The beginnings of Russian law are documented by the Russo-Byzantine treaties of the 10th century and the oldest Russian law, the Russkaia Pravda. The tempestuous developments of the following centuries (the incessant wars among the princes, the Mongol invasion, the rise of the Novgorod republic) all left their marks on the legal system until the princes of Muscovy succeeded in reuniting the country. This resulted in the creation of major legislative monuments, such as the Codes of Ivan the Great of 1497 and of Ivan the Terrible of 1550. After the Time of Troubles the Council Code of the second Romanov Tsar, Aleksei, of 1649 became the starting point for the comprehensive Russian codification of the 19th century.
Ferdinand J.M. Feldbrugge
Much of what we know about the colourful Russian middle ages comes from legal sources: the treaties of Russian-Scandinavian warlords with the Byzantine emperors, the gradual penetration of Christianity and Byzantine institutions, the endless game of war and peace among the numerous regional princes, the activities of Hanseatic merchants in the wealthy city-republic of Novgorod, the curious relationships between the Mongol conquerors and Russian rulers and church dignitaries, etc. And, at the even further fringes of medieval Europe, there were the Christian kingdoms of Armenia and Georgia, squeezed between the Islamic empires of Iran and Turkey, but each possessing their elaborate and original legal systems. A discussion of more general questions of legal history and legal anthropology precedes the treatment of these various topics.