The Economy in Kiev

In the latest section of readings we learn that there were two primary staples of the economy throughout the 10th-13th century in Russia. One being the practice of agriculture, the second being trade. Archaeology plays a key role in our understanding of the subject. For instance, we learn about basic tools such as plows used and also the great desire for amber.

Because of Russia’s vast size and land diversity, farming regions were greatly divided. The northern plains were much harsher to grow crops on but on the contrary the southern lands in the right season could be very plentiful. From coins dug up in modern day exhibitions, carved out illustrations display the use of light plows for peasants and live-stock used to soil and clear the lands to be farmed on in more southern regions. While the North used slash and burn techniques to clear out dense forests.

The trade economy was mostly dominated by Russian bureaucrats and land owners, as Novgorod became the central hub of trade. Vikings played a significant role as they introduced amber to this society. The amber came unfinished and then was turned into products such as jewels, crosses and beads. We know this because these items were all found by archaeologists. Novgorod, or “New Town” was primarily built with wood, as it preserved¬†well in the humid forest and lake. By the late 12th century and into the beginning of the 13th, trade routes to the Baltic sea were temporarily deemed threatening as outside Prussian forces were encroaching on Novgorod so amber was scarce. However, peace resumed and the amber supply regained stability.

The Russian economy was supported by trade and agriculture. In my personal opinion agriculture was more important because although the lands were not favorable to farm on it made more sense to be self sustainable than to rely on others for trade.