A republic in Novgorod?

Today’s reading featured tales of Rus’ Princes following the Mongol invasion of Rus. While none of the piece treats with the consequences of the arrival of the Mongols into Rus’ land its influence on the society is deeply reflected throughout each source. For instance, the common theme in the first 2 pieces is that the ruler had difficulties keeping his power intact. In the first case, the case of Iaroslav Iaroslavovich, the first treaty of Novgorod shows that the prince of Novgorod – though he was not overthrown – had to give away most of his power to the population of Novgorod and the Church (at least this is what the very first article seems to hint).  The Second Piece was regarding the southern part of Rus’ right after the Mongol invasion, in this Chronicle, we see a prince who is betrayal from close boyars. Though Danilo, in the end, manages to survive, the end of the chronicle seems to imply that he no longer controlled the land.
The aspect of the reading that surprised me the most was of course the Treaty of Novgorod. It is already surprising to hear about anything anywhere regarding republicanism or democracy around that time period (Monthy Python even made it an anachronistic joke), but it is even more surprising to hear about it in Russia out of all places! But anyway, before I digress deeper into Russian stereotypes, I would like to point out one article that, did not necessarily surprised me but that I was still not expecting to see, article 4. In this article the people are telling the Prince that he should not take a person’s land without justification. The fact that such notion appear in the text is not surprising, since back then land meant “only source of income”, but what I find of interest is that (1) it appears so early in Russian history and (2) this is the 4th article, which I assume means it was of high importance. It makes me wonder if this could mean that throughout Russian culture holding land has been very important.
This leads me to my questions: Is the treaty of Novgorod of any significance in Russian History (by that I mean was this influential throughout the rest of history)? And if the answer is yes, why were his ideas absent in the future, and I especially mean after 1917?

2 thoughts on “A republic in Novgorod?

  1. I also found that the amount of power in which the ruling class, such as the prince or the elites, had to give away would ultimately hinder the strength of their rule essentially to the point of being overthrown. However what surprised me most in this reading was the amount of power Danilo’s wife received in his will.

  2. I wonder if the power given to the people was almost like a campaign promise. In order to get to power and setup the Ruling system they essentially promised the people more of a voice in the system. I don’t then know whether or not the people had large representation in the system.

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