The Slavic state origin

(Kiev Russia and medieval epoch of east Slavic people development on the modern Ukrainian lands- from Russia prosperity to Tataro-Mongolian yoke)

Approximately (as there is no exact date) by the boundary of age, the Slavic expansion had begun with territory of Prikarpatye, upper courses of Dnestr, and also with the right bank of average Podneprovye, on the West, South and East. On the West, Slavs migrated to upper courses of Visla, and then Elba, bending around external Western Carpathians. On the East, Slavic tribes extended to upper courses of Volga and Oka. On the south Slavs moved towards Danube, then along it on the West, occupying districts along inflows of Danube and interfering in limits of Byzantium Empire. While the western and east directions of Slavic tribes expansion have been restoring under archaeological data the southern direction is well documented in certificates of Byzantium authors. Whereas, Slavs entered the early Middle Ages as not monolithic people, they were divided into three basic breeding formations - Wends, Sklavens and Anths (according to Byzantium sources), early medieval geographical and partially cultural isolation from each other western, east and southern Slavs occurred. Then formation of Slavic nationalities and states began, namely: Sarmatia, Gotia, Gunnia, Avarian Kaganate, Great Bulgaria, Khazaria, Velikomoravsky state, Russian Kaganate, Ladogo-Novgorod Russia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia and, certainly, Kiev Russia. The modern historical science doesn't give an exact answer, when and where the Slavic people appeared, as well as any other ethnos. But it makes accurate definition, that exactly in that time interval (i.e. second - fifth centuries) the Slavic people epoch came, at first on Central, and then on Eastern Europe, certainly, taking into account South Slavic direction. As it has been already noted, on the boundary of fifth-sixth centuries, Slavs as organized tribes, put pressure not only upon the Danube border of Roman (which become Byzantium after well-known events) empires, but also having reached Greece, "having visited" Thrace. Thus, the exchange between the Slavic and Greek-Roman world began, which in the first decades of the sixth century, was hostile but in due course became normal, and even friendly.


Modern interpretation of Slavic tribes' movement in Europe


There is an approximate look of ancient Slavs settlement around present «capital hailstones» Kyiv.


Area of east Slavs dwelling during the "Slavic formation».


German and English historians, "becoming attached" to the bases of Slavic states creation, specify a number of Slavic states created on open spaces of the "abandoned" Europe.

In the recent Soviet period, we were learnt that the East Slavic statehood arose with formation of Kyiv Russia and, accordingly, with the building of capital hailstones of Kyiv. And the date to that historic fact "was found" - it is 839t - 878 AD. As for Kyiv it is 882 AD, as it was fixed in the corresponding Decree of Supreme body Presidium of the USSR from May, 10th, 1982.


Materialization of historical idea was embodied in the medal with the same name, which is testified by the given document (the corresponding photocopy with the permission of authors was taken from an official site «Medal» in the memory of the 1500 anniversary of Kyiv».
Probably it is necessary to focus on this historic fact more detailed. The history testifies that in the end of the seventh century Slavic tribes of Aesirs and Russes from the bottom Don obeyed to Khazars, while Aesirs tribes around the top of Siversky Donets had been won by Magyars. Namely, in 730th on the headwaters of Donets there were Swedes (as it is seen from the history, Slobozhanshchina always attracted them) where they faced Magyars. Slavic tribes of «east sector» which already got stronger, bothered to feed both southern, and northern (well, directly, as on modern doctrines of the Ukrainian army - "northern" attack, "southern" - defend) and they began the process of consolidation for the sake of the future statehood. But only the date differs from conventional - 833rd AD. I will strike there will be a question about these Slavs, more precisely, who were their leaders, that had planned «unifying process»? The answer gives «irreplaceable encyclopedic directory of the Slavist», namely the well-known work «Primary Chronicle», made in the twelfth century on the basis of the first annals of Slavic statehood history.



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«Primary Chronicle» republished and original

It gives us definition of Slavic tribes as Ulichy (i.e. living "at the corner" between Prut and bottom Danube; Polyans (living on the area of modern Kyiv and average Dnepro); Drevlyans (living in the wood, but not by the type of locality, but by the way of life); Ezerits (living on the area of present Shatsky lakes and Volynyans «perched» to them); Pomorans (Slavic tribes living at the modern coast of the Polish Baltic); Dolyans (living in interfluves valleys) and others. But, it is necessary not to confuse tribal characteristics with ethnogeographical characteristics, namely - with northerners, Radimichys and Vyatichs that is told about in "Primary Chronicle". Thanks to the full decoding of "Primary Chronicle" on the boundary of last and before last centuries, it was possible to find out that the dwelling areas of ethnogeographical population were: northerners - pools of upper courses of Dnepro, Desna, Psell and Seim; Radimychys - territory of present Mogilyov area of Belarus; Vyatichys - pools of Oka and upper courses of Don. Three «natural nations» found much in common, that further served as an impulse for East Slavic statehood creation. Concerning the West Slavic direction, it is necessary to notice that the Western Volhynia, as well as the Western Galicia, in the eighth and ninth centuries was a residing place of Duleby, and Galicia located on the northeast slopes of Carpathians Mountains, was the native land of Croats. Because of opposition with Pecheneg-Khazaria invasion, Croats (not as homogeneous Slavic nation, but as ethnoconnection of future Serbs, Montenegrins, Slovenes) passed Carpathians Mountains in a southern direction and at first got into the pool of top Elba (which had been called as Laba till the twelfth century), and then in the area of average Danube where they, at last, settled to the south from this river, with the further outlet to the sea. It is interesting to notice that the territory which they had occupied was called as White Croatia, and geographically it formed connection of Russian, Polish and Czech tribes. It's also not casual that Aegean Sea on Bulgarian, on Croatian, and Serbian languages was called ... Beloye for a long time.
And now I will make bold to offer the general review of Old Russian tribes way of life and civilization. For sure composer of «Primary Chronicle» (whose name, as well as a creative feat are unknown yet), using ancient oral legends, had a vague representation that southeast Slavic tribes during some remote time belonged to the great state, or to the union in which each tribe could keep own customs. But, using documentary sources of Byzantium and Khazaria the author-composer, specifies that the given state association could take place under the name: "Union", given by Greeks, or "Law", given by Khazars. Nobody can tell it more precisely, but there is reference to such fact. By the way, the term "union" means «association, and, accordingly «law»- formulary, including and lives.
Now it is possible to address to our nice hailstones Kyiv , becauses it is somehow indecently to speak about the Kiev Russia and not to recollect our capital by «a word of encouragement». To speak about accurately established date of the capital foundation, is very very difficult as the saying goes in one fine southern city. And that's as date of Kyiv foundation is a legend, i.e. map of searches and the historical researches which didn't receive documentary acknowledgement.

