This is an interview about the Russian traditional social framework or how to build a fair society.
<Translated from Russian>
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Interviewee: “So, this is the question of the right to the land.”
Over centuries, they gradually took our land. They proceeded in a subtle way, always careful not to alarm the people just like crafty thieves pulling the blanket from under the sleeping hero.
The process began in the most distant past. It is a mistake to think that the Bolsheviks or today’s Liberal Democrats are responsible for starting this process. Actually, it began when the Right to live on earth was substituted with another Right.
They slowly started taking our land in a legal sense by imposing the written law over native Russian Oral Kopa Law. Provisions of the Kopa Law were transmitted from person to person because provisions were stable; people did not trust it to bark-made paper – only to people. Once the body of laws and rules were recorded, they began to slowly amend the written laws and with twist of words sanctioned clarifications and rulings. Our land started to literally float away from under our feet. At first, it became the serfdom land, and most of the peasants became enslaved. Over time, they began to give our land to everyone who served and obeyed the authorities, along with people as if they were some insects in the grass. Nowadays, Russian land is sold to any foreigner.
How did we lose the Right to be masters of our own land? This theme is very big, so I want to stop at one key point. I’d like to tell you about the oral Kopa Law, replaced with the written Law to their advantage because people could not read it in order to understand details and implications it imposed – and, frankly speaking, it is much easier to correct and modify the written word in the gloom of the Cabinet.
Kopa Law is our root Law. It served as the basis and regulatory mechanism of vital activity in the field, as they say now.
First, Kopa Law corresponds to our Russian understanding of justice. To say it figuratively, this is the boot that was made for our foot. It fully complies with the idea of justice and aspirations of the Russian so far. You and your readers will understand and feel it when I tell what our ancestors did, if they had to make decisions for society.
The word “Kopa” (“heap”) is an ancient Russian root-word (linguistic meaning). Collective meetings of the Kopa were also called the Veche. A kind of urban Kopa Law was the Novgorod Veche, another known title of Kopa was ‘Gromada’/Community.
Kopa Law was based not on the law of the majority, but on the Unanimity Rule — when all the people who participated in discussion (the Congregation) came to a common point of agreement.
Interviewer: Please, explain the word “Congregation” and “rule of unanimity” concept. Is this the same as the democracy – people, the right of the majority, the deputies?
Interviewee: No, in no circumstances. The Congregation is not the people in modern “democratic” sense of the word, any more than the voice of an alcoholic and drug addict is equal to the vice of a member of an Academy. And it is certainly not the deputies. Only householders with any kind of property, as well as with the permanent abode on their own plot of land or the settlement had the legitimate right to participate in the Kopa. As a rule, they were the Patriarchs. The spiritual advisors (elders) were obligatory invited to the Kopa, to give advice when one needed to deliver judgment; for example, on the basis of previous decisions of Kopa, so-called “precedence”.
Hallowed provisions of the Kopa Law were kept in mind of the Congregation and transferred from generation to generation. The spiritual advisors did not have a voice in Kopa but played a significant role.
Sons and brothers, who did not have their separate households, as well as women, participated in the Kopa only in special case; and, most often to testify as a witness. Only the family man, in other words, a man who already rules his kin, big family and tidy (well-off) household, had a voice. Modern researchers coined a very good phrase: “Only a man, whose life actually confirmed his ability to organize the space around himself, has a voice at the Kopa…” So let’s pass to unanimity. The modern principle of priority of majority opinion over the minority opinion leads the community to the concept where the shepherd bends before the wishes of a herd of sheep.
Interviewer: Rough, but easy-to-understand.
Interviewee: If we do not say it in a rough manner, someone will not understand that it is senseless to ask the opinion of the majority concerning some questions, especially the selection of State leader candidacy, and government or city leader candidacies. Is there anyone among ordinary people who knows what qualities should this responsible man have? Many of them communicated with the leader face-to-face once or twice in a lifetime, and others did not communicate with him at all. Their communication experience included only the communication with the builder crew foreman or MHR where the ability to talk like a sailor is sometimes key to successful work. So should people with such life experience, elect the leader of the country? Perhaps not, as they will simply elect the candidate with the eloquent foul-mouth.
The concept of the unanimity lied in the fact that when the Congregation (I’ve already mentioned who they are) was dealing with the details of the problems, they invited specialists, witnesses and all who might be required, to the Kopa. They argued and produced the arguments until they found the most logical decision, endorsed by everyone – every single voice. Since every voice was important, each voice belonged to the prominent and respectable authority. And if anyone was against the decision, everyone asked: “Why, for example, Sergey Nikolaevich or Boris Viktorovich is against the decision?” As a result, they were listened to attentively. In other words, the decision was made only when unanimity was reached.
