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Valery Shambarov: "Russia was richer than the West"
Material posted: Publication date: 12-08-2012

Domestic thinkers one of the problems of our country to lead mankind from one-sided development. The heading on the original, not imposed stereotypes the image of Russia, its true place in the world community opens a comparison of Western and Russian past writer and historian Valery SHAMBAROV.

In our country since the XVIII–XIX centuries. infiltrated a very distinctive technique of studying history. Separately presented world (and in fact, the history of Western civilization) and a separate domestic. And for selected estimates only criterion of "progress" – when and at what stage of Russia "catching up" Europe.

Why she needed to play catch-up, are automatically covered. On the one hand – "the sleepy Kingdom", ignorance, filth, poverty, slavery. On the other – a brilliant France, wise England, luxury Italy, Germany and neat business... But if by "generally accepted" stereotypes go to reality, such a comparison immediately gives the crack.

The fact that all Western writers had (and have) an understandable tendency to embellish and varnishing his past. For Russian historians infected by liberalism and "Westernism" was typical reverse ambition is to belittle his own ancestors, adapting to foreign opinions. But the formation of mass stereotypes had a decisive influence not even biased historical works, novels and art and movies.

Take the pre-Petrine XVII century. In Russia, as expected, full of "barbarism", which will be correct only Tsar-reformer, cutting a "window to Europe". And abroad – immediately appear before the eyes of the images of courtly ladies, gallant gentlemen and scholars.

Well, who does not remember the vivid pictures as brave and fine Musketeers clicked his heels on the parquet of Paris Louvre or bridge? Although we should consider that these images have too little in common with the true facts. The West loved the luxury and splendor. But they are achieved at the expense of scientific progress or improved social systems, and due to the extremely steep squeezing juice from their own common people and started robbing colonies.

Yes and Shine if you look, turned out to be questionable. For example, if we talk about the same Musketeers, there were only 2 companies, they were the personal guard of the king. Besides them, there were 2 in France guard regiment. Only they receive salaries and wore uniforms – no other regular units in France did not exist yet.

The rest of the army was assembled from the personal troops of the nobles of mercenaries and was a rabble of different color.

Unlike Russia, where there were ten thousandth magnificent body of archers, and from 1630 began to form regiments of "new order": the soldier, Dragoon, Reitarska hussar. In 1660s there were already 75.

Chop chop heels on the parquet Musketeers would be difficult. At the time of their floors in the palaces strewn with straw. And the straw changed once a week. Toilets was not. In England they appeared in 1581 – the British trade with Russian and Turkish and borrowed a useful innovation.

But other European States to adopt its no hurry. In France, even a hundred years later used the pots, and with them went a special Palace servants. At balls and receptions were not enough, gentlemen aristocrats've been pissing in the corners, the ladies sat down under the stairs, and one of the German Princess complained: "Palais Royal smelled of urine". So the kings had several palaces. From time to time they moved, and left the residence washed and cleaned.

But the Europeans themselves, hygiene was no different. The cult of purity they took much later, in the nineteenth century – from the Chinese (in tropical climates dirt led to dangerous infections). In General, and before the eyes of Western citizens was an example of a more healthy lifestyle: Russian went to the bath at least twice a week.

But this custom of foreign guests was described as exotic and "barbaric". Even laughed at him. The British indicated their belief that bathing leads to severe disease, lamented that frequent washing "spoils the complexion" Russian women.

No baths or baths was not even in the Royal chambers. Lice and fleas were multiplied in hairstyles, wigs and under was considered quite normal. In England louse called "gentleman's companion".

And in France at the end of the XVII century, in the era of Louis XIV, a collection of rules of etiquette taught that guests at the table don't need to comb your hair, so as not to share with neighbors insects. The same collection instructed gentlemen and ladies, that does not prevent at least once a day (!) to wash your hands. And even better to rinse the face.