Khoryv, Lybid, Schek and Kyi, on the miniature from «Primary Chronicle» (from left to right).


Today the monument to founders of Kyiv, established on the coast of Dnepr, is a favourite place of visiting of not only Kyiv citizens and visitors of our capital, but also newly married couples.

The matter is that the deep analysis of the legend about Kyiv foundation, written in «Primary Chronicle», shows that Kyiv citizens even in the eleventh century saved vague memories about the city foundation on Dnepro river. According to the legend, there lived three brothers - Kyi, Schek, Khoryv, and their sister Lybid. Brothers lodged on seven hills (probably with a hint to Rome), standing nearby from each other, and that was the beginning of the city which was named as Kyiv in honour of the senior brother Kyi. The names origin turns back to Khazar period, as the name "Kyi", probably, occurs from a Turkic word «kiy», i.e.«River bank». As the ruling clan of the Khazar state was a Turkic origin, we can connect the Kyiv's name with Khazars' arrival. From there, probably, there was the city name. It is obviously possible that the name of Khoryv, has a bible origin. Khoryv is a Russian transcription of the name Horeb. It is connected with the name of Horivitsy hill, the place of settlement of Khazar Jews in Kyiv. As to the third brother, Schek, his name apparently, can be identified with Chok, Bulgarian soldier who was at war in Dneprovsky region in the beginning of the ninth century. It is necessary to note, however, that the similar name, Shock (or Saac) is mentioned in old Magyar annals. The name of sister of mythical or real brothers - Lybid, specifies on Magyar origin as it is, more likely, connected with the name of Magyar voivode Lebed though subsequently, «Tsarevna Lebed» became the popular character of Russian bylinas and national fairy tales. Is it so or not, there is no mention. The main thing is that on the coasts of Dnepr there was a city which became an embodiment of east Slavs unification. Thanks to that, i.e. creation of administrative-political centre, in the first half of ninth centuries the relations between Russian north and Russian south were recovered and extensive. And that was in a far 382 year ...

But there was very long before the total unification. And the thing is not only that Magyars threatened from the West, Khazar, Pechenegs and Cuman from South and East. There was no unifying idea which would unite all east Slavs at ideological level. The influence of the Ancient Greece and Rome on sprouts of Russia was strong not only in household, but also in religious aspect. Elements of multidivine worship together with paganism didn't give the full development to Christian idea, which persistently made the way from the South (as it was already marked - Chersonese became the centre of such unification on open spaces of the future Russia).
It is necessary not to forget that in the middle of the ninth century the arising Russia was "objectionable", for both Byzantium, and Magyar kingdom together with east enemies. Except purely geopolitical oppositions, the paganism of east Slavs was «a point of obstacle of two worlds - two ideologies».


The reconstructed map of Ancient Kyiv

The paganism of the ancient Slavs which hadn't been eradicated till now was a component of that opposition. The acknowledgement is that the modern culture of Slavs was so strong, that in the present Christianity it is possible to find many pagan treats which had been remained since the times of many faiths. Roots of ancestors hold the people till now; even modern Christians quite often celebrate pagan holidays - as Pancake week and St. John the Baptist holiday, read fortune... If to try to understand modern orthodox customs to the basis it will be clear that "Russian-Ukrainian" (alas, but it is already the reality) Orthodoxy much differs from Byzantium belief and culture of Christians. Old gods of pagans were forbidden and overthrown. So in «Primary Chronicle» it is written:« And when he came, he ordered to overturn idols - one to chop up, another- to burn out. It was ordered to adhere Perhun to the horse's tail and to drag it from the mountain along Borichev's hill to the stream and put twelve men to bat». ...«Yesterday it was honored by people, and today it is desecrated. When people rafted Perhun by the stream to Dnepr, it was mourned by unfaithful as they hadn't still accepted a sacred christening. And, having dragged it, they threw it in Dnepr. Vladimir also put people to it, having told: «If it will stick to the coast, push it away. And when it will pass thresholds then you can leave it». But the wooden idol didn't want to sink under the nature laws, which under exclamations of people was shown on the surface of Dnepr waves, and, in due course, around that place and there was a monastery with the symbolical name Vydubitsky ... That occurred both to Yarylo, Veles, and Mokosha.


Worship to Perhun 

And its modern sculpture...


