Revived history of Novgorod democracy

Novgorod the Great is supposed to be the only full-fledged democratic republic in the Kievan Rus'. Today theatrical reconstructions of veches (public assemblies that were usual for ancient Novgorod) are staged in the local Kremlin, and traditional crafts and forgotten cultural customs are revived.

The precise constitution of the medieval Novgorodian Republic is uncertain. However, traditional histories have created the image of a highly institutionalized network of veches (public assemblies) and a government of posadniks (mayors), tysyatskys ("thousandmen," originally the head of the town militia, but later a judicial and commercial official), other members of aristocratic families, and the archbishops of Novgorod. The precise makeup of the veche appears to have comprised members of the urban population, as well as of the free rural population. Whether it was a democratic institution or one controlled by the boyars has been hotly debated. The posadniks, tysiatskys, and even the bishops and archbishops of Novgorod were often elected or at least approved by the veche.

The people of Novgorod have become interested in the history of their region and its cultural traditions thanks to its long-standing connections to the Hanseatic League. Hansa Days are celebrated in cities in Europe and Scandinavia in the spirit of the carnival tradition, with everyone dressing in historic costumes.

Related article: Novgorod the Great and its no less great outskirts

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