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The mechanisms of the old russian state genesis.


Despite the insufficient precision of the correlation of the terms: social and cultural (or sociocultural)1 political anthropology2 (or its approximate equivalent – potestoral-political ethnography in the late Soviet and early postsoviet historiography) (Kubbel 1988)3 and especially the complexity of rigid differentiation of their objects of research, some concepts which have born in their environment, are of no doubt.

For example, the mechanisms of the socio- and politogenesis. The set of the former ones has been recently well worked out by A.V. Korotayev formally on an example of Sabejsky region (Korotayev 1997). As to the second ones, the data on them are contained in the works, connected with the concrete ways, territories and stages of the politogenesis. Once the author tried to compile these data for the three stages of the politogenesis: formation of chiefdoms; transition from the simple chiefdoms to complex ones and their development; transition from complex chiefdoms to the early states4.

The only one and incomplete attempt of accepting this scheme of stages was undertaken for the old russian state genesis (concept "politogenesis" is not quite adequate to the essence of the investigated phenomenon) (Melnikova 1995). The author in his dissertation of the late 90-s and the monograph of 2002, reflecting its basic principles (Shinakov 2000 а, b, 2002), adheres to the following scheme of stage-by-stage dynamics of the process of formation of the old russian statehood.

1. The stage of the separate "chiefdoms" and other late potestoral formations of different types and ethnoses on the territory of the future old russian state. They are so-called «tribal principalities», protocities - the states of Northeuropean type - "viki", tribal military-potestoral unions under protectorate Khazar Khaghanate, etc. The top level of this stage is basically the middle - second half of the IX century (before Ryurik and Oleg) - the degree of their reality or fabulosity in the given context is not the theme under our study). In the separate potestoral-political zones (regions)5 of the future old russian part of the Eastern Europe the durability of this stage drags out (or resumes with the means of rolling aside) up to the middle - second half of the X cent. In our opinion6 it is connected with the crisis of the supreme authority in Rus in 40-s of the X cent. (under Igor), which induced the reanimation of the late potestoral formations led by local hierarchy in some regions.

2.
The stage of the «complex chiefdoms» (the prestates of a potestoral-political stage, «territorial empires», complex states, «barbarian kingdoms» of the Big transitive (prefeudal) period, «military democracy» and «military hierarchy», based on terminology of various domestic and foreign experts of political anthropology) goes on from the end of the IX – up to the middle and the beginning of the second half of the X cent. (Oleg, Igor, Olga, Svyatoslav, Jaropolk). This stage finishes with Olga's reforms in the one part of territories of Ancient Rus and after unifying actions of Jaropolk and Vladimir – in another one.

This stage of state genesis especially for Rus finds the form of “the two-level state» (Shinakov 1993 B), the device and functioning of which was in details and skillfully described by Constantine Porfirogenetus (in 30-s - the beginning of 40-s of the X cent.) It is characterized by the uniformity of the "top" level authority in Rus which forms the "skeleton" of the complex state, and by ethnocultural and potestoral-typological variety of low, "slavic" level of authority. Constantine has it like domination of "Russia" over several "Slavinia", carrying ethno-tribal names. Domination is based on the military superiority of «all rosi»7 over each single "Slavinia" and partly on the reciprocity concerning two levels of authority. «The tribal» hierarchy was interested in the participation of the reception of its share from the subjects of "prestigious consumption» from foreign trade and combined campaigns to Byzantia and, probably, to the East. Externally, except for special role of international trade, this system reminds to some extent earlier, but synchrostadial I Bulgarian empire of VIII - the beginning of the IX cent. (before Krum`s reforms).

3. The transition to the early state begins with Olga's reforms and comes to the end basically under Vladimir the Saint and under Jaroslav the Wise and his sons, concerning the relations, governed by law.

Inside this transition it is possible to mark the phases of limited in territory, but perspective Olga's reforms; Svyatoslav`s “imperial experiment” called to involve external resources in «the state construction», but as a result distracted them from it; unifying actions of Jaropolk and Vladimir (and, probably, Oleg); Vladimir's all-embracing reforms; legal reforms of XI century (caused by the casual reasons and socially limited by Jaroslav the Wise, but grew universal and systematic under his sons (1072). This year (the year of compiling «the Brief edition of the Russian Truth”) can be considered the legal date of creation of the early state in Rus.

The further workstage consists of revealing those mechanisms which were involved in the transition from one stage to another, and also in institutionalization and legitimation of a new level or type of the organization of the authority.

