Staraya Russa

Coordinates: 58°00′N 31°20′E / 58.000°N 31.333°E / 58.000; 31.333
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Staraya Russa
Старая Русса
Cathedral Square in Staraya Russa
Cathedral Square in Staraya Russa
Flag of Staraya Russa
Coat of arms of Staraya Russa
Location of Staraya Russa
Staraya Russa is located in Russia
Staraya Russa
Staraya Russa
Location of Staraya Russa
Staraya Russa is located in Novgorod Oblast
Staraya Russa
Staraya Russa
Staraya Russa (Novgorod Oblast)
Coordinates: 58°00′N 31°20′E / 58.000°N 31.333°E / 58.000; 31.333
Federal subjectNovgorod Oblast[2]
First mentioned1167[3]
25 m (82 ft)
 • Total31,809
 • Estimate 
28,483 (−10.5%)
 • Subordinated totown of oblast significance of Staraya Russa[2]
 • Capital oftown of oblast significance of Staraya Russa[2], Starorussky District[2]
 • Municipal districtStarorussky Municipal District[6]
 • Urban settlementStaraya Russa Urban Settlement[6]
 • Capital ofStarorussky Municipal District[7], Staraya Russa Urban Settlement[6]
Time zoneUTC+3 (MSK Edit this on Wikidata[8])
Postal code(s)[9]
Dialing code(s)+7 81652[10]
OKTMO ID49639101001

Staraya Russa (Russian: Старая Русса, IPA: [ˈstarəjə ˈrusːə]) is a town in Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the Polist River, 99 kilometers (62 mi) south of Veliky Novgorod, the administrative center of the oblast. Its population has steadily decreased over the past years, going from 41,538 recorded in the 1989 Census[11] to 35,511 in the 2002 Census[12] to 31,809 in the 2010 Census.[4]


The origin of the name of Staraya Russa is unclear. The most involved and widespread hypothesis was presented by philologists and linguists R. A. Akheyeva, V. L. Vasilyev, and M.V. Gorbanevsky. According to this hypothesis, Russa comes from Rus'—a Slavic people, who settled in the vicinity to control trade routes leading from Novgorod to Polotsk and Kiev—which, in turn, is usually thought to originate from an Old Norse term for "the men who row" (rods-) as rowing was the main method of navigating the rivers of Eastern Europe, and that it could be linked to the Swedish coastal area of Roslagen (the rowing crews) or Roden, as it was known in earlier times.[13][14] Staraya is Russian for "Old".


A ten-ruble coin depicting Staraya Russa, 2003

Thought to have originated in the mid-10th century, it was first mentioned as Rusa (Cyrillic: Руса) in chronicles for the year 1167[3] as one of three main towns of the Novgorod Republic, alongside Pskov and Ladoga. After Pskov became independent, Russa became the second most important town and trade center of the Novgorod Republic after Novgorod itself.[citation needed] By the end of the 15th century, it contained about one thousand homesteads. Brine springs made the saltworks the principal business activity in the town, which was the biggest center of salt industry in the Novgorod region.[15]

The wooden fortifications of Russa burned to ashes in 1190 and then in 1194, after which they were replaced by the stone fortress. In 1478, it was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow together with Novgorod. The word Staraya (Old) was prefixed to the name in the 15th century, to distinguish it from newer settlements called Russa. Nevertheless, the current name firmly established only in the 19th century, when the salt mining settlements around the town became collectively known as Novaya Russa (New Russa).[16]

When Ivan the Terrible ascended the throne in 1533, Staraya Russa was a populous town. During the Time of Troubles, it was held by Polish brigands and heavily depopulated. Only 38 people lived there in 1613.

In the course of the administrative reform carried out in 1708 by Peter the Great, Staraya Russa was included into Ingermanland Governorate (known since 1710 as St. Petersburg Governorate). In 1727, separate Novgorod Governorate was split off. In 1776, Staraya Russa became the seat of Starorussky Uyezd of Novgorod Viceroyalty. In 1796, the viceroyalty was transformed into Novgorod Governorate.

