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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE,

YOUTH AND SPORTS OF UKRAINE

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

ODESA ACADEMY OF LAW”

V.V. Vakhnenko

HISTORY OF STATE AND LAW OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES (part 2)

METHODOLOGICAL MANUAL

on the course of lectures in English

for Law students and Post-Graduates

of National University “Odesa Academy of Law”

Odesa

2012

PLAN OF SUBJECT

Topic

Lectures

(hrs)

Seminars

(hrs)

Home

work (hrs)

1.

The state and the law of Kievan Rus’

4

2

2

2.

Period of feudal fragmentation of Kievan Rus’

2

2

2

3.

The state and law of Russia in the period of centralization (XIV-XVI centuries)

2

2

2

4.

The state and law in Russia state in the period of formation of absolutism (XVII – beginning of XX centuries)

2

2

2

5.

Reforms, reaction, and revolution

(1855–1917)

4

2

2

Lecture course

HISTORY OF STATE AND LAW OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES” (PART 2)

Lecture 1. The state and the law of kievan rus’ (4 hrs)

1. The formation of Kievan Rus’. Norman theory of developing statehood of the Eastern Slavs. Princess Olga’s financial-administrative reform.

The origins of the first Russian state, which historians call Kievan Rus’, are unclear and have long been a subject of historical debate. The problem, at least for patriotic Russians, is that the founders of that state probably were foreigners: warrior merchants from Scandinavia known as the Varangians. The term “Rus’” most likely is a reference to the Varangians, but it is also possible that it refers to some of the East Slavs, who had been living in the region for several centuries before the Varangians arrived.

By the IXth century the East Slavs were well established on the eastern European part of the Eurasian plain. They were mainly farmers and cattle raisers, but they had also founded close to 300 towns and engaged in trade and a wide variety of crafts. Their weak point apparently was political organization, at least according to the Russians who wrote the Primary Russian Chronicle, a document dating from the XIIth century that is the earliest known source on Russian history. The Primary Chronicle records that because of continual fighting among the East Slavic tribes, they turned to the Varangians with the following invitation: “Our land is great and rich, but there is no order in it. Come to rule and reign over us”. According to the Norman theory about the origin of Kievan Rus’ creators of the stetehood of Kievan Rus’ were normans. The theory's first proponents were XVIIIth-century German historians of Russia—G. Bayer, Gerhard Friedrich Müller, and A. Schlözer.

The first ‘anti-Normanist’ response was articulated by the 18th-century Russian scholar M. Lomonosov. Anti-Normanist views were expressed in the 19th century by the Decembrists and the Slavophiles, and a number of professional historians (eg, J. Ewers) posited theories about the Baltic-Slav, Lithuanian, and Gothic origin of Rus’ and its name.

The reasons why this Norman thery is controversial are not hard to discern. It suggests that the unruly Slavs could not govern themselves and invited Scandinavians to come and rule them. Most historians do not take this rendering at face value and argue that the Scandinavians pushed into Slavic lands not because of an invitation but because they were after resources (e.g., furs and precious metals) and sought control over trade routes leading south to Constantinople and the Middle East via rivers such as the Dnieper (which flowed into the Black Sea) and the Volga (which flowed into the Caspian Sea). Noting that the Russian Primary Chronicle was compiled centuries after these events, some believe it may have been based on earlier self-serving Scandinavian legends and is full of contradictions and inaccuracies, and thus are apt to dismiss this story all together. For example, while acknowledging the presence of many Scandinavians in and around Kiev in the IXth century, Mikhaylo Hrushevsky, Ukraine's best known historian, claimed that “the early history of Ukraine remains obscure,” grounded in “legends and scanty descriptions by foreigners.” A pointed source of argument is the derivation of the term Rus. Hrushevsky maintains that it derives from the local Slavic people living around Kiev, whereas others note that it likely comes from the western Finnic word for Swedes, Ruotsi. Even if the earliest rulers of Kievan Rus’ were not Slavs, however, there is little question that, as the Chronicle notes, they became Slavs (e.g., note how they acquire Slavic names).

Whether this request was ever made is debatable, and it is just as likely that this episode found its way into the Primary Chronicle to legitimize the princely dynasty that established itself among the East Slavs at the time.

In any case, it appeared that in 862 a group of Varangians led by a prince named Rurik took power in Novgorod, a trading city in the northwest near the Baltic Sea. Twenty years later Rurik's successor, Oleg (d. 913), conquered the more centrally located city of Kiev, which then became the capital of Kievan Rus’. Oleg brought other East Slavic tribes under his control, and Kiev became the center of a loose federation of fortified city-states ruled by princes that stretched, so it was said, “from the Varangians to the Greeks,” that is, from the Baltic to the Black seas. Oleg then used his military prowess to win a favorable trade treaty from the Byzantine Empire. Dating from 911, Oleg's treaty allowed the merchants of Kievan Rus’ to do business in Constantinople, the Byzantine capital on the Black Sea and by far the largest and wealthiest city in Europe.

Along with being the most important terminus for the products of Kievan Rus’, the Byzantine Empire was the most powerful cultural influence on its northern neighbor. In 944 Oleg's successor, Igor (r. 913-945), again after a military campaign secured another trade treaty with the Byzantines. His wife, Olga (regent, 945-962), further strengthened the statehood of Kievan Rus’. She provided financial-administrative reform. Olga changed the system of tribute gathering (poliudie). From 945 to 947, after her defeat of the Derevlians, Olga established administrative centers for taxations, which eliminated the need for collecting tribute. These centers were called pogosts.

She imposed on them a heavy tribute, two parts of which went to Kiev, and the third to Olga in Vyshgorod; for Vyshgorod was Olga’s city. She then passed through the land of Dereva, accompanied by her son and her retinue, establishing laws and tribute. Her trading-posts and hunting-preserves are still there. Then she returned with her son to Kiev, her city, where she remained one year. [947] Olga went to Novgorod, and along the Msta she established trading-posts and collected tribute. She also collected imposts and tribute along the Luga. Her hunting-grounds, boundary-posts, and trading-posts still exist throughout the whole region, while her sleighs stand in Pskov to this day. Her fowling preserves still remain on the Dniepr and the Desna, while her village of Olzhichi is in existence even now.”[1, 131]

During her regency she significantly expanded the land holdings of the Kievan grand princely house.

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