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date: 21 April 2019

Kievan Rus’ and Muscovy Under the Riurikids

Summary and Keywords

The medieval state of Kievan Rus’ took shape in the late 10th century when Vladimir (Volodimer), reportedly a descendant of the semi-legendary Ri͡urik, established his exclusive rule over the Slavs, Finns, and Balts dwelling along the river systems stretching from the southern end of Lake Ladoga to Kiev (Kyiv) and adopted Christianity from Byzantium for his realm. His descendants, collectively known as the Riurikid dynasty, oversaw the growth of Kievan Rus’ into a complex federation of principalities, populated mainly by sedentary agriculturalists but also benefiting from urban commerce linked to broad intercontinental trade networks. Riurikid princes repeatedly competed with each other and also contended with nomads of steppe, especially the Pechenegs, Polovt͡sy (Kipchaks, Cumans), and the Mongols who conquered both the nomads of the Pontic steppe and the Rus’ principalities in 1237–1240.

Over the next century the western portions Kievan Rus’, located in modern Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, were absorbed by Poland and Lithuania. Its northern principalities continued to be ruled by their Riurikid princes under the hegemony of the khans of the Golden Horde, the portion of the Mongol Empire more accurately known as Juchi’s ulus. As the Golden Horde fragmented in the 15th century, those principalities coalesced to form Muscovy, the precursor of modern Russia. Muscovite rulers expanded their realm by seizing territories from Lithuania and in the mid-16th century by annexing the Tatar khanates of Kazan’ and Astrakhan’, two heirs of the Golden Horde. By the time Riurikid dynastic rule ended in 1598, Muscovy had also subdued the Khanate of Sibir’, launching a new phase of development arising from its exploration and incorporation of Siberia and resulting in its transformation from a regional power into a vast Eurasian empire.

Keywords: Crimean Khanate, Khanate of Kazan’, Khanate of Astrakhan’, Golden Horde, Kievan Rus’, Medieval Russia, Mongols, Muscovy, Pechenegs, Polovt͡sy, Riurikid dynasty

Kievan Rus’

In the second half of the 8th century, Scandinavians exploring lands beyond the eastern shores of the Gulf of Finland encountered populations of Finns, Balts, and East Slavs in the area of the Volkhov, upper Volga, and upper West Dvina Rivers. Plundering and also trading with these peoples, they acquired furs and other local goods. Most importantly, the Scandinavians discovered Islamic dirhams, silver coins that were being traded after the 760s at Itil’, the market center at the mouth of the Caspian Sea and capital of Khazaria, an empire led by a Jewish ruling elite and populated by Turkic tribes and sedentary communities made up of Muslims, Christians, Jews, and pagans. Circulating through the lands dominated by the Khazars, the coins eventually reached the range of the Scandinavians’ operations. By the mid-9th century the Scandinavians, called Vikings from c. 800, were actively seeking access to the silver. They made their way down the Dnieper River to Cherson, a Byzantine outpost on the northern shore of the Black Sea, and from there to Itil’. They also sailed down the upper Volga River, and in the 10th century were frequenting Bulgar, the main town of the Volga Bulgars, who were both tributaries and rivals of the Khazars. At both the Itil’ and Bulgar markets, the Scandinavians sold amber and swords, fur, wax, and slaves for silver dirhams supplied by Islamic merchants, who transported the northern goods south beyond the Caspian Sea and east to Central Asia. As a result of their quest for Islamic silver coins, the Vikings became key participants in a vast trading network stretching from the recently established Baltic centers at Birka and Hedeby to the markets at Itil’, where they exchanged their wares with merchants arriving in caravans from the east and those coming from lands south of the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus mountains. In 911, the Vikings also secured trade privileges at Constantinople, where they exchanged fur, slaves, swords, wax, and honey for silks, spices, wine, and other luxury goods.1

The Scandinavians had initially based themselves at Old Ladoga (Starai͡a Ladoga), located near the entrance of the Volkhov River into Lake Ladoga, and subsequently at other points along the rivers they used as transit routes into the interior. These settlements functioned as trading posts as well as centers producing crafted goods and providing support services for their operations.2 As they expanded their range of activity to reach the Volga and Byzantine market centers, the Vikings secured a steady supply of goods by extracting periodic tribute payments from the local populations in exchange for suspending irregular raids and protecting them from rival bands. These arrangements, known through legends recorded in Russian chronicles, archeological materials, observations recorded by Arabic and Persian geographers, and Byzantine sources, formed the basis of a rudimentary political structure that developed into the medieval state of Kievan Rus’, the precursor to modern states of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.