Uncleanliness and spawned the famous French perfume. Drowning out the smell of sweat and unwashed bodies, aristocrats generously watered spirits – they then reminded strong colognes. And to hide the dirt, pimples and acne, ladies sprinkled face, shoulders and chest a thick layer of powder. Addicted and ointments, creams and elixirs of the most questionable components, often bringing themselves to eczema and erysipelas.

Ate in Europe, usually the hands. In our country, forks were used from the times of Kievan Rus, and they are found during the excavation of Moscow. In Italy, the fork appeared at the end of the sixteenth century, and in France was introduced only in the XVIII century.

And the beds were made of enormous size. They fit husband, wife, children, together with family could put and guest. And the servants and apprentices slept on the floor side by side.

And the speech of Europeans was very different from the exquisite turns, familiar to us from novels and movies. So, one of the memoirs of the then transmits dialogue aristocrats. The Duke de vendôme asked: "You probably take the side of de guise, since you (obscene word)... his sister?" What Marshal Bassompierre says: "Nothing of the kind, I (obscene word)... all your aunts, but that doesn't mean that I became to love you".

As for chivalrous attitude towards ladies, then these ideas moved into our consciousness from the novels of the nineteenth century And during the Renaissance German poet Reimer von Zweten encouraged the men to "take the baton and pull the wife on the back, Yes harder, with all the force that she felt her Lord and to not be angry". The book is "About evil women" taught that "a donkey, a woman and a walnut need strikes."

Even the nobles frankly, for the money, selling beautiful daughters to kings, princes, aristocrats. Such transactions were not considered shameful, and extremely profitable. After all, the mistress dignitaries opened the way to a career, and to enrich family, it showered with gifts. But could give to another, resell, beat.

English king Henry VIII in fits of bad temper so beat the favorites that they are several weeks "out of order". And on the ordinary rules of chivalry did not apply. They were treated, as an object for use.

The economy of European countries remained predominantly agrarian. Farmers accounted for 90-95% of the population. Major cities were little — Paris (400 thousand inhabitants), London (200 thousand), Rome (110 thousand). Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bristol, Amsterdam, Vienna, Warsaw – 20-40 thousand inhabitants, while the population of most cities did not exceed 5 thousand, But their characteristic feature was the filth and overcrowding (up to 1,000 persons per hectare).

Houses were squeezed into the narrow space of the fortress walls, they were built in the 3-4 floors, and the width of most streets do not exceed 2 meters. Coaches do not pass through them. People made their way on horseback, on foot, and the servants of the rich wore in protsesah.

Even in Paris there was only one paved street, Avenue Soig La Rеinе was the only promenade for the nobility, where was chosen "to show itself". Other street not paved, sidewalks had not, and in the middle of each was a ditch, where direct views from thrown away waste and splashed the contents of the pots (after all the houses the toilets were also missing). And the land in the city was expensive, and to occupy a smaller area, the second floor had a ledge above the first, the third over the second, and the street was like a tunnel, where the lack of light and air, fumes from accumulated waste.

The travelers, approaching a large city, far away feel the stench. But the citizens were accustomed and did not notice him. Unsanitary conditions often caused epidemics. Smallpox swept about once in 5 years. Frequented and plague, dysentery, malaria. Only one of the epidemics, 1630-31,, killed in France, 1.5 million lives. In Turin, Venice, Verona, Milan became extinct between one third and one half of the population.

The infant mortality rate was very high, two babies survived one, the others faded from disease, malnutrition. And people over 50 were considered elderly. They really wore out – the poor from destitution, from the excesses of the rich.

On all roads and in cities ravaged by bandits. Their ranks are replenished impoverished nobles, impoverished peasants, the unemployed mercenaries. In Paris every morning picking up 15-20 robbed corpses. But if the bandits (or rebels) were caught, dealt ruthlessly.

