What is Russia lagged behind Europe in modern times?

In our country, since the XVIII-XIX centuries. infiltrated a very peculiar method 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" to Europe.

Why she needed to play catch-up, it is implied automatically. On the one hand — the "land of nod", ignorance, filth, poverty, slavery. On the other — a brilliant France, England wise, luxury Italy, Germany and neat business … But if by "generally accepted" stereotypes go to reality, such a comparison gives at once 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 characteristic of the opposite tendency — to belittle his own ancestors, adapting to foreign opinions. But the formation of mass stereotypes have had a decisive influence not even biased historical works, novels and art and movies.

Take the XVII century before Peter the Great. In Russia, as expected, full of "barbarism" that will correct only tsar-reformer, cutting through the "window to Europe". And abroad — immediately brought before the eyes of the images kurtuaznyh ladies, gallant gentlemen and scholars.

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

And shine, if you look, turned out to be questionable. For example, if we talk about the same Musketeers, they were only 2 companies, they were bodyguards of the king. Besides them, there were 2 in France Guard Regiment. Once they receive salaries and wore the uniforms — no other active units in France did not exist.

The rest of the army was going out of personal orders nobles of mercenaries and was a rabble of different color.

In contrast to Russia, where there was a great body of ten thousand archers, and from 1630 began to form regiments of "new order": the soldier, dragoon, Reitars'ka hussar. In the 1660s. there were already 75.

Clicked their heels on the parquet Musketeers would be difficult. At the time of their floors in the palaces strewn with straw. A straw was changed once a week. WC was not. In England, they appeared in 1581 — the British trade with Russian and Turkish and borrowed useful innovation.

But other European countries were slow to adopt it. In France, even a hundred years later to use the potty with them went through the palace special servants. At balls and receptions there were not enough, gentlemen, aristocrats defecate in the corners, the ladies sat down under the stairs, and one of the German princess complained: "Palais Royal smelled of urine." Therefore, the Kings had several palaces. From time to time they moved and left the residence washed and cleaned.

But Europeans do not differ hygiene. The cult of purity they took much later, in the XIX century. — The Chinese (in tropical climates dirt led to dangerous infections). In general, the earlier and before the eyes of Westerners was an example of a healthy lifestyle: Russian went to the baths at least twice a week.

But this custom of foreign guests have described as exotic and "barbaric." Even laughed at him. The British indicated their belief that bathing leads to severe disease, lamented that the frequent washing of the "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 were considered a perfectly normal phenomenon. In England, the 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 at a party at the table do not have to comb his hair, so as not to share with neighbors insects. The same collection taught ladies and gentlemen, that does not prevent at least once a day (!) To wash their hands. Better yet, at the same rinse and face.

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

Ate in Europe, usually by hand. In our country, forks were used from the time of Kievan Rus', and they are found during the excavation of Moscow. In Italy, the fork appeared at the end of the XVI century., And in France have been introduced only in the XVIII century.

A bed made of enormous size. They fit husband, wife, children, his family, and could put a guest. And the servants and apprentices spent the night on the floor, side by side.

And it was very different from Europeans exquisite turns, familiar from the novels and films. So, one of the memoirs of the then transmits dialogue aristocrats. The Duc de Vendome asks, "You probably will side with the de Guise, since you (the four-letter word) … his sister?" At that Marshal Bassompierre replies, "Not at all, I (four-letter word) … all your aunts, but it is not mean that I was loving you. "

As for the knight's relationship to the ladies, then these ideas have migrated into our consciousness from the novels of the XIX century. And in the Renaissance German poet Reimer von Tsvetten recommend husbands to "take the baton and pull the wife on the back, but harder with all her might, she felt that his master was angry and did not." The book "On the evil women" taught that "a donkey, a woman and a nut in need of beats."

Even the nobles frankly, for the money, they sold the beautiful daughters of kings, princes, aristocrats. Such transactions are not considered shameful, and extremely profitable. After all, a high official mistress and opened the way to a career, and to enrich the family, it showered with gifts. But they could give to another, resell, thrash.

