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The Tartar Yoke and the Rise of Russia

The Tartar Yoke and the Rise of Russia

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Published by David Wm. Trenholm
This is a short essay on the occupation of medieval Russia during the expansion of the Mongolian Empire. This paper examines the impact the tartar occupation had on Russian development.

This essay was written for a 2000-level Russian History course available at Acadia University.

Copyright (C) 2008 David Trenholm
All Rights Reserved
This is a short essay on the occupation of medieval Russia during the expansion of the Mongolian Empire. This paper examines the impact the tartar occupation had on Russian development.

This essay was written for a 2000-level Russian History course available at Acadia University.

Copyright (C) 2008 David Trenholm
All Rights Reserved

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Published by: David Wm. Trenholm on Mar 30, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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07/09/2012

 
The Tartar Yoke and the Rise of Russia
David Trenholm100077949HIST 2183 X2March 19
th
, 2008Dr. David Duke
 
When the history of Russia is ever discussed or considered, there can be littledoubt as to the overwhelming significance the Mongols had on the course and nature of Russian development. The decisive defeat of the Kievan-Galician-Cuman coalition on theKalka River in 1223 A.D. heralded in a new era for the peoples of Rus, and certainly,altered the very course of Russian history and natural development (as it did for many political entities that survived the Mongolian conquests). Although the Mongols did delaythe eventual domination of the Russia until some years later, their crushing defeat at theKalka would not be the last, and by the mid-13
th
century the Tatars had a strong hold onall of the principalities and regions of Rus, and it would remain that way for approximately two hundred years. One may be negligent when weighing the significanceof two hundred years of subservience to the Mongols under the broad timeline of humanhistory. To many there might be little difference in the significance of twenty yearscompared to two hundred years; one can forgot the immense passage of time whencomfortably reading from the pages of a textbook. Using Canada as an example, a nationof only one hundred and forty years, the degree of significance of, say, a British victoryin the Seven Years War versus a French victory would be astoundingly immense— indeed, such a reversal would change the very face of Canada as a political and socialworld-player. In much the same manner one must consider the potential for impact wherea two hundred period of Mongol rule is concerned (a period of rule that extends beyond,in time, the age of Canada as a nation), be it from a social, political, economic or cultural perspective. The very rise and fall of specific political powers within Russia may also beattributed to Mongolian influence; the prominence of the principality of Muscovy may bedirectly linked to the invasion and subsequent administration of the Golden Horde. Just as
 
the centre of power shifted from Quebec City to a more English-preferred settlementfollowing the Seven Years War, so did the political make-up of Russia shift after theinvasion of the Mongols. Both events have defined the respective future and identity of each nation. Perhaps the most controversial of all is the discussion of whether or not theTatar yoke was beneficial or detrimental to the development of Russia; many historians, both contemporary and from years past, have disputed the merit of both arguments. Therecan be no question, as will be seen shortly, as to the value or significance of thatenormous impact.From the initial conquest in the 13
th
century, to the eventual emancipation of Muscovy and the emergence of a unified Russia, the Mongols played an immense role inthe evolution and development of Russia from a political, social and economic perspective. Having endured a two hundred year period of rule, it can be hard to imaginehow an independent Russian government could emerge unscathed from any Tartar influence. The simple truth is that, regarding the political situation in Moscow, Russiamaintained many Mongolian practices and rituals that would later define the court andmanagement of the central administration. George Vernadsky, on his narrative on thehistory of Russia, cites one example involving court ritual and the treatment of ambassadors. While westerners, Vernadsky writes, were used to paying for transportationand lodgings when conducting an embassy, Russians regarded ambassadors as guests,and their stay and whatever expenses associated with it would be paid for by the state(namely, Russia)
1
. This was a practice maintained by the Russians that they inheritedfrom the Mongols, obviously due to the close relationship they shared during Mongolian
1
Vernadsky, George. A History of Russia: The Mongols and Russia. (New Haven and London: YaleUniversity Press, 1966), 388.

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