Lots of Paths in the Field…

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Abstract. The article is the introduction to the main theme and discussion of the issue dedicated to the Russian Middle Ages, the search for chronological and essential boundaries of this era, its pivotal moments and bifurcation points, as well as the problem of research optics, tools and analytical language that allow to see, describe and explain these historical “crossroads” and “turns”. The author vindicates the choice of the title of Alexander Zimin’s book Warrior at the Crossroads as a metaphor problematizing this topic and explains how the topic of discussion Russian Middle Ages: lost in translation is related to the main theme of the issue. There is a symbolic meaning not only in the title of the book dedicated to one of the turning points in the history of medieval Russia, but also in the fact that this work was conceived by the scholar as a prologue to the series of monographs entitled Russia on the Threshold of the Modern Era. Although the editors of this issue are far from sharing Zimin’s conception, reflected in the Warrior at the Crossroads, they trace a certain assonance between the strategy of our journal and the cycle of works of the outstanding historian. At the same time, the fate of this book, which was not accepted by the academic community, but stimulated the debate about historical alternatives, allows us to shift the discussion of this issue into a historiographic and methodological plane  – to reflect on the fact that bifurcation points can be not only in history, but also in the development of knowledge about it.

Keywords: Russian Medieval Ages, Ancient (Old) Rus’, historical road forks, alternative paths of development, bifurcation points, pivotal moments, historical terminology.

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