The English king Henry VIII in fits of bad temper so beat the favorites that they are several weeks "out of order". And prostolyudinok rules of chivalry do not spread. They were treated as the subject for use.

European economy remained predominantly agrarian. The peasants were 90-95% of the population. The major cities were little — Paris (400 inhabitants), London (200 thousand), Rome (110 thousand). Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bristol, Amsterdam, Vienna, Warsaw — 20-40 thousand inhabitants, and 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).

Home to squeeze into the narrow space of fortifications, they were built in the 3-4 floors, and the width of most streets do not exceed 2 meters. Coaches not pass through them. People are making their way on horseback, on foot, and the rich men servants were in a sedan chair.

Even in Paris was only one paved street, boulevard Sours Ia Reine was the only place for walking to know where chosen "to show themselves." Other streets are not bridges, sidewalks had not, and was in the middle of each ditch, where thrown from the windows of waste and splashed the contents of the pots (after all the houses the toilets were also missing). And the land was expensive in the city, and to take up less space, the second floor had a ledge above the first, the third on the second, and the street looked like a tunnel, which was not enough light and air, fumes from accumulated waste.

Travelers approaching the big city, far away feel the stench. But the townspeople were getting used and did not notice it. Unsanitary conditions often caused the epidemic. Smallpox is rolled about once every 5 years. Frequented and plague, dysentery, malaria. Only one of the epidemics 1630-31 gg., France claimed 1.5 million lives. In Turin, Venice, Verona, Milan became extinct between a third and half of the population.

Infant mortality was very high, two babies survived one, the others faded from disease, malnutrition. And people in 50 were considered elderly. They really wore out — the poor from destitution, from the excesses of the rich.

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

Public executions in all European countries have been frequent and popular spectacle. People left their affairs, brought their wives and children. The crowd scurried hawkers offering goodies and drinks. The noble lords and ladies rented windows and balconies of nearby houses, and in England for the viewers specially built platform with premium seats.

But blood and death in the West are so used that to intimidate political and criminal offenders they were insufficient. Invented as a possible painful punishment. According to British law, for treason relied "Qualified penalty." Man hanged, but not to death, pulled out of the loop, opened the abdomen, genitals cut off, cut off the hands and feet, and in the end — the head.

In 1660 S. Pins described: "I went to Charing Cross to see how there hanged and quartered release insides of Major-General Harrison. But he looked so cheerful as possible in a similar position. Finally done away with it and showed it to the head and heart of people — were heard loud shouts of joy. "

In England the same for other crimes gradually, one by one, put a weight on his chest sentenced until he breathed his last. In France, Germany and Sweden are often used breaking on the wheel. Counterfeiters boiled alive in a pot or pouring molten metal into the throat. In Poland, the criminals were put on a stake, roasted in a brazen bull, hung on a hook in the ribs. In Italy breach the skull with a mallet.

Decapitation and the gallows were just too common. A traveler to Italy, said: "We have seen so many dead bodies along the road were hanged, that the journey becomes unpleasant." And in England hanged vagrants and petty thieves to carry off the items in the amount of 5 pence and above. Sentences sole judge magistrate, and in every town on market days vzdergivali another batch of guilty.

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

But here is an amendment — these universities were very different from today's schools. They studied theology, law, and in some — medicine.

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

As a result, universities are the fruit of the empty scholastic yes judicial chicaner. But medicine remains in its infancy. Universally recognized means of various diseases were considered bloodletting and laxatives. Illiterate treatment killed my King Francis II, Louis XIII, Queen Margot, Cardinal Richelieu. But they are something best treated by doctors! Better schools began to emerge at the turn of XVI-XVII centuries. — Jesuit school, Oratory, the Ursulines. There have been taught, and mathematics.

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

And at the same time in all western countries enthusiastically burned "witches". Peak brutal mayhem took place not on the "dark" times of the early Middle Ages, and just on the "brilliant» XVII century. Women were sent to hundreds of fires. And universities actively participated in it! They were given the "learned" opinion on the guilt of the "witches" and earned good money on such scientific research.