Catherine II appointed German mineralogy expert Franz Ludwig von Cancrin as director of the salt-works in 1783. In the 1820s, military settlements were organized in Staraya Russa and around, in accordance with the project designed by Aleksey Arakcheyev, an influential statesman. It was inconvenient to have both civil and military administration in Staraya Russa, and therefore the uyezd was abolished in 1824. The town of Staraya Russa and some adjacent territories were directly subordinated to the Defense Ministry. The military settlements were proven inefficient, in particular, in 1831, the area participated in the Cholera Riots.[clarification needed] They were abolished in 1856. In 1857, Starorussky Uyezd was re-established.[17]

Soviet authority in Staraya Russa was established on November 5(18), 1917.

In August 1927, the uyezds were abolished and, effective October 1, 1927, Starorussky District was established, with the administrative center in Staraya Russa.[18] Novgorod Governorate was abolished as well and the district became a part of Novgorod Okrug of Leningrad Oblast.[18] On July 23, 1930, the okrugs were abolished and the districts were directly subordinated to the oblast.[18]

On September 19, 1939, Staraya Russa was elevated in status to that of a town of oblast significance and thus ceased to be a part of the district.[19] The town was occupied by the Germans between August 9, 1941 and February 18, 1944. Totally destroyed during the war, it was later restored. On July 5, 1944, Staraya Russa was transferred to newly established Novgorod Oblast and remained there ever since.[19]

Administrative and municipal status[edit]

Within the framework of administrative divisions, Staraya Russa serves as the administrative center of Starorussky District, even though it is not a part of it.[2] As an administrative division, it is, together with two rural localities, incorporated separately as the Town of oblast significance of Staraya Russa—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts (one of the three in Novgorod Oblast).[2] As a municipal division, the town of oblast significance of Staraya Russa is incorporated within Starorussky Municipal District as Staraya Russa Urban Settlement.[6]


Climate data for Staraya Russa (extremes 1936-present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.2
Average high °C (°F) −2.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −5.4
Average low °C (°F) −8.3
Record low °C (°F) −41.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 44.5



The biggest enterprise in Staraya Russa is the aircraft repair works. The mechanical engineering plant went bankrupt in 2011 and no longer exists.[21]


A railway which connects Bologoye and Pskov passes through Staraya Russa.

Staraya Russa is connected by roads with Novgorod, Demyansk, and Bezhanitsy via Kholm. There are also local roads.

There is a wharf on the Polist River in the Lake Ilmen basin. The Polist is navigable downstream from Staraya Russa.

The town is served by the Staraya Russa Airport.


Staraya Russa is a spa. A summer residence of the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who wrote his novels The Brothers Karamazov and Demons there, is open to visitors as a museum.

Monuments include the Transfiguration Monastery, which includes a cathedral built in seventy days in 1198 and partly rebuilt in the 15th century, and several 17th-century buildings and churches. The principal city cathedral (1678) is dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ. Other notable churches are consecrated to St. George (1410) (the Dostoyevsky family stayed in the house of the priest of this church[22]), Mina the Martyr (14th century), and the Holy Trinity (1676).

Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ Resolution #121
  2. ^ a b c d e f Law #559-OZ
  3. ^ a b Энциклопедия Города России. Moscow: Большая Российская Энциклопедия. 2003. p. 440. ISBN 5-7107-7399-9.
  4. ^ a b Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1 [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  5. ^ "26. Численность постоянного населения Российской Федерации по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2018 года". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Law #377-OZ
  7. ^ Law #284-OZ
  8. ^ "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  9. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  10. ^ Телефонный код Старой Русси. (in Russian). 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  11. ^ Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 – via Demoscope Weekly.
  12. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  13. ^ Benedikz, Benedikt S (April 16, 2007). The Varangians of Byzantium. ISBN 978-0-521-03552-1.
  14. ^ The Russian Primary Chronicle: Laurentian Text Translated by O. P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor ISBN 0-910956-34-0
  15. ^ Bernadsky, Viktor Nikolayevich (1961). Новгород и новгородская земля в XV веке (Novgorod and the Novgorod Land in the 15th century). Leningrad: USSR Academy of Sciences. pp. 134–144.
  16. ^ Агеева Р. А.; Васильев В. Л.; Горбаневский М. В. (2002). Старая Русса. Тайны имени древнего города (in Russian). Мельгир. ISBN 5-8137-0067-6.
  17. ^ Snytko et al., p. 26
  18. ^ a b c Snytko et al., p. 85
  19. ^ a b Snytko et al., pp. 137–138
  20. ^ "Климат Старой Руссы" (in Russian). Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  21. ^ Итоги социально-экономического развития Старорусского муниципального района за 2011 год. (in Russian). Администрация Старорусского муниципального района. 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  22. ^ Дом-музей Ф.М.Достоевского в Старой Руссе (in Russian). Литературно-мемориальный музей Ф.М.Достоевского. Archived from the original on February 26, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  23. ^ International Institute for Genealogical Research. Russian Dynasties program. [1]
  24. ^ Harrison 2006, p. 6.

