Naturally, the long-suffering peasantry used every mechanism to avoid the tax collectors, but sometimes circumstances conspired to defeat even the cleverest and most ambitious farmer.
The problem is well illustrated by the fate of one Ivan Sergeivitch, who invested a substantial sum of money in improving the fertility of his fields. As a result, his yields of barley, wheat, and other grains grew apace.
Soon he decided to turn his yield directly into consumer products, and he began selling a variety of baked goods, such as bread, rolls, and pastries. As his income increased, he invested in additional acreage, and in turn, in increased sales of his baked goods. In other words, he became the quintessential capitalist.
As sometimes happens, though, his productivity outstripped his ability to sell the finished product,and so he resorted to the inevitable: He put up signs along the roads advertising his bakery and its goods.
This unfortunate step brought him to the attention of the authorities,who imposed a list of punishing taxes on his once-thriving operation.
As a neighbor pointed out to the once-again-poor Ivan,it was just another reason for the existence of the old Russian proverb: “Don’t let the tsars get in your ryes.”