As for Russia, it has evolved in this era of vigorous and dynamic. She is often visited by foreign merchants and diplomats. They described the "many great and magnificent in their own towns" (Oleary), "crowded, beautiful, distinctive architecture" (Juan Persian). Noted "temples, elegant and richly ornamented" (Kampenze), admired: "We can not express what a great picture appears when you look at these brilliant chapter voznosyaschiesya to heaven" (Lizek).

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

Streets are three times wider than in the West. And not only in Moscow but also in other cities in order to avoid their mud littered with logs and paved with flat wooden block. Russian masters have received the highest ratings contemporaries: "Cities are rich in their diligent in various branches masters" (Mihalon Litvin). There were schools in monasteries and temples — they even arranged for Ivan the Terrible.

Was urban transport, cabs — until the end of the XVII century. foreigners were told about them as curiosities: they have never had anything. He did not have them and Yamskoy mail, links remote areas. "On the highways wound good order. In different places hold special farmers to be ready with a few horses (for 1 village has with horses 40-50 or more), upon receipt of a princely order that they can immediately harness horses and rush forward "(Oleary). From Moscow to Novgorod arrives in 6 days.

Travelers reported "many wealthy villages" (Adams). "Earth all is well seeded bread that people being taken to Moscow in an amount such that it seems astonishing. Every morning you can see from 700 to 800 sled riding there with bread and some fish "(Chancellor).

And once upon a Russian very well. Without exception, all the foreigners who were in Russia, drew pictures almost fabulous prosperity compared to their home countries!

Earth "is replete with pastures and well treated … butter is very much like all kinds of dairy products, thanks to the great abundance of their animals, large and small" (Tyapolo). There was mention of "an abundance of grain and livestock" (Perkamota), "an abundance of vital supplies, which would have done honor even to the most luxurious table" (Lizek).

And all of it was available to everyone! "In this country there are no poor people, because food supplies so cheap that people take to the road to look for, who would give them" (Juan Persian — obviously referring to the distribution of alms). "Generally speaking, the whole of Russia due to the fertile soil purveyance very cheap" (Oleary).

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

Were carried out at the people and money. Peasant women wore large silver earrings (Fletcher, Brembo). Dane Rhodes wrote that "even a woman of humble origins sew dress of taffeta and damask and decorate it from all sides with gold or silver lace." Moscow described the crowd, where "there was a lot of women, adorned with pearls and festooned with jewels" (Mass). Oh, probably not in the crowd huddled boyarynya.

Meyerberg 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, it has nothing to envy to any country in the world." A German diplomat Geis, talking about the "Russian wealth", stated: "In Germany, perhaps, would not have believed."

Of course, wealth is not ensured climate and not some special fertility. What could be our northern edges of the crop to Europe! Wealth achieved extraordinary work ethic and skills of farmers and craftsmen.

But it was achieved and wise policy of the government. Since the days of the Troubles Russia did not know the disastrous civil strife, devastating invasions (Razin rebellion in scale and consequences did not go to any comparison with the French or the English revolution of the Fronde).

The Tsar's army has always bully any enemies — Poles, Swedes, Tartars, Persians, under Chyhyryn buried two Turkish army, under Albazin and Nerchinsky stop aggression Manchu and Chinese.

And the government is not fleecing the people. All foreign guests recognize — taxes in Russia were much lower than abroad. Not only is the real king defended his subjects from the oppression and lawlessness. The most rasposledny slave could refer the complaint directly to the Emperor!

The documents show that the ruler react intervened, protecting the "truth." As a result, people do not go broke. Merchants, farmers, artisans were able to expand their farms, to put on the feet of children. But that has won and the state …

By the way, and epidemics were much less likely than in the "civilized" Europe. "In Russia all the people healthy and long life … you never heard of epidemic diseases … there are often very old people" (Oleary).

And if you want to continue the comparison, then the blood flowed much less. "Crime rarely punished by death" (Gerberstein), "The Laws of criminals and thieves opposite English. You can not hang for a first offense "(Chancellor). Executed only for the most heinous crimes, the death sentences were approved only in Moscow — the king himself 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 it would not be worth, giving them their due, denigrate Russian.

Valery Shambarov


See also the Working Class in England. Friedrich Engels.

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