Valentin Yanin

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Valentin Lavrentievich Yanin (, born 6 February 1929 in Vyatka) is a leading Russian historian who has authored 700 books and articles. He has also edited a number of important journals and primary sources, including works on medieval Russian law, sphragistics and epigraphy, archaeology and history. His expertise is medieval Rus' especially Novgorod the Great, where he has headed archaeological digs beginning in 1962.

Early life

His maternal grandparents were arrested in 1937 and died in a prison camp in 1938. His father was apparently on a list to be executed but escaped this fate and moved with his family to Moscow. Yanin finished his secondary education in 1946, graduating with a Gold Medal; he matriculated at Moscow State University in 1951.


In 1954, he defended his Kandidat thesis on the monetary systems of pre-Mongol Rus. This was published as The Monetary and Weight System of Medieval Russia («Денежно-весовые системы русского средневековья) and has become a classic. His doctoral thesis on the posadniks of Novgorod followed in 1962 and significantly changed our understanding of the constitution of the Novgorod Republic.V. L. Yanin, Novgorodskie Posadniki (Moscow: Moscow State University, 1962; reprinted Moscow: Iazyki slavianskoi kul'tury, 2003). The book demonstrated that the office of posadnik,...
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