period in Russian history of political and social unrest. Stolypin tried to establish stability and repress disorder by fighting the revolutionary movement in Russia. He did this by trying to establish a class of peasant landowners that would be conservative and loyal to the czar. After Czar Alexander II freed all serfs in 1861, control of land was given to the “mir”, or the village commune, which was responsible for redistributing the land. One of Stolypin’s reforms was to give these peasant communes the right to dissolve themselves and in essence, transform peasants into landowners. It also allowed peasants to seek industrial employment in cities. These reforms were too late. The number of small holdings had increased by the start of the Russian Revolution in 1917, but it was not enough to create the conservative peasant class that Stolypin sought. Stolypin was assassinated by a revolutionary terrorist in 1911.
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