Source: Revised GRE PDF 1st Ed. Section 3: Verbal; #12 (p. 55)


It can be inferred from the passage

It can be inferred from the passage that the “rules and regulations” (lines 9-10) affecting serfdom in Russia involved According to the conventional view, serfdom in nineteenth-century Russia inhibited economic growth. In this view Russian peasants’ status as serfs kept them poor through burdensome taxes in cash, in labor, and in kind; through restrictions on mobility; and through various forms of coercion. Melton, however, argues that serfdom was perfectly compatible with economic growth, because many Russian serfs were able to get around landlords’ rules and regulations. If serfs could pay for passports, they were usually granted permission to leave the estate. If they could pay the fine, they could establish a separate household; and if they had the resources, they could hire laborers to cultivate the communal lands, while they themselves engaged in trade or worked as migrant laborers in cities. Blank: responsibility for the work needed to accomplish certain defined tasks, restrictions on freedom of movement, limitations on the ability to set up an independent household

2 Explanations


Mihir Gada

In my understanding, lines 10-15 are the things they could do if they had money. Further, lines 3-6 describe what affects them because of serfdom. One does not necessarily correlate to the other.
Hence, C - setting up an independent household, would be about lack of money and not hindrance of serfdom; so should not fit in the answer.

Nov 17, 2015 • Comment


Hi Mihir,

You're right that this has to do with a lack of money on the part of the serfs. But note that the text states that the serfs must "pay the fine" in order to establish a separate household. This is an external restriction imposed by someone else: Normally, you don't have to pay a fine to buy a house. If you have the money to purchase the house, you can buy it.

In contrast, before actually spending the money to buy a house, etc., serfs had to pay a fine *in addition* just to have the right to buy a house. This is a rule that (we can infer) is specific to serfdom. Surely nobles didn't have to pay someone a fine in order to establish a household.

This is therefore a "regulation" that limits serfs' ability to establish an independent household.

Nov 19, 2015 • Reply


Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Sep 26, 2012 • Comment

Taylor Ray

Why is A correct? The passage says that serfs could hire laborers to perform these tasks "if they had the resources." Therefore, if they could pay the laborers, this could happen. It does not say there was any regulation around this.

May 26, 2014 • Reply

Lucas Fink, Magoosh Tutor

Bear in mind that regulation is not the same thing as prohibition. Just as the serfs could only leave the estate if they could pay for passports, they could only skip their responsibilities if they paid somebody else to do it.

The regulations define whether or not they have to do the tasks. They do have to complete the tasks unless they pay other people to do them. That's the restriction. They are not free to decide; there are rules.

Jun 6, 2014 • Reply


The passage says communal lands. How do we know that communal lands are same as the landlords'. Also the passage says they were usually granted permission to leave if they had passports. How then is that they had the responsibility to arrange for replacement work correct

Aug 13, 2016 • Reply

Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Jemerson :)

Happy to help! First, serfs were peasants who worked on their landlord's land. The serfs themselves did not own any land of their own. So any land mentioned in the passage would belong to the landlords, while the serfs worked and lived on this land.

In terms of your second question, allowing to leave the land with a passport refers to just that, stepping off of the land, perhaps to go on a trip to a neighboring town. However, there's no mention in that part of the text as to how serfs would manage to get the required work down when they were gone. Later in the passage, though, we're told that "they could hire laborers" to do the work on the lands while the serfs themselves did conducted other types of business. The work on the land was still the responsibility of the serf and he was accountable for getting that work done, either by doing it himself or hiring an outside laborer.

I hope helps!

Sep 4, 2016 • Reply

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