[Before the 1905 revolution] The Russian peasant household [dvor] was organized on a simple authoritarian model, under which full authority over the members and their belongings was entrusted to one person, known as bol'shak or khoziain. This family patriarch was usually the father...: he assigned farm and household duties, he disposed of propriety, he adjudicated domestic disputes,, and he represented the household in its dealings with the outside world. Customary peasant law endowed him with unquestioned authority over his dvor: in many ways, he was heir to the authority of the serf owner. Since the Emancipation Edict of 1861, the bol'shak was also authorized by the government to turn over members of his household to administrative organs for punishment. He was the paterfamilias in the most archaic sense of the word, a replica in miniature of the Tsar.
(...) The household allowed no room for individuality: it was a collective which submerged the individual in the group. Second, given that the will of the bol'shak was absolute and his orders binding, life in the dvor accustomed the peasant to authoritarian government and the absence of norms (laws) to regulate personal relations. Third, the household made no allowence for private property: all belongings were held in common. Male members acquired outright ownership of the household's movable property only at its dissolution, at which time it once again turned into the collective property of the new household. Finally, there was no continuity between households, and consequently neither pride in ancestry nor family status in the village, such as characterized Western European and Japanese rural societies. In sum, the Great Russian peasant, living in his natural environment, had no opportunity to acquire a sense of individual identity, respect for law and property, or social status in the village - qualities indispensable for the evolution of more advanced forms of political and economic organization".
Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution 1899-1919, Fontana Press, 1992, pp. 93-5