Republic of Pskov

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Trinity Cathedral in Pskov Kremlin (Krom)

The Pskov Republic ( Russian Псковская Республика , Pskowskaja Respublika), historically also Pleskow , was a medieval Russian state that existed from the second half of the 13th century to the early 16th century.


After the collapse of the Kievan Rus in the 12th century, the city of Pskov and the surrounding areas on the Velikaya , Lake Peipus and Narva rivers became part of the Novgorod Republic . Pskov retained autonomy rights, which included the independent expansion of the cities in the Pskov region (including Isborsk , one of the oldest cities). Because of Pskov's leading role in the fight against the Teutonic Order , his influence increased significantly. The long reign of Daumantas (1266-1299) and especially his victory in the Battle of Wesenberg in 1268 led to the achievement of full independence of Pskov. The Novgorod boyars formally recognized this in the Treaty of Bolotovo in 1348 and renounced their right to appoint governors (posadniks) in Pskov. The city of Pskov only remained dependent on Novgorod for ecclesiastical matters until 1589, when a separate diocese of Pskov was established and the archbishops of Novgorod removed the mention of Pskov from their title.

internal structure

The Pskov Republic had a well-organized agriculture, fishing, metal processing, jewelry production and nationally known builders. Trade within the republic, with Novgorod and other Russian cities, with the Baltic Sea region and Western European countries made Pskov one of the largest artisanal and commercial centers in Russia. In contrast to the Novgorod Republic, Pskov never had feudal landowners; the lands were smaller and more fragmented. The land holdings in Pskov monasteries and churches were also significantly smaller. The social relationships that have formed in Pskov are reflected in the Pskov court charter.

The peculiarities of the economy, old connections with Novgorod, the situation on the border and military threats led to the development of the Veche system. The princes played a subordinate role. The wetsche elected people for important state offices and regulated the relations between feudal lords, officials, townspeople and peasants. The boyar council had a special influence on the decisions of the Veche, which met in the Trinity Monastery . The monastery kept the Veche archives. The elective official positions were a privilege of several noble families. However, during the most dramatic moments in Pskov history, the lower settled people played an important, sometimes decisive role. The struggle between boyars and townspeople as well as different levels of civil servants was reflected in the heresy of the Strigolniki in the 14th century and in unrest at the end of the 15th century.

The last few years

The growing connections to the Grand Duchy of Moscow , which were determined by economic development and foreign policy goals, led to Pskov's participation in the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380 , in which the united Russian army under Moscow leadership defeated the Tatars of the Golden Horde . Later Pskov and Moscow appeared as allies in the fight against the German Order and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania . From 1399 Pskov became a kind of vice-kingdom of Moscow with a Moscow namestnik (governor).

In 1510, the Moscow Grand Duke Vasily III came. to Pskow and declared it his hereditary land (Votčina). In this way the Pskov Republic and its autonomy rights came to an end. The republican government body, the Pskov Veche, was dissolved and around 300 wealthy Pskov families were deported from the city. Their land was divided among Moscow servants. From that time on, Pskov and the surrounding area developed as part of the centralized Russian state, but retained some economic and cultural traditions.


  • The Chronicles of Pskov, vol. 1-2 . Moscow-Leningrad, 1941–1955.
  • Масленникова Н. Н .: Присоединения Пскова к Русскому централизованному государству . Leningrad, 1955.
  • Валеров А.В. "Новгород и Псков: Очерки политической истории Северо-Западной Руси XI-XIV, Moscow: Aleteia, 2004. ISBN 5-89329-668-0 .