A single clan of Vikings, called the Rus’ or Varangians in the 12th-century Russian Primary Chronicle, became the rulers of Kievan Rus’. Known as the Riurikid dynasty, it consisted of alleged descendants of the semi-legendary Ri͡urik, who, according to a tale recorded under the year 862 in the Primary Chronicle, was invited by feuding tribes to rule over them, bringing law and dispensing justice.3 Displacing other Viking warlords as well as the Khazars, the Riurikids became lords over the Finns, Balts, and East Slavs dwelling in territories adjacent to the river systems connecting Novgorod, which superseded Old Ladoga, to Kiev (Kyiv) on the mid-Dnieper. Over the next two centuries, Kievan Rus’ (Figure 1), ruled by branches of the same dynasty, became a complex federation of principalities, encompassing lands bordered by Poland and Hungary in the west and the steppe populated by pastoral nomads to the south. To the north it exercised dominion over tribes dwelling as far as the Ob’ River; to the east it reached the juncture of the Volga and Oka Rivers, beyond which lay territories subject to Bulgar.

Kievan Rus’ and Muscovy Under the RiurikidsClick to view larger

Figure 1. Kievan Rus’.

Source: From Barbara Alpern Engel and Janet Martin, Russia in World History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Vladimir Svi͡atoslavich (r. 980–1015) was instrumental in transforming the loose sway multiple Varangian clans held over their tributaries into a politically recognizable realm. While marching from southward from Novgorod to remove his half-brother from Kiev, he also defeated the prince of Polotsk, the last non-Riurikid Rus’ warlord in the region. Once in power, he adopted Christianity from Byzantium for his domain (988) and received a metropolitan appointed by the Patriarch of Constantinople to organize and head the Church. Vladimir then sent bishops and other clergy along with his sons and their military retainers to the main Rus’ centers, thereby imposing the new religion on his primarily pagan subjects and consolidating exclusive Riurikid political authority throughout the realm.

The dynasty and the Church gave definition to Kievan Rus’. Having overpowered or outlived their brothers, both Vladimir and then his son I͡aroslav (d. 1054) became sole rulers of Kievan Rus’. Neither, however, arranged for a single heir to succeed him or for the creation of a monarchy with sovereignty vested in a single royal figure. Instead, I͡aroslav, just before his death, distributed his domains among his sons, urging them to respect and obey their eldest brother, the senior prince among them, as they had I͡aroslav himself. Based on the guidelines left by I͡aroslav and revisions agreed upon at a princely conference in 1097, Kievan Rus’ became a dynastic realm jointly ruled by his descendants. Kiev was its center, the seat of the senior member of the entire dynasty who had the power and prestige to call upon his kinsmen to join forces when they faced common dangers.

The Kievan throne remained a dynastic possession, transferred from the senior member of the eldest generation in the dynasty to his younger brothers and cousins before passing to next generation. The chief caveat was that for a prince to be eligible for the Kievan throne, his father had to have held it.4 After 1097, the other principalities of Kievan Rus’ became hereditary domains of their ruling dynastic branches, descended from I͡aroslav’s sons. Under this arrangement Kievan Rus’ became a land of multiple towns, many of which were fortified princely seats adjoining markets serving tradesmen, artisans, and the surrounding villages of peasant agriculturalists. Most of the princely centers appear to have been modest. The princes did not adopt extravagant regalia, did not develop elaborate court ceremonies, or rule through complex administrative apparatuses. At court they surrounded themselves with their retainers, a small group of men who served as their advisors and military force. The princes themselves no longer personally conducted trading expeditions, but by safeguarding markets and transit routes they fostered commerce among their principalities as well as with their non-Rus’neighbors. They also maintained internal order based on law codes associated with I͡aroslav and his sons,5 defended their domains, and conducted relations with their immediate neighbors.

Under the influence of the Church the popular cultures of the diverse population of Kievan Rus’ were replaced by common norms of social conduct. Authorized by church statutes issued by the Riurikid princes, Church prelates enforced the adoption of Christian standards regarding marriage and divorce, burial rites, sorcery, and a host of other daily activities, collecting fees and fines from non-conformers who clung to their varied, but traditional pagan customs and beliefs.6 Byzantine Church culture permeated the landscape of Kievan Rus’. Greek architects and craftsmen built and decorated churches and palaces in Kiev, Chernigov, and Novgorod; within decades local artisans, having learned their skills from the Greeks, were adapting their designs to build similar structures in towns throughout the realm.7 Monks composed chronicles and translated and copied liturgical texts. Although princely courts neither regularly produced nor maintained archives of written records, literacy became more widespread, and writing, as indicated by birchbark documents discovered by archeologists in Novgorod and elsewhere, became a common method used by members of the general population to relay messages ranging from domestic matters to business concerns.8

