Administrative divisions of the Novgorod Republic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Map of Novgorodian pyatinas in the 16th century

The administrative division of Novgorod Republic is not definitely known; the country was divided into several tysyachas (lit. thousands) and volosts. The city of Novgorod with its vicinity, as well as a few other towns were not part of any of those. Pskov achieved an autonomy from Novgorod in the 13th century; its independence was confirmed by the Treaty of Bolotovo in 1348. After the fall of the republic, Novgorod Land, as part of Russia, consisted of 5 pyatinas (literally "fifths") that were further divided into uyezds and pogosts. This division was replaced only in the beginning of 18th century when Peter I introduced guberniyas.

Novgorod Republic[edit]


Northwestern Russia – the lands near Ilmen Lake, Volkhov River, Ladoga Lake and Gulf of Finland, often referred to as Novgorod volost in chronicles, formed the core of the state. The assumptions of the internal structure of independent Novgorod are mostly based on the list of the builders of the Great Bridge over Volkhov (1260s) and the 1471 treaty between Novgorod and Casimir IV of Poland.[1] The former lists ten parts of Novgorod itself and nine other entities. According to Burov, these were tysyachas that, together with the capital made t'ma (lit. ten thousand), mentioned in the 1471 treaty. Below is the list of tysyachas and their approximate locations:[1]

  • Rzhev'skaa (Ржевьскаа), to the southwest of Novgorod, near modern Novorzhev
  • Bezhichkaa (Бежичкаа), to the east of Novgorod, with the town of Bezhetsk
  • Voch'skaa (Вочьскаа; from the indigenous Votes), in Ingria
  • Oboniskaya (Обониская), the southwestern shore of Ladoga Lake and near Onega Lake (that gave the name to the tysyacha) (Karelians, Pomors)
  • Luskaa (Лускаа), to the west of Novgorod, west of Luga River (that gave the name to the tysyacha)
  • Lop'skaya (Лопьская), the southern shore of Ladoga Lake and possibly territories to the north and west of the lake (Karelian Isthmus (f.e. Izhorians))
  • Povolkhovskaya (Поволховская), in the lower reaches of Volkhov River, around the town of Staraya Ladoga
  • Yazholvich'skaa (Яжолвичьскаа), to the southeast of Novgorod
  • Knyazha (Княжа), to the south of Novgorod, with the centre in Staraya Russa, the second most important town in the country.

Novgorod with its vicinity (located on upper Volkhov and near Ilmen Lake) belonged to a separate territorial unit.

Other important towns were Porkhov, Koporye, Yama, Oreshek and Korela. Most of the towns were in the more economically developed western part of the country, in other parts only ryadki (small town-like settlements) existed or there were no town-like settlements at all.[2]

Several towns were also not part of any tysyacha (and, thus, of t'ma) as they were owned jointly by Novgorod and one of the neighbouring states. Velikiye Luki were owned jointly by Novgorod and Smolensk Principality and later by Novgorod and Lithuania. Volokolamsk and Torzhok were owned by Novgorod and Vladimir-Suzdal Principality that became part of Muscowy.


Vast lands to the east that were being colonised by Novgorod or just paid tribute to it were divided into volosts. Some of those volosts were:[3]


After the disintegration of Kievan Rus in the 12th century, the city of Pskov with its surrounding territories along the Velikaya River, Lake Peipus, Pskovskoye Lake and Narva River became a part of the Novgorod Republic. It kept its special autonomous rights, including the right for independent construction of suburbs (Izborsk is the most ancient among them). Due to Pskov's leading role in the struggle against the Livonian Order, its influence spread significantly. The long reign of Daumantas (1266–99) and especially his victory in the Battle of Rakovor (1268) ushered in the period of Pskov's actual independence. The Novgorod boyars formally recognized Pskov's independence in the Treaty of Bolotovo (1348), relinquishing their right to appoint the posadniks of Pskov. The city of Pskov remained dependent on Novgorod only in ecclesiastical matters until 1589, when a separate bishopric of Pskov was created and the archbishops of Novgorod dropped Pskov from their title and were created "Archbishops of Novgorod the Great and Velikie Luki".


After the conquest of Novgorod Land by Muscowy it was divided into 5 pyatinas:[6]

  • Shelonskaya, from Shelon River, was located between Lovat and Luga rivers to the west and southwest of Novgorod.
  • Vodskaya (or Votskaya), was located between Luga and Volkhov rivers, to the north of Novgorod and on the shores of Ladoga Lake.
  • Obonezhskaya, from the Onega Lake, was the biggest pyatina of all. It was located to the northeast of Novgorod on the shores of White Sea, Ladoga and Onega lakes.
  • Bezhetskaya, to the east of the capital.
  • Derevskaya, between Msta and Lovat rivers, to the southeast of Novgorod.


  1. ^ a b V. A. Burov, О сотнях, тысячах и тьме Новгородской Земли. «Новгород и Новгородская Земля. История и археология». Материалы научной конференции, July 1993 ‹See Tfd›(in Russian)
  2. ^ Bernadsky, Viktor Nikolayevich (1961). Новгород и новгородская земля в XV веке (Novgorod and the Novgorod Land in the 15th Century) (in Russian). Leningrad (Saint Petersburg): published by the USSR Academy of Sciences. pp. 112, 145.
  3. ^ Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic DictionaryНовгород Великий Novgorod the Great Archived May 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine ‹See Tfd›(in Russian)
  4. ^ В. О. Ключевский «Курс русской истории»: сочинения в 9-ти томах т.1. Лекция XXIII (Vasily Klyuchevsky, Course of Russian History, v. 1., Lecture XXIII ‹See Tfd›(in Russian)
  5. ^ Архивный отдел Администрации Мурманской области. Государственный Архив Мурманской области. (1995). Административно-территориальное деление Мурманской области (1920–1993 гг.). Справочник. Мурманск: Мурманское издательско-полиграфическое предприятие "Север". p. 16.
  6. ^ Nevolin, K. A. (1854). О пятинах и погостах новгородских в XVI веке, с приложением карты (Novgorodian pyatinas and Pogosts in the 16th Century, with a Map) (in Russian). Saint Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences.