To Kievan Rus. Why exactly Kiev?
Domestic tourism in the vastness of our country in recent years has become increasingly popular. Many tourists like to visit such ancient Russian cities as Veliky Novgorod – where the Russian state originated, Pskov, the capital of the northern principalities – Suzdal, Yaroslavl, Uglich, Vladimir and others. In this regard, many often have a question – why did Kiev become the first Russian capital?
Here we briefly tried to answer this question. So, the main reason is the peculiarities of location and nature. After all, the nature of the country affects the entire course of historical development. It leaves an imprint on life, lifestyle, on the entire development of the national economy.
Plains and rivers were the reason that the Slavs mastered vast spaces and quickly populated them. Fertile plains and dense, vast forests ensured the development of agriculture and hunting. The deep rivers were deep enough for shipping. This allowed to establish numerous trade routes. They lay inside the country and beyond.
But the wide plains did not protect the country from the invasions of wild Asian nomadic tribes. The first Slavic princes defended their possessions, erecting military outposts on the border.
He lived uneasily in the southern steppes of present-day Russia. These lands passed from hand to hand: Goths, Huns, Avars, Ugrians, Khazars, Pechenegs, Polovtsy conquered them one by one. All these peoples, in enmity with each other, captured the rich southern territories, without invading the northern possessions of the Slavs. Impenetrable vast forests protected Slavic and Finnish tribes from the invasions of Asian nomad hordes.
Slavs and their neighbors
Russian Slavs settled along the banks of the Dnieper in Vll. and eventually settled to Lake Ilmen. Glades and Drevlyans settled on the right bank of the Dnieper. Radimichi and Vyatichi settled on the left tributaries.
Moving up the Dnieper, populating the territories, the Slavs continuously pressed Finnish tribes from their homes. In the north-west, Rusich pressed the Lithuanian tribes, and they were forced to retreat to the Baltic Sea.
The life of the Lithuanian and Finnish tribes was harsh; their poverty and savagery contrasted with the more organized, more cultural life of the Slavs. Lithuania and the Finns coexisted with the Slavic tribes and adopted their lifestyle, customs and culture.
The Slavic tribes had superiority in military power over the Finns and Lithuania, therefore, no military threat was expected from the north. But the Khazars from the south represented a real threat to Russia. In the X century. Slavs themselves began to fight with the Khazars and contributed to the fall of the Khazar Khaganate.
The Varangians were not neighbors of the Slavs in the literal sense of the word, but it is necessary to mention them. The Slavs called the Varangians immigrants from the northern Scandinavian lands. They appeared in Russia in the form of trade or military squads, traded, hired for military service, or engaged in robbery. From the 9th century the Vikings often acted together with the Slavs: they fought against common enemies, jointly traded. Sometimes the Slavs drove the Varangians from their lands, sometimes the Varangians conquered the Slavic tribes.
The emergence of cities
Trade has developed. The first major cities appeared – Novgorod, Smolensk, Lubech. Glades built Kiev. Cities were necessary for trading people as places of large markets, warehouses, assembly points for merchants. It was in the cities that trade representatives of various tribes met, trade caravans were compiled and sent to distant countries.
When concentrating large wealth in one place, protection was required. There were squads performing this task. Knights headed the king, in Slavic – the prince. The warriors engaged in bargaining and security, guarded the city from attacks. Or, on the contrary, the squad captured the city, then the king became a prince, to whom not only the city, but also the surrounding area obeyed. So the principalities appeared.
Askold and Deer thus founded the principality in Kiev. Rurik – in Novgorod. Polotsk was captured by Prince Rogvolod.
The appearance of cities has made great changes in the life of Slavic tribes. Destroyed tribal life. People began to unite on business and in communities. Social classes appeared: military, merchants, industrialists. Power passed from the patriarchs to the princes.
There was a transition from patriarchal to community structure. In cities, people were no longer united by kinship, but by business, civil relations. Principality formed around cities. But it was too early to talk about the formation of a single state.
Everything was ready for the emergence of a strong personality, which could unite disparate principalities into one country.