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Popular Assemblies In Early Medieval Russia: The Veche In Legal History

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Chapter Summary

Among the ancestors of the Russian State Duma, pride of place belongs to the veche or popular assembly of Novgorod. The prominent role of the Novgorod veche in medieval Russia has understandably overshadowed the activities of veches in other Russian cities. The basic sources concerning the early Russian veche are the medieval Russian chronicles, especially the Primary or Nestor Chronicle; for the Novgorod veche the Novgorod Chronicle must be added. The first time the Primary Chronicle mentions a veche is under the entry for the year 997. The majority of reports about veche meetings is connected with the dynastic crises which occurred with great regularity in Kievan Russia. Sergeevich had already drawn the attention to institutions similar to the veche among the Greeks in Homeric times and the Germanic tribes, as recorded by Tacitus.

Keywords: veche; Kievan Russia; medieval Russia; Novgorod Chronicle; Sergeevich



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