Russia's Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500-1800 [NOOK Book]

Overview

"... a tremendously important contribution to the field of Russian history and the comparative study of empires and frontiers. There is no comparable work in any language.... The book presents an intricate and gripping narrative of a vast sweep of histories, weaving them together into a comprehensive and comprehensible chronology." ?Valerie Kivelson

From the time of the decline of the Mongol Golden Horde to the end of the 18th century, the Russian government expanded its influence and power throughout its ...

See more details below
Russia's Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500-1800

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price
(Save 43%)$22.99 List Price

Overview

"... a tremendously important contribution to the field of Russian history and the comparative study of empires and frontiers. There is no comparable work in any language.... The book presents an intricate and gripping narrative of a vast sweep of histories, weaving them together into a comprehensive and comprehensible chronology." —Valerie Kivelson

From the time of the decline of the Mongol Golden Horde to the end of the 18th century, the Russian government expanded its influence and power throughout its southern borderlands. The process of incorporating these lands and peoples into the Russian Empire was not only a military and political struggle but also a contest between the conceptual worlds of the indigenous peoples and the Russians. Drawing on sources and archival materials in Russian and Turkic languages, Michael Khodarkovsky presents a complex picture of the encounter between the Russian authorities and native peoples.

Russia’s Steppe Frontier is an original and invaluable resource for understanding Russia’s imperial experience.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Choice
"This innovative and fascinating book examines the relationship between Russia and its neighbors on the Eurasian steppe, which stretches from the northern Caucasus area into the Central Asian region of present-day Kazakhstan, from about 1500 to 1800. During these formative years, Russia's continual southern expansion into the borderlands helped transform it from a fragmented and weak frontier society into a formidable colonial empire. Kohdarkovsky (Loyola Univ.) considers the complex relationship between the Russian state and the indigenous nomadic and seminomadic societies that inhabited the steppe, emphasizing their fundamental differences in social organization, political and economic structures, and values. The author argues that Russia's southward expansion was, contrary to commonly accepted views, a deliberate process designed to colonize the new regions and to subdue their inhabitants. However, Russia's policies gradually changed during these three centuries from defending its vulnerable frontier against nomadic incursions to deliberate colonization by means of pacifying, settling, and converting the new subjects to Orthodox Christianity. Recommended for advanced undergraduates and above." —N. M. Brooks, New Mexico State University, Choice, September 2002

— N. M. Brooks, New Mexico State University

Russia

"No other work treats Moscow's colonial expansion to the south and east so competently. The story of Slavic expansion and acquisition alone would make the volume indispensable to the early modern Russian historian. What makes Khodarkovsky's book most significant, however, is the voice he gives to the peoples of the steppe." —Russia

Choice - N. M. Brooks

"This innovative and fascinating book examines the relationship between Russia and its neighbors on the Eurasian steppe, which stretches from the northern Caucasus area into the Central Asian region of present-day Kazakhstan, from about 1500 to 1800. During these formative years, Russia's continual southern expansion into the borderlands helped transform it from a fragmented and weak frontier society into a formidable colonial empire. Kohdarkovsky (Loyola Univ.) considers the complex relationship between the Russian state and the indigenous nomadic and seminomadic societies that inhabited the steppe, emphasizing their fundamental differences in social organization, political and economic structures, and values. The author argues that Russia's southward expansion was, contrary to commonly accepted views, a deliberate process designed to colonize the new regions and to subdue their inhabitants. However, Russia's policies gradually changed during these three centuries from defending its vulnerable frontier against nomadic incursions to deliberate colonization by means of pacifying, settling, and converting the new subjects to Orthodox Christianity. Recommended for advanced undergraduates and above." —N. M. Brooks, New Mexico State University, Choice, September 2002

From the Publisher

"No other work treats Moscow's colonial expansion to the south and east so competently. The story of Slavic expansion and acquisition alone would make the volume indispensable to the early modern Russian historian. What makes Khodarkovsky's book most significant, however, is the voice he gives to the peoples of the steppe." —Russia