Kievan Rus’ joined Byzantium and Europe in a Christian community. It not only saw an influx of Greek clergymen and artisans; it also imported marble, glazed tiles, icons, silver frames, and other goods used for church construction and religious purposes in addition to the silks, brocades, wines, and olive oil it had already been acquiring from Constantinople. Products and skills flowed from Constantinople to Kiev, then to other Rus’ centers, including Novgorod and the towns of Vladimir-Suzdal’. Rus’ princes also established personal ties to the rulers of Byzantium and Europe. In conjunction with his conversion to Christianity, Vladimir married Anna, the sister of the Byzantine emperor. I͡aroslav married the daughter of the king of Sweden; his half-brother Svi͡͡͡atopolk had married the daughter of the king of Poland; I͡aroslav’s sons and daughters wed members of the royal houses of Norway and Denmark, Poland and Hungary, France, and, possibly, England.9 Marriages between Riurikids and members of ruling houses of neighboring countries often sealed peace agreements and also created the basis for military alliances.10

The princes of Kievan Rus’ also maintained relations with their non-Christian neighbors. Although the Russian chronicles, compiled by Christian monks, tend to describe them in negative terms and emphasize hostilities, those relations were multi-faceted. After the collapse of Khazaria following Svi͡atoslav’s campaign in 965, the Muslim state of Bulgar became its most important eastern neighbor. With the exception of an attack by Vladimir in 985, Rus’ and Bulgar maintained peaceful and mutually beneficial trade relations through the 11th century.11

Interactions with the steppe nomads were more complicated. The first main group the Rus’ encountered was the Pechenegs. Having taken advantage of the waning power of Khazaria in the late 9th and 10th centuries, the Pechenegs had pushed their way westward into the steppe north of the Black Sea, driving out the Magyars who had previously dwelled there.12 The Rus’ chronicles emphasize Pecheneg hostility toward Kievan Rus’, exemplified by their first attack on the Rus’ in 968, their murder of Vladimir’s father Svi͡atoslav in 972, and their siege of Kiev in 1036, memorialized by the construction of Cathedral of St. Sophia on the site of the decisive battle.13 In the mid-10th century the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus similarly warned of the menace the Pechenegs posed to Rus’ towns when their princes were absent and to commercial flotillas, which became vulnerable while the Rus’ were bypassing the rapids that interrupted navigation down the Dnieper River.14

To offset the dangers posed by the Pechenegs, Vladimir fortified his southern frontier.15 But the Rus’ were also aggressive toward the nomads. They initiated the first military engagement with the Pechenegs in 92016 and, mimicking the nomads’ tactics, replaced their foot soldiers, preferred among the Scandinavians, with mounted warriors capable of matching the nomads in combat.17 The Rus’ and Pechenegs, however, settling into a relationship typical of nomadic and sedentary societies, engaged in a combination of raids and warfare, trade and cooperation. Sustained periods of warfare were relatively rare. Major Pecheneg attacks occurred less frequently than smaller-scale raids, conducted by both Rus’ and Pechenegs to seize booty including horses used as military mounts and captives held for ransom or sold as slaves.18 During periods of peace, moreover, the Rus’ and Pechenegs engaged in trade, exchanging Rus’ furs, agricultural and manufactured products for the Pechenegs’ horses, sheep, and cattle.19 The Pechenegs also became involved in the Rus’ dynastic conflicts surrounding the seizure of the Kievan throne first by Vladimir and then by I͡aroslav.20

The Polovt͡sy (Kipchaks, Cumans) gained control of the Pontic steppe in the second half of the 11th century. Like the Pechenegs, which had been divided into eight tribes, the Polovt͡sy horde consisted of eleven or twelve subdivisions, each headed by its own khan.21 Polovtsian relations with the Rus’ were correspondingly even more complex than Pecheneg-Rus’ relations had been. The Polovt͡sy posed a danger to Kievan Rus’. One attack in 1096 reached the environs of Kiev; the account in the Primary Chronicle includes a detailed description, recorded by a terrified monk, of the Polovtsian rampage through the Crypt Monastery.22 But the Rus’ matched their foes with equally devastating campaigns. An expedition into the steppe led by the princes Svi͡atopolk Izi͡aslavich of Kiev (r. 1093–1113) and his cousin Vladimir Monomakh (r. Kiev 1113–1125) in 1103 resulted in the deaths of twenty Polovtsian khans as well as the Rus’ seizure of numerous captives and large quantities of livestock. Another coalition of Rus’ forces, led by Prince Svi͡atoslav Vsevolodich of Kiev (r. 1177–1194), soundly defeated the Polovt͡sy in the steppe in 1184 and returned with prisoners, weapons, and horses seized in battle.23 But, like the Rus’ and the Pechenegs, it was more common for the Rus’ and Polovt͡sy to engage in peaceful trade and exchanges of gifts and to limit their hostilities to small-scale raids. The Riruikids, moreover, also married Polovtsian women, who converted to Christianity and dwelled in Rus’. Like the marriages between the Rus’ princely families and their European neighbors, these marriages too created bonds of kinship that transcended differences in lifestyle and religion.24