For this purpose it is used the integrative and comparative analyses of the concrete groups of sources, concerning each fact or the phenomenon during old russian state genesis, and also the attempt "to try on" these or those mechanisms, revealed by synthesis, to old russian realities from the sources.

Earlier the author offered the following types of mechanisms of power institutionalization which gave the birth to creating structures of the chiefdom level of different types. He called them "initial" or "traditional"8.

1. Through personal qualities, abilities (a way to meritocracy, military democracy).

2. Through family connections (a way to aristocracy, "megacommunities" of different types, the caste state and sometimes as a result - to the official-bureaucratic state).

3. Through age classes (a way to gerontocracy, «military government», primitive "feudalism").

4. Through sacralization of the features, actions, qualities (a way to theocracy, some kind of agricultural, "eastern" protocities-states, then - to the official-bureaucratic state such as «eastern despotism»).

5. Through the informal corporative organizations (a way to initial hierarchy, including military, corporative-exploiting protocities-states).

6. Through accumulation of material assets, with no connection with the status (a way to "plutocracy" - oligarchies, to the trading protocities-states, special ("melanesian") to types of chiefdoms).

7. Through family-marital ties (a way to «territorial empires», hierarchically organized unions of tribes).

Later, during the transition from primitive chiefdoms to complex ones, there appear and become prevailing the external-military mechanisms. Then the mechanisms of the internal conflicts which can be solved in the different ways add them, especially closer to its final phase. The most perspective mechanism is the compromise when power structures of a new level (frequently - already of the early state) were created during reforms (with no exclusion of the preliminary suppression of the loser side. And, at last, on a phase of the formation of the early states (with the preservation of the most part of traditional mechanisms) there appear the regulative-legal and ideological mechanisms. Their elements, certainly, exist earlier in the structure of the "sacral" mechanisms, through the informal organizations and others but as special system of the views postulated and brought by power structures and aimed on the legitimation of power, the ideological mechanisms appear only at this stage of the state genesis. Religion, philosophy and art become the part of ideology.

But the state ideology doesn`t always completely coincide with the religious one in form, content, means and the purposes. There are also the direct conflicts of their carriers. The civil demagogy appears as a variant of affecting the "society" by power structures or ruling hierarchy.

^ The external-military, mainly expansionist, mechanisms, resulted in the creation of corporatively (ethnically) exploiting (including nomadic) the two-level prestates (I Bulgarian empire before Krum`s reforms, Oleg and Igor's state in Rus, the Great princedom of Lithuania of pagan times, Khazar Khaghanate), some types of polises, and also the expansion of limits of power, belonging to trading and "eastern" cities - states, «eastern despotisms».

Almost exclusively military mechanisms are contaminated with the caste and feudal-hierarchical statehood.

Internally conflict, contractual-compromising, legal, ideological mechanisms are not rigidly coordinated to this or that form of statehood (though they are frequently used in the creation and the further strengthening of polises and the official- bureaucratic states).

It is unnecessary to speak, that in a historical and ethnological reality, taking into consideration specific features, degree of informativity and tendentiousness of the source base, various types of mechanisms are interwined, they supplement or “fight” each other and frequently lead not to the same results (forms of chiefdoms, protostates, states) which were earlier mentioned.

So, long ago forgotten "traditional" mechanisms seem to unexpectedly emerge on a new coil of the politogenesis, confirming the thesis «every new thing is well forgotten old one», and also «nothing is new under the Moon»!

The problem of combining the plurality, unity and similarity in socio- and politogenesis has been recently examined by H.G. Claessen. Various (but not infinite, repeated) ways and lines of initial politogenesis, which are expressed in different forms of the prestate bodies, and that`s why in the mechanisms of their formation, under certain conditions result also into the same diverse, but possessing important common features, early states. (Claessen 2000:18)

The set of the mechanisms of the institutionalization and legitimation of power in all regions, ways and stages of the state genesis is quite standardized, for it depends basically on features of the human psychology, ethnic mentality, cultural and religious traditions, the level of the social development, the status and the purposes of those people who strive for power.

It once again confirms the thesis that «similar political structures (and we can add - the processes and mechanisms of their realization - Е.S.) have arisen in the various cultural environment and independently » (Claessen 2000:18).