Ancient Vydubichi. A photo of winter 1909. According to the legend, opposite to this place the wooden idol of Perhun which was dumped there under the prince Vladimir command after Christianity acceptance in Russia emerged from Dnepr. Since then this beauty spot also began to be called as Vydubichi.


Vydubichi today - winter of 2009 ...

However, it was not possible to eradicate paganism completely from spirit and life of east Slavs. Not only "multideity" remains with the people, but also honoring of ancestors remained in the form of water honoring cult (orthodox Christians consider a holy water wonder-working till nowadays, i.e. they, as well as pagans trust in the power of water). The Slavic pagan cult of "Mother of the Earth» remained with orthodox officers of white army who, leaving the native land, took the earth, because it was a pagan custom to transfer the native earth on the new place. Also trees and stones served as honoring object of Christians in Russia, despite church interdictions. It is explained by close connection of east Slavs, especially Drevlyans with wood. So, the most sacred were old trees, with outgrowths, hollows, roots or split by trunks, and also those who had two or three trunks that grew from one root.
Between trunks of such trees ill people crawled, they also dragged sick children hoping for recover. It happened that married couple got married near those trees. Often there were Old Believers if parents hadn't given the consent to marriage, the guy with the girl mounted, went to the treasured oak, went round its circle three times, and the marriage was considered as allowable. More often such displays of paganism had an effect in distempers days, when resistance to church rules was considered as the form of struggle against the power. It is known that Stepan Razin, having seized the power on Don, ordered to get married not in the church, but about the willows. Even today, among many customs of Ukrainian people, it is possible to meet the ceremony of «weddings at the tree» decorated by wedding tapes, however, as well as «pussy-willow revival» and "Trinity". Ancient Slavs, including the east Slavs, esteemed stones, seeing in them support, world basis, symbol of world mountain, because stones, as well as other forces of nature, shouldn't be offended, otherwise they can revenge. No wonder that in Ukraine, as well as in Russia and Belarus, honouring of stones is widespread till now. Vivification of nature forces throughout many years remains the important part of Slavs outlook after official eradication of paganism that proves to be true by many researches.

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Having made an original historical deviation in the manner of «immersing in the chasm of paganism history», it is necessary to return again to the times of Kiev Russia. There are lot of interpretation and researches in the historical literature how the strong and educated state of Kiev Russia appeared on the map of Europe. For the first time it is mentioned in "Primary Chronicle". However, interpretation is different in «Ipatievsky translation». In other Lavrentievsky interpretation it is told that - Slavs used Varangians as hired managers (in modern interpretation) as the government. The historical hitch is hitherto that there is no definite answer - whether with the peace Varangians came to Russia or with a sword ... It's definitely known that «Russ leader» who, according to the same «Primary Chronicle», accepted the invitation «to come and rule» Slavic tribes from Ilmen to Drevlyans, having passed from Ladoga to upper courses of Dnepr was called Ryurik. He wasn't alone, but with brothers Sineus and Truvor they founded future «Great Novgorod». And still, in my opinion, the role and the place of "Varangians-Vikings" in Kiev Russia creation, is excessively exaggerated.


Ryurik - «Varyag's guest» or the first prince of Kiev Russia who had never been to Kyiv

And what about Kyiv? According to one data, Ryurik in 864th, another - in 866th was sent to the city which became Kyiv. In 879 year Ryurik had died and the era of Oleg, Igor, Olga, their children, brothers and their nephews came. However, before it, Kiev had endured one more epoch which became the history and had remained up to now - the epoch of Askold and Dir. The annals say that in 866 Ryurik sent to Tsargrad two boyars Askold and Dir but, on the road there, they stayed in Kyiv (though, according some researches, «there were at the gate of Tsargrad»). In 882, i.e. after Kyiv foundation (according to the official version) Oleg as the brother-in-law of died Ryurik went downwards across Dnepr and saw «capital hailstones», named Kyiv, that was ruled by «Ryurik's» princes i.e. Askold and Dir. Governors of Kyiv Askold and Dir had a strong team of skilful soldiers and didn't wish to obey to Oleg. Oleg went on cunning. The legend says that he left the army with young Igor and few people and came to high coast of Dnepr where there was an ancient Kyiv, thus he skillfully hidden armed soldiers and castles and ordered to declare to Kyiv sovereigns that Varyags merchants sent by the prince Novgorod to the Greece, wished to see them as friends and compatriots. Askold and Dir, without suspecting a deceit, left on the coast, and Oleg's soldiers surrounded them in one moment. The governor told: you are not princes and not a family of note but I'am the prince and, having shown Igor, he said, he is Ryurik's son! «This word convicted Askold and Dir to execution and under swords of murderers, they fell dead to Oleg's feet» ...


«Murder of Askold and Dir» so the miniature from "Primary Chronicle" says

Oleg empurpled by blood of innocent princes, well-known for bravery, entered into the city as the winner, and the inhabitants frightened by its evil deed and strong army, and admitted him as their lawful sovereign. Bodies of unfortunate princes were buried on the mountain where in Nestorov's time there had been Olga's house.

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«Askoldov's tomb» in the century before and in the current state.

From 882nd till 912th, i.e. the whole three decades Oleg's reining is characterized by the Kiev Russia blossoming. In 907th to the prince title the prefix «Prophetic Oleg» that meant for that period - knowing the future, foreseeing the future was added. That "rank" was received after the campaign (one historians speaks about successful one, another - on the contrary) to Tsargrad, capital of Byzantium when «Oleg' s board» beat to the gate of Tsargrad.



