SWEDEN AND THE RISE OF THE EAST-SLAVIC KINGDOM

For the past 260 years, scholars have been interested in the rise of the East-Slavic kingdom. The Normanists and Anti-Normanists have confronted each other.

Interestingly enough there is also a Gothic theory, suggested by Strube de Pyrmont in 1785 and in Latham in 1863. This hypothes is based on the view that the East Slavic kingdom was founded by the Goths. It could actually be the plausible explanation.

The Swedish scholar Dr. Stefan Söderlind has developed this thesis into what he called the Red-Blond-People hypothesis. It is based on the Old Russian forms Rus and Rud derived from the Proto-Slavic stems rusu and rudu. It began to spread in the period 150 – 350 AD.

In the palatinized form rusu the form rus was according to Söderlind borrowed directly into Arabic as Rus.

In 370 AD the Goths were defeated by the Huns and migrated westwards. Many Goths however remained in what is today southern Ukraine. After the Huns were defeated a new Gothic kingdom was formed in 450 AD.

In the Nestor Chronicle there is a passage, which has not yet been deciphered in which Khagan Svjatoslav (d. 972) says:

I do not care to remain in Kyiv, but I should prefer to live in Pereyaslavets on the Danube since that is the center of my realm.

Rus later became the common Slavic term for all Varangians and Kolbjazi and was used for all peoples living in the new kingdom.

Wherever the Goths migrated they demonstrated one specific trait: an extraordinary military and organizational capacity together with a high ability to absorb for instance high cultural development. Historically their states did not last long. As late as the eleventh century a major Gothic element is still discernable but later the cultural process of Slavization prevailed, however. The endless internal conflicts in the shortlived Gothic states also contributed to the downfall of the second Gothic kingdom.

Modern Gothic studies after the Second World War have concluded that the Goths inhabited the Lower Vistula around the Birth of Christ. In the beginning of the third century they lived in the Black Sea area founding the first Gothic kingdom.

The kingdom of the Rus reached its peak power and influence between 700 and 1050 AD. The kingdom of the Rus was by Snorri Sturluson still calkled “Sweden the Great and the Cold (Heimskringla 4.9). The Normanists claim that the great military and commercial activities of the Scandinavian Vikings lead to the foundation of the East Slavic Kingdom. They were, however, of a limited nature. They were in the view of Dr. Söderlind only possible within the framework of the Gothic kingdom of the Rus which by then already existed.

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