"This innovative and fascinating book examines the relationship between Russia and its neighbors on the Eurasian steppe, which stretches from the northern Caucasus area into the Central Asian region of present-day Kazakhstan, from about 1500 to 1800. During these formative years, Russia's continual southern expansion into the borderlands helped transform it from a fragmented and weak frontier society into a formidable colonial empire. Kohdarkovsky (Loyola Univ.) considers the complex relationship between the Russian state and the indigenous nomadic and seminomadic societies that inhabited the steppe, emphasizing their fundamental differences in social organization, political and economic structures, and values. The author argues that Russia's southward expansion was, contrary to commonly accepted views, a deliberate process designed to colonize the new regions and to subdue their inhabitants. However, Russia's policies gradually changed during these three centuries from defending its vulnerable frontier against nomadic incursions to deliberate colonization by means of pacifying, settling, and converting the new subjects to Orthodox Christianity. Recommended for advanced undergraduates and above." —N. M. Brooks, New Mexico State University, Choice, September 2002

Russia

"No other work treats Moscow's colonial expansion to the south and east so competently. The story of Slavic expansion and acquisition alone would make the volume indispensable to the early modern Russian historian. What makes Khodarkovsky's book most significant, however, is the voice he gives to the peoples of the steppe." —Russia

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Michael Khodarkovsky is Associate Professor of History at Loyola University of Chicago. He is author of Where Two Worlds Met: The Russian State and the Kalmyk Nomads, 1600-1771 and co-editor (with Robert Geraci) of Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion, and Tolerance in the Russian Empire.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Russia's Steppe Frontier

The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500â"1800


By Michael Khodarkovsky

Indiana University Press

Copyright © 2002 Michael Khodarkovsky
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-253-33989-8



CHAPTER 1

THE SOCIOLOGY OF THE FRONTIER, OR WHY PEACE WAS IMPOSSIBLE


A party of 120 Russians arrived at the Yaik River to trade their grain for salt and fish with the Yaik Cossacks. They were returning to their village in the central Volga region when they were surprised by a war party of 600 Kazakhs and Karakalpaks. All were seized and taken away to become slaves and laborers. One of them, Mikhail Andreev, was able to escape from his Kazakh captor with two horses. Five days later he reached the Ufa District. There, in the steppe near the Yaik River, he was captured again, this time by a group of twenty Bashkirs, who took him to their village. For two months he was a slave of one of the Bashkirs until a Russian official, who arrived to collect yasak (a tribute or tax from the non-Christian population) among the Bashkirs, ransomed him for a silver-trimmed bridle, a pair of boots, and a fur hat. Later Andreev reported to the Russian officials that the Bashkirs were preparing to raid the Russian towns and that many Russians and Chuvash were still lingering in captivity there. The year was 1720.

This story raises several issues at once : the extent of Russia's control over its purported subjects, the hostility of the non-Christian population of the empire toward the government, and the latter's dubious ability to collect taxes in such circumstances. But above all this story exemplifies the porous and indefensible nature of the steppe frontier, which, long after the government's initial undertakings to secure it, continued to subvert any attempts at expanding trade and settling the region. Such stories were typical. Mikhail Andreev was luckier than most of his compatriots, who usually endured far longer times in captivity and did not always find their way home.

Throughout the period discussed here, Russia's southern frontier remained a zone of uncertainty, a huge expanse of open steppe, with ever-present danger for those who ventured into it or lived nearby. Even in the mid-eighteenth century, when the Russian government acquired a much fuller control of its borderlands, the Russian peasants in the frontier regions continued to farm their land fully armed and were often indistinguishable from the Cossacks.

For centuries Russia was engaged in the struggle to wrest control over the steppe from its nomadic inhabitants. What we know is the Russian version of this long-lasting conflict. What we also need to know is the story from the other side—the numerous nomadic and seminomadic peoples for whom the steppe was a homeland. Only when their story, which remained dormant for so long, is told can we fully understand the dynamics of Russia's imperial expansion and its final conquest and colonization of the steppe and its inhabitants.