From 882nd till 912th, i.e. the whole three decades Oleg's reining is characterized by the blossom of Kiev Russia. In 907th to the prince title the prefix «Prophetic Oleg» that meant for that period - knowing the future, foreseeing the future was added. That "rank" was received after the campaign (one historians speaks about successful one, another - on the contrary) to Tsargrad, capital of Byzantium when «Oleg' s board» beat to the gate of Tsargrad.
But, ridiculous, to modern measures, Oleg's death stopped his aggressive aspirations on the southeast. Date of Oleg's death, as well as all annalistic dates of the first millennium of Russian history, has conditional character though there is a reference to 912th. Circumstances of Prophetic Oleg's death are inconsistent. But there is a reason about death from a snake sting in all variants of legends. Under the legend, magicians foretold to the prince that he would die of his favourite horse. Oleg ordered to withdraw the horse, and recollected the prediction only in four years when the horse had already died. Oleg laughed over magicians and wanted to look at horse's bones; he put his foot on a skull and said: «Whether I should afraid of him? » However in the horse's skull there lived a venomous snake that stung the prince mortally. And in spite of the fact that, judging by a legend, the snake stung Oleg in a foot put in a strong fighting boot (which no arrow could punch), the legend about prince's destruction found the continuation in creativity during later period. As each schoolboy of the Soviet epoch remembers in the program of Russian literature there was obligatory Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin's poem «The Song about Prophetic Oleg», written, by the way, in 1822, i.e. after nine centuries after his death.
Anyway, Oleg should be rewarded for the union of North and South of Russia (if to recollect the history, Washington went the same way, having connected the North and the South to the North American United States). Capture of Kyiv by Oleg (and it was really an aggressive operation) opens new page of Russian history - the period of Kiev Russia creation or the so-called period of Kyiv state. For Oleg, Kyiv was only the first and the most important point on the way to the South. Southern Pridneprovye throughout many years remained in Magyar's hands and it was supposed to pass about thirty years after the gain of Kyiv, so that Oleg began the first campaign to Constantinople. Nevertheless, Kyiv, yet without becoming the capital, remained a strong point in all its subsequent campaigns on the south and consequently we consider the date of Oleg's arrival to Kyiv as a major landmark, quite approaching to confirm - Oleg was the First.
Prince Igor, the son of Ryurik was the second person of Russia of that time. The same annals "proclaim" that «after Oleg's death in 912 Igor became the Grand Kyiv duke». Drevlyans, having received that news, "were postponed", i.e. disconnected from Kyiv. In 914 Igor desired to capture Drevlyans and having won them, assigned a tribute, which was larger than earlier. In the same 941st Igor went a campaign on Greeks. «Bulgarians sent the message to Tsar Roman that Russia was going to Tsargrad, tells annalist, and Russia began to carry on war with the Greece on the coast, and burnt over all Sudiyskaya harbour». Tsar of Byzantium Roman couldn't oppose anything to force of Igor's soldiers, as he was at wars with all neighbours. «The fresh forces came from the East and surrounded Russia. Russia, having conferred, went against Greeks with the weapon, and hardly overcame Greeks in severe battle», echoes annalist. Escaping from defeat, the rests of Igorev's team plunged on the ships and sailed at night, but Feofan Protovestiary met Russian fleet in the sea. The fiery Greek ships began to start up fire on Russian ships, and precipitated Russia in the greatest horror. Many of them, having seen fire, rushed to the sea water, aspiring to escape. So the rest of Russia people came back home to Kyiv. But it was necessary to know about Igor's nobility who didn't despaired and began to prepare for the second campaign. By 944 year he had gathered many soldiers: Varangians, Russichs, Cuman, Slovens, Krivitchs, Tivirtsy, employed Pechenegs and went on Greeks by sea and land. Having heard about it, Korsuntsi (that were inhabitants of Greek colony Chersonese) went to the tsar Roman with words:« Here, the Russia comes, it covered the sea with the ships, so that it is impossible to count them». Having heard about it, Byzantium Tsar sent the best boyars to Igor with the pray: «Don't go, but take a tribute that Oleg took and I will add to that tribute». The team of Igor said: «If the tsar tells it, do wee need anything else but to take gold and silver without the battle? Unless who knows who will win? Or who is in the union with the sea? ». Having listened them Igor, taking from Greeks gold and fabrics on all soldiers, came back to Kyiv. On returning from Byzantium campaign, Igor went on Drevlyan again. The history says that one tribute wasn't enough, and Igor solved again to return to Iskorosten with a small team, though his friends warned not to go for the tribute repeatedly. Igor didn't obey. And Drevlayns, went from Iskorosten against Igor, killed him and his team. Igor was buried in Drevlyansky earth at Iskorosten. That event happend in 945. Legends and myths very often find the continuation in the literature and art. So Igor left his name in unique "Song of Igor's Campaignª" and in Borodin's opera "Prince Igor" in which it is told about unsuccessful campaign against Cuman.


