Mongols in Russia. Forced Union

В stories There are two periods in Russia, which in the writings of researchers receive diametrically opposite assessments and cause the most fierce debate.



The first of them is the initial centuries of Russian history and the famous "Norman question", which, in general, is quite understandable: there are few sources, and all of them are of later origin. So there is more than enough room for all kinds of conjectures and assumptions, and the politicization of this problem, which is inexplicable from a rational point of view, contributed to an unprecedented heat of passion.


M. Voloshin wrote in the 1928 year:
“Through the chaos of kingdoms, massacres and tribes.
Who, according to the syllables of the cemeteries reading
The tattered annals of the steppes,
Will tell us who these ancestors were -
Oratai on the Don and Dnieper?
Who will collect all the nicknames in the synodic
Steppe guests from the Huns to the Tatars?
The story is hidden in the mounds,
Written in the notches of swords,
Smothered by wormwood and weeds. "


Mongols in Russia. Forced Union


The second such period is the 13th-15th centuries, the time of the subordination of Russian lands to the Horde, which received the provisional name of the “Tatar-Mongol yoke”. There are immeasurably more sources here, but with the interpretations there are the same problems.

L. N. Gumilyov:
"Alien lives and alien deaths
They live in the strange words of another day.
They live without coming back
Where death found them and took them
Though half-erased and slurred in books

Their angry, their terrible deeds.
They live fogging with ancient blood
Spilled and decayed for a long time
Trusting descendants of the head.
But all spins the fate of the spindle
In one pattern; and the conversation of centuries
Sounds like a heart. "



A burial found in 2015, the Mongolian aimak Khentiy, dating from the period between 1215 and 1235 years. The skeleton of a man 65-70 years old, covered with gold coins, skeletons of 16 women and 12 horses were found in a stone tomb


It is about this second “damned” problem of Russian history that we will talk about now.

Tatar-Mongols and the Tatar-Mongol yoke


We must say right away that the term “Tatar-Mongols” itself is artificial, “cabinet”: in Russia no “hybrid” Tatar-Mongols were known. And they did not hear about the “Tatar-Mongol yoke” in Russia until the unknown historian P.N. Naumov mentioned it to almost anyone in his work in the year 1823. And he, in turn, borrowed this term from a certain Christopher Kruse, who in Germany published in 1817 "Atlas and tables for the history of all European lands and states from their first population to our times." And here is the result:
“It is possible to remain in human memory
Not in cycles of poems or prose volumes,
But with just one single line:
"How good, how fresh the roses were!" "


So Y. Helemsky wrote about the line of the poem by I. Myatlev. The situation is the same here: two authors have long been forgotten, and the term coined by one and introduced into scientific circulation by the other lives and lives.

But the phrase "Tartar yoke" it is really found in a real historical source - the notes of Daniel Prince (ambassador of Emperor Maximilian II), who in 1575 writes about Ivan IV that “by the overthrow of the Tartar yoke” he proclaimed himself king, “which Moscow princes had never used before.”

The problem is that “enlightened Europeans” at that time called Tartaria a vast territory that did not have a clear outline, lying east of the borders of the lands that are part of the Holy Empire of the German nation and the Catholic world.


"Tartaria" on one of the medieval maps


Therefore, it is difficult to say whom Prince calls "tartars." Namely Tatars? Or, in general, “barbarians,” who in this context could be anyone. Even the political opponents of Ivan - other Russian princes and boyars, desperately resisting the centralization of power.

The mention of the “Tartary yoke” is also found in the Notes on the Moscow War (1578 – 1582) by Reinhold Heidenstein.

Jan Dlugosch in The Chronicles of the Famous Kingdom of Poland no longer writes about the Tartarian or Tartarian, but specifically about the “barbarian yoke”, also without explaining who he considers to be “barbarians”.

Finally, the yoke itself - what is it all about?

