Most Democratic Eastern European Country?

Which was most democratic?

  • Ancient Slavic Tribes (before 8th century)

    Votes: 3 12.5%
  • Rus Khaganate (8th and early 9th centuries)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Rurik's realm, Gardariki (862 - 882)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Askold and Dir's Kiev (863 - 882)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Kievan Rus (882 - 1240)

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • Novgorod Republic (1136 - 1478)

    Votes: 4 16.7%
  • Grand Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal (1157 - 1331)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Halych-Volhynia/Kingdom of Ruthenia (1199/1240-1246, 1253-1349)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Grand Principality of Moscow (1283 - 1547)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Tsardom of Russia (1547 - 1721)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ukrainian Cossack Hetmanate (1648 - 1657/1764)

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • Russian Empire (1721 - 1917)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Independent Socialist Republics (1917 - 1922)

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1922 - 1991)

    Votes: 3 12.5%
  • Kingdom of Poland (1025 - 1385)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Kingdom of Poland (1385 - 1569)

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • Polish - Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569 - 1795)

    Votes: 9 37.5%

  • Total voters
    24
Apr 2015
319
Canada
#1
Which Eastern European country (before 1991) was the most democratic, in your opinion?

Personally, I would say Kievan Rus 882-1240 for several reasons: Each city was ruled by a Prince/Duke called a 'Knyaz,' who could be dismissed by the citizens at any time. The cities also had a mayor called a 'Posadnik,' who was elected by the citizens. Also, in Kievan Rus, every peasant was a freeman, and knights ('Druzhiniki,' they were called) were allowed to serve a different feudal lord ('Boyary,' they were called), and still keep the land they were granted!

Please forgive me if I did not include a few Eastern European countries. If the most democratic one is not on the list, please say so in the "Reply" section, and explain why it was the most democratic.

If anyone is wondering why the year for Halych-Volhynia is complicated, allow me to explain: In 1199 it became a semi-independent state within Kievan Rus, in 1240, it became fully independent, became a vassal of the Golden Horde in 1246, became independent once again in 1253 as 'Kingdom of Ruthenia.' and was completely annexed by Poland in 1349.

EDIT: Grand Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal (1157 - 1238/1331). In 1238 the state became a vassal of the Golden Horde.
EDIT: Grand Principality of Moscow (1283/1480 - 1547). In 1480 it officially became fully independent from the Golden Horde.

Also, feel free to vote for Ancient Slavic Tribes, because although it was not really a 'country,' it was certainly an organised democratic civilization.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2013
1,481
Serbia
#3
I would say ancient slavic tribes...
I don't think ancient Slavic tribes belong on the list. The ancient Slavic tribes never formed a state, they were on the level of a tribal alliance, and since democracy is an exclusively state polity I would say "democracy" isn't the correct term. They did have a high level of equality (perhaps the highest among barbarian tribes) but we still cannot call it democracy.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,169
US
#4
The Slavic tribes of the early medieval period were very democratic. Leaders were not chosen by heredity, the group had a voice and captured warriors from other tribes/peoples could eventually be freed and join the tribe as a freeman.
 
Apr 2015
451
Pyrinos Polemos
#5
I don't think ancient Slavic tribes belong on the list. The ancient Slavic tribes never formed a state, they were on the level of a tribal alliance, and since democracy is an exclusively state polity I would say "democracy" isn't the correct term. They did have a high level of equality (perhaps the highest among barbarian tribes) but we still cannot call it democracy.
Well, at least in Europa Universalis game there is "Tribal Democracy":

Tribal Democracy - EU3 Wiki
 
May 2014
696
Budapest
#7
Perhaps pre feudal tribes, before the introduction of serfdom.

I would also add steppe nomads (pechenegs, cumans, etc.), who generally were also freemen. (or chose to serve a wealthy chieftain, if times were harsh)


(these two are not what I would call "countries" though)


But this question has no good answer.
 
Apr 2010
16,748
Slovakia
#8
The Slavic tribes of the early medieval period were very democratic. Leaders were not chosen by heredity, the group had a voice and captured warriors from other tribes/peoples could eventually be freed and join the tribe as a freeman.
It should be noted that these notions are based largely on few lines from single source, namely Prokopius of Cesarea, Byzantine author.
 
Apr 2010
16,748
Slovakia
#9
Well, at least in Europa Universalis game there is "Tribal Democracy":
It's sometimes called military democracy or similar based on assumption that important decisions were made by council of warriors. Problem is, it is theory based mostly on speculation or few dubious sources.

Council of warriors is mentioned in Odyssey and is noted to be held to make some important decisions. However Achaeans had kings and their government was not democracy, rather it was aristocracy.

There is also study of existing tribal societies in some remote areas and these societies are mostly hierarchical. However these hierarchies tend to be natural, based on authority individuals have in the society (because of their old age or proves in battle or hunting).

Therefore I would be careful to associate Democracy with early Slavs. At last not in classical sense.
 
Mar 2013
2,700
the Nile to the Euphrates
#10
Novgorod Republic. Probably one of the most democratic formations of its time. But I'd also underline Kievan Rus and the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth.
 

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