For the first time the Norman theory was expressed by threeGerman scientists, G. Miller, A. Schlesser and G. Bayer, in the middle of the 10th century, and throughout the following two centuries the polemics around it did not cease.
The theory is based on the old legend, according towhich the Eastern Slavs were uncouth barbarians, until the Varangians stepped onto the Slavic land and brought with them the foundations of the state system and the rudiments of culture.
Norman theory: "for" and "against"
Naturally, as any theory has its ownadmirers and opponents, so the Norman theory has its adherents, as well as people who consider it to be absurd. The first thoughts on the theory's unconvincing were expressed by M.V. Lomonosov. It was during this period that an active polemic broke out concerning the influence of the Varangians on Rus, which found its echoes in the writings of many authors. But the main problem of antinormanists (people who denied this theory at the root) was the impossibility to refute its foundations - "The Tale of Bygone Years", since this work was officially recognized as a historical document, the primary source.
В то время как норманисты давали разъяснение the term "Rus", obtained precisely from the Scandinavians, their opponents actively sought other versions, which at least somehow could outshine the Norman one. Fat point in the debate put V. Thomsen, who in 1891 published a work called "The Beginning of the Russian State." In it, he reasonably reflected the main points on which the Norman theory was based, after which many historians and anti-Romanists came to the conclusion that the theory of Scandinavian origin of Rus can be considered proven.
A new interest in the origin of Russia arose already inSoviet times, when the vision of Russian history was viewed through the prism of socialism. During this period, the Norman theory was subjected to yet another criticism thanks to the book by A.A. Shakhmatova. This work was devoted to the origin of the Slavs and the Russian state.
On the basis of his analysis of the chronicle,established the fact of a later and inauthentic writing of a story about the vocation of Varangian princes - the treatise on which the entire Norman theory was based. Another major antinormanist work, published in the 1920s, was a book under the authorship of P. Smirnov, "The Volga Way and the Ancient Ruses," in which the author attempted to refute this theory using ancient treatises by Arab writers. In his book, Smirnov linked the emergence of the Old Russian state not with a well-known route "from the Varangians to the Greeks", but with the Volga route "from the Baltic - along the Volga to the Caspian Sea". In accordance with his theory, the first Russian state was formed in the Middle Volga. The new concept of the origin of the Slavs was quite interesting and original, but unconvincing, and therefore did not find support even from supporters of the anti-Norman school.
Most of the Norman theory foundsupport from foreign scholars of historians who faithfully believe in the inability of the Slavs to a natural independent development without foreign interference and leadership. In particular, it was actively propagandized in wartime in fascist Germany. To date, the question of the formation of the Russian state has ceased to be relevant for historians. Over the past 30 years, few books and articles on this subject have been written, but this absolutely does not mean the victory of the Norman theory.
The enormous influence and significance of the Varangian princes onthe formation of the Old Russian state can not be minimized or forgotten, but it is also not worth exaggerating. Norman and antinorman theory have a right to exist, which of them is in fact true, we will not know soon enough.