Despite the dynastic, ecclesiastic, and economic bonds holding the component principalities of Kievan Rus’ together, recurrent conflicts among members of the Riurikid dynasty were unleashing centrifugal forces by the second half of the 12th century. One point of contention was control over Novgorod, which enjoyed the prosperity derived from its domination of trade with the Baltic Sea area. Like Kiev, Novgorod was not ruled by a single branch of the dynasty, and after 1136, when it asserted a right to select its own prince, it became subject to increasing political and also military pressures from the princely houses that competed to control it.

The most egregious conflicts, however, arose over succession to the throne of Kiev. The guidelines governing succession were ambiguous and as the dynasty became larger, smooth transitions were not infrequently disrupted by challenges from impatient junior heirs. The clashes among the princes intensified, moreover, as rivals, buoyed by the prosperity of their domains and their own increasing wealth, were able to enhance their military strength by fashioning alliances among themselves and with their non-Rus’ kinsmen and neighbors. Thus, when I͡uriĭ Dolgorukiĭ (r. Kiev 1155–1157), a son of Vladimir Monomakh and son-in-law of a Polovtsian khan, resorted to military force to remove his nephew from Kiev, he found allies among the Rus’ princes of Chernigov and also the Polovt͡sy.25 He achieved his goal, but only after the death of his nephew in 1154. When a parallel situation arose in 1167, a coalition of eleven princes, organized by I͡uriĭ’s son Andreĭ Bogoli͡ubskiĭ of Vladimir-Suzdal’ (d. 1174) and including his cousins from Smolensk and Chernigov, overthrew the junior prince from Volynia and sacked the city of Kiev (1169).

Although Kiev remained the coveted, and disputed, center of the Riurikid dynastic realm, the balance of political and economic power among the principalities comprising Kievan Rus’ was shifting. The princes of Vladimir-Suzdal’, in particular, withdrew from the competition for the Kievan throne and concentrated instead on internal power struggles as well as on elevating the status of their own principality to rival Kiev,26 dominating northern Rus’, and developing their own foreign and commercial policies, including the extension of their territories to the east and north at the expense of Bulgar. The houses of Chernigov, Smolensk, and Volynia-Galicia, while similarly overseeing the development of their own principalities, nonetheless continued to vie for the Kievan throne. Although the reigns of Prince Svi͡atoslav Vsevolodich of the Chernigov line and the Smolensk princes Mstislav Romanovich (r. Kiev 1212–1223) and Vladimir Ri͡urikovich (r. Kiev 1223–1235) marked relatively long periods of stability and princes of Kiev were able to mount cooperative dynastic ventures, such as the impressive coalition against the Polovtsy in 1184, the contentious rivalries persisted, highlighted by sacks of Kiev in 1203 and 1235 by the Chernigov princes and their Polovtsian allies,27 until 1237–1240, when the Mongols invaded Kievan Rus’.

The Mongol Era

The Mongols first appeared in the Pontic steppe in 1223. A coalition of western and southern Rus’ princes joined the Polovt͡sy, who had raised the alarm, but was badly defeated at the Kalka River. After the battle, in which nine Rus’ princes were killed, the Mongol forces, having completed their reconnaissance mission, retreated. They reappeared in force in 1237. Unlike the Pechenegs and the Polovt͡sy, the Mongols not only took control of the steppe but waged wars of conquest deep into the forest zone. After destroying Bulgar and devastating Ri͡azan’, they besieged and captured Vladimir, the capital of the Vladimir-Suzdal’ principality in northeastern Rus’, and proceeded to destroy the army of Vladimir’s prince I͡uriĭ Vsevolodich and his allies at the Battle of Sit’ (March 1238); Prince I͡uriĭ, three of his sons, and two of his nephews were among the casualties. Over the next two years the Mongols conquered the Polovt͡sy and the southern Rus’ principalities, capturing Kiev in December 1240 before advancing beyond Rus’ into Poland and Hungary.

