Yaroslav introduced a code of law to Russia that is seen by many as the foundation of a lawful society. His ideas and beliefs can be pinpointed with ease using the code as a guide. His understanding of land and property rights is remarkable for a man ruling a relatively small kingdom in the years 1000. There are detailed punishments included in the code for larceny, for damage done to forests or hunting grounds or to the land of another.
Yaroslav focused on debt relations that had bound down a society controlled by money lenders; he introduced laws that brought in rules of heavy interest charges, significantly limiting the control that moneylenders held upon society. 11 These moves can be seen as the first steps by any government anywhere towards a controlled economy. Yaroslav's understanding of law is further proven by his elaborate attempts to safeguard not only victims but also those that have been accused of crimes.
The law dictated that proper authorities should investigate accusations to check for their factual accuracy. The code directs investigators to use a variety of methods to catch culprits such as hot pursuit, witnesses, and evidence collection from crime scenes. These are modern day rules of crime investigation that were not only though of by Yaroslav but were actually put into practical use throughout his domain. 12 The code does have its backward aspects however, as it explains how one can treat, sell or claim a slave.
These rules seem backward now, but at the time they served to stabilize a haphazard feudal society where there were no laws governing the treatment and procurement of slaves. Yaroslav's laws out into place strict rules of what could be done in certain situations, what penalties could be placed and how, it differentiated between the crimes of slaves in order to put a curb on brutal punishments for the most minute offences. In many ways, Yaroslav's ideas lead to curb in feudal influence and cruelty.
It is clear to see from his most influential legacy why Yaroslav is known as the Wise ruler of Kiev. He not only consolidated his kingdom but put it in a stable situation to outlast his reign and march towards a relatively progressive society. Valdimir I and Yaroslav the Wise – legacy Kievan Rus rose to the zenith of its power under Vladimir I and his son, Yaroslav the Wise. The father and son share a common route to the throne, however the similarities between their rules extend no further than their aspirations to attain the throne and expand its power.
However, the influence of both emperors was long lasting and their major achievements not only shaped Kievan Rus in particular, they also helped to lay the seeds of a world power that would rise after their own demise. While Vladimir brought Christianity to Kievan Rus, Yaroslav provided it with the system of law it needed to become a prosperous and enviable state. The formation of a church within society introduced aspects such as language, literacy and cohesion in to a many a time disparate society. Yaroslav furthered this progress by establishing the hegemony of church over all other societal systems.
He built churches, appointed officers in his court that were learned, and furthered in many ways what his father had set out to begin. 14 More than any other reason, their legacy has been far reaching and impact-ful because of their long reigns. A region desperate for stability achieved exactly that with Kievan princes who ruled for a combined 70 years propelling Kievan Rus towards economic, cultural and social stability. Both monarchs asserted control on the throne using their armies that constantly expanded their realms while also exporting ideas and beliefs to new people.
Yaroslav and Vladimir I both share a common tactic of forging alliances through carefully arranged marriages for relatives with distant kings and monarchs. These moves helped, Kievan Rus gain alliances with various regimes from Constantinople to the Slavs in the east. The reigns of Vladimir I and Yaroslav the Wise were influential to no end to the development of the Russian empire and especially to that of Kievan Rus. While they shared some commonalities, the legacies they left behind are markedly different.