In this chapter I argue that the interests of the two sides were fundamentally irreconcilable and that confrontation between them was unavoidable. This confrontation was a function of the ever-present and growing incompatibility between two very different societies. On the one side was Christian Russia, a military-bureaucratic state, with urban centers and a dynamic agricultural-industrial economy. On the other were various non-Christian societies with kinship-based social organizations and static, overwhelmingly nomadic-pastoral economies. We shall see how these structural differences, deeply ingrained in the social, economic, political, and religious character of the societies on both sides of the frontier, led to persistent and intractable conflicts throughout the period.


SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ORGANIZATION IN THE STEPPE

The peoples and societies that Russia faced along its southern frontier had much in common. Most of them emerged from the ruins of the Mongol Empire and one of its subsequent political successors, the Golden Horde, a steppe-based Turko-Mongol society that dominated the vast territory from the Danube River to the Aral Sea. The Golden Horde ruled over the Russian princes for more than two centuries before its ultimate demise in the early sixteenth century made way for Moscow's unstoppable expansion into the steppe.

During the three centuries of Moscow's expansion, the Russians encountered peoples with different degrees of social and political organization. Some were based in urban centers and had a relatively sophisticated sociopolitical organization (Kazan, Astrakhan, the Crimea), others were seminomadic societies (Kabardinians, Kumyks), and some were nomads par excellence (Nogays, Kalmyks, Kazakhs). At the same time, all of Russia's steppe neighbors shared a common feature that set them sharply apart from Russia: none of them was a monarchy of the European type, that is, a sovereign, agricultural, state-organized society with clearly delineated territorial boundaries. Rather, they were tribal groups primarily bound by ties of kinship and military alliance and with a predominantly pastoral economy.

The highest level of political organization among the steppe nomads was a confederation, usually short-lived and loosely knit. The constituent groups within a confederation remained economically and politically independent. The steppe societies had no sovereignty over a specific territory in a traditional sense. Instead, they proceeded along the migration routes toward their seasonal pastures. Like the sovereign states, nomadic peoples also had to defend their pastureland against the invasions of their steppe neighbors. But unlike the sedentary states, the pastures of the steppe peoples frequently changed because of the adverse weather, famine, or wars.

The absence of urban centers among the steppe peoples allowed for the formation of only rudimentary forms of government and bureaucracy. Even the Crimean and Kazan khanates, whose economy and politico-administrative systems were quite sophisticated, could not compare with Russia in this regard. In order to understand the basic terminology and structures of the societies discussed in this book, a closer look at their sociopolitical organization is necessary.


The Nogays

From ancient times, when Strabo and Herodotus described the nomadic lifestyle of the peoples in the steppe around the Black Sea, to the middle of the eighteenth century, when the steppe pastures were rapidly becoming agricultural lands, the enormous expanse of the Eurasian steppe served as a natural habitat for various nomadic peoples. During the three centuries discussed in this book, the western part of the Eurasian steppe was dominated by several nomadic confederations: Nogays in the sixteenth century, Kalmyks in the seventeenth, and Kazakhs in the eighteenth.

When and how the Nogays emerged as a distinct tribal confederation and what particular tribes they comprised are questions that cannot be answered with certainty. It is generally believed that the Mongol tribe called the Mangits constituted a core of the Nogay Horde. In the thirteenth century, the Mangits were joined by numerous Turkic tribes to form an army of the Golden Horde commander and later coruler, Nogay. A century later, as the ties between different parts of the Golden Horde weakened, the Nogays emerged from obscurity under a military commander of Mangit origin, Edige, the founder of the Nogay ruling dynasty. With ever-changing tribal boundaries in the nomadic confederation, the Nogay Horde included eighteen Turkic and Mongol tribes by the mid-sixteenth century. The Mangits, even though they were thoroughly Turkicized, remained the dominant tribe among the Nogays, and many neighboring peoples referred to the Nogays as the Mangit Horde.

