The article gives a new interpretation for the account of the “Primary Chronicle” of the Year 6504 Anno Mundi (996 AD). The account tells that prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich introduced the death penalty for murderers but later replaced the death penalty with fines. Petr Stefanovich suggests that the account is an allegory or parable (myth) which aimed at justifying the prince’s legislative authority as based upon Christian values and public law. He dates the text to the 30-60s of the 11th century.
The reconstructions of the Povest′ vremmenyx let made by L. Müller (2001) and D. Ostrowski (2003) have prompted discussion of issues related to textual criticism. I begin the article by summarizing the state of the debate and then, responding to Ostrowski’s defense of his position (2007), I present additional evidence to support my claims that the version of the PVL in the Novgorod First Chronicle is independent of the archetype of its six full copies and that the Hypatian branch of the PVL is linked with the Radziwiłł branch by contamination. Questions concerning the nature of the contamination are also discussed: what direction it operated in and which representatives of the two branches of the tradition were involved in it.
The author suggests that there were two notions of Rus' in the "Initial Compilation" of the 1090s (a stage of "The Primary Chronicle) - an ethnic one and a more complicated political and confessional.
The author analyzes the famous account of the “Primary Chronicle” (s.a. 996) about the attempt of king Vladimir the Saint to change a penalty for murders. The king introduced the death penalty for murderers but later replaced the death penalty with fines. The author suggests that the account is an allegory or parable (myth) which aimed at justifying the prince’s legislative authority as based upon Christian values and public law.