While the Mongols continued campaigning, the survivors in Kievan Rus’ struggled to meet the challenges resulting from the onslaught. Kiev and Vladimir as well as Ri͡azan’ and other cities had suffered direct attacks. Towns and villages had been burned and looted, their populations reduced by death, capture, and flight. Crops and fields were in ruins, livestock herds depleted. Yet other cities, including Novgorod and Smolensk, had escaped the assault, and both the Orthodox Church and the Riurikid dynasty, despite heavy losses, survived the invasion.

After the Mongols suspended their westward drive and returned to the Pontic steppe, Khan Batu consolidated his authority over the principalities of Kievan Rus’, incorporating them into his portion of the Mongol empire, known variously as Juchi’s ulus, the Kipchak khanate, and the Golden Horde. Summoning the Riurikid princes to him and extracting their pledges of obedience, he confirmed their rights to rule in their respective domains and sent them home. The exception was Mikhail of Chernigov, who refused to perform the demanded purification rituals and was executed. The Mongol khans required the princes to pay tribute, participate in the horde’s military campaigns, and reaffirm their submission at every change in leadership. The Orthodox Church, whose leaders also retained their positions, incorporated prayers for the khan into their liturgy; in exchange the Church was exempted from taxes and allowed in 1261 to establish a bishopric at Saraĭ, the new capital of the Golden Horde constructed along the lower Volga River.28

Although subjected to Mongol suzerainty, Kievan Rus’ initially retained its structure.29 The ruling Riurikids governed their own principalities but maintained connections with each other across the internal boundaries of what they still regarded as their shared dynastic realm. Prince I͡aroslav Vsevolodich (r. 1238–1246), I͡uriĭ’s brother and successor to the throne of Vladimir, and his son Aleksandr (r. Vladimir 1252–1263), moreover, continued to take a special interest in Novgorod, successfully defending northwestern Rus’ lands from attacks by the Swedes, Livonian Knights, and also the Lithuanians, who were in the early stages of forming a state to the west of the Rus’ lands. For his victory over the knights at the Neva River in 1240, Aleksandr acquired the epithet Nevskiĭ.

The Mongols, too, initially treated Kievan Rus’ as a federated polity with Kiev as its capital, recognizing the senior members of the dynasty, first I͡aroslav and then his son Aleksandr, as princes of Kiev.30 But Mongol policies in the southern and southwestern principalities and Lithuanian expansion undermined Rus’ cohesion. By the 1360s, over a century after the Mongol conquest, Kievan Rus’ had fractured. Kiev, Chernigov, and most of the western Rus’ principalities were ruled by Lithuanian princes, Galicia by the Poles. Although the metropolitans of the Church managed to maintain the ecclesiastic unity of the Kievan Rus’ see, the political authority of the Riurikids and their Mongol overlords was confined to the northern Rus’ principalities.31

Vladimir-Suzdal’, which had dominated northern Rus’ before the invasion, subdivided into multiple principalities, including Vladimir, Suzdal’, Rostov, Tver’, and Moscow, each ruled by a branch of the clan descended from Vsevolod I͡ur’evich (d. 1212). I͡aroslavl’, also carved out of Vladimir-Suzdal’, was ruled by Fedor, a prince from Smolensk, and his descendants. The city of Vladimir, although never fully recovered from the invasion, remained the nominal seat of the senior prince of Vladimir-Suzdal’. It also became the center of the Church after the metropolitan abandoned Kiev in 1299.32 The Mongol khans, respecting dynastic tradition, confirmed the sons and grandsons of I͡aroslav Vsevolodich, in order of their seniority, as grand princes of Vladimir. Although they removed princes if they were disobedient or disloyal, the khans nonetheless replaced them with princes who were, according to dynastic tradition, legitimate successors.

Mongol policy changed, however, in second decade of 14th century. Khan Uzbek (r. 1313–1341) replaced Mikhail, the prince of Tver’, whom his predecessor had confirmed as Grand Prince of Vladimir in 1304, with I͡uriĭ Daniilovich of Moscow. Although Uzbek’s favorite, I͡uriĭ, whose father had never been grand prince, was not a legitimate heir by dynastic standards, Mikhail’s objections provoked a joint Mongol-Muscovite military expedition that enforced the khan’s order and resulted in his own execution (1318). Uzbek juggled the Vladimir throne between princes of Moscow and Tver’ for over a decade, but the authority of the Mongol khan prevailed over the centuries-old dynastic succession customs. The princes of Moscow, a junior branch of the dynasty ruling a relatively minor principality, became the chief beneficiaries of Mongol domination. After I͡uriĭ’s brother, Ivan I Kalita (r. 1328 or 1331–1340), was named prince of Vladimir, Moscow princes, with only a few brief exceptions, continuously occupied the senior princely position in northern Rus’ and, moving the capital from Vladimir to their own city of Moscow, gradually restructured the shared dynastic Rus’ domain into a centralizing realm ruled by a single monarch.

