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Posadnik (Cyrillic: Посадник) was the mayor in some East Slavic cities or towns. Most notably, the posadnik (equivalent to a stadtholder, burgomeister, or podestà in the medieval west) was the mayor of Novgorod and Pskov. The term comes from the Old Church Slavic "posaditi," meaning to put or place; they were so-called because the prince in Kiev originally placed them in the city to rule on his behalf. Beginning in the twelfth century, they were elected locally.


Despite legends of posadniks such as Gostomysl that were set in the ninth century, the term posadnik first appeared in the Primary Chronicle under the year 997. The earliest Novgorodian posadniks include Dobrynya (an uncle of Vladimir the Great), his son Konstantin Dobrynich and Ostromir, who is famous for patronizing the Ostromir Gospels, among the first books published in Russia (it is now housed in the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg).

In the Novgorod Republic, the city posadnik was elected from among the boyars by the veche (public assembly). The elections were held annually. Novgorod boyars differed from boyars in other Rus' lands in that the category was not castelike and that every rich merchant could reasonably hope to reach the rank of boyar. Valentin Yanin, the Soviet "dean" of medieval Novgorodian history, has found that most posadniks held the office consecutively for sometimes a decade or more and then often passed the office on to their sons or...
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