The authors of this theory referred to the ancient East Slavic chronicle – “The Tale of Bygone Years”.

The authors of this theory referred to the ancient East Slavic chronicle – “The Tale of Bygone Years”.

For example, the Suzdal principality, led by Andriy Bogolyubsky, attracted these possessions in a peculiar way – from time to time capturing Kyiv and completely looting the city, destroying it. Other principalities used the experience of Kievan Rus in a different way. For example, the Galicia-Volyn principality preserved and multiplied the political and spiritual values ​​of its predecessor.

Kievan Rus as a state was formed on its own ethnic and spiritual basis, on the specific political and economic relations of the ancient Slavic peoples, who gradually became part of Kievan Rus. A major theoretical and historical-philosophical error of part of Russian historiography is the point of view according to which the state – Kievan Rus was created by the new “Vikings” (Normans). The discussion of the Norman (“Varangian”) origin of Kievan Rus and the anti-Norman origin dates back to the 18th century, when historians split into two camps.

In the eighteenth century, German scholars G. Bayer, G. Miller, and A. Schletzer, who served in Russia at the invitation of the odious E. Biron, a favorite of Empress Anna Ioannovna, developed the so-called Norman theory. It proved that Kievan Rus was founded by the Vikings (Normans), known in Europe as the Vikings. The authors of this theory referred to the ancient East Slavic chronicle – “The Tale of Bygone Years”.

This work is attributed to the chronicler Nestor and dates back to about 1113 (meanwhile, mentions of ancient Slavic states appeared in Arab and Byzantine sources 250 years earlier). Nestor wrote that in 862, the Slavs from Kyiv, due to intergenerational disputes and the impossibility of electing a single prince, invited the Vikings, three brothers – Rurik, Sineus and Truver. Rurik became a prince in Kyiv – as a senior, other brothers ruled in other n lands.

We will not enter into discussions with historians; many of them argue that when Rurik and his brothers came to Novgorod, the state already existed there, just as it existed in the Rus’ territories centered in Kyiv. Kyiv legend has it that Rurik and his wife cunningly captured Kyiv and destroyed the family of Kyiv princes. And only since then began to rule in Kievan Rus, which had long been a state. There are many points of view on the forms of existence not only of Kievan Rus, but also of other Slavic states before the Norman invasion [1].

We can only say that in the middle of the ninth century in the works of the Arab geographer Jaihany mentioned three Slavic alliances on the Eastern European plain – Kuyavia (with the city of Kuyava), Slavia (with the city of Novgorod) and Artania, a very militant country without a permanent capital. allowed foreigners into its state space and was able to pay tribute to the border areas of Ruma (Byzantium). Thus, the ancient Russian state of Kievan Rus appeared as a descendant of the previous pro-Russian (Slavic) states, the history of which is not known to us in detail. Non-science fiction stories about Artania (Oratia), about “Scythian-Slavic” states, etc. are nothing more than fictions that have a meager source base from Arabic, Byzantine or mythical works.

The historian I. Isayev, for example, hypothesizes that in 882 the two political centers of the ancient Slavs – Kyiv and Novgorod – united under the rule of Kyiv, forming the Old Russian state. This state formation from the very beginning of development cannot be considered a full-fledged unitary state. At first it was a kind of federation, although in form it was an early feudal monarchy [2]. The well-known Russian historian A. Shakhmatov held the same opinion. Historians M. Vladimirsky-Budanov and M. Dyakonov believe that certain unions of territories headed by the “senior city” of the Eastern Slavs were states even before the “invitation of the Vikings”.

B. Grekov argued that there is no doubt that they (Eastern Slavs) in the “pre-Kiev” history is no longer a tribal but a class society with relevant political organizations in the still fragile states, which, however, helped further the formation of the feudal system [3].

Thus, there is no other reason to claim that the Vikings (Normans) founded such states as Kievan Rus and Novgorod than “The Tale of Bygone Years”. But it cannot be a reliable source for several reasons. First, it was written much later than the Slavic and Byzantine sources mention the Slavic states, and we do not know whether Nestor, who is credited with the authorship of this Tale, relied on them. Secondly, between the events described by Nestor “invitation of the Vikings” and his time passed almost 250 years. Does Nestor accurately convey the events? Or, perhaps, retells the myth?