Currently, this word is perceived as a synonym for some kind of “burden”, “oppression” and so on. However, in its original meaning - this is part of the harness, a wooden frame worn on the neck of two animals, for their joint work. That is, there is little good in this device for the one they put it on, but nevertheless it is not intended for bullying and torture, but for working in pairs. And therefore, even in the first half of the 19th century, the word “yoke” did not evoke unambiguously negative associations. Speaking about the “Yoke”, the first historians most likely had in mind the traditional policy of the Horde khans (who wished to receive their tribute stably), aimed at suppressing internal unrest in the Russian principalities under their control, forcing their vassals to move not like “swan, cancer and pike ”, and in about one direction.

Now we turn to the estimates of this period of Russian history by different authors.

Proponents of the traditional point of view on the Mongol conquest, describe it as a chain of continuous suffering and humiliation. It is argued that the Russian principalities for some reason protected Europe from all these Asian horrors, giving it the possibility of "free and democratic development."

The quintessence of this thesis is the lines of A. S. Pushkin, who wrote:
“Russia was assigned a high mission ... Its boundless plains absorbed the power of the Mongols and stopped their invasion on the very edge of Europe; the barbarians did not dare to leave enslaved Rus behind them and returned to the steppes of their east. The resulting education was saved by the torn and dying Russia. ”


It’s very beautiful and pathos, just imagine: the brutal “northern barbarians” selflessly “dying out” so that German youths have the opportunity to study at universities, while Italian and Aquitaine girls sigh languidly, listening to the ballads of the Truvers.

That’s a disaster, and there’s nothing to be done: our mission is so “high”, we must comply. It is only strange that the ungrateful Europeans strove at every opportunity to defend Russia from their last strength with a sword or spear in the back.

“Don't you like our arrows?” Get advanced bolts from a crossbow, and be patient a bit: we have a learned monk Schwartz here, he is working on innovative technologies. ”

Do you remember these lines of A. Blok?
“For you - centuries, for us - a single hour.
We are like obedient slaves
They held a shield between two hostile races -
Mongols and Europe! ”


Great, right? "Obedient slaves"! The necessary definition is found! So even the “civilized Europeans” did not always, but only once again insulted and “applied” us.

Proponents of a different point of view, on the contrary, are sure that it was the Mongol conquest that allowed the East and North-East of the Russian lands to maintain their identity, their religion and cultural traditions. The most famous among them is L. N. Gumilyov, whose poem we quoted at the beginning of the article. They believe that Ancient Russia (which was called “Kievan” only in the 19th century) already at the end of the 12th century was in a deep crisis that would inevitably lead to its death, regardless of the appearance of the Mongols. Even in the previously unified Rurikovich dynasty, only the Monomashichs, who split into two branches and were at enmity between themselves, were of importance now: the elders controlled the north-eastern principalities, the younger - the southern. Polotsk has long stood out as a separate principality. The policy of the Novgorod authorities was also far from all-Russian interests.

Indeed, in the second half of the XII century, discord and contradictions between the Russian princes reached their zenith, and the brutality of the confrontation shocked even those who were accustomed to internecine wars and the constant raids of the Polovtsian contemporaries.

1169 year: Andrei Bogolyubsky, having captured Kiev, gives it to his troops for a three-day sack: this is done only with alien and completely hostile cities.


"The capture of Kiev by Andrei Bogolyubsky." Thumbnail from the Radziwill Chronicle, XV century


1178 year: Residents of besieged Torzh declare submission to Grand Duke Vladimir Vsevolod the Big Nest, offering both ransom and a large tribute. He is ready to agree, but his warriors say: "We did not come to kiss with them." And far from the weakest of the Russian princes gives in to their will: Russian soldiers capture the Russian city and very carefully, with great pleasure, rob it.


"The capture of the New Bargain (Torzhok) by the retinue of Prince Vsevolod Yuryevich the Big Nest in 1178." Thumbnail of the Radziwill Chronicle, XV century


1187 year: The army of Suzdal completely ruins the Ryazan principality: "Their land is empty and completely burned."

