Keeping and Using of Institute «the Old» in Pre-Statute Period in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (by the Example of Zemstvo Service)

Dmytro Vashchuk
Candidate of Historical Sciences (Ph.D. in History), Senior Research Fellow,
Institute of History of Ukraine of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Ukraine, Kyiv),
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The main responsibility of the gentry of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (henceforth. – GDL) was military service. The prince, master or boyar was strictly ordered how many and what kind of troops soldiers he had to equip to the grand duchy army within defined by the grand duke document terms. Thus, «the old tradition» or «the old times» [«starina»] which, according to the grand Lithuanian dukes, was beyond modification, had been formed over the decades. Therefore, the declared conservative principle «stariny ne ruchaem, a novostey ne vvodim» [do not disturb old times, while do not introduce innovations], undoubtedly, worked in practice. The reason is simple – the desire of the GDL government to supply the state with the permanent and efficient army. But, exactly this aspect, as the research has shown, gave grounds to disturb the abovementioned postulate: for some reasons the grand Lithuanian duke released the representatives of the gentry from carrying out some duties (idem «starina») followed by their substitution for military service. In that case we have visual evidence of manipulation by the public authority with the declared «principle of conservatism». An extra fact to that are the documents witnessing the release from the military service in general. Therefore, in our opinion, the government of the GDL used the institute of «starina» or regulated it at its own discretion against certain circumstances, which, can be called as state necessity



Document terms, the old tradition, starina, government, gentry, military service, Grand Duchy of Lithuania.



Российский государственный архив древних актов [Russian State Archive of Early Acts].



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