Новгородская летопись

Christensen C.S. Veliky Novgorod (1136-1478): a Russian democratic experiment in the middle ages or not?

For generations the city-state of Novgorod and later Novgorod Republic were perceived as one of the most successful democratic experiments on Russian soil ever. In recent decades, however, this interpretation has been questioned several times. It could therefore be tempting to completely ignore this fact. However, it will hardly be reasonable partly because the idea of the democratic Novgorod has played a major role in Russian history, and partly because the results of modern research have emerged in opposition to the previously common view. The notions of the democratic Novgorod are based on an image of the city as a quite enterprising business city with peasants, artisans and merchants. Also to this must be added a class of rich boyars. All were they free men who took an active part in the political and social life of the city. This article analyses and studies the socio-political structure of Novgorod and later Novgorod Republic; conclusions are drawn why this structure is questioned in modern history science.