Interviewer: But nowadays this scheme is unlikely to work. For example, who said that one group at the Kopa will not defend their commercial interests against the other group and will not simply sabotage even the fairest of decisions?
Interviewee: The whole mechanism of Kopa organization does not allow this scheme existing. The Congregation certainly was not unintelligent, they knew each other well and they knew the business of each other. You could not fool them and outtalked them with the rhetoric. So, no matter how you sliced it, you could not use the cheap sabotage to defend your personal interests at that meeting. All the tricks you`ve mentioned belong to the methods of our democratic parliaments with the reckless people who actually did nothing. It is them who begin to sweet-talk, appealing first of all to the voters trying to intrude their point of view and elicit applause. There were no voters and audience at the Kopa. The participants were the men – experienced people, who could evaluate the modern parliament crowing as the personal disregard.
Interviewer: Could they kill?
Interviewee: No, of course not. Why kill? When everyone treasured his honor, and did not resort to cheap tricks. Discredit and infringement in the eye of the Kopa was worse than a kill for many men…
Interviewer: The movies describe Veche as a market where everyone talks over each other.
Interviewee: This is fiction in the minds of half-educated directors. In reality, there was complete silence at the Kopa. Only the words of the person speaking could be heard, where sometimes the person was in state of ferment because he was speaking as if confessing (he could be put to death). His words were accompanied only by the noise of burning wood in the fire-pit and the sound of the wind…
Kopa investigated and went after the criminals, offered a prize on their heads, tried and punished as well as judge and deliver a compensation for the injured party. There was a communal pledge at the Kopa when all the community was responsible for the offences of all the members (“big and small”). Furthermore, it also vouched for the safety of life including property of members of commune as well as strangers. If it was a criminal case, Kopa asked around, defined the appearance (“lik”) of the criminal (this was the base for “ulika” word). The Kopa encouraged the injured party to forgive the offender and for the criminal to repent in public. These cases were conducted according to conscience, with the aim to induce the persons in dispute to accommodation (to make peace).
All the decisions of the Kopa were conscientiously carried out by everyone. The infringement of Kopa Law and its statements was impossible. Each member who witnessed the infringement of Kopa Law or the customs had to do all his best to restrain this infringement. Otherwise he became not the witness, but the companion in crime, and became absolutely responsible for it on the equal terms with the offender.
Then, this form of government was called autocracy of the Russian land. This word did not relate to the reign or princely supreme power. The ancient concept of the “samoderzhavie”/self-holding/autocracy, which did not evoke the resistance in souls of Russian people, is misunderstood today and confused as to its definition with the word – monarchy. This is NOT the right meaning.
Interviewer: Is this how they pulled out the blanket?
Interviewee: One of many tricks, the substitution of the sense of ancient words….
The Kopa consists of 4 to 9 neighboring villages (ves). The Congregation met in a special place (“mestechko”). This was the basis for the name of the main village (and now it is the regional center) – “misto”. Through the course of time, the main village could become a city which continued to use the Kopa Law in the administration – The citizens were called “mischani” (bourgeois).
There were from 100 to 300 men in the Kopa. This meeting was held in the center of one of the commune villages or in the reserved oak-forest, in the hallowed birch wood or in the oak forest with the natural or artificially dumped hills. There must have been a river, a lake or a spring near this place. It was called “kopovische”, “kopische” or “kapische” (pagan temple). The Kopa meeting was accompanied by the sounds of semantron, bell, light or smoke signal from the fire.
Interviewer: What issues were obligatory to discuss at the Kopa?
Interviewee: All aspects of life. For example, the terms for start and end of agricultural works, haymaking, road repairs, clean-up of wells, recruitment of shepherds and watchmen, penalties for the unauthorized cutting of forest, whip round for the public expenses of the community, the distribution of taxes, replenishment of the public stock in the event of natural calamity or bad harvest.
The set-up of the Kopa allowed saving the high fertility and the population recovery in case of the war or epidemic, educate male warriors, maintain so-called impeccable sanitary condition of the area, protect and restore forests. A lot of efforts were put to stimulate cultivation of significant crops such as flax because parasitic insects cannot live in clothing made of flax. They also preserved the lime and birch groves, oak forests and springs – very conscious of the importance of sustainability of the environment.