The mechanisms of the institutionalization and legitimation of power (МILP), or state genesis, in this connection could not absolutely coincide with so-called «factors of social evolution, connected with the deep, cause-effecting phenomena in a social life, with the same objective tasks for the society solution at the give moment. Not without a reason the author of the concept A.V. Korotayev characterizes it like «sources of social evolution» (Korotayev 1997: 5, 6), giving names to about a dozen of their types. With the quantitative coincidence of the "mechanisms" and "factors" only one «conflict of interests» approximately coincides, but only «in complex and supercomplex societies» (Korotayev 1997:37).

It speaks about absolutely different motivation of the social development as a whole and of the separate personalities or their groups, "strati", aspiring the authority over them.

Besides, the "choice" of "the mechanism" is determined not by the purpose, but by means, which are considered the most accessible and effective in the concrete situation.

The purpose of this article is not the revealing of the factors which were the source and initial stimulus of the old russian state genesis and which defined social, to a less degree - political - specificity of the old russian statehood at different stages of its development.

These factors have not received direct illumination in all the kinds of sources and attempts of revealing them proceeding from the basic, vulgarly understood Marxist doctrine (and moreover from the universal-metaphysical plan), put the Soviet historiography of Kievan Rus into a blind alley.

The purpose of article is the solution of a more private question, - what kind of mechanisms consciously or implicitly were used by hierarchy and ruling elite of potestoral-political formations of the Eastern Europe for coming to power, its strengthening and expanding the political and territorial limits. The application (for the first time - systematic) of the methods of the political (sociocultural-?) anthropology to the realities from the sources allows to compensate the objective and subjective faults of the latter, to draw more precise, though formalized, but built-in in the global sociopolitical dynamics, a picture of the old russian state genesis. On the other hand, the application of this theory to concrete materials can check up once again the degree of its accuracy, add and verify it.

Besides the knowledge of mechanisms of the state genesis can in the reverse order help to verify also the structure of the state which was formed as a result of their actions, especially if it (as in our case) finds weak reflection in sources. Here we entirely agree with the H.G. Claessen`s opinion, that «the comparable problems which have appeared at various places on earth lead to the development of comparable solutions» (Claessen 2006: 28). It means, that if the original problems (phenomena) and the processes generated by them are similar in some regions, so and their results will be similar too. If we know them for one territory, we can transfer them to another one, where the result (in this case the form of a state system) is weakly covered by the sources, with the certain share of probability provided the obvious similarity of the initial "stimulus" and the mechanisms of the state genesis.

* * *

^ The stage of separate chiefdoms. The very content of a stage and typology of the chiefdoms in the Eastern Europe was earlier in details reconstructed by the author. We shall dwell on the mechanisms. Two of them - "plutocratic" and "patrimonial" (genealogical) types are reconstructed for a phase of the peak of the chiefdoms. A source of the means for creation of the first bodies of power, judging by a combination of written, archeological, numismatic data, was the participation in international trade along «the Eastern way». The substantiation of the right of power – original settling, an antiquity of a family, belonging to the "land" aristocracy («the best specimen»), i.e. mechanisms of the "patrimonial" type. The influence of external forces on the process of local politogenesis is not traced, though the annals mark, that the part of Slavic and Finno-Ugric tribes is under dependence from varyags and khazars (FERC Т.1. 1962: 19, 21), and some historians assume the existence of the protectorate of Great Moravia (Novoseltsev … 1991; Shinakov 2002; 133, 250, 367).

We should note, that there are no data in sources about the existence of hierarchy - patrimonial nobility in the southern regions. They exist in the Southwest (white croations) and the Center (polyane) in the form of data, concerning the early genesis of ruling - princely-bodyguard elite. They came from the Arabian authors (Ibn Ruste, Al Masudi), and the legend included in NPY? (ПВЛ) about the Polyan tribute "swords" to the khazars (ПСРЛ. Т.1 1962:17). Indirectly it testifies the external - military mechanisms, which are not directly reflected in sources (about battles with khazars (except for indirect - «a sword tribute») and intertribal collisions («lived in peace») there are no data). By the data of archeology «military democracy» and "hierarchy", which also mean the military mechanisms, could be present in the state genesis of the Southeast («Khazarian zone») tribes, the severyane most of all.

The final phase of a stage of the separate chiefdoms and the beginning of the transition to the next stage in the North of Rus is marked by the military-resistance mechanism connected with the redistribution of the incomes from the international trade, which had been monopolized by the middle of IX century by the strange "varyags" (in annalistic terminology) - "rusi" (in the terminology of the Arabian sources).

The tribal aristocracy (hierarchy) came to power during the revolt against them, which is also recorded in the Scandinavian sagas and by the data of archeology (Jackson 1994:73; Kirpichnikov 1988:49). Later, after the conflict between the hierarchy of different tribal associations (chud, merya, ves, krivichi, slovene) the contractual-compromising mechanism comes into effect. It consists in the formation of the top level of authority in the created confederation with the help of the method of the invitation from abroad, not especially strong, but already possessing the experience and, the main thing, - the aura of legitimacy, ruling group (prince Ryurik with brothers, his family and bodyguard). The authenticity of Ryurik`s personality and especially of his brothers - Truvor and Sineus, is rather debatable question in the literature, and has no value. The actions of ruling family of the separate parts of the protostate formations, built by the military-resistance mechanism even logically should be the same if the preservation of this consolidation of equal in rights and similar in force "chiefdoms" was more important for them than personal or group ambitions.

There is a well-founded point of view, that this compromise was fixed in the written treaty where the rights and duties of both sides were stipulated (Grinev 1989: 38-42) If it`s true so we deal with the fact of transformation of the contractual-compromising mechanism into the legal one. In the stadial aspect it started to operate too early, however, it is necessary to take into account the regional specificity of the Northern Rus, which was the member of «Baltic cultural-economical community» (Kirpichnikov 1979: 98,99; Kirpichnikov, Lebedev 1980:26,27; Lebedev 1985: 47) where the legal regulations arises during an epoch of "barbarity", inside the separate chiefdoms.

As a result there formed the complex system of authority where each element did not possess it completely.

^ The stage of complex chiefdoms. During gradual expansion of the "territory of power» with the means of adding new chiefdoms (tribal princedoms, the protocities-states, military-potestoral unions) to already developed along the international trading ways ("Eastern", later - «From Varyags to the Greek» or Dnieper, Bavarian-Khazarian) "skeleton" of the "barbarian" statehood, there used the old trading-plutocratic mechanism and the new – military-expansionist one. The «old» mechanism operated in two ways. First, the main source of riches of the new ruling elite and partly the old hierarchy was the international trade. Both Varyag-Rus elite, and the tribal hierarchy of the North aspired to put under the control the whole length of trading ways. Second, the local nobility put up with the loss of a part of power and tribute for the benefit of elite of the top level, having the share in incomes from international trade and contribution in case of external predatory wars which could not be independently conducted.

In the group of "military" mechanisms there arises a new, integrative-concentrating on value type of the mechanism - "predatory wars".

The function of the first mechanism has generated varyag expeditions down the Dnieper, supported by the land-trading hierarchy of the "northern confederation», aimed to secure the markets of Byzantine. As a result – the capture of Kiev by Askold and Dir, and then – by legendary Oleg the Prophetic (882) and their military - trading activity in the Byzantine direction.

For the further expansion of the «spheres of power» rusi applied the military-expansionist mechanism. This expansion (consolidation of the southern chiefdoms and princedoms around "Russia" with the center in Kiev was necessary for increasing the export base of rusi in trade and military contingents - in case of war. The local prince and hierarchy "Slavinias" put up with the supreme sovereignty of rusi until the latter were "lucky". The military way was effective to subdue isolated opponents (moreover those who had already got used to pay tribute to the khazars or Great Moravia), but the few rusi could not to keep them using only this military-forced method. The events of 941-944 resulted in the murdering of prince Igor and partly – in the destruction of the old (the level of the complex chiefdoms, potestoral-political system. This system breaks up as a result of the internal conflict between different levels of power - "russian" and "slavic", generated by external military failures.

The very revolt of one of "Slavinias" (Drevlane), headed by local princes and aristocracy (ruling elite and hierarchy) was suppressed by the regent Olga with the use of "barbarian" methods: of a military suppression and military-frightening mechanisms, which acquired in the annals the legendary form of the «ritualized conflict»9. However, the new mechanisms were required for the positive actions and the reconstruction of the whole system of power. Provided the state leader was rather passive, there could be a return of the statehood on a level of separate chiefdoms or, what is less probable, replacement of a ruling family and elite as the head of the of preserved but a bit transformed and reduced (in territory) "barbarian" prestate formation. In case of using the proper mechanisms, their resolute and careful application, probably, not only the crisis was overcome, but also after some time there could be a transition to new, higher level of the development of the statehood.

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