The role of women in Russian history.
Even careful reading of the ancient Russian chronicles makes sure: the initial centuries of the
Russian statehood (10th - 12th centuries) is closely associated with significant acts of women.
Among the founders of the ancient Russia capital Kiev the chronicle describes not only the prince
Kiy and his brothers, but also "their sister Lybed". The name of the Grand Duchess Olga is
mentioned whenever it comes to outstanding statesmen of the past. This princess, who ruled
Russia in 945-964 years, was dubbed the "wise" for her wisdom in the "gathering of Russian lands",
as well as for familiarizing Russian people to Christianity. That was she - a woman! - who held the
first successful financial and administrative reform in Russian history. Unlike all the previous rulers of
the Russian State, who collected the taxes from the subservient people as "robbing and looting",
Olga told to set a fixed amount of tribute, set the order of duties and established a definite periodicity.
Not all Russian women, even the princess and
the boyar, were such as Olga. In 10th - 11th
centuries even the possession of their own
property, land, and the more control of the
whole principality by a woman - is quite rare.
The oldest set of Russian laws - "Russian
Truth" - forbade women to provide the property,
and in ancient families for a long time there
was not striving to this: to transfer of tribal
lands to woman meant to enrich someone
else's race, in which she entered when
married. However, in the 13th century most of
the women of the privileged class have the right
to possess personal property. Princess, boyar
had the same powers in law to dispose of
personal property like their fathers and
The right to own their land gave women
autonomy both in their personal life and in
society. Despite the calls of church moralistic
literature to be patient and submissive, to obey
the men, energetic women activists have
appeared in Russian society. According to
chronicle some of the wives literally "were in
possession of their husbands", turning them
into "non-free, servile and resigned". Having the
"capital" in the hands, women of the prince,
knights and later noble families participated in political intrigues, conducting an independent line in
all administrative affairs. Property of a woman and her rights determined her future.
Two decades after the death of Princess Olga, ie at the end of 10th century, a new prominent female
figure appeard on the Russian throne, the princess Anna Romanovna, wife of Vladimir the Baptist
(980-1015). Anna did not have her own reign over, but her name remained in history. She is the first
women who participated in drafting the legal code.
Noble female residents of Kiev, for whom their
fathers gave a dowry of untold riches, have
been a desirable match for any European.
Anna Yaroslavna the daughter of Yaroslav the
Wise was given in marriage to the French King
Henry in 1048. She knew the official language
of her time - Latin, confidently put her signature
on the official documents and actively
participated in public affairs during the
guardianship of her minor son Phillip. There
were others female contemporaries from
Russia like Anna, younger than her, who
became famous in Europe not so much as a
couple of monarchs, but as a visionary and
The main prerequisite for this phenomenon was
high for those time scholarship of Russian
women. Centers of education in Russia have long been the monasteries, where the girls learnt to
read, write, "medical tricks" and "singing, sewing and other crafts". Particular attention was given to
the study of foreign languages. Some princesses had their own libraries, and others were well versed
not only in book-didactic, but the literature (especially poetry), mathematics, and knew the works of
ancient philosophers (Plato, Aristotle). Alphabet and writing in 12th - 13th centuries were known even
by some of the simple peasants and craftswomen, which had to correspond with their customers.
What to say about the nobility! Among the authors of ancient books there are such prominent figures
as the Russian princess Dobrodeya-Zoya the author of the first in the history medical treatise,
written by a woman. And later Marya the Chronicler, daughter of the Prince of Chernigov. Recounting
the history of her principality in 20 - 40-ies of 13th century, she feminine emotionally described the
horrors of the Mongol conquest, so that the fate of her family and friends appeared a small part of a
During the Golden Horde Yoke Russian women easier were victims of assault, robbery, captivity.