I͡uriĭ had won the throne by ingratiating himself with Uzbek and marrying the khan’s sister. His successors retained the khans’ favor by demonstrating they were capable of maintaining domestic order, providing troops for their campaigns, and also delivering tribute to the horde. The task of tribute collection, which had previously been overseen by the khans’ officials, was challenging. The pace of economic recovery in northern Rus’ was slow. The destruction caused by the conquest had been severe and was compounded by subsequent military expeditions into Rus’ territory. In 1259, Novgorod, which had not been directly affected by the invasion, had been targeted for refusing to cooperate with a census, the basis for assessing tribute payments.33 Vladimir, Suzdal’, Rostov, and I͡aroslavl’ were punished in 1262 after their residents rioted to protest increases in the tribute. Between 1281 and 1293, competing Mongol khans and military commanders dispatched armies to intervene on opposing sides in a dispute over the Vladimir throne between Aleksandr’s sons, Dmitriĭ and Andreĭ. And in 1317, Tver’ was attacked following Mikhail’s disobedience. The effect of these and other incursions, which did not subside until the second quarter of the 14th century, was compounded by recurrent famines and plagues.34 The cumulative loss of population and damage to towns and villages hindered economic recovery.

Commercial activity, however, revived. Even as the Mongols caused damage, they also adopted policies that encouraged trade. Under the guidance and instruction of the khans, Novgorod city officials, Aleksandr Nevskiĭ, and his brother and successor I͡aroslav I͡aroslavich (r. Vladimir 1263–1271/72) concluded commercial treaties with Gotland, Lübeck, and other German towns, secured land routes to Novgorod, and arranged for merchants to travel from Novgorod and Riga into the interior of Rus’.35 At Novgorod’s market Russian fur, honey, and wax were exchanged for fine fabrics, metal products, beer, herring, and silver brought by merchants who arrived by land and sea from the Baltic region. By the 14th century merchants representing the Teutonic Order and the Hanseatic League had become Novgorod’s most important trading partners. Rus’ merchants transported Novgorod’s imports to the towns in Vladimir-Suzdal’ and then south to Saraĭ. The combination of Rus’ tribute, gifts, and trade provided the horde with luxury fur pelts as well as silver and other European imports. Some of these goods passed through the horde to markets along the Mongol-controlled silk route, extending from China to the Mediterranean.

Novgorod’s trade stimulated broader economic recovery, signaled by new expensive masonry construction projects that were evident in Novgorod by the late 13th century and in Tver’ soon afterward. By 1326, Prince Ivan I and Metropolitan Petr had cooperated in the construction of the Church of the Assumption (Dormition) of the Virgin in the Moscow Kremlin.36 In 1367–1368, Ivan’s grandson Dmitriĭ embarked on a massive project to strengthen Moscow’s defenses. Despite the region’s recent bouts of plague (1364–1366) and harsh winter conditions, he succeeded in mobilizing thousands of workers to transport the building materials and erect the Kremlin’s stone walls.37

The provision of silver, obtained from Novgorod through a combination of cooperation and force, to their Mongol overlords was key to the Moscow princes’ political success. Their primacy was tested, however, in the 1370s, when the horde was experiencing political and economic instability. Mamaĭ, a Mongol military commander who had gained ascendancy, was challenged by Tokhtamysh, a Mongol leader from the eastern half of Juchi’s ulus. Mamaĭ urgently demanded the tribute payment from Grand Prince Dmitriĭ Ivanovich. Yet a Novgorod-Hansa dispute had caused a suspension of trade and a shortage of silver. Dmitriĭ was unable to comply. A desperate Mamaĭ led army against Moscow. Although Novgorod, Tver’, Suzdal’, and Ri͡azan’ did not support him, Dmitriĭ gathered an army from other northern Rus’ principalities and, using tactics adapted from the Mongols,38 defeated Mamaĭ at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. After this victory near the Don River, the prince was known as Dmitriĭ Donskoĭ.

Tokhtamysh subsequently vanquished Mamaĭ and, having established his authority over Juchi’s ulus, launched a punishing campaign against Moscow in 1382. Dmitriĭ was compelled to reaffirm Mongol suzerainty and renew the Rus’ tribute payments. But in his will Dmitriĭ mused that his sons might someday be free of their obligations to the Mongols.39 Indeed, his heirs, whose realm had incorporated additional portions of the Vladimir-Suzdal’ region, whose seniority within the dynasty was broadly recognized, and whose prestige and legitimacy were heightened by the metropolitans of the Church who had made Moscow their residence, were no longer wholly dependent on the Mongol khans for their status as grand princes of Vladimir.