The beginning of this study finds the Nogays as an established tribal confederation distinct from both their Turkic (Kazakhs, Bashkirs, Tatars) and their Mongol (Kalmyks) neighbors. The most distinct marker was neither their language, a Turkic dialect that the Nogays shared with their many neighbors, nor a different ethos, a notion not easily applied to the nomadic confederations with frequently changing tribal membership. Rather, it was the ruling dynasty, whose descendants derived their origin from the dynasty's founder, Edige. In unwritten but clearly understood rules throughout the Turko-Mongol world, only the descendants of Chinggis khan were considered the heirs to the Golden Horde or other parts of the Chinggisid Empire. A prominent military commander, Edige was not of Chinggisid origin. This meant that the Nogay rulers, unlike their more noble brethren in the Crimea, Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, were ineligible to claim the heritage of the Golden Horde.

This difference was clearly reflected in political nomenclature. A careful observer of early-sixteenth-century Muscovy, Baron Sigismund Herberstein, noted that the Nogays had no tsar (i.e., a khan), but only a princely chief (i.e., a beg). The beg (referred to in Russian as a grand prince, bol'shoi kniaz') was the ruler of the Nogays. The next in line of succession was the nureddin (a personal name of Edige's eldest son which evolved into a title), an heir apparent and the second highest title, followed by the keikuvat (a title derived from the name of Edige's younger son) and the toibuga.

Tradition demanded that each specific title correspond to a specific territory. Thus, in the sixteenth century the beg's residence was in Saraychik, and his pastures were on the Yaik River; the nureddin was allotted the pastures to the west, along the Volga; and the keikuvat had those to the east along the Emba. The title of toibuga, first mentioned in the second half of the sixteenth century, probably emerged as a consequence of Kazan's fall into Muscovite hands in 1552, an event in which the Nogays played a significant role. While there is no clear indication of what the toibuga's responsibilities were, it is possible that the toibuga was in charge of a certain territory and people of the former Kazan khanate, thus controlling the northern and northeastern Nogay pastures.

The candidates for the four princely titles had to be confirmed in the Nogay Grand Council, known as the körünüsh (korniush in Russian transliteration), which consisted of the members of the ruling house (mirzas), tribal aristocracy (karachis), distinguished warriors (bahadurs), the beg's retinue (imeldeshes), and Muslim clergy (mullahs). The beg had his own administration (a treasurer, a secretary, scribes, tax collectors) and a council comprising the best and most trusted people. Yet his authority as projected through this rudimentary official apparatus was greatly circumscribed by the powerful and independent mirzas and karachis.

It was the weakness of central authority that led to the interminable wars among the Nogays. The first serious division occurred in the late 1550s, when the Nogay nureddin, Kazy, abandoned his pastures along the Volga and moved to the steppe of the North Caucasus. His Nogays became known as the Kazy Nogays or the Lesser Nogay Horde. The remaining Nogays on the Volga and Yaik rivers under Ismail beg and his sons were referred to as the Greater Nogay Horde. In the early seventeenth century, the Greater Nogay Horde would break down further under the onslaught of the Kalmyks.


The Crimea and Kazan

The dissolution of the Golden Horde produced not only fully nomadic steppe societies such as the Nogays, but also khanates, rudimentary city-states with a peculiar combination of sedentary and nomadic lifestyles. The Crimea and Kazan, the two most important such khanates to emerge in the 1430s from the decaying Golden Horde, had much in common. While Kazan's ruling house was founded by Ulu Muhammed, the grandson of the famous khan of the Golden Horde, Tokhtamysh, the Crimean dynasty was founded by another descendant of Chinggis khan, Haji Giray. The Girays far outlasted Ulu Muhammed's dynasty in Kazan, and shortly after the latter became extinct in 1517, Sahip Giray arrived from the Crimea to claim the Girays' right to the throne in Kazan. Both before and after this event, the Crimean khans continuously laid claims to be heirs to the entire Golden Horde territory, which, of course, included Kazan.

