Monday, September 14, 2015

Honor Stepan Kuchka. Rename Moscow. Stepangorod.

Stepangorod. What issues arise.

It is time to rename Moscow to honor Stepan Kuchka, on whose lands Moscow stands, the 12th Century boyar who lost it all by force to Prince Yuri Golgorukiy in 1147 or so.  At least one time, shall we recognize the beaten, render brute force by an authority transparent even if it is not made fully accountable.

1.  Context:  Prince Yuri Golgorukiy, c.1090-1157, was waitingfor his hereditary turn to be Grand Prince of Kiev. Meanwhile, Yuri (a/k/a George) expanded his territory farther north through military campaigns (Rostov Principality) and moved its capital to Suzdal in 1125. By 1132 and beyond, he was still adding to his lands. See

Yuri Golgorukiy continued in this way, still waiting his turn at Kiev.  Succession in Kiev passed down by brothers, largely, and he was the sixth son, so it was a long time. Meanwhile there was territory to conquer.

2.  Enter Stepan Kuchka. Stepan Kuchka was a boyar of the Golgorukiy principality, a nobleman, apparently with extensive lands and an estate at the village of Kuchkovo.

Yuri Golgorukiy was visiting as a guest of Stepan Kuchka,  when Stepan apparently angered Yuri. Yuri either killed Stepan himself or ordered him killed. 
  • This event has not been entirely forgotten.  See 1997 celebration of founding of Moscow and a welcome mini-mention of Kuchka, at  Either way, the deed was done.  Stepan was gone.  And the laws of hospitality violated. Or not? Were there such laws then and there?  Or was absolutism the rule? He who takes, gets?
3. Yuri wasted no time. He confiscated Stepan Kuchka's lands, saw its strategic location at 3 rivers (one is the Moscow River) and ordered a fortress built.  He also proceeded to hold a large celebration to which he invited a relative, Svylatosov Olgovich.  This event was immediate, suggesting that the estate of Kuchka at Kuchkovo was substantial and could house nobility, retinues, feastings and the like without starting afresh.  Following the event and as part of the fortress, Yuri further secured the location by starting a moat and a wooden wall around it.
  • Fast-forward.  Kiev finally came within reach with the deaths of others occupying the throne, Yuri's succession number was up, but then it all fell apart.  His nephew wrested the throne of the Kievan Rus for himself. Yuri had to fight to get his several and short periods of time on it, starting in 1149.  See dates-statistics of his life at the venerable Russian Primary Chronicle at p.309 of 325, online numeration.  
  • Kiev then weakened over time with infighting and the like, Mongols invaded and slaughtered Kiev, dominated the land of the Rus, and when the Mongols were gone, the center of gravity moved from Kiev to Moscow.
  • Moscow.  Stepan Kuchka's place.  Does tribute go to the origins, or to those who "improve" it.  Did Golgorukiy build up "equity" in his interest that outweighs poor Kuchka.
Q. Did the village of Kuchkovo become Red Square? A. Checking.

4.  We have no image of Stepan Kuchka, but we offer instead the statue of Yuri Golgoruki in Moscow, Tverskaya Square.

  • Note the long arms.  Yuri Golgoruki was known as Long-Armed because he encroached on others' properties and was violent, apparently.  Nonetheless, he is rewarded by attribution: as "Founder" of Moscow.  He also has a submarine named after him, see it at
  • Rob Roy in Scotland also is known for his long arms, an unbeatable swordsman even though quite short, but his arms apparently were actually long.
Golgorukiy getting all the credit is not fair. Stepan Kuchka has lost all to history.  It is time to right old wrongs and rename Moscow as Stepangorod, the gorod meaning city.  As in Novgorod. Must we continue to reward by ongoing naming rights those who take wrongfully.  No absolute answer works.
  • If force was the rule of the day, perhaps might did make right back then. Why fuss.
  • Fuss because taking by force has to stop somewhere. Cut back the perks.
  • The nays would say:  a renaming that criticizes the means used for the end, also undermines the absolutism needed for the State to function as it wants.  
    • If force gets criticized, what is the future of force as discretionary to the state? If murder is ruled out as a tool of governments, with not just blows but poisoning, what would Wiki do with its time.
5.  Why Stepangorod.  Why not Kuchkagorod.

No.  See; and Russian Moguchaya Kuchka (“The Mighty Little Heap”), where 5 composers, all Russian, worked in the 19th century to develop a Russian national school of music, free of western taint:  C├ęsar Cui, Aleksandr Borodin, Mily Balakirev, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov.  See

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