Why did Vladimir baptize Russia? (A nontraditional perspective on the established canon)

Aliev A.A.


The article analyses the prerequisites and practical steps aimed to implement processes of Christianity adoption in Rus’ in the X century. The author’s reconstruction provides a new comprehension of the main historical events of that period. Analysis of biographies and the main actors’ deeds of Christian doctrine spread is based on original interpretation and allows to say that the choice of religion intended to replace paganism was not defined by objective circumstances. It was related to Vladimir intentions to become a contender for the Byzantium Empire throne by marriage with Anna Porphyrogenita. The prince has later played minor roles in the following processes of Rus’ Christianization, consigning the people’s «enlightenment» to Anna and Byzantine clerics that came to Rus’ with her. The moral and spiritual rebirth of Vladimir after he accepts the new religion, if it ever took place, was more a consequence of Anna’s influence who did not wish to manage the country of Stavroscythians with a barbarian husband, rather than the outcome for the influence of church dogmas and sermons. The Christian preaching has met fierce resistance from the paganism adherences. Therefore, the confrontation between the sides varied successfully for centuries while the religious duality existed until the Mongol invasion.


history of Kievan Rus' X–XI centuries; Byzantine and Rus'; Christianisation of Rus'; Olga of Kiev; Rurik dynasty; Vladimir the Great; Anna Porphyrogenita.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2021.04.11

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