1203 year: Kiev somehow managed to recover from the barbaric ruin of the 1169 year, and, therefore, you can rob it again. After what Andrei Bogolyubsky did in the city, it seems that the people of Kiev are simply impossible to surprise with anything. The new conqueror, Rurik Rostislavich, succeeds: the Orthodox prince himself ruins Hagia Sophia and the Tithes Church (“all icons are decorated”) and indifferently watches how the Polovtsy who came with him “chopped up all the old monks, priests and nuns, and young blueberries, wives and the daughters of Kiev were taken to their camps. "


"The capture and plunder of Kiev, its monasteries and churches by the troops of Rurik Rostislavich Ovruchsky, Chernigov Olgovich and Polovtsy." Thumbnail from the Radziwill Chronicle, XV century


1208 year: Vladimir Prince Vsevolod the Big Nest burns Ryazan, and his warriors catch fleeing people like orphaned cattle and drive them in front of them, as they will later drive the Crimean Tatars to Kafa Russian slaves.

1216 year: The battle of Suzdal and Novgorod on Lipitsa: more Russians perish on both sides than in the battle with the Mongols on the River City in 1238.


“The Battle of Novgorodians with Suzdal” (“The Miracle of the Icon of Our Lady of the Sign”), fragment, second half of the 15 century, Novgorod State United Museum-Reserve


Opponents of the historians of the traditional school tell us: the armies of the conquerors would still come - if not from the East, then from the West, and in turn would be "eaten" by disparate, constantly at war with each other, Russian principalities. And the Russian princes would gladly help the invaders "have" neighbors: if they brought the Mongols at each other, why, under other circumstances, would not bring the "Germans" or Poles? Why are they worse than the Tatars? And then, seeing foreign “cooks” at the walls of their cities, they would be very surprised: “And for what reason, Mr. Duke (or Grand Master)? We took Smolensk together with you last year! ”

Consequences of the West European and Mongol Conquests


But there was a difference in the consequences of the conquest - and very substantial. Western rulers and crusaders in the countries they captured first destroyed the local elite, replacing the princes and tribal leaders with their dukes, counts, and kommurs. And they demanded a change of faith, destroying, thus, the age-old traditions and culture of the conquered peoples. But the Mongols for Russia made an exception: the Chingizids did not pretend to the princely thrones of Vladimir, Tver, Moscow, Ryazan, and representatives of former dynasties ruled there. In addition, the Mongols were absolutely indifferent to missionary work, and therefore did not demand from the Russians either worship of the Eternal Blue Sky, or the change of Orthodoxy to Islam later (but they demanded respect for their religion and traditions when visiting the Khan’s headquarters). And it becomes clear why both the Russian princes and the Orthodox hierarchs so easily and willingly recognized the royal dignity of the Horde rulers, and in Russian churches prayers for the health of both pagan and Muslim khans were officially officially served. And this was characteristic not only for Russia. For example, in the Syrian Bible, the Mongol khan Khulagu and his wife (Nestorian) are depicted as new Konstantin and Elena:


Khan Hulagu and his wife in the image of the new Konstantin and Elena in the Syrian Bible


And even during the time of the Great Memorial, the Russian princes continued to pay tribute to the Horde, hoping for continued cooperation.

Further events are extremely interesting: with Russian lands, as if someone decided to conduct an experiment, dividing them roughly equally and allowing them to develop in alternative directions. As a result, the Russian principalities and cities that fell outside the sphere of Mongolian influence quickly lost their princes, lost their independence and all political importance, turning into the outlying territories of Lithuania and Poland. And those of them that became dependent on the Horde gradually transformed into a powerful state, which received the code name "Moscow Russia". By “Kievan Rus” Rus “Moscow” had approximately the same relationship as the Byzantine Empire to the Roman. Already of little significance Kiev now played the role of Rome, conquered by the barbarians, Moscow was rapidly gaining strength and claimed the role of Constantinople. And the famous formula of Filofei, the elder of the Pskov Elizarov Monastery, who called Moscow the Third Rome, did not cause any surprise or bewilderment among contemporaries: these words hung in the air of those years, waiting for someone to finally utter them. In the future, the Moscow kingdom will turn into the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union became its direct successor. N. Berdyaev wrote after the revolution:
"Bolshevism turned out to be the least utopian ... and the most faithful of the original Russian traditions ... Communism is a Russian phenomenon, despite the Marxist ideology ... there is a Russian fate, a moment of the internal fate of the Russian people."


