Power in the
10/25/2010 Treason was seen as an evil deed that truly threatened the Muscovite state.
The Muscovite Law Code represented the ideologies in relation to the state of
Muscovy and their conception of power. The Law Code gives a general idea of what
constituted treason in Muscovy; the attempts to fracture or falter the well-being of
the sovereign and to destroy, seize or question the control of the Muscovite state.
This reflects conceptions of power in the Muscovite state; expressing the ruler’s
right to rule unconditionally, and the people’s duty to follow and respect the ruler
and the laws unconditionally, by presenting the ruler as not open to outside
criticism or opinions and one who must have constant dominance over the people.
A part of what constituted treason in Muscovy are the attempts to destroy,
seize control or question the Muscovite state. Being punished with death is a
reflection of the Tsar ruling unconditionally. This concept of ruling unconditionally
is shown through many of the codes in the Muscovite Law Code. The law regarding
the effort to seize control of the Muscovite state is an example of this.
…if in the realm of his tsarist majesty, someone, desiring to seize
possessions of the Muscovite state and to become sovereign, begins to
assemble an armed force to effect his evil intention; or, if someone
proceeds to make friends with enemies of [his] tsarist majesty, and to
establish secret relationships by [exchanging] advisory letters, and to
render them aid in various ways so that those enemies of the sovereign,
www.notesolution.com using his secret relationship with the enemy, may take possession of the
Muscovite state, or commit any other bad deed; and someone denounces
his activity; and after that denunciation his treason is established
conclusively: punish such a traitor with death accordingly (Ulozhenie 2:2).
This code makes clear that any attempts at attacking or disrespecting the tsarist
majesty will not be tolerated by any means. Even the reference to an attack on the
tsar’s sovereignty as an “evil intention” shows how this reflects this conception of
power. Anyone who steps up against the Muscovite state is considered evil and their
intentions are evil as if the state is good and is ruling unconditionally for the good of
the people which further enforces the dominance of the ruler. Another code also
shows the idea of outside ideas or thoughts that go against the sovereign are
If someone by any intent proceeds to think up an evil deed against the
sovereign’s well-being, and someone denounces his evil intent, and after
that denunciation that evil intent of his is established conclusively, that he
conceived all evil deed against his tsarist majesty, and he intended to
carry it out: after investigation, punish such a person with death
In this case as well, “evil” thoughts against the tsarist majesty are seen as a serious
www.notesolution.com threat against the Muscovite state and are punishable by death. It should be noted
that this code is not at all specific about what can be considered “evil” which would
allow for the Muscovite state to use this to control and manage the people very
easily. Questioning or attempting to destroy the state with evil intentions reflects
the people’s duty to follow and respect the ruler and the laws unconditionally by
showing that the Muscovite state is not open to outside opinions or criticisms.
This also ties to the well-being of the state. If that is threatened, there are
consequences as well. An individual does not even necessarily have to carry out an
act of evil against the sovereign; they merely have to th