Muscovy in the Post-Mongol Era

Domestic Development

Despite Tokhtamysh’s successes, he quickly became engaged in conflict with his former patron Timur, who was fashioning his own empire in Central Asia. Defeating Tokhtamysh in battle in 1395, Timur ravaged Saraĭ as well as the other chief commercial centers of the horde, thereby undermining its economic foundations. Within decades Juchi’s ulus splintered into the Khanates of Crimea, Kazan’, and Sibir’ and the Nogaĭ Horde; its core, the Great Horde, centered on lower Volga, was replaced by the Khanate of Astrakhan’ after 1502.

As the Golden Horde disintegrated, Lithuania’s power increased. By the end of the 14th century its territories stretched from the Baltic to the Black Seas.40 Novgorod sought assistance from Lithuanian princes and Dmitriĭ’s son Vasiliĭ married the daughter of Grand Prince Vitovt (Vitautus) in 1390. Before Vasiliĭ died in 1425, he designated his son as his heir and named Vitovt, the boy’s grandfather, as a guardian. Lithuania’s influence extended over Tver’ and Riazan’ as well.

The princes of Moscow nevertheless continued to respect Mongol authority. When Vitovt died in 1430 and the young prince’s uncle, the rightful heir to the grand princely throne according to dynastic tradition, claimed the throne, both Vasiliĭ II and his uncle turned to Khan Ulu-Muhammed to resolve their dispute. The khan granted the title of grand prince to Vasiliĭ and dispatched an escort to accompany him back to Moscow. But Ulu-Muhammed, who was compelled to lead his horde in a migration that would end with his foundation of the Khanate of Kazan’, was unable to enforce his ruling. A brutal war, which lasted a quarter of a century, broke out between Vasiliĭ and his uncle and cousins. Although the khan did not take part directly, during the migration his Tatars and the Rus’ engaged in several skirmishes. At the most serious one, which occurred in 1445 near Suzdal’, Vasiliĭ was wounded and captured. Months later the khan released him on condition he pay a ransom as well as tribute. A Tatar detachment accompanied Vasiliĭ to Moscow, and Ulu Muhammed’s sons Kasim and I͡akub assisted Vasiliĭ in subduing his cousin and ending the dynastic war.41

His victory left Vasiliĭ II the most powerful of the northern Rus’ princes. With the defeat of the advocates of the dynasty’s customary lateral pattern of succession, his direct descendants Ivan III (r. 1462–1505), Vasiliĭ III (r. 1505–1533), Ivan IV the Terrible (regency 1533–47, r. 1547–1584), and Fedor (r. 1584–1598) assumed the Muscovite throne with neither challenges from dynastic competitors nor the formal approval of Mongol overlords.

Advised by their boyars (the highest-ranking courtiers) and chief prelates, the Muscovite princes incorporated the remaining northern Rus’ principalities. After annexing Novgorod in 1478, Ivan III established the pomest’e system, which has been likened to systems used in Byzantium, Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Khanate of Kazan’,42 in the region. Through distributions of landed estates to men in his service, the system supported an army of mounted warriors armed with bows, arrows, and lances43 and subject to his direct command.

During the 16th century these forces were increasingly supplemented with units of artillerymen and musketeers.44 Ivan and his successors also issued law codes (1497, 1550, 1589), introduced systems of provincial governance, and oversaw the development of a centralized administrative apparatus that managed and kept written records not only of landed service estates and military assignments of the landholders, but also of fiscal and diplomatic affairs, and an expanding range of other government affairs. By the reigns of Vasiliĭ III and Ivan IV “the Terrible,” who assumed the title “tsar,” Muscovy projected an image of a strong, centralized monarchy with all power vested in its autocratic rulers.

Western European observers and diplomats, whose interactions with Muscovy were increasing through the 16th century, characterized the Muscovite rulers as tyrants and despots.45 But the Orthodox Church legitimized their growing power. Its recognition of Metropolitan Petr, long considered a protector of Moscow and its princes, as a saint in 1339 exemplified one type of support. But from the 15th century the Church enunciated a more explicit ideology justifying the supremacy of the Moscow princes. It stemmed from the endorsement given by Vasiliĭ II to the Russian Church leaders’ rejection of a union between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, their expulsion of the pro-union metropolitan sent from Constantinople, and their selection, undertaken independently of the Patriarch in Constantinople, of the Ri͡azan’ bishop Iona as metropolitan. Validating the righteousness of their own actions, Church leaders cast Vasiliĭ as a divinely appointed defender of Orthodoxy. Developing this theme in literary texts and visual images through the 16th century, their successors, while also noting the importance of counsel and consultation with secular and clerical advisors, portrayed Muscovy’s rulers as divinely chosen protectors of Orthodoxy and therefore endowed with the unrestricted power necessary to safeguard their realm, the bastion of the Orthodoxy since Constantinople fell in 1453.

