This reading focuses on negotiations related to a trade union between Belgium, Grance, the German Federal Republic, Italy, Lxembourg, and The Netherlands. However, the U.K. was also interested in joining the trade union. These countries would remove barriers of trade, and would not impose tariffs upon one another, although they would establish a tariff to all external countries. The United States supported this decision, as this union will help to further unite Western Europe, both politically and economically. In addition, this union is a move towards convertible currencies, and the United States hopes this move will expand trade among countries outside of the union.
The nature of the economy in the Kievan state reflected the geographical diversity of the region. Indeed, some of the sources on the economy are derived from the commentary of outsiders, such as the Byzantine Constantine Porphyrogenitus, reflecting the wide space of influence exerted by the merchant-prince of Kiev. The foundation of the trade system was tribute, which moved furs, wax, honey, and slaves throughout the state from north to south. Tribute, besides being an effective means of gathering money and subordinating rival merchants, reflected the importance of trade because it was designed to protect Kiev’s commercial interests from rivals. Economic rivals were clearly an area of concern for the Kievan princes because trade and foreign policy were connected, and Russo-Byzantine peace treaties included provisions that aided Russian commerce. With the exception of importing amber from the Vikings, the Rus moved raw materials outside of the state and received manufactured and luxury goods from their trade partners.
The other facet of the Kievan economy was agriculture. The emergence of the agricultural theory is based on linguistic data on agricultural terms, spiritual beliefs surrounding nature, archaeological discoveries, and written sources. Agriculture differed between the south and the north because of the diversity between the steppe and dense forests, and forest agriculture evolved into a two and three field perlog system that increased the importance of livestock. Archaeology shows advancements in soil cultivation and technology preceding the primary chronicle. The idea of private property is a contested issue among scholars of Kiev, with some believing it emerged in the 11th century and others thinking it may have been in place before. This is an interesting question to consider in tandem with the law code’s penalties for moving field boundaries. Does this suggest there was direct individual control over the land to use it at will or does it suggest the princes were the only ones with the authority to administrate land holdings?
An article in The Moscow Times caught my eye yesterday. I’ve been reading a lot about Russia lately, not just in this Russian history course but in other courses as well. With every reading something becomes more and more apparent: Russia has a bit of an attitude when it comes to international relations.
I get it; history shows that their path to the present wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. They are often on the defensive and find themselves with few allies that truly have their back. But isn’t it time they drop the innocent, “I don’t know what you’re talking about” act? The following excerpt from the article displays this:
“Titov (Russia’s deputy foreign minister) said that speculation about Lithuania responding with border restrictions is an attempt to create the impression that it is the “victim of some imaginary outside pressure” and accused Lithuanian carriers of violating customs rules more and more often…”
The language alone gives off a feeling of arrogance. They are belittling the actions of Lithuania in an attempt to discredit them. And certainly Russia doesn’t have a history of inflicting “outside pressure” on its neighbors, does it? Oh, wait….
Maybe Lithuania really is making something out of nothing and Russia is completely guilt-free of the interference in Lithuanian trade of which they are being accused. But as a historian I was taught to learn from the past, and in this case the past is on the side of Lithuania.