Ceased to be diplomatic marriages of Russian women with the rulers of European countries, the
international prestige of the once mighty Russia fell down. Russia consisted of kingdoms and lands
warring with each other. In the Russian chronicles and literary texts of the 10th - beginning of the
14th centuries instead of the vivid imagery of volitional rulers images of women who are themselves
loyal wives appeared. But once first stirrings of national revival made their way - again on the
historical scene active female participants appeared, for example, Princess Eudokia, the founder of
several churches in Moscow, the wife of Prince Dmitry Donskoy.
Next era of 14th - 15th centuries was marked by the work of these remarkable women's personalities
like the famous "Republican" Marfa, wife of governer Boretsky. She set out to liberate Novgorod from
the power of Ivan III. Or the daughter of Ivan III, Polish Queen Helena, whose diplomatic talents
helped to push away the military conflict between states for a good decade.
They were not only fortunate political intrigantes, but thrifty, intelligent proprietress, who freely
disposed of state treasury, they sold, bartered, bought the land, received and imparted their
inheritance, gave in "growth" with interest. Many sources say that the women of Muscovy differed
little from their Western "sisters" in 15th - 16th centuries, among them the guild creators and owners
of ore field development were.
But at the beginning of the 16h century the sphere of social activity of Russian women was
unexpectedly narrow. In just a half-century (1520 - 1570) a whole number of laws were aimed at
restricting the rights and privileges of the nobility in favor of the "service class". They have hurt
women's rights. The very idea of the landed gentry, when the lands were obtained not inherited, but
for "being in faithful service", excluded obtaining the land by women.
In the narrowing of property entitlements of women of all classes is the cause of drastic changes in
social and marital status of Russian women. Recall that just in the middle of the 16th century the
famous Code of citizen "Domostroy" (patriarchal despotism) came, in which there was formulated
the "right" of husband to his dominant position in the family, the power over wife and children. With
the advent of "patriarchal despotism" and the decrees mentioned, women have been virtually cut off
from all public life, and often just locked up in the "towers" - high stone or wooden mansions.
Reclusive upbringing in the mansions on the basis of "patriarchal despotism" had formed a special
type of female personality. Most of the "pupils" became truly humble and "submissive". Some of
them however exhibited a rare energy and perseverance or fanaticism in the pursuit of the ideas
inspired in them before. It is no coincidence that among members of the religious movements in 17th
century so many women were. We name at least a member of the "Zealots of Piety circle" Anna
Rtishcheva the "counselor" of her husband Theodore, who opened the church school at St. Andrew
Monastery. Among them are boyar's wives Morozova, Urusova, noblewoman Danilova.
However, speaking about "the mansion system," one should not exaggerate its prevalence in the
whole Russian society. The seclusion affected only a privileged layer - princesses and noblewomen -
which, however, in earlier times gave rise to politicians and rulers. In the status of women from
working families - the peasants and urban dwellers, there were few changes over time. The
"anchoress" they were not, and never have become them. The arrangement of the "tower" in a small
peasant's hut was impossible. Attitude toward women in the common people was based on their
moral ideals of labor, on the recognition of the important role of woman in family affairs.
For the Russian women it is joyful and pleasant day: two in one like Mother's day and
Valentine's altogether. On this day, even the traffic police officers do not impose a fine to
women drivers using only oral remarks. Very often, particularly in recent times, a woman
at the wheel may receive flowers instead recovery from the policeman! read more>>>
On December 14, 1825 in St. Petersburg on the Senate Square there was the first in the
history of Russia organized action of gentry revolutionaries against the tsarist autocracy
and tyranny. These were the senior officers of the tsarist army. The revolt was suppressed.
Five of its organizers were hanged, others were sent to hard labor in Siberia, demoted to
the ranks... Eleven wives of the Decembrists prisoners shared their Siberian exile of theirs
own free will. read more>>>
...Short name, in turn, has many different forms and varies in spelling and pronunciation,
which leads foreigners to some confusion. In Russian language using a particular form of
the first name you can express your attitude to person. read more>>>
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