In any case, the “Norman theory” had in Russia and abroad both supporters and opponents. The German origin of the founders of the theory and their emphasis on the defining German-Scandinavian influence on the Slavs, who seemed incapable of creating a state on their own, provoked, for example, an extremely negative assessment of this theory by M. Lomonosov …

The Russian scholar developed an anti-Norman theory, in which he argued the primary role of the Slavs themselves in the creation of ancient Russian states, and the influence of the Normans (Vikings), who lost their language, customs and culture, M. Lomonosov considered secondary. The Normans (Vikings) could have founded a new princely dynasty, but they themselves dissolved into the Slavic ethnos. Since then, discussions between Normanists and anti-Normanists have not stopped.

Some historians accepted the Norman theory (M. Karamzin, S. Solovyov), some rejected it (O. Herzen, M. Chernyshevsky, M. Dobrolyubov, Y. Zabelin, M. Kostomarov, B. Grekov, B. Rybakov, P. Tolochko and other). Moreover, it has been proved that “The Tale of Bygone Years” from Nestor has not reached us in an authentic state. For some reason, this chronicle did not suit Volodymyr Monomakh, and he gave it for processing to the abbot of the Vydubychi monastery Sylvester. It is impossible to establish today what the abbot changed in it. But since Volodymyr Monomakh was a descendant of Rurik, it is not difficult to express lab some hypotheses.

V. Klyuchevsky had a peculiar approach to this question. He was skeptical of both radical Normanists and adherents of Slavic theory and argued that the influence of the Normans (Vikings) should not be overestimated. The researcher considered the idea of ​​”inviting the Vikings” a beautiful fog of folk legends. Gradually, V. Klyuchevsky’s point of view became the most acceptable, and the problem itself lost its relevance.

However, in the 1930s, Soviet scientists began a new offensive on Norman theory. It was declared not only unscientific but also politically harmful. At the same time, the critique of Norman theory used the well-known theses of F. Engels about class society and that the state cannot be imposed by force from outside, it is a product of a gradual process of development. Therefore, it was believed that the ancient Russian states were the result of many centuries of socio-economic development of Eastern Slavs and the result of profound internal changes that took place in East Slavic society in the IX – X centuries. And in this point of view a lot of correct, scientifically proven.

As B. Grekov said, at the modern level of science, the old naive views that the state can be created by individuals in a certain year have ceased to “work” [4]. As early as the early 1930s, A. Artsykhovsky proved that there were no Norman colonies in the Smolensk and Suzdal lands. Most of the “Varangian” items found in the burials were concentrated in Slavic graves. In the 1940s, M. Artamonov summarized the positions of Russian scholars: the Vikings invaded Russia early, but they were at the same stage of economic and cultural development as the Eastern Slavs, and did not have sufficient experience in state building in Scandinavia, so not could bring to Russia neither a higher culture nor statehood. They only joined the local process of state formation.

Thus, in the 1930s and 1940s, Soviet science clearly formed the view that the political ideal of the ancient Russian states was not introduced by the Vikings, but was formed on Slavic soil. It was acknowledged that detachments of Norman soldiers who served Russian princes, as well as Norman merchants who traveled by water, repeatedly appeared in the Russian lands. Of course, the military units of the Vikings (Normans) took part in the internal Slavic wars and could try to seize power and establish ruling dynasties.

This process was specially studied by V. Mavrodin in the 1940s. He acknowledged the participation of the Normans (Vikings) in political life recorded in archeological and mythological sources and showed the rather limited nature of this participation, even in spite of the Norman origin of the Kyivan Grand Ducal dynasty. It turned out that this dynasty therefore survived in Kievan Rus, which quickly merged with the Russian, Slavic ruling elite and began to fight for its interests. At the same time in the text of the monograph there were fragments where the role of the Normans in the development of Kievan Rus was exaggerated [5].

In the postwar years, B. Grekov devoted much space to the critique of Norman theory. An even more detailed critique of this theory was contained in the work of S. Yushkov [6]. Today it is possible to put forward a more substantiated hypothesis: the Vikings became the catalyst for the creation of a great Slavic state – Kievan Rus, helped some Slavs to unite.

A historical and theological document, which appeared earlier in The Tale of Bygone Years (early 12th century), “works” against the Norman theory of the origin of Kievan Rus. According to fragments known from several sources, including the Tale itself, scholars partly know the first, already political work – “A Word on Law and Grace” by Kyiv Metropolitan Hilarion (mid-eleventh century), in which an attempt was made to theoretically substantiate the origin of Byzantium. both politically and spiritually of the Kyiv state and the idea of ​​a strong princely power.

The “Word of Law and Grace” gives a religiously sustained fantastic concept of world history and the place of the ancient n people in it. History is divided into two periods: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The period of the Old Testament is the period of God’s election of one, the Jewish people, the period of obedience to the law. The period of the New Testament is the period of grace, when Christianity became the property of all nations that accepted it voluntarily.