The concept of "social system". The social system of the ancient Slavs, Kievan Rus

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The concept of "social system". The social system of the ancient Slavs, Kievan Rus
The concept of "social system". The social system of the ancient Slavs, Kievan Rus

The main aspect that determines the legal capacity of people in Ancient Russia was the position of their personal freedom. Based on this, the population was conditionally divided into slaves (serfs) and free. In addition, there were intermediate classes of enslaved people. They were considered legally free, but in fact they were in economic dependence (debt or land). As a result, they were still infringed on their rights.

Social order

This concept includes the organization of society, which is due to a certain degree of development of production, as well as the exchange and distribution of products. In addition, the features of the social system depend on the consciousness of people and traditions enshrined in laws and protected by the state. Its structure consists of several elements, including political, economic, social and cultural-spiritual relations.

Ancient Russia

In the surviving chronicles it is written that the social system of the Slavs, who settled on the lands in the region of the East European Plain, was a tribal community. This meant that all power and property were in the hands of the foreman. The ancient Slavs professed a tribal cult, honoring their ancestors.

From the VI century due to the appearancetools made of metal, as well as with the transition from slash-and-burn to arable farming, the old relationship began to disintegrate. Now it was required to unite the efforts of all members of the clan without exception in order to successfully manage the economy. Thus, a separate family came to the fore.

The social system of the Eastern Slavs was constantly changing. Over time, tribal communities became neighboring or territorial. They retained common ownership of arable land, pastures, water bodies and forest lands. Now individual families were given allotments. They had to cultivate such plots of arable land on their own and with their own tools, leaving almost the entire harvest. Then the redistribution ended, and the allotments became permanent property, which was owned by individual families.

The social system of the Slavs

Further improvement of tools led to the appearance of surplus products, and then - the development of barter between families. In this regard, a new social system of the Slavs gradually began to appear, which led to the differentiation of the community, property inequality and a significant accumulation of we alth by the elders and other nobility. At that time, the main governing body was the veche, at which all important issues were jointly resolved. But gradually it began to lose its significance.

As you know, the Eastern Slavs were constantly at war with their neighbors. In addition, they also repelled the numerous raids of nomadic tribes. As a result, the importance of military leaders, who wereprinces. They were also the main persons who ruled over the tribes. The surplus of production allowed the prince's communities to be supported with his devoted retinue - detachments of warriors. Gradually, all the power and the main part of the we alth was concentrated in their hands. They appropriated the lands and taxed their fellow tribesmen. Thus, in the VIII-IX centuries, the social system of Ancient Russia began to change again. Sharp property stratification began to give the prerequisites for the formation of the state.

Main Groups

The social system of Kievan Rus consisted of four main groups of the population, called feudal lords, peasants, serfs and city (or townsman) residents. They all had different rights.

The division of people into classes, according to most historians, testified to the rapid development of feudal relations. At the same time, the former free community members eventually turned into a dependent population. It must be said that at this stage in the development of feudalism, there was no serfdom yet, which involved attaching peasants to the land and personally to the owner.

Free population

The state and social system of Kievan Rus was an early feudal monarchy. The head of state was the Grand Duke, and he, in turn, was subject to other, smaller ones. Special congresses were held to resolve disputes between them, such as the division or redistribution of land, as well as matters relating to the conclusion of peace or the conduct of war.

Princes ruled through their retinue - detachments of professional warriors. The soldiers collected tribute, and foraccount of her same received content. Senior warriors, led by the prince, took part in the creation of laws and joined with him in the council, called the Duma.

social order

Administrative functions were transferred to the military elite, due to which the so-called decimal management scheme appeared. Over time, it will be replaced by a palace-patrimonial system based on feudal land ownership.

The warriors gradually became landowners and received some kind of immunity, which gave them the right to dispose of their territories without any interference in their affairs by the princely administration.

Feudal class

The social system that existed at that time was a kind of ladder, at the top of which sat the Kyiv prince with his elite - the feudal lords. The most privileged was to know. She, in turn, was divided into several subgroups. Among them are the boyars. This was the name of the retired senior warriors who once served the Grand Duke of Kyiv. From the 11th century they became large feudal landowners. They also participated in public administration (most often in the role of governors.)

Princely men are the closest circle of the head of state. They were his political advisers, and also were members of the so-called Council under the Prince. These people did not own land and lived on a dependent basis. They were descendants of great and bright princes, as well as tribal elders.

Ognishchans were called high-ranking officials involved in the management of various areasstate economy.

People who managed the personal affairs and property of the prince were called princely tiuns, i.e. servants. As for their legal status, they were at the level of ordinary slaves.

There were also youths - junior ranks from the Grand Duke's combatants. They were considered feudal landowners and took part in government.

social system of ancient Russia

The main privilege enjoyed by the senior warriors, namely the boyars, was land ownership with a special right of immunity, allowing them the following:

● disobey not only communal authorities, but also local feudal authorities;

● enjoy the support of the prince's jurisdiction;

● collect various taxes and hold courts against dependent people.