The effectiveness of such an autocracy was multiplied by elective positions of “desyatskiy”/one in ten – one for 10 houses/families/households, and “sotskiy”/one in hundred – one for 100 houses/families/housesholds. “Sortskiy”, together with “desyatskiy”, controlled the cleanliness within communities including cleanliness of water in rivers, the fire security, the discipline at the markets, the sale of benign products and other goods.
Interviewer: All these facts are good, but within the local self-governance, but how this could become the basis for the government? When was the stage of the defective confusion of “samoderzhavie”/self-holding/autocracy in the Russian meaning of the word, and the monarchy?
Interviewee: The communities which belonged to the Kopa, formed the “Volost” (district/area). The Kopa elected: the head of the “volost”, the administration board and the court. The administration board of the “Volost” kept the books with the decisions of the meetings, transactions and agreements, including the employment agreements concluded between the locals and strangers. All the entries were made by the clerk of the “Volost” who was a very important person in Kopa.
In addition to the administration board of the Volost, they also elected the advocates of public affairs – petitioners for the capital city. These advocates were called “exploiters”, people who lived at the expenses of other people during trips related to public affairs.
According to the Old Russian traditions, to protect the land from foreign enemy, Kopa elected the “Knyazya”/Dukes of the Veche from the strong Kins of hereditary warriors who were the Honor and Glory of our Motherland. Kopa provided the tithe to maintain the Duke and his druzhina (army), frontier post, to construct the frontier towns and lines of defense. Peasants voluntarily carried out labor conscription or the construction of particularly important or urgent needed defense facilities, and in wartime all the peasants-warriors defended their Motherland. Alas, thanks to the Kopa Law, the above-mentioned duke and warrior of the Russian land Svyatoslav Horobre could get ten thousand armed horsemen together in short order.
Vsezemsky (All-Russian-Land) Meeting elected the Monarch among the dukes, the head of the whole country, the Grand Duke of All Russia. The Monarch had to observe the Kopa Law, observe the laws of the Vsezemsky (All-Russian-Land) Meeting, and protect the people from foreign enemies.
Such an observance of Kopa Law is possible only in case of blaze of publicity, justice and the patriotism of the people. The Kopa ensured the complete independence of the Congregation opinions. Everyone had the opportunity to lay bare his heart “without fear and without hiding.” Everything was discussed openly at the Kopa, the questions were asked straight up: “one called a spade a spade”, and if someone tried to put off with the silence, he was unmasked en masse. The “dumbest” men, those who did not have the guts to peep at someone in a different time, were completely changed at the Kopa. Kopa became an open mutual confession (“not just me, but everyone together”), collective exposure and repentance (“while I am not me”), and the demonstration of the broadest publicity. At that moment, the private interests of everyone were on full display, and public interests and justice were of the greatest significance and further unfaltering watch.
Interviewer: All this is very acceptable even for the modern legal awareness; maybe it is even more progressive comparing to what we have now. So why did we stop using Kopa in our life?
Interviewee: We did not stop using it. The elements of the Kopa Law are still used in the criminal and business structures where it is necessary to implement efficient solutions for the most effective results and not simulation of the work of authorities.
Interviewer: And what for?
Interviewee: What do you mean?
Interviewer: Why should they simulate the work of authority?
Interviewee: To fog the essence of events – For example, to insensibly deprive original owners of their land titles in a way they would not notice or to create the illusion of freedom of expression by creating a circus called “elections”.
Interviewer: And what is this for?
Interviewee: For the same reason and to avoid revolutionary moods.
Interviewer: Do you think it is possible nowadays to introduce into our social life a legal mechanism like the Kopa Law?
Interviewee: I think this should be done as quickly as possible, since nowadays the state should provide very effective management work. The time of simulation is over, it is time to solve many questions like a man, without an unthinking crow and narcissism. And we should involve in this process all the healthy forces of society that can take real responsibility. We can do this as the Kopa Law cut across all the Russian Kins, who later became the peoples. This is our vital understanding of how to govern and rule.
Interviewer: When did Kopa become an obstacle to the Russian state?
Interviewee: With the beginning of Christianization and the replacement of the commune-patrimonial way of life with the feudal one, Kopa began to be supplanted, first from Western Europe, and then from the territory of Ancient Rus.
