"‘…Emancipation of peasants has been the ruin of Russia!’"
A serf leaving his landlord after emancipation
Around the time Tolstoy wrote the novel Anna Karenin there was liquidation of serf dependance on aristocrats or landowners. This sdeverance of serf dependance was known as emancipation of peasants. It didnt go down well with most aristocrats. The reforms started in 1861 and were meant to make serfs and peasants free to marry without seeking consent, start their own businesses and own and farm their own land. Aristocrats saw it as ruining of imperial Russia.