Cutting of Beards

It was Russian tradition for years to have long beards with very short hair, except for the ecclesiastics who wore their hair long to set themselves apart. However, when Peter the Great became the tsar he wanted to change this custom, so he ordered that everyone, expect of peasants and priest, to cut off their beards. If they did not cut off their beards, they were subject to pay a tax of one hundred rubles a year. The Tsar’s men were stationed at the gates of towns to collect the beard taxes. The people of the city were dissatisfied with this reform because they believed it was an abolition of their religion. Men who were use to having the beard feared that without their beards they would not be able to enter into heaven. Young men were more ready to accept the tsar’s reforms.