The new epoch of Russia development, the epoch of Christianity began. People called sacred equal to the apostles Olga «The chief of belief» and «Orthodoxy root» in Russian. Olga's christening was marked by prophetical words of patriarch, christening her: «You are blest in wives of Russian for having left darkness and having loved Light. Sons of Russian will glorify you to the last sort! ». It is known that Olga (Elena, Volga, Helga) comes from ancient Pskov. «The Primary Chronicle», concerning Igor's marriage, specifies that «They brought him the wife from Pskov, whose name was Olga». And other annals specify that she belonged to the sort of princes Izborsky, one of Old Russian princely dynasties. As it is known from history, after the marriage Igor went to a campaign on Greeks, and returned from it being already the father - the son Svyatoslav was born. Soon Igor was killed by Drevlyans. Being afraid of revenge for murder of Kyiv prince, Drevlyans sent ambassadors to Princess Olga, suggesting her to marry the governor Mall. Olga pretended that she agrees. Cunning she enticed into Kyiv two embassies of Drevlyans, having betrayed them to painful death: the first was buried alive «on a princely court yard», the second one- burnt in a bath.
After that five thousand of Drevlyans' men were killed by Olga's soldiers on funeral feast about Igor at walls of Drevlyans capitals Iskorosten. The next year Olga again approached with the army to Iskorosten. The city was burnt by means of birds to which feet burning tow was adhered. Survived Drevlyans were captivated and sold in slavery. The annals of contemporaries narrate about Olga's works: «Princess Olga ruled areas of Russian earth not as the woman but as the strong and reasonable man, firmly holding in the hands the power and courageously defending from enemies. And for the last ones she was terrible, by her people she was favourite, as the ruler she was mercy and pious, as the judge just, imposing punishment with the mercy, and gratified the kind people; she inspired fear to all malicious people, rendering everyone in proportion to advantage of their acts, but she found out foresight and wisdom in all affairs ».


Together with these qualities Olga connected an abstinent and chaste life, she didn't wish to marry again, but stayed in pure widowhood, observing her princely power for her son. When he grew up, in 957 she passed him all affairs of board, and, «having eliminated from rumor and care, lived out of cares of management, being engaged in charity».
Russia grew and became stronger. The cities surrounded with stone and oak walls were under construction. The princess lived behind reliable walls of Vyshgorod, surrounded by a true team. Under the annals two thirds of collected tribute, she gave in the order Kyiv town's meeting, the third part went «to Olga, on Vyshgorod» - on the military structure. The foundation of first frontiers of Kiev Russia concerns to the time of Olga's government. The powerful outposts sung in bylinas, guarded a peace life of Kyiv citizens from nomads of Great Steppe and attacks from the West. Strangers directed in Gardarika («the country of cities») as they named Russia, with the goods. Scandinavians, Germans willingly entered as mercenaries into the Russian army. Russia became great power. As an example of Byzantium empire as the wise ruler, Olga saw that cares only about the state and economic life were not enough. It was necessary to be engaged in organisation of religious and spiritual life of people. Her movement to Christianity became the catalyst of ideological and cultural development of Orthodoxy in Russia.
On May, 11th 960 in Kyiv the temple of Sacred Sofia was consecrated. This day is celebrated even nowadays in Orthodox Church as a special holiday. But, the temple constructed by Olga, burnt down in 1017, and on its place Yaroslav the Wise erected church of sacred great martyr Irina, and transferred relics of Sofia Holguin to hitherto standing stone temple of Sacred Sofia Kyiv, erected in 1017 and consecrated about 1030. Today Sofia Cathedral is this masterpiece of architecture and one of the pearls of Europe and the whole world. On July, 11th 969 sacred Olga died, «and great sons, grandsons and all people cried on her».

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The monument to Princess Olga in Pskov and Kyiv

Princess Olga as the ruler and philanthropist left the rich heritage «in the rich and big». Igor and Olga's son, Svyatoslav Igorevich ruled Russia for fifteen years, having marked the period of his board by submission of Vyatichy, defeat (definitive) of Khazar Kaganate (khanates) by means of strengthening of Russia borders. Besides, he continued his mother's affair on strengthening of foreign policy position of Kyiv state. But in 972 in a fight with Pechenegs in the area of Dneprovsky thresholds (modern Zaporizhzhia), he was killed. Olga's grandson, Svyatoslav's son - Vladimir Svytoslavovich (the First), being the prince of Novgorod in 980 grasped Kyiv throne by «dexterity and threat», therefore he received a nickname "Gorgeous sunshine". But not only for that, but also because in the days of his board from 980th till 1015 Old Russian state entered into the period of its blossoming and as a result, the international authority of Russia amplified. It is necessary not to forget that he is considered to be an «official christianiser» of Russia, about what the majestic monument on Dneprovsky hills in Kyiv testifies, which hadn't been destroyed neither by time, nor by «militant Antichrists». At Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich in 988 the Christianity became an official religion of Russia.


The monument to Vladimir in Kyiv
The period of Yaroslav the Wise board is specified by special color of reigning, though it is necessary to recognize that "additive" Wise appeared only in 1854, i.e. in eight centuries after his death. The way to Yaroslav's power was difficult and inconsistent.



Yaroslav the Wise as viewed by contemporaries and modern artists-bonists

The first period of his life is connected with the struggle for Kyiv throne. On reaching of mature age the father of Yaroslav made him Rostov prince, and nearby 1013 after the death of Vysheslav (elder son of Vladimir Svyatoslavich) Yaroslav became Novgorod prince. In 1014 Yaroslav's refusal to render tribute to Kyiv caused the father anger and order to prepare for a campaign to Novgorod. But on July, 15th 1015 Vladimir Svyatoslavich suddenly died, without having had time to carry out his plan. But brothers decided to finish «father's business» up to the end and, having got of Novgorod support, in December 1015 Yaroslav in the fight under Lyubechy won Svyatopolk and grasped Kyiv. But Svyatopolk didn't make up his mind to defeat, and in 1018 he together with his father-in-law, Polish king Boleslav Hrabrym, intruded in the limits of Russia. That time good luck accompanied Svyatopolk who managed to inflict defeat over Yaroslav in the battle at Buh and to beat off Kyiv. The same year, in the fight on Alte Svyatopolk suffered shattering defeat, and Yaroslav occupied Kyiv again. After the victory over Svyatopolk Yaroslav began struggle against other brother of Bullabakanka prince Mstislav, who also laid the claim to Kyiv throne.
In the battle under Listven in 1024 the victory was on the party of Mstislav, but he allowed Yaroslav to reign in Kyiv. Nevertheless Yaroslav didn't dare to accept the brother's offer and stayed in Novgorod, having directed mayors to Kyiv. In 1025 under the peace treaty at Gorodets Yaroslav received Russian earth on the West from Dnepr, with the centre in Kyiv, and Mstislav received east part, with Chernigov. Only after Mstislav's death in 1035 Yaroslav became an «absolute ruler» in Russia. After Listvensky fight Yaroslav's activity was basically connected with enlightenment and Christianization of Russia. Probably, the serious trauma received by him during struggle against brothers became the reasons of Yaroslav's failure from military activity habitual for the prince: inspection of Yaroslav's remains showed that he had his leg chopped therefore the prince should limp strongly and in the end of the life he could hardly exist without assistance (unfortunately, today it is impossible to confirm or to deny this version, as the remains withdrawn from the tomb of Yaroslav the Wise in October of this year, can belong not to him).


Yaroslav the Wise's tomb in which his remains «should have slept»

In 1036-37 powerful serf strengthenings («Yaroslav's city»), Golden gate with barbican church of Annunciation, the temple of Sacred Sofia and asacred George and Irina's monasteries were constructed. The end of building coincided with creation of «Words about the Law and God's Grace» which was proclaimed on March, 25th 1038. Then the first Russian annals - so-called «The most ancient corpus» was written.. The "Primary Chronicle" contains the favourable mention about Yaroslav's educational activity. Under the annals, the prince took care of many Greek books translation into Russian which made the basis of the library, created by him in the temple of Sofia Kyiv. The first Russian act of «Russian Truth» is also attributed to Yaroslav. In the field of foreign policy Yaroslav achieved strengthening of the international authority of the Old Russian state. Besides, many of Yaroslav's children were connected by family bonds with representatives of ruling dynasties Central and the Western Europe (for example, Jaroslavna - the queen of France). The annalistic data concerning Yaroslav's death is inconsistent; it is considered that he died on February, 20th 1054, however, many researchers name other dates. Before death Yaroslav bequeathed Kyiv throne to the senior son, Novgorod prince Izyaslav, ordering his sons to live in peace. Alas, not all sons followed his will.


Sofia Cathedral in Kyiv, «the history pearl» which was created by Yaroslav the Wise and Russian architects.

In a life and prosperity of Russia the period of Vladimir Monomakh (the Second) reigning was not less considerable. He ruled Kyiv only for eleven years, from 1113 till 1125, but his name was written in a world history.
In 1093 after father's death (Grand duke Vsevolod Yaroslavovich) he had possibility to occupy Kyiv throne, but, not willing the new intestine war, he voluntary conceded that right to his cousin Svyatopolk, having told such words: «His father was elder than mine and reigned in Kyiv earlier than mine», thus he occupied Chernigov throne. It was the difficult period when except war with Cuman, Vladimir was compelled to be at war with cousin Oleg for Chernigov throne. For this reason, Vladimir Monomakh was interested in the termination of princely intestine wars and rallying of Russia forces for the repulse of Cuman. Vladimir Monomakh persistently stated this thought at princely congresses (gatherings in 1097, 1100 and 1103). After congress (gathering) of 1103, Vladimir Monomakh became the inspirer and direct head of military campaigns against Cuman. He was the first who started to have recourse to national home guard, not only to the regular army - teams.
As a result of such measures, Cuman suffered a number of defeats and left Russian earths for a long time. In 1113 after the death of Kyiv Prince Svyatopolk Izyaslavich in Kyiv popular uprising and tops of Kyiv society were compelled to call for reigning of the strong prince which became Vladimir Monomakh. Becoming Kyiv prince, he suppressed revolt, but at the same time he was compelled by a legislative way to soften position of gutter. So there was «Vladimir Monomakh's Charter» or the «Charter about cut» which was a part of the "Russian Truth" - the first original constitution in Russia. That charter ordered profits of usurers and, defined enslavement conditions, without attempting upon feudal relations; it aspired to improve business of debtors and buyers in declarative way. And, though Vladimir Monomakh's reigning was the period of last Kiev Russia strengthening, and princely civil strifes temporarily stopped, stability in the state was keeping only upon the authority of Monomakh, and presence of general enemy - Cuman, that added concentration to the power in hands of the grand duke. It is known that Vladimir Monomakh was against violent board of the state as he commanded diligence, peace and generosity. He realised that in the new sociopolitical conditions which was in Russia by the end of the eleventh century, moral qualities of dominating persons got paramount political value, and the destiny of Russian state in a huge measure depends on moral behaviour of the people holding the power in their hands. Monomakh said: « It is not necessary to shed blood of those who will do our harm, but three good deeds can get rid of enemies and win them: by repentance, tears and alms». He transferred the same wishes to his sons in the form of the will that was testified by linoleum engraving of the same name.


However, after Great Vladimir's death, civil strifes and «blood wars» "fell down" on Kiev Russia, which finally led to definitive decline of Kyiv Statehood and, Kiev Russia accordingly.



Vladimir Monomakh's name, except monuments and a literary heritage, is embodied, also on the banknotes of brotherly countries. In Ukraine, it is one grivna, in the Russian Federation - one thousand roubles ...


Borders map of Kiev Russia princedoms of Vladimir's (the Great), (Second) Momomakh times.