In the Crimea, an heir apparent to a khan bore the title kalgay (kalga) and could be either a khan's brother or a son. The kalgay usually received pastures along the Dnieper River, northwest of the Crimea. Next in line of succession was the nureddin, who was given pastures along the Kuban River east of the Crimea. It is not apparent whether a similar system existed in Kazan.

The power of a Crimean khan rested to a large extent on the support of the karachis, the chiefs of the four major tribes: the Shirins, Baryns, Argyns, and Kipchaks. After the early sixteenth century, the Mangit tribe also occupied an important position in both the Crimea and Kazan, yet the Shirins and the Baryns always retained their preeminence. In 1508 the chief of the Shirin tribe, Agish, wrote to the Grand Prince Vasilii III, pointing out among other things the significance of his position in Crimean politics. He compared the Crimea with a cart, where his sovereign, the khan, was the right shaft and he, Agish, with his people and an army of 20,000, was the left one.

In both the Crimea and Kazan, major decisions were made at the khan's council (divan), or, if necessary, at a larger gathering (kurultay), which included nobles, clergy, and the "best" people. Members of the nobility in descending order of prestige were chiefs of the karachis (emirs), other chiefs (biks), and the biks' younger sons (mirzas). While emirs were few, the biks and mirzas numbered several hundred. In contrast to the Nogays, the Crimean and Kazan khans relied on a larger and more sophisticated administration. For instance, in the 1520s the Kazan administration included at least thirteen different official ranks. Both the Crimea and Kazan inherited their administrative apparatus from the Golden Horde and maintained it to control and collect taxes from the agricultural communities on their territories.

Much less is known about two other khanates that emerged from the wreckage of the Golden Horde: Astrakhan and Siberia. They had the same basic sociopolitical organization as the Crimea and Kazan. Yet their economic bases and geographic locations accounted for some differences. Astrakhan khans, for instance, derived much of their income from trade, since there was little agriculture in the lower Volga steppe. Kazan khans, by contrast, relied heavily on the taxes paid by the numerous peasants of the region. The Crimea, ultimately the most powerful political entity, drew upon several resources: trade, agriculture, and the profits from military campaigns.


The Kazakhs

The Golden Horde was not the only political entity of the former Mongol Empire to fall apart in the mid-fifteenth century. To the southeast of the Golden Horde, another part of the former Mongol Empire, the Chagatay khanate, which occupied much of Central Asia, was also in turmoil. Out of its ruins emerged the Uzbek khanate of Khorezm, with its prosperous urban centers of Urgench, Khiva, Bukhara, and Kokand in the desert south of the Aral Sea. At the same time, several Uzbek tribes fled Khorezm to the steppe north of the Aral. There they formed a nomadic confederation and became known as the Uzbek-Kazakhs (kazak or kazakh literally means a fugitive, freebooter), then simply as Kazakhs, and in the eighteenth century also as Kirgiz-Kazakhs (Kirgiz-Kaisaks).

This confederation included various Turkic and Turkified Mongol tribes: the Mangits, Kipchaks, Naimans, Kongrats, and others. Many of the tribes were the same ones that constituted parts of other nomadic confederations. But if the Mangits were the dominant tribe among the Nogays, the Kongrats played the same role among the Uzbeks and Kazakhs. Yet the overlapping of the tribes within various confederations, which later became different ethnic groups, was significant. It is not accidental that the Uzbeks, Kazakhs, and Karakalpaks all derive their historical and literary tradition from the same source, the epic of Alpamysh.

After a series of internal wars between the members of the Chinggisid dynasty, Kasim khan and his son Khak-Nazar forged a Kazakh confederation, which lasted through most of the sixteenth century. The Kazakhs occupied enormous pasturelands from the Yaik in the west to the Irtysh in the east. By the late sixteenth century, the Kazakhs were already divided into three distinct entities: the Lesser, Middle, and Greater Hordes (juz).


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Russia's Steppe Frontier by Michael Khodarkovsky. Copyright © 2002 Michael Khodarkovsky. Excerpted by permission of Indiana University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

<to come>

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)