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  on Wednesday, February 25, 2008 at 17.00 p.m.

The Political Culture of Old Rus’: a Comparative Approach

Faculty Tower, #409


Pavel Lukin

Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences

Old Rus’ political traditions have been studied for a long time without regard for a comparative framework. The Romantic school of Slavic scholars wished to see Old Rus’ political institutions as a continuation of legendary “democratic” Slavic antiquity, while the Soviet-Marxist school often emphasized their domination by the ruling classes. Since the 1970s, several Russian historians have again attempted to discover in the pre-Mongol Rus’ democratic institutions comparable to the classical assemblies of Athens and other city-states of ancient Greece. Paradoxically, only a few works by post-Soviet historians contain comparative studies of the medieval political culture of Old Rus’ and other European medieval polities. This paper explores the use and abuse of the comparative approach in contemporary post-Soviet studies of Old Rus’ and contains several concrete examples of comparative analysis.

Pavel Lukin is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Old Rus’ History, Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences, and a CEU Visiting Research Fellow between January 9 and March 8, 2009. He is the author of Russian political beliefs in the 17th century and the section on Rus’ political assemblies in the collection Old Rus’: Essays on the Political and Social System (in Russian). He has co-authored an article with Prof. Janos M. Bak on medieval political assemblies of Eastern and Central Europe in Political Assemblies in the Earlier Middle Ages (Studies in the Early Middle Ages 7, Brepols 2003).

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