Speaking about culture of Kiev Russia it is impossible to ignore such prominent aspect, as occurrence of Slavic, and Old Russian written language. The Slavic alphabet used in church books in processed form, in the secular literature by Russian, Ukrainians, Bulgarians and Serbs, is called as Cyrillic, connecting with Cyril's and Mefodiy's monastic names. However many researchers doubt that the very alphabet which was invented by Konstantin-Cyril, and they attribute invention of Cyrillic font to the Bulgarian Mefodiy's pupil in the end of the ninth century. As to the Konstantin, today he is considered as the inventor of the so-called verbal (i.e. «inflective» or changed) alphabet. This problem is difficult for solving, as there remained not only no Konstantin's autograph, but also any Slavic manuscript of his time. Cyrillic alphabet took for the basis Greek font with the use of some additional letters for transfer of sounds, not present in the Greek language. As to the verbal alphabet, its origin is being a riddle till now. At one time there was a general opinion that it occurred from the Greek cursive writing, but today it is impossible to confirm this theory or to deny.
But, nevertheless, it is necessary to notice that thanks to occurrence and development of Old Slavic writing, the culture of Kiev Russia came out on certain boundaries, as it goes in the depths of national culture of Slavic tribes. In formation and development of Kyiv state it reached high level and was enriched by influence of Byzantium culture that is also proved by activity of Byzantium monks, who were the authors of Slavic alphabet. As a result Kiev Russia became abreast front lines on culture of the states of its time. The cities (not only Kyiv, «Great Novgorod», but also Chernigov, Yaroslavl, Pskov, and so forth) were the centres of feudal culture. Literacy in Kiev Russia, especially, since Yaroslav the Wise and Vladimir Monomakh times, had been rather widespread among the people, that is testified by birchbark reading and writing and inscriptions on economic subjects (on spindle whorls, flanks, vessels etc.). There are even data on existence of female schools in Russia at that time. However, these are only judgements and assumptions.



Decent Cyril (Konstantin) and Mehody and their "child" - the transformed Slavic alphabet - Cyrillics.

Its constant wars were the factors which affected development and decline of Kiev Russia. The Kiev Russia was compelled to combat constantly not only in the west, against the Magyar Greeks, but also with the Asian nomadic hordes alternately living in Prichernomorye steppes: Khazary, Ugry, Pechenegs, Torky and Cuman. Attacks of Pechenegs forced Vladimir Svyatoslavich to strengthen southern borders of Kiev Russia («found the cities»). Yaroslav the Wise in 1036 actually destroyed the western association of Pechenegs. But in Prichernomorye steppes there appeared Torks who were defeated in 1060 by incorporated forces of Kiev Russia princes. Since the second half of eleventh century Cuman who seized the major trading ways between Europe and countries of the East had started to occupy steppes from Volga to Danube. Cuman gained a large victory in 1068. Then Kiev Russia sustained the impact of Cuman in 1093rd and 1096th that needed association of all its princes. In 1101 relations of Kiev Russia and Cuman improved, but already after two years Cuman broke the peace treaty. The whole series of Vladimir Monomakh's campaigns on Cuman followed, that campaign came to the end in 1117 by forcing them back to the south, North Caucasus and Georgia. Mstislav, Vladimir Monomakh's son, definitively pushed Cuman aside behind Don, Volga and Yaik. Vladimir Monomakh's reigning was the top of Kiev Russia blossoming, which borders extended extraordinary (from present gulf of Finland and Carpathians to Prichernomorye steppes). After Vladimir's death there was an intestine war between his sons in which two of them were killed: Boris and Gleb, who were later canonized.
But, despite Monomakh's efforts it was impossible to unite Kiev Russia. Objective historical processes were developing that was expressed, first of all, by the fast growth of local princely centres - Novgorod, Chernigov, Galich, Smolensk, Ryazan, Pskov, Vladimir, etc., which become large and reached for independence. Vladimir Monomakh's son, Mstislav Vladimirovich reigning after the father for seven years, managed not only to win Cuman definitively, but also to send their princes to Byzantium. However, in 1132 after Mstislav' death, Kiev Russia broke up to many independent princedoms. The period of feudal dissociation of Russia, which led to the definitive decline, and then centuries-long slavery began. It is necessary to note, that Kyiv was repeatedly exposed to plunder (not including mongolo-tatar yokes). So, in 968th, Kyiv was besieged by Pechenegs and if not deceptive "demarche" of voivode Preticha who expelled enemies from the gate of hailstones, the destiny of the city and its inhabitants, would be sad. Not casually that after such "discomfiture" townspeople addressed to Svyatoslav, who was in campaign in Bulgaria: «You are the prince, who is searching for another earth and your land was abandoned». On March, 8th 1169 armies of Vladimir-Suzdal prince Andrey Bogolyubsky, after a siege and long bloody fights, seized Kyiv. The city was completely plundered. In spite of the fact that Bogolyubsky's father, known Jury Dolgoruky, urged sons to love «a monastery of Southern Russia». After such city plunder and destruction of inhabitants, Kyiv actually lost the status of the capital of Old Russian state.

Special popularity in the history of Kiev Russia wars, for some reason was gained by Khazar.


Even the holiday of the Great Russian Victory found the place in this, basically, historical episode. But, all historians as a man, are surprised. Hardly the history prepared the destiny similar to Khazars. Having existed hardly more than three centuries and having disappeared in the tenth century practically completely, they continue to cause genuine interest in the circles of experts and keen fans of history. How did Khazars come to Hebraism, whether the Karaites are their successors, where are their cities and where did they go? Today, there are a lot of riddles. And no answers. But, then, in the early Middle Ages, the «hunters of dreams» and founders of the calendars estimating time on wars, were well-known in different lands. They submitted the whole people, owned steppes and cities. The foreign annalists wrote about them, but for unknown reason Khazars didn't leave the full lines about themselves.


