The Rise of the Individual States in Rus’

As Kievan Rus’ became less and less centralized, individual principalities rose in its place as the chief governing bodies in the land.  These were much more independent of one another, and largely stayed more personal.  While this movement was occurring on the own accord of the princes, the pace was changed drastically as the hordes of Mongols began to go West.  While making it difficult for princes to stay sovereign, a large proportion of inhabitant of Rus’ felt the inclusion of Rus’ into the Mongol Yoke certainly had some benefits.

One of the greater success stories of the decentralization was Novgorod.  Novgorod, even after the Mongols had entered the region, became even more prosperous and powerful.  This is in large part due to the creation of a number of political institutions that was controlled by a “merchant republic”.  One of the larger treaties between the city of Novgorod and the local princes was the First Treaty of Novgorod with Tver’ Grand Prince Iaroslav Iaroslavich.  This document provided the ground work for the city and prince’s relationship.  Many of the statutes within the document inhibit Iaroslav from a number of powers a prince would typically have.  The ability of Novgorod to create such a document, in which Iaroslav agreed too exemplifies how beneficial the decentralization of the Kievan Rus’ region was larger cities and the merchants in them.

Similarly, in Southwest Rus’ the princes were also losing power, as power was at an even smaller level.  Boyars held the most power within their lands, thus the state was losing even more control.  In the Extracts from the Galician-Volhyniam Chronicle, in 1231, a boyar set out against a prince with only 18 men.  However, as he marched, more and more individuals joined his cause.  This shows that boyars had a large proportion of the popular support of the lower class individuals in the region.

Moscow was yet another region that was becoming decentralized.  Within The Second Testament of Moscow Grand Prince Dmitrii Domskoi, he separates Moscow between his four sons.  Dmitrii Domskoi goes into incredible detail on what each prince should recieve, such as Prince Vasilli receiving “the beekeepers in the city districts, and the horse and the falconers and the huntsmen” (88).  This separation of a single city/ region into four separate areas adds to the decentralization of the Kievan Rus’ state.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *