Russia and the monarchy

Russia and the monarchy
Russia and the monarchy

Video: Russia and the monarchy

Video: Russia and the monarchy
Video: Russian Warship Suffers Massive Blow, Ukraine Claims Attack 2023, October
Russia and the monarchy
Russia and the monarchy

When we talk about monarchism, it is worth noting that an important factor assimilated by most of the school textbooks is the existence of the monarchy in Russia for almost 1000 years, and at the same time the peasants, who for almost the same period "lived out" their monarchist illusions.

In the light of modern research, this approach to the historical process and systems of social management looks a little comical, but let's talk about everything in order.

The institution of leaders arose among the Slavs on the basis of the clan in the IV-VI centuries. Byzantine authors saw in the Slavic tribes societies that "", as Procopius of Caesarea wrote, and as the author of the "Strategicon" added:

"Since they are dominated by different opinions, they either do not come to an agreement, or, even if they do, others immediately violate what has been decided, because everyone thinks the opposite of each other and no one wants to yield to the other."

Tribes or unions of tribes were headed, most often or first of all, by "kings" - priests (leader, master, pan, shpan), the subordination of which was based on the spiritual, sacred principle, and not under the influence of armed coercion. The leader of the Valinana tribe, described by the Arab Masudi, Majak, according to some researchers, was just such a sacred, and not a military leader.

However, we know the first "king" of the Antes with the speaking name of God (Boz). Based on the etymology of this name, it can be assumed that the Antian ruler was primarily the high priest of this union of tribes. And here is what the author of the 12th century wrote about this. Helmold from Bosau about the Western Slavs:

"The king is held in lower esteem by them in comparison with the priest [of the god Svyatovid]."

No wonder in Polish, Slovak and Czech - a prince is a priest (knez, ksiąz).

But, speaking of the leaders or the tribal elite, we absolutely cannot talk about any monarch. Endowing the leaders or heads of the clan with supernatural abilities is associated with the mental ideas of people of the tribal system, and not only the Slavs. As well as his desacralization, when a leader who had lost such abilities was killed or sacrificed.

But all this is not monarchism and not even its beginnings. Monarchism is a phenomenon of a completely different order. This system of government is associated exclusively with the formation of a class society, when one class exploits another, and nothing else.

The confusion stems from the fact that most people think that a formidable dictator or tough ruler is already a monarch.

The use of attributes of power, be it crowns, scepters, orphanages, by the leaders of "barbarian kingdoms", for example, the Frankish Merovingians, did not make them monarchs, like Roman emperors. The same can be attributed to all Russian princes of the pre-Mongol era.

Prophetic Oleg was the sacred leader of the Russian Clan, capturing the East Slavic and Finnish tribes of Eastern Europe, but he was not a monarch.

Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavovich, "Russian kagan", could wear the robes of the emperor Romeev, mint a coin - all this was, of course, important, but just an imitation. This was not a monarchy.

Yes, and all of Ancient Russia, which I already wrote about in VO, was at the pre-class stage of the communal system, at first tribal, and then territorial.

Let's say more: Russia or already Russia remained within the framework of the communal-territorial structure actually until the 16th century, when with the formation of the class structure of society, two main classes were formed - feudal lords and then peasants, but not earlier.

The military threat hanging over Russia since the Tatar-Mongol invasion demanded a different system of government than the sovereign city-states, lands or volosts of Ancient Russia.

Within a short period, the princely "executive" power turns into supreme. And this was historically conditioned. In such a historical setting, without the concentration of power, the existence of Russia as an independent subject of history would be impossible. And concentration could only go through the seizure or unification of lands and centralization. It is significant that the term, translated from the Greek, - autocracy - did not mean anything but sovereignty, sovereignty, first of all, from the tenacious paws of the Horde.

A natural process takes place when the old "state" form or system of government dies off, unable to cope with external influences. And the transition from city-states to a single military-service state is being carried out, and all this is within the framework of the communal-territorial structure both in north-eastern Russia and in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

The basis of the system, instead of a meeting-veche, was the prince's court. On the one hand, this is just a yard with a house, in the most ordinary sense of the word.

On the other hand, this is the squad, which is now called the "court" - the palace army or the army of the prince himself, any prince or boyar. A similar system was formed among the Franks five centuries earlier.

At the head of the house or court in Russia was the owner - the sovereign or the sovereign. And the prince's court differed from the court of any prosperous peasant only in scale and rich decoration, but its system was completely similar. The court or "state" became the basis of the emerging political system, and this political system itself received the name of the owner of this court - the sovereign. She bears this name to this day. The system of the court - the state of the Grand Duke, gradually spreads over almost three centuries to all subordinate lands. In parallel, there were lands of agricultural communities, devoid of a political component, but with self-government.

There were only servants in the courtyard, even if they were boyars, so the prince had the right to address the servants accordingly - as to the Ivashki.

Free communities were not familiar with such humiliation, therefore, in the petitions of Grand Duke Ivan III to individual communities, we see a completely different attitude.


In my opinion, Ivan III, as the founder of the Russian state, deserves a worthy monument in the center of his capital.

But historical reality demanded a change in the management system. The service state, emerging from the very end of the XIV century. and in the XV century. it coped with its task of defending the sovereignty of the new Russian state, but for new challenges it was not enough, in other words, a defense system built on different principles and an army were required. And this could only happen within the framework of early feudalism, that is, a class society.

And the early monarchy, which began to form only under Ivan III, was a necessary and inseparable part of this process. It was definitely a progressive process, the alternative to which was the defeat and collapse of the state.

No wonder Prince Kurbsky, “the first Russian dissident”, complained to his “friend” Ivan the Terrible that “tyranny” began under his grandfather and father.

The key interrelated parameters of this period were the formation of a class society and an institution of government, in symbiosis and under government with the monarchy. The most important attribute of any early monarchy was extreme centralization, not to be confused with the centralized state of the period of absolutism. As well as foreign policy actions that ensured its legitimacy as an institution.

This struggle of the new system of government turned into a real war, on the external and internal front, for the recognition of the title of "tsar" for the Russian sovereign, who, by coincidence, was Ivan the Terrible himself.

The military structure and the system of its support, the most adequate to the early period of the Middle Ages, was just being formed. In such conditions, the huge plans of the young monarchy, including because of the resistance of a part of the proto-aristocracy - the boyars, undermined the economic forces of the primitive agrarian economy of the country.

Of course, Ivan the Terrible acted not only by force, although terror and the defeat of the archaic clan system of proto-aristocracy are in the first place here.

At the same time, the monarchy was forced to protect the burdensome population, which is the main productive force of the country, from unnecessary encroachments from the service people - the feudal lords.

The tribal aristocracy was not completely defeated, the farmers also had not yet turned into a class of peasants personally dependent on the patrimonial or landowner, the service class did not receive the necessary support, as it seemed to them, of military service. Moreover, the attractive image of the Commonwealth, where the rights of the monarch had already been curtailed in favor of the gentry, stood before the eyes of the clan Moscow aristocracy. The calm period of the reign of Boris Godunov should not mislead us, “all the sisters have earrings” - it did not work out in any way.

And it is precisely these internal causes of the emerging class Russian society that lie at the heart of the Time of Troubles - the “first Russian civil” war.

In the course of which, first of all, it was the local army that rejected alternative models for the existence of the Russian state by means of the sword: external control from False Dmitry to the prince Vladislav, the boyar tsar Vasily Shuisky, direct boyar rule.

If "the hand of the Almighty saved the Fatherland," then the "collective unconscious" chose the Russian monarchy as the only possible form of state existence. The other side of this medal was the fact that the monarchy was the power primarily and exclusively of the knightly class.


As a result of the Troubles, the "beneficiaries" were servants and cities. A powerful blow was struck to the proto-aristocracy or aristocracy of the period of the communal-territorial system, and it was included in the new service class on the basis of general rules. And the losers turned out to be the farmers, who quickly take shape in a personally dependent class of peasants - they are enslaved. The process proceeded spontaneously, but was reflected in the Cathedral Code of 1649, by the way, Polish legislation served as the basis for it.

It should be noted that an attempt to find support in all estates, once again undertaken under the first Russian Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich, was not crowned with success. Neither "theocratic", nor "conciliar", nor any other "all-estate" monarchy can exist as an institution in principle. A difficult, if not to say, "muddy" situation in the search for control within the framework of the monarchy in the 17th century. is connected with this. On the other hand, by the middle of the 17th century. we see undeniable external success. The new feudal or early feudal system has borne fruit: Moscow annexes or "returns" Ukrainian lands.

However, not everything was so smooth. The so-called "monarchic illusions" of the enslaved people resulted in the search for a "good tsar", whose "governor" was Stepan Razin. The gigantic uprising clearly highlighted the class character of the changes that had come to Russia.

But external "challenges" associated with a significant technological breakthrough in its western neighbors have become new, fundamental threats to Russia. Let me remind you that this is the so-called. The "lag" of our country is due to the fact that it embarked on the path of historical development much later in conditions sharply worse than the "barbarian" kingdoms of Western Europe.

As a result, a completely different result was obtained per unit of effort: the climate, yield level, agricultural periods were different. Hence, there are different possibilities for accumulating potential.

So, in such conditions, the feudal system, akin to the European XIII century, received a complete form, society was divided into plowing, fighting and … praying (?). Peter I, on the one hand, was the “great modernizer” of Russia, and on the other hand, the first unconditional noble monarch.

Of course, not about any absolute monarchy in the eighteenth century. there is no need to speak here: Russian emperors, similar to the French kings of the 17th – 18th centuries.outwardly, in fact, they had little in common with classical absolutism. Behind the external shine and similar fashionable wigs, we see completely different periods of the feudal order: in France - the period of the complete decline of feudalism and the formation of the bourgeoisie as a new class, in Russia - the dawn of the noble knights.

True, such a brilliant success was ensured by merciless exploitation, otherwise the “new Peter III”, the “good tsar,” who preached that the Russian noble feudal lords were a “nettle seed” that must be destroyed, would have come from there. It is not surprising that the heirs of "primitive democracy", the Cossacks of Yemelyan Pugachev, stood at the head of the uprising.

The acceleration, which N. Ya. Eidelman wrote about, caused by the modernization of Peter, and the "noble dictatorship" ensured rapid development, the development of vast territories, victories in numerous wars, including the victory over the bourgeois dictator Napoleon. However, what else could the knights do.

"Russia," wrote F. Braudel, "even perfectly adapted to the industrial" pre-revolution ", to the general rise of production in the 18th century."

The heirs of Peter the Great gladly took advantage of this opportunity, but at the same time preserved social relations, stopping the organic path of development of the people:

“But, - continued F. Braudel, - when the true industrial revolution of the nineteenth century comes, Russia will remain in place and little by little will lag behind.”

Speaking about the organic development of the Russian people, we mean the situation with the release of the nobles from service. As V. O. Klyuchevsky wrote, the release of the peasants from serving the nobles should have followed immediately: the former do not serve, the latter do not serve. These contradictions caused friction in society, even the nobles, not to mention the subordinate classes.

In such conditions, the monarchy begins to degrade as an adequate system of government, remaining hostage to the ruling class, which throughout the 18th century. arranged endless "re-elections" of monarchs.

“What a strange ruler this is,” wrote M. D. Nesselrode about Nicholas I, - he plows his vast state and does not sow any fruitful seeds."

It seems that the point here is not only in Nicholas I or the degradation of the dynasty. Although, if he was considered the last knight of Europe, and, as it turned out during the Crimean War, “the knight of the sad image,” then who were his descendants?


Did the tsar work day and night, like Nicholas I and Alexander III, or only during "working hours", like Alexander II or Nicholas II. But all of them only performed a service, routine, daily, for some burdensome, someone is better, someone is worse, but nothing more, and the country needed a leader who could move it forward, create a new system of management and development, and not only the chief clerk or the last knight, albeit outwardly and similar to the emperor. This is the problem of the management of the period of the last Romanovs and a tragedy for the country, however, in the end, and for the dynasty. With what irony the "autocrat of the Russian land" sounds at the beginning of the twentieth century!

At the beginning of the XVI century. the monarchy, as an advanced system of government, brought the country to a new stage of development, ensuring its security, and its very existence.

At the same time, the monarchy became from the 17th century. instrument of the ruling class, developed with it in the 18th century. And it degraded along with it in the 19th century, at a time when the organic development of society was already possible to regulate by social engineering.

And the historical reality, as in the XIV century, demanded a change in the management system.

If the "enslavement" of the peasants was a foregone conclusion during the first civil war in Russia (Troubles, 1604-1613), then the final exit from the "enslavement" also took place during the new civil war of the 20th century.

It was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that the monarchy as an institution failed to cope with the challenges, did not carry out modernization in time and drove into a corner the solution of the problems that were resolved in the course of the new modernization of the twentieth century, which cost the country huge sacrifices.

And the last monarch, including due to a coincidence of circumstances, did everything so that the monarchy, even as a decoration, was not needed by anyone.

The peasant majority, which won the 1917 revolution, had no need for such an institution. The same happened with the majority of monarchies in Europe, with rare exceptions, where they had long been deprived of the levers of control.

However, any system goes from dawn to dusk.

Speaking about the fate of the monarchy in Russia today, we will say that it certainly deserves close scientific attention as a historical institution of the past that needs to be studied, but nothing more. In modern society there is no place for such a phenomenon … unless the regression of society rolls back to the period of the class of nobles and serfs.