Under the regime of Yaroslav the Wise, there appeared the “Russian Truth” – the first written administrative and criminal legal feudal codex. Its analogues have long existed in Western Europe. “Russian Truth” defended in every possible way the interests of the new feudal class, future landowners. They were the first persecutors of the Kopa as the expression the interests of the real, indigenous inhabitants of the Russian land. Written Polish Law, as well as Magdeburg Law, began to extend into the Ancient Rus actively from the West. The citizens, who accepted such a “Law”, did not come to the Kopa and Veche anymore, they kept within the other laws. The surrounding villages were arbitrarily attributed to such a city and were called “outskirts”. The decisions of local men of weight were no longer abided as strictly as they were abided to before, as there was another arbitrator with larger powers than the local ones. This force was protected by the whole might of the army. Everyone became afraid of this force. And the landowners served only the state; they were protected by the state. Notwithstanding that, in fact, they were not very respected; they became the authority contrary to the fact that people were dismissive of them as personalities and as fair rulers. There were conflicts. To tell the truth, initially a landowner owned lands only formally; he collected taxes, and the power still resided in Kopa. But under the weight of serfdom Kopa became a village court, which invited only one representative from each village to study the court decisions. The landowner with the priest, village constable and several friends decided cases so that they obtained benefits. Since 1557 the landowners had the right to kill the peasants.
Everything was happening slowly, and the people trustingly agreed to concessions, as they supported the idea of national identity. They were ready to obey, knowing that their patience is the guarantee of a victory in dashing times.
Somewhere Kopa was still important, and was partly saved in the control structures. But Congregation could defend the justice of their requirements using only the prescriptive right. More and more, landowners would state: “I do not order to pay for the bare word of a man.” Sometimes the landowners simply took their peasants away from the Kopa, and in the 17th century they even forbade them to visit Kopa.
Among the abyss of untruth and delusion, wrapping the legacy of the Russian state structure, the most insidious political lie is the demonization of the People’s Monarchical “Samoderzhavie”/Self-Holding/Autocracy concept. Under the “Samoderzhavie”/Self-Holding/Autocracy, the people rules itself, in other words, self-governs with the help of the Monarch, and in the primordially Russian autocracy the truth was represented by the United/Common (one hundred percent) opinion of the World, or the Kopa. The Autocratic/Self-Holding Monarchy forms its content from the moral principles and does not create a moral model, it is the moral model itself, it does not adapt it, but adapts itself to it. The People`s Monarchical National Autocracy is possible only with a meaningful and consent life of the people. And in critical moments for the Motherland, the supreme Russian government always turns to Russian people – as the main outpost of Russia’s national identity.
The most complete study of the Kopa law was undertaken in the middle of the XIX century by the rector of the University of Kiev, Nikolai Dmitrievich Ivanishev (1811-1874). He is the author of the book “About the ancient rural communities of the south of Russia”, “… the tradition of our Kopa Law”. Studying miraculously spared volumes of ancient registers, the author told about the main principles of the Kopa Law. It is known that at the order of Peter I under pain of death, all register books were brought to the capital for allegedly rewriting, but actually they were destroyed.
Ivanishev put a lot of efforts to open the Department of Ancient Kopa Law in the University of Kiev, but the researcher literally was derided and his offer to study a “peasant’s law”!
Interviewer: Would they have laughed when they found out what these men did not do during the revolution, because they were brought up as people, completely deprived of rights. But could they? They would have knocked the stuffing out of Bolsheviks…
Interviewee: They did not do this because they were deprived of any original mechanisms of influence on their own lives. They could become the defenders of these academics-scientists, but they simply became either indifferent observers or the executors for throwing away and physical extermination of these cheerful scientists and nobles, meanwhile with disdain and snobbish looks at the Russian people.
Having destroyed the Kopa Law, having enslaved their people, our authority has deprived itself of immunity against any foreign interference. It has deprived itself of the most important thing: a viable and competitive nation.
By the way, even now as we speak, we face the consequences of this.
No nation can be a viable, independent organism without the initial, internal, primordial, patrimony origins. The Russian people can be saved not by the cold ersatz of Western politics, but by the living source of just social principles created by the Russian people themselves, accompanied by its formation – as a people and a state.
Russians take the first lines of world ratings on the level of mortality, alcoholism, drug addiction and moral vices. We need to stop the total ethnic degradation and induce the Russians to national reunion, fraternal peacefulness, just lifestyle. This task can be coped not only by the patriots, integrated into the authority, but also by all the people who see this problem and want to solve it. Today, more than ever, the great Russian language, Russian history, Russian culture and tradition need to be protected from encroachments – both abroad and in Russia – from the aggressively-minded Russophobes, mercantile politicians, unscrupulous deputies, and unprincipled media representatives. And we do not need to do this all with blood, but with the Peace, together, just like our ancestors did, without rising to any provocations and calls for violence. We should do everything together also individually in our places according to each own inherited possibilities, perhaps not from a legal perspectives but more so ethical and moral Kopa Law of conscience and justice.
Interviewee – Vitaliy Sundakov