From the mid-nineteenth century the pace of change in Russia rapidly accelerated. The decade following the Crimean War saw the most dramatic social and institutional upheaval that the Empire had ever undergone. Central to the so-called 'Great Reforms' of the period was the abolition of serfdom. By the Statute of 1861 the 22 million serfs owned by private landlords were set free from personal bondage. The fundamental relationship upon which the economic, social, and political structure of the Empire had been based was to be dismantled.