Vyra. The highest monetary penalty imposed for the killing of a free man in Kyivan Rus’. It was paid to the prince by the transgressor who had escaped blood vengeance. With the abolition of vengeance, it became the only penalty for killing, and was imposed by the ruler on the murderer, or on the community if the offender was unidentified (it was then called a verv). The rate was 40 hryvni for killing a free man; 80 hryvni, an official of the prince; and 20 hryvni, an unfaithful wife or a handicapped individual. There was no vyra for a slave, only compensation for loss of property. Ruskaia Pravda mentions a vyra for libel. The vyra was collected by a special official known as a vyrnyk.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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