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Novgorod was a medieval Russian state which existed prior to the unification of Russia under the Grand Principality of Muscovy. Novgorod was the original capital of the Rus, until it was transferred to Kiev in 882. After the Novgorodian uprising of 1136 against its prince, Vsevolod Mstislavich, a unique form of government, known as "boyar republic" or "merchant republic" was established in the city. The Novgorodian republic gradually expanded north and east, and continued to prosper as a center of trade, mainly in fur. While it was mostly spared the terror of Mongol invasion that befell the rest of Russia between 1223 and 1240, it still had to pay tribute to the Khan. The republic continued to be relatively prosperous, but its sovereignty was being gradually undermined by the more and more powerful Mucovite princes; first by the Treaty of Yazhelbitsy in 1456, then after the disastrous Battle of Shelon in 1471. Novgorod was fully annexed by Moscow in 1478, after Ivan III sent his armies against the city. Novgorod continued to be an important city within Muscovite and subsequently Russian state until the famine of 1560s and the Massacre of Novgorod in 1570, when Ivan the Terrible slaughtered thousands of inhabitants, ransacked the city, and had its elite killed or deported. From a city that once rivaled Moscow, Novgorod was reduced to a provincial town.

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Aleksandr Nevsky[]


Aleksandr Nevsky, regarded as a Saint in the Russian Orthodox Church, was Prince of Novgorod, Grand Prince of Kiev, and Grand Prince of Vladimir in the mid-13th century. He is best known for his long series of military victories against Novgorod's contemporary foes: the Swedes and the Teutonic Knights. He is also well-known for his successful negotiation with the terrible and powerful Golden Horde, with whom he agreed to pay tribute in exchange for peace and independence.

Nevksy is a popular figure in Russian history, in which he is depicted as a defender of Russia and the ideal prince-soldier. In 2008, he was named the "greatest Russian" in the 'Name of Russia' television poll, before Nicholas II's Prime Minister, Pyotr Stolypin, and the Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin. Many films, and honours, have been named after this must venerated prince.

Unique Components[]


The Boyars were the highest ranking nobility of many of the medieval slavic states, second only to Princes (or the Tsar, in Bulgaria). Like their Western equivalents, Boyars often provided much of the military backbone of a Prince's power, and held considerable sway over the politics in the realm. In Russia and the Ukraine, Boyars were very similar to Knights. They lost much of their influence in Russian life in the wake of Ivan III and Ivan IV's consolidation of power over the Grand Principality of Moscow and the Russian Tsardom. Ivan IV is particularly infamous for his cruel and retributive treatment of the Boyars.


A Pogost is a historical type of administrative district in many of the medieval Russian states, usually composed of up to hundreds or thousands of rural villages. Originally, a Pogost was a type of coaching inn reserved for princes and ecclesiastics, but it eventually became a centre for trade and religious community. Pogosts ceased to have any administrative function in 1775, and since then have served mainly as parish centres.