Today only Turkish historians "have ventured" to define borders of "Khazaria" state more or less precisely



They were resisted by Russian combatants, alas, far not all Slavs were such athletes ...

And on the other hand later Pechenegs and Cuman, children of steppes and winds, were opponents of Slavs.





There came the thirteenth century, which was distressful for Europe, and especially, for Kiev Russia. In far 1210, far in the east there were events about which noone knew neither in Europe, nor in Russia but which were hard reflected on the destiny of tens people and countries. From all ends of boundless steppes Mongolian feudal lords with combatants gathered to river bank Onon (modern Ur). Temuchin was proclaimed their supreme governor. But, with a view of superiority display, he accepted the new name which became terrible for millions of people - Genghis Khan. Numerous nomad tribes united under his supervision. Association of Mongolo-Tatars tribes in the uniform state was the progressive phenomenon, unlike that occurred in Russia. Internal civil strifes between princelings ended and good base for economic growth and subsequent prosperity of the new state was created by baizes. However Mongolian nobility which was at the power directed the development not on a peaceful way, but by the way of wars and other aggressions. The reason of special aggression of Mongolian feudal lords and their aspiration to aggressive campaigns rooted in features of an economy. Operation of own people, to be more exact poor people, did not bring benefit as the nomadic cattle breeding which was a front view of manufacture at Asian tribes, did not bring notable benefit. So, it should be found an enrichment way. And very easy. Naturally, they found it very quickly: to plunder neighboring people and tribes. Soon after formation of uniform Mongolo-Tatar state aggressive campaigns began. By the end of Genghis Khan life in 1227, huge territories went to the hands of aggressors from Pacific ocean to Caspian sea. But, nevertheless voivodes of Mongolo-Tatar horde that had become Gold by that time, planned new campaigns. The explanation of military successes of Mongolo-Tatar soldiers, turned to be too simple.
Secret is not in the force of Mongolo-Tatar armies, but in the weakness of those people and countries which they attacked. For example, in China and Iran at that time there was a period of feudal dissociation. Not numerous feudal teams were everything, than those countries could resist. Mongolo-Tatars could break armies of opponents in parts, creating everywhere the big overweight of forces. That principle was selected by them at attacks on princedoms of Kiev Russia, instead of integral state, de facto, hadn't existed any more. The army of Mongolo-Tatars was the main about which the feudal top of Mongolia cared. All life of the country submitted to the military purposes. Mongolian soldier is, first of all, the horseman, mobile and fast, capable to big transitions and sudden attacks. The basic weapon - bow and arrows, axes, spears, boards. But only few of them had sabres and protective armour. Tactics Mongolo-Tatar s armies was reduced to sudden attack by a cavalry, smashing of opponent armies on parts and their subsequent destruction. The strength of the tactics is in careful investigation of future battlefield. They received data both from the scouts, and merchants who happened to be in interested countries. After victorious procession across distant and average Asia, Mongolo-Tatar under the Baty-khan leadership decided to direct their armies on territory of Kiev state princedoms.
The purpose was the same, as in Asia, i.e. to subdue these territories. Torzhok was one of the first cities, which stood an assault. At first inhabitants beat off at the full capacity, but the hope decreased as Mongolo-Tatars army was too numerous. Inhabitants of Torzhok needed to sell their life "more expensively" and cripple enemy as much as possible. After a fortnight siege Torzhok was taken. On March, 5th, 1238 Mongolo-Tatars got into a flaring city, killing everybody: women, children, old men. Those who could run away from the city were killed then, on the way to the north. The terrible time of Slavic statehood destruction of Kiev Russia epoch began. When in the end of 1237 Mongols fell upon Russia, nobody was ready to invasion. They didn't wait for intrusions; anyway, they didn't wait in winter as nomads didn't attack in winter. Princes didn't rendered the help to each other, as fiduciary counting that a trouble, having ruined the neighbour, would avoid their earth. Then Ryazan princes, whose earth was the first which had got under the blow, sent for the help to grand duke Yury Vladimirsky, but he refused to help, «wishing to create special abuse» though Yury at that time had the greatest military potential on Russian land (it is told about his father, Vsevolod the Big Nest in the «Song of Igor's Campaign»: «You can spill Volga with oars, and to take out Don by helmets».
Mongolo-Tatar horde devastated huge territories. All cities of Russia were subjected to the most severe defeat. The annals testify that: 1237, December - Ryazan was destroyed by Mongolo-Tatars, all population was also destroyed; 1238, on January, 1st: ruin of Kolomna by Bath-khan; 1238, January-March: Mongolo-Tatars devastate Vladimir, Pereyaslavsky (Zalessky), Yurevsky, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Uglitsky and Kozelsk princedoms. The same year they ruin Pereyaslavsky and Chernigov princedoms. In 1240, the turn reached Kyiv which defence became heroic, and the same time, one more tragic story of our capital.

After long six-day (and under other data - nine-day) defence, Kyiv was taken. The epoch of Kiev Russia was finished, but not Russia, as a whole, only «Great Novgorod» and Galitsko-Volynsk princedom were unsubdued. But it is already the story for the future section.
Invasion time was named a «bitter time» named in Russia. Few countries had to endure such sad time. It is difficult to imagine, how many misfortunes could be caused from Mongolo-Tatar yoke, if there were no resistance of the East Slavic people which stopped invasion on borders of the Central Europe. And again ...


The map of Mongolo-Tatar invasion.

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