But back in the XIII century and see how the Russian princes behaved in those terrible years for Russia. Here, the activity of three Russian princes is of great interest: Yaroslav Vsevolodovich, his son Alexander (Nevsky) and grandson Andrei (third son of Alexander Nevsky). The activity of the first, and especially the second of them, is usually evaluated only in the most excellent tones. However, an objective and unbiased study immediately catches the eye with a contradiction: from the point of view of supporters of the traditional approach to the Mongol conquest, all three must unconditionally be considered traitors and collaborators. Judge for yourself.

Yaroslav Vsevolodovich



Grand Duke Yaroslav Vsevolodovich. Fresco of the Archangel Cathedral of the Kremlin


Yaroslav Vsevolodovich became the Grand Duke of Vladimir after the death of his elder brother Yuri on the river Sit. And he died, including because Yaroslav did not come to his aid. Further - it’s completely “interesting”. In the spring of 1239, the Mongols are ravaged by Murom, Nizhny Novgorod, once again pass through Ryazan land, capturing and burning the remaining cities, besieging Kozelsk. And Yaroslav at that time, not paying any attention to them, was fighting the Lithuanians - very successfully, by the way. In the fall of the same year, the Mongols captured Chernihiv, and Yaroslav - the Chernigov city of Kamenets (and in it - the family of Mikhail Chernigov). Is it possible after this to be surprised that it was this belligerent, but so convenient prince to the Mongols, who was appointed in Batumi in 1243 by "aging all the prince in the Russian language" (Lavrentievsky Chronicle)? And in 1245, Yaroslav was not too lazy to go to Karakorum for the "shortcut". At the same time he was present at the elections of the Great Khan, marveled at the great traditions of the Mongolian steppe democracy. Well, and, in the meanwhile, with his denunciation, he ruined Prince Chernigov there, who was later canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church for his martyrdom.

Alexander Yaroslavich



Grand Duke Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky. Portrait from the Titular, 1672


After the death of Yaroslav Vsevolodovich, the Grand Duchy of Vladimir received from the Mongols his youngest son - Andrei. Andrew's elder brother, Alexander, appointed only by the Grand Duke of Kiev, was offended by this terribly. I went to the Horde, where I became the adopted son of Batu Khan, fraternizing with his own son Sartak.


The son of Batu Khan Sartak. Illustration from the book of V.V. Kargalova Russia and nomads


Entering confidence, he informed his brother that he, in alliance with Daniil Galitsky, wants to speak out against the Mongols. And he personally brought to Russia the so-called "Nevruyev army" (1252 year) - the first Mongol campaign in Russia after the Batu invasion. Andrey’s army was defeated, he himself fled to Sweden, and his warriors who were captured were blinded by order of Alexander. By the way, Daniil Galitsky also reported on Andrey’s potential ally, as a result, the Kuremsa army went on a campaign against Galich. It was precisely after this that the truly Mongols came to Russia: in the Vladimir, Murom and Ryazan lands, the Baskaks arrived in the 1257 year, in Novgorod - in the 1259.

In the 1262 year, Alexander most brutally suppressed anti-Mongol uprisings in Novgorod, Suzdal, Yaroslavl and Vladimir. After which he banned the veche in the cities of North-Eastern Russia subject to him.


Ivanov S.V. "Baskaki" picture 1908 of the year


And then - all according to Tolstoy Alexei Konstantinovich:
“Shout: give tribute!
(At least carry the saints)
There is a lot of rubbish
It has arrived in Russia,
What a day, brother to brother,
Luck comes to the Horde ... ".


Since that time, it all started.

Andrei Alexandrovich



Prince Andrei Alexandrovich, engraving of the 1850 of the year


About this, Prince N. M. Karamzin said:
"None of the princes of the Monomakh family did more evil to the Fatherland than this unworthy son of Nevsky."