Public executions in all European countries were frequent and popular spectacle. People left their Affairs, brought their wives and children. The crowd scurried hawkers offering treats and drinks. Great lords and ladies rented Windows and balconies of nearby houses, and in England for the viewers specially built grandstand with paid seats.

But blood and death in the West are so used that to intimidate political and criminal offenders were not enough. Invented as more as possible painful punishment. Under British law, for treason relied "qualified penalty." Man hanged, but not to death, pulled out of the loop, opened the abdomen, cut off genitals, chopped off arms and legs and finally a head.

In 1660 S. pins described: "Went to Charing cross to see how there hanged, produce insides and chetvertoye major-General Harrison. He looked as cheerfully as possible in a similar position. Finally stopped it and showed it to the head and heart of people – there was a loud jubilant cries".

In England the same for other crimes gradually, one by one, put on chest sentenced weights until he breathed his last. In France, Germany and Sweden often used the wheel. Counterfeiters boiled alive in the pot or poured melted metal into the throat. In Poland put criminals on a stake, roasted in a copper bull, hung on a hook under a rib. In Italy he crushed the skull with a mallet.

Decapitation and the gallows were just too commonplace. Traveler in Italy wrote: "We saw along the road were hanged corpses so much that the journey becomes unpleasant." And in England hanged vagrants and petty thieves to carry off items in the amount of 5 pence and above. Sentences single-handedly took out the justice of the peace, and in every town on market days had strung up another batch of guilty.

So I ask, in what respect our country had to "catch up" Europe? However, I can recall that in the West there was a system of education and the universities.

But here is an amendment – these universities were very different from current educational institutions. They studied theology, law and some medicine.

Natural Sciences in universities was not. Passed, however, physics. But it (the science about the structure of nature) was considered a humanitarian, and crammed it in Aristotle.

And as a result, the universities produced an empty scholastics Yes judging at internal audit. But medicine remained in its infancy. Generally recognized means of various diseases considered bloodletting and laxatives. Illiterate treatment starved kings Francis II, Louis XIII, Queen Margot, cardinal Richelieu. But they took care of the best doctors! Better educational institutions began to emerge only at the turn of XVI–XVII centuries – the school of the Jesuits, oratorians, Ursuline. There were already taught, and mathematics.

To the field of "science" Europeans attributed magic, alchemy, astrology, demonology. However, what kind of education we can talk, if in 1600 in Rome burned Giordano Bruno, in 1616 banned the work of Copernicus "On circulation of celestial bodies", in 1633, Galileo was forced to recant evidence from the Earth's rotation. Similarly, in Geneva burned the founder of the theory of blood circulation Miguel Servet. Vesalius for work "On the structure of the human body" starved to death in prison.

And at the same time in all Western countries enthusiastically burned "witches". Peak brutal Orgy was not on the "dark" early middle Ages, and just on the "brilliant" XVII century Women were sent to fires by the hundreds. And universities actively participated in this! They gave "scientists" conclusions about the guilt of "witches" and earned good money on such scientific research.

As for Russia, it is in this era, developed vigorously and dynamically. It was often visited by foreign merchants and diplomats. They described "many great and splendid cities" (Olearius), "crowded, beautiful, distinctive architecture" (Juan Persian). Noted "temples, elegant and richly ornamented" (Campese), admired: "we Cannot Express, what a great picture appears when you look at these brilliant Chapter, ascending to the heavens" (LISEC).

Russian cities were much more spacious than in Europe, at each house were large courtyards with gardens from spring to fall, they were buried in flowers and greenery.

The streets were about three times wider than in the West. And not only in Moscow but also in other cities to avoid their mud littered with logs and paved flat wooden boards. Russian masters have received the highest ratings contemporaries: "Cities are rich in their diligent in not masters" (Michalon Litvin). There were schools in monasteries and temples – they even arranged Ivan the terrible.

