Yearly journal of scientific articles “Pravova derzhava” Volume 32 (2021),
Rominskyi Yevhen. International treaties in the historical and legal reality of Old Rus : an axiological approach
Introduction. Treaties concluded with the participation of state formations of Old Rus, as monuments of law and sources of law are not only important for the history of international law and the history of law of individual regions, but are also unique sources of information to cover the formation and evolution of legal and cultural space throughout Old Rus, due to a number of unique aspects inherent exclusively in such treaties.
The aim of the article. The study provides for the disclosure of the value of international treaties concluded with the participation of state entities of Old Rus, as a source of constructing the historical and legal reality of the era. This includes the possibility of highlighting the unity of the legal and cultural space of Old Rus, the evolution of legal and cultural ideas of Old Rus lawyers and statesmen on the nature of the legal regulation of certain social processes etc.
Methods and results. International treaties concluded with the participation of state formations of Old Rus (hereinafter ‒ the international treaties of Old Rus) are of exceptional value for the reproduction of the entire historical and legal reality of Medieval Rus. And the reasons for this are highlighted in this study. As a rule, the critical attitude to the international agreements is connected with territorial and chronological aspects of their origin and this should be delved into first of all.
One of the most fundamental aspects of the study of Old Rus law is the chronological limitations of sources. The vast majority of legal monuments are texts of the day after the Mongol conquest of Old Rus. In particular, the so-called Short edition of Rus’ka Pravda is known in the list of the beginning of the XV century, the Extended edition ‒ first half of the XIV century etc. At the same time, the protographs of the texts are much older than the lists we know. This situation makes it impossible to study the Old Rus law in the dynamics. Instead, international treaties are known from texts dating from the X to XIV centuries, or from their exact copies or censuses. Therefore, it is possible with treaties to follow their gradual evolution over five centuries.
Of particular importance is the study of international treaties to highlight the territorial unity and individuality of ancient regions. Most of the monuments of both secular and ecclesiastical law of Old Rus are known to us from the lists that have survived mostly in the northern regions: Novgorod and Rostov-Suzdal. Instead, international treaties involve a large number of political centers in the south, west, and northwest of Old Rus. The analysis of international treaties supplemented by separate information from other monuments makes it possible to clearly highlight the unity of approaches throughout the period from the X to the XIV centuries in a wide area from Kiev to Volyn, Smolensk, Polotsk, Pskov and Novgorod.
The value of international treaties for the study of the law of Old Rus is due to the confirmation of the practical application of these treaties to a number of historical sources (chronicles, private and public acts). This also distinguishes international treaties from other sources of secular law of Old Rus (princely statutes, collections of laws, etc.). On the territorial distribution of the latter, science draws a conclusion based on the prevalence of later documents, which reflected the consequences of the application of ancient norms. Instead, the breadth of application of the provisions of international treaties is confirmed by both public acts and information from narrative sources. It is important that the scope of international treaties was not limited to the signatory parties, and their provisions were applied to the regulation of relations between foreigners and aborigines in other lands of Old Rus.
Conclusions. Although the international treaties of Old Rus are important monuments of both international law and the law of individual princely centers, together they constitute a unique source of legal and cultural space of Old Rus and are absolutely indispensable for constructing its historical and legal reality. In view of this, international treaties, regardless of the territory of the modern states of the political centers that were parties to these treaties at the time, are monuments of the law of all states that now include the lands of the former Old Rus.
Key words: Kievan Rus, Old Rus, Medieval Law, Old Rus Law, Treaty, International treaty, Source of Law, Legal history.
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