General sources[edit]

  • Новгородская областная Дума. Областной закон №559-ОЗ от 11 ноября 2005 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Новгородской области», в ред. Областного закона №730-ОЗ от 26 февраля 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в Областной закон "Об административно-территориальном устройстве Новгородской области"». Вступил в силу 1 января 2006 г. Опубликован: "Новгородские ведомости", №75, 23 ноября 2005 г. (Novgorod Oblast Duma. Oblast Law #559-OZ of November 11, 2005 On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Novgorod Oblast, as amended by the Oblast Law #730-OZ of February 26, 2015 On Amending the Oblast Law "On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Novgorod Oblast". Effective as of January 1, 2006.).
  • Администрация Новгородской области. Постановление №121 от 8 апреля 2008 г. «Об реестре административно-территориального устройства области», в ред. Постановления №408 от 4 августа 2014 г. «О внесении изменений в реестр административно-территориального устройства области». Опубликован: "Новгородские ведомости", №49–50, 16 апреля 2008 г. (Administration of Novgorod Oblast. Resolution #121 of April 8, 2008 On the Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Novgorod Oblast, as amended by the Resolution #408 of August 4, 2014 On Amending the Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Novgorod Oblast. ).
  • Новгородская областная Дума. Областной закон №284-ОЗ от 7 июня 2004 г. «О наделении сельских районов и города Великий Новгород статусом муниципальных районов и городского округа Новгородской области и утверждении границ их территорий», в ред. Областного закона №802-ОЗ от 31 августа 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в некоторые областные Законы, устанавливающие границы муниципальных образований». Вступил в силу со дня, следующего за днём официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Новгородские ведомости", №86, 22 июня 2004 г. (Novgorod Oblast Duma. Oblast Law #284-OZ of June 7, 2004 On Granting the Status of Municipal Districts and Urban Okrug of Novgorod Oblast to the Rural Districts and the City of Veliky Novgorod and on Establishing the Borders of Their Territories, as amended by the Oblast Law #802-OZ of August 31, 2015 On Amending Various Oblast Laws Establishing the Borders of the Municipal Formations. Effective as of the day following the day of the official publication.).
  • Новгородская областная Дума. Областной закон №377-ОЗ от 27 декабря 2004 г. «Об установлении границ муниципальных образований, входящих в состав территории Старорусского муниципального района, наделении их статусом городского и сельских поселений, определении административных центров и перечня населённых пунктов, входящих в состав территорий поселений», в ред. Областного закона №216-ОЗ от 1 марта 2013 г. «О внесении изменений в некоторые областные законы, содержащие перечни населённых пунктов, входящих в состав территорий поселений». Вступил в силу со дня, следующего за днём официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Новгородские ведомости", №6–7, 19 января 2005 г. (Novgorod Oblast Duma. Oblast Law #377-OZ of December 27, 2004 On Establishing the Borders of the Municipal Formations Within the Territory of Starorussky Municipal District, on Granting Them the Status of Urban and Rural Settlements, on Establishing Their Administrative Centers, and on Compiling the Lists of Inhabited Localities Within the Settlement Territories, as amended by the Oblast Law #216-OZ of March 1, 2013 On Amending Various Oblast Laws Containing the Lists of Inhabited Localities Within the Settlement Territories. Effective as of the day following the day of the official publication.).
  • Снытко, О. В.; et al. (2009). С. Д. Трифонов; Т. Б. Чуйкова; Л. В. Федина; А. Э. Дубоносова (eds.). Административно-территориальное деление Новгородской губернии и области 1727-1995 гг. Справочник (PDF) (in Russian). Saint Petersburg. p. 26. Retrieved May 28, 2014.

External links[edit]