Dissident 19th-century nobleman philosopher Pyotr Chaadayev called serfdom “a terrible ulcer” and asked: “Why … did the Russian people fall into slavery only after having become Christian? … Can [the Orthodox Church] explain why it did not raise its motherly voice against the repulsive violence committed by one part of the nation against the other?”
My answer: because, Christianity destroyed old tribal power structures in just a couple generations. (See Francis Fukuyama)
The rest of the article is a pretty damning look at Russian history:
In the late 18th century, nobleman Aleksandr Radishchev was exiled to Siberia for publishing his critique of serfdom. At one point in the book, Radishchev’s stance seems at odds with Zorkin’s that it was the abolition of serfdom that produced revolutionary unrest in Russia. It was serfdom itself.
“Tremble, cruel-hearted landlord! On the brow of each of your peasants, I see your condemnation written,” Radishchev wrote.
In 1847, literary critic Vissarion Belinsky penned his famous letter to Nikolai Gogol, in which he wrote that Russia “presents the dire spectacle of a country where men traffic in men without even having the excuse so insidiously exploited by the American plantation owners who claim that the Negro is not a man.”
Russia is “a country where there are not only no guarantees for individuality, honor, and property, but even no police order, and where there is nothing but vast corporations of official thieves and robbers of various descriptions,” Belinsky wrote.