The third son of Alexander is Andrei, in 1277-1278. At the head of the Russian detachment he went with the Horde to fight in Ossetia: having taken the city of Dyadyakov, the Allies returned with great booty and were quite pleased with each other. In 1281, Andrei, following the example of his father, brought the Mongol army to Russia for the first time - from the khan Mengu-Timur. But his older brother Dmitry, too, was the grandson of Yaroslav Vsevolodovich and the son of Alexander Yaroslavich: he did not blunder, he answered with dignity a large Tatar detachment from the rebel Beklyarbek Nogai. The brothers had to put up - in the 1283 year.

In 1285, Andrei brought the Tatars to Russia for the second time, but was defeated by Dmitry.

The third attempt (1293 year) turned out to be successful for him, and terrible for Russia, because this time “Dudenev's army” came with him. The Grand Duke Vladimir, Novgorod and Pereslavsky Dmitry, Prince of Moscow Daniel, Prince Mikhail of Tver, Svyatoslav Mozhaisk, Dovmont Pskovsky and some other, less significant, princes were defeated, 14 of Russian cities were looted and burned. For the common people, this invasion became catastrophic and was remembered for a long time. Because until then, Russian people could still hide from the Mongols in the forests. Now, the Tatars were helped by the warriors of the Russian prince Andrei Alexandrovich to catch them outside the cities and villages. And children in Russian villages were frightened by Dudukoy in the middle of the twentieth century.

But, recognized by the Holy Russian Orthodox Church, Alexander Nevsky was also declared a national hero, and therefore all these, not very convenient, facts about him and his closest relatives are hushed up. The emphasis is on opposing Western expansion.

But historians who consider the “yoke” a mutually beneficial alliance of the Horde and Russia, the collaborative actions of Yaroslav Vsevolodovich and Alexander, on the contrary, appreciate it. They are convinced that otherwise the Russian north-eastern principalities were awaited by the sad fate of Kiev, Chernigov, Pereyaslavl and Polotsk, which quickly turned from “subjects” of European politics into “objects” and could no longer decide their own fate. And even the numerous, detailed in Russian chronicles, cases of mutual and most outright vileness of the princes of the North-East, in their opinion, were less evil than the anti-Mongol position of the same Daniil Galitsky, whose pro-Western policy ultimately led to the decline of this strong and a wealthy principality, and their loss of independence.


The Right Prince Alexander Nevsky begs Batu Khan to spare the Russian land. Chromolithograph. End of the 19th century


For quite a long time, there were few who wanted to fight the Tatars, they were also afraid to attack their tributaries. It is known that in the 1269 year, upon learning of the arrival of the Tatar detachment in Novgorod, the assembled were on a campaign “the Germans made peace according to the will of Novgorod, fearing the name of the Tatar too.”

The onslaught of the western neighbors, of course, continued, but now the Russian principalities had an ally overlord.



Recently, a hypothesis has literally appeared before our eyes that there was no Mongol conquest of Russia at all, because there were no Mongols themselves, which are described on countless pages of a huge number of sources of many countries and peoples. And those Mongols that, nevertheless, were - both sat and still sit in their backward Mongolia. We will not dwell on this hypothesis for a long time, since it will take too much time. We point out only one of its weaknesses - the "reinforced concrete" argument, according to which a large Mongolian army simply could not overcome such vast distances.

The “dusty campaign” of Kalmyks



Kalmyks, engraving


The events, which we will briefly discuss now, did not take place in the dark times of Attila and Genghis Khan, but by historical standards relatively recently - the 1771 year, under Catherine II. Even the slightest doubt in their reliability is not and never was.

In the XVII century, from the Dzungaria to the Volga came (without dying of starvation or disease on the way), the Derben-Oirats whose tribal union included Torguts, Derbets, Khoshuts and Choros. We know them under the name Kalmyks.


