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A Comparative Approach to Kievan Rus’

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image of Russian History

Christian Raffensperger’s excellent monograph Reimagining Europe: Kievan Rus’ and the Medieval World raises stimulating questions about the place of Kievan Rus’ in comparative history, questions that are more important than whether one agrees with his answers. Although Raffensperger defines his study chronologically, thematically and regionally, he draws a holistic conclusion that Kievan Rus’ was “part and parcel” of Europe. Such a conclusion runs the risk of reifying “Europe,” which is not and cannot be defined, and “Kievan Rus’,” which was heterogenous and evolved in ways which affect the elements of comparison Raffensperger explored. In additional other aspects of comparison between parts of Kievan Rus’ and different countries in “Europe” such as early medieval political structures could profitably be compared in greater depth.

Affiliations: 1: Independent Scholar


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