Later, several more rights were recorded in the charters to protect life, he alth and honor. Also, a special order of inheritance became available to them, according to which property could be transferred not only through the male, but also through the female line. In addition, the responsibility for the murder was significantly increased, where it was noted that the life of a feudal lord was then worth 80 hryvnia.

Dependent population

As already known, the social system of the Eastern Slavs was gradually changing, which led to its stratification and division into classes. A dependent population appeared, which included smerds, purchases and ryadovichi. It made up the majority of the inhabitants of Ancient Russia.

Smerds were called personally free communal peasants. They had transferable propertyhim by inheritance, and could also enter into contractual relations. Those who committed the crime had to pay the fine in full. They had the right to participate in legal proceedings both as a plaintiff and as a witness or defendant.

Purchases included smerds who somehow became addicted for their debts to creditors. They were obliged to work them out until they could return the debt. Zakups retained their property, which was inherited by relatives, but their debts were not transferred. They could enter into contracts and be held criminally liable, as well as participate in court proceedings in the role of both the defendant and the plaintiff. However, the purchasers did not have the right to leave the creditor's farm or refuse to work for him. Disobedience was punished by slavery. Zakup also could not act as a witness at court hearings, as he was dependent on his creditor.

social system of the Eastern Slavs

The social system, based on legal aspects, determined the factors by which the purchase could be released. The first one is debt recovery. The second is release based on a court decision, if the creditor transfers the debtor's obligations to a third party. And finally, the last one, when the purchase was beaten by the creditor.

Ryadoviches were called debtors who, on the security of their freedom, took not money, but some things.

Captive population

The social system of Ancient Russia was arranged in such a way that it had a class of peoplecompletely enslaved and disenfranchised. They were called thugs. They did not have any personal legal status and property. They were considered incompetent and had no right to participate in litigation and be held criminally liable.

There were several reasons why people could become serfs (slaves):

● By birthright. This means that if at least one of the parents was a slave, then the child also became one.

● Marry a slave.

● Self-selling. For this, a document was drawn up, which was signed in front of witnesses.

● Capture during hostilities.

● Escape purchase. In this case, his entire family was turned into slaves.

● A criminal offense punishable by confiscation of property. In addition, the whole family became serfs. Such punishment was prescribed for murder, robbery, arson, horse theft and bankruptcy.

It should be noted that the social system of Kievan Rus with its laws did not allow serfs to become free. Moreover, letting them go free was considered a terrible insult to free people. The only exception could be the fact that a slave had a child from her master. And when the owner died, she became a free person.

Posad residents

The social system that was formed in the Russian lands in those days assumed the absence of servility in the cities. Townsmen had full legal equality. It was only in the 12th century that urban society began to show signs of stratification (differentiation) of the population according toproperty.

The social system of Kievan Rus

People began to be divided into two groups: older and black. The first included merchants and "guests" engaged in foreign trade, and the second - artisans. A socio-economic system began to emerge, in which legal inequality appeared in cities. At the same time, blacks could, without their consent, be sent either to the militia or to public works.

Rise of cities

During the birth and further development of the feudal system, some of the artisans who were part of the community began to become dependent on we althy landowners. Others began to leave their villages and go to a new place of residence. They settled under the walls of princely fortresses and castles. So, the social system of Russia was replenished with another group of the population - townspeople, or city people.

The way of life in these settlements differed significantly from the traditional way of life that prevailed in rural communities. The world, consisting of endless steppe spaces, swamps and impenetrable forests, was replaced by a more reliable fortified place, which at first represented a kind of domination of order and law.

Features of the social system

Approximately in the middle of the 10th century, when the strengthening of the Old Russian state began, urban settlements gained the ability to perform not only administrative and military tasks. With the adoption of Christianity, cultural centers began to appear.

The then political and social system of Russia in the firstturn influenced the emergence and development of cities such as Kyiv and Novgorod. Archaeological research and excavations confirm that these settlements had an already formed structure, where there was a concentration of power, church administration, as well as all the necessary estate buildings.


The socio-political system of Kievan Rus can be called an early feudal monarchy, since the head of the country was one ruler - the Grand Duke. Legislative power was concentrated in his hands, he established taxes and solved all major financial issues. It was the Grand Duke who was the head of the state administration system and the supreme judge, and also gave orders to his armed forces.

The social system of Russia

In addition, other mechanisms were involved in the leadership:

● Advice to the prince. It was considered an informal authority and consisted of military officials - senior combatants, representatives of the higher clergy, city elders, etc.

● Veche. This is the highest official authority in the country, consisting of free citizens. Veche could be convened both at the national and at a lower level. His competence included issues of domestic and foreign policy. The strength of the veche's influence has always depended on the power or weakness of the prince's power.

● Feudal congresses. They resolved various issues relating to the relationship between the princes. The first such congress took place somewhere at the end of the 11th century. Meetings could be of a national nature or convened atseparate lands.

Another confirmation that the political and social system of the state of Kievan Rus was precisely the early feudal monarchy is the very limited power of the prince. He himself and his decisions to some extent depended on the immediate environment, as well as on the veche and other meetings. This situation is due to the fact that the central and territorial administrations were very weakly interconnected. This mechanism of state leadership was only the initial stage of the development of the monarchy.

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