Map of Dzungaria compiled by Swedish prisoner of war Gustav Johan Renat


These aliens, of course, were forced to get in touch with the Russian authorities, who were quite sympathetic to their new neighbors, since then no irreconcilable contradictions arose. Moreover, the skilled and experienced Steppe warriors became allies of Russia in the fight against its traditional opponents. According to the agreement of the 1657 year, they were allowed to wander along the right bank of the Volga to Tsaritsyn and along the left to Samara. In exchange for military assistance, Kalmyks were given 20 pounds of gunpowder and 10 pounds of lead annually, in addition, the Russian government committed itself to protecting Kalmyks from forced baptism.


Kalmyk. Lithography, the first half of the XIX century


Kalmyks bought grain and various industrial goods from the Russians, sold meat, hides, military booty, restrained the Nogais, Bashkirs, and Kabardins (inflicting serious defeats on them). They went with the Russians on campaigns in the Crimea and fought along with them with the Ottoman Empire, participated in the wars of Russia with European countries.


Kalmyk warriors in the Russian-Swedish war (1741 — 1743 gg.)


However, with the increase in the number of colonists (including German), the advent of new cities and Cossack villages, there was less and less space for nomads. The situation was aggravated by the famine of 1768-1769, when a cattle mass mortality occurred due to the harsh winter. And in Dzungaria (the former homeland of the Kalmyks) in 1757, the Zins brutally suppressed the rebellion of the Aborigines, provoking a new wave of exodus. Many thousands of refugees went to the states of Central Asia, and some reached the Volga. Their stories about the deserted steppes greatly excited the relatives, as a result of the Kalmyks of clans, the Torguts, Khoshuts and Choros made a rash decision by the whole people to return to the once native steppes. The tribe of derbets remained in place.

In January of the 1771 of the year, Kalmyks, whose number reached from 160 to 180 of thousands of people, crossed the Yaik. Different researchers determine the number of their wagons in 33-41 thousand. Later, some of these immigrants (about 11 thousands of wagons) returned to the Volga, the rest continued on their way.

Note: this was not a professional army, consisting of strong young men with clockwork horses and full combat equipment - most of the Kalmyks who went to Dzungaria were women, children and the elderly. And with them they drove the herds, drove all the belongings.



Their campaign was not a festive procession - all along the way they were subjected to constant blows of Kazakh tribes. Near Lake Balkhash, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz completely surrounded them; they managed to escape with huge losses. As a result, only less than half of those who traveled reached the border with China. This did not bring them happiness; they were divided and settled in 15 different places, living conditions were much worse than on the Volga. And there was no strength to resist unfair conditions. But, for half a year, burdened with cattle and property, leading women, old people and children, the Kalmyks came from the Volga to China! And there is no reason to believe that from the Mongolian steppes to Khorezm, and from Khorezm to the Volga, the disciplined and well-organized Tumens of the Mongols could not have reached.

"Tatar exit" in Russia


Now we will return to Russia again to talk a little about the complicated relationship between the Horde khans and the Russian princes.

The problem was that the Russian princes readily involved the Horde rulers in their strife, sometimes giving bribes to the khan’s closest relatives or his beloved wife, bargaining for an army of some “prince”. The ruin of the lands of the rival princes not only did not upset them, but even pleased them. Moreover, they were ready to “blindly” look at the robbery by the “allies” of their own cities and villages, hoping to compensate for losses due to defeated competitors. After the rulers of Sarai allowed the Grand Dukes themselves to collect tribute for the Horde, the "stakes" in internecine disputes increased so much that they began to justify any meanness and any crime. It was no longer a matter of prestige, but of money, and very large money.

The paradox was that in many cases it was much more convenient and profitable for the Horde khans not to organize punitive campaigns against Russia, but to receive the agreed “exit” in time and in full. The loot in such forced raids went mainly into the pocket of the next "prince" and his subordinates, the khan was left with crumbs, and the resource base of tributaries was undermined. But there was usually more than one who wanted to collect this “exit” for the khan, and therefore had to support the most adequate of them (in fact, often the one who would pay the most for the right to collect the Horde tribute).

And now an extremely interesting question: was the Mongol invasion of Russia inevitable? Or is it a consequence of a chain of events, removing any of which could be avoided "close acquaintance" with the Mongols?

We will try to answer in the next article.
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