Was urban transport, cabs – until the end of the XVII century. foreigners were told about them as a gimmick: they have ever been. Did not have them and Yamskoy mail, linking between a remote areas. "On the big road wound good order. In different places hold special peasants who should be ready with a few horses (for 1 village has with horses 40-50 or more) that upon receipt of a princely order, they can immediately harness horses and hurry on" (Olearius). From Moscow to Novgorod arrives 6 days.

Travelers have reported "many rich villages" (Adams). "Earth all is well seeded bread that residents driven to Moscow in such numbers that it seems amazing. Every morning you can see from 700 to 800 sled riding there with bread and some fish" (Chesler).

And once upon a Russian very good. Without exception, all the foreigners who visited Russia, drew pictures almost fabulous prosperity compared to their native countries!

Earth "is replete with pastures and well treated... butter is a lot like and all kinds of dairy products, due to the great abundance of their animals, large and small" (Tiepolo). Mentioned "an abundance of grain and cattle" (Bergamot), "the abundance of life supplies, which would have done honor even the most luxurious table" (LISEC).

And all this is available for everyone! "In this country there is poor people, because food is so cheap that people go on the road to find someone to give them" (Juan Persian – obviously referring to the distribution of alms). "In General throughout Russia due to the fertile soil the food is very cheap" (Olearius).

About cheap wrote and Barbaro, Fletcher, Paul of Aleppo, Margeret, Contarini. They were amazed that the meat is so cheap that its not even sell on weight, "and the carcasses or cut by eye". And chickens and ducks often sold hundreds or magpies.

It was known for some of the people and the money. Peasant women wore large silver earrings (Fletcher, Brembo). Dane Rohde reported that "even women of humble origins sew dress of taffeta or Damascus and decorate it from all sides with gold or silver lace." Moscow described the crowd, where "there were many women, decorated with pearls and hung with precious stones" (Mass). I guess, in the crowd crowded not Boyarynia.

Meyenberg came to the conclusion: "In Moscow such an abundance of all things necessary for life, comfort and luxury, but still produced at a reasonable price that she has nothing to envy to any country in the world." A German diplomat Geis, talking about "Russian wealth", stated: "in Germany, perhaps, and wouldn't believe".

Of course, wealth is not ensured climate and not some special fertility. So where was our Northern edges to the harvests of Europe! Wealth was achieved by extreme hard work and skills of farmers, artisans.

But was achieved and wise government policy. From the time of Troubles, Russia has had disastrous strife, devastating enemy invasions (Razin rebellion in scale and consequences did not go to any comparison with the French Fronde or the English revolution).

The Royal army is invariably a bully any enemies – poles, Swedes, Tartars, Persians, under Chyhyryn buried two Turkish army, under Albazin and Nerchinsk stopped the aggression of the Manchus and the Chinese.

And the government has fleeced the people. All foreign guests recognized that taxes in Russia were much lower than abroad. Moreover, the king actually protect citizens from oppression and iniquities. Most rasposledny slave could refer the complaint directly to the Emperor!

The documents show that the ruler react intervened, protecting the "truth." And as a result people are not ruined. Merchants, farmers, artisans were able to expand their farms, bring up children. But that win and the state...

By the way, and epidemics occurred much less frequently than in "civilized" Europe. "In Russia, people generally healthy and long-lasting... little heard of epidemic diseases... meet here are often very old people" (Olearius).

And if you want to continue mapping, and the blood flowed much less. "Crime is very rarely punished by death" (Herberstein); "the Laws about criminals and thieves opposite of English. You can not hang for the first offence" (Chesler). Executed only for the most terrible crimes, and death sentences were approved only in Moscow personally by the Tsar and the Boyar Duma. And it is such a sadistic madness as massive witch hunt, our ancestors never knew...

That is so scattered stories about wild and downtrodden Russia – and enlightened, sophisticated Europe.

However, I want to make a reservation: the author does not seek to defame and insult the West Europeans. They had their accomplishments, achievements and ideals. But would not be worth, giving them their due, denigrate Russian.


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