The Moscow princes, in turn, demonstrated their growing authority through public displays of their association with the Orthodox Church and the broader Christian world. After his first wife, the princess of Tver’, died, Ivan III married Sofiia (Zoe) Palaeologa, niece of last Byzantine emperor, in 1472. He introduced a new Byzantine-style design for a state seal and Byzantine-style ceremonies at court.46 He invited Italian architects, engineers, and artisans to Moscow, where they constructed new churches in Moscow’s Kremlin, while also instructing Muscovites in their techniques of casting bronze, producing gunpowder, and using cannon.47 Over the next decades churches imitating the new Moscow style were built in monasteries and towns beyond the capital. Ivan IV celebrated his victory over the Muslim Khanate of Kazan’ (1552) with the construction of the Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God, known better as St. Basil’s Cathedral, outside the Moscow kremlin and also by converting Kazan’ itself into a Christian city.

Foreign Relations

In the late 15th century, Muscovy, emphasizing its Orthodox Christian identity and strengthened by its dominant position in northern Rus’, entered the competition among the Tatar Khanates and Lithuania for dominance in the region previously controlled by the Golden Horde. Its chief antagonists were Lithuania, with which it had frontier disputes, and Lithuania’s ally, the Great Horde, which repeatedly raided Muscovy’s southern frontier. Although the Golden Horde had disintegrated decades earlier and Tatar authority over the Russians had likewise diminished, one of these encounters, known as the Stand on the Ugra (1480), during which forces of Ivan III and those of Khan Ahmed shot arrows at each other across the Ugra River, has traditionally symbolized the end of Tatar control over the Rus’.

To confront the Great Horde and Lithuania, Ivan III formed a counter-alliance with the Crimean Khanate. The Khanate of Kazan’ and the Khanate of Kasimov, a Tatar enclave on Muscovy’s southern border originally granted to Kasim by Vasiliĭ II, were affiliated with their coalition. While Ivan III fought Lithuania for control over their borderlands in 1500–1503, the Crimean khan attacked Khan Ahmed and destroyed the Great Horde (1502). The alliance, which allowed Muscovite merchant caravans to purchase Siberian fur pelts at the markets of Kazan’ and travel in relative safety to sell them at the Black Sea ports of Caffa and Azak (Tana), was also commercially beneficial.

Attracted by the growing prestige of the Muscovite rulers in the post-Mongol steppe community, scores of members of Tatar ruling families, often accompanied by their followers, offered their services to them and sought their protection.48 But the demise of the Great Horde and the formation of the Khanate of Astrakhan’, changes in leadership in both Muscovy and the Crimean Khanate, the transfer to Muscovy of Lithuanian frontier territories frequently raided by the Crimean Tatars for booty, including captives sold at Ottoman slave markets, and the opening of direct diplomatic and commercial relations between the Ottoman Empire and Muscovy reduced the value of the Muscovite-Crimean alliance to both parties. While Muscovy was engaged in another war with Lithuania (1512–1522), during which it acquired Smolensk (1514), the Crimean Khanate, angered particularly over Muscovy’s preferences for leaders in the Khanates of Kasimov and Kazan’, mounted an offensive that culminated in a two-week siege of the city of Moscow in 1521. The Tatars lifted the siege only when the commander in charge of the city’s defense, who was the Tatar brother-in-law of Vasiliĭ III and a great grandson of Khan Muhammed Amin, negotiated their withdrawal by presenting the khan with extravagant gifts and conveying Vasiliĭ’s pledge to make regular tribute payments to the Crimean khan.49

Over the next three decades Muscovite relations with both its European and Tatar neighbors remained tense but relatively stable. In 1552, however, Ivan IV, supplementing his traditional army units with western-style artillery,50 conquered the Khanate of Kazan’ and then, in 1556, seized Astrakhan’. Two years later his regiments, bolstered by Tatar commanders and troops in his service,51 invaded Livonia, the region situated between northwestern Rus’ and the Baltic Sea and comprising modern Latvia and Estonia.

Muscovy’s early victories, including the capture of Narva, an eastern Baltic port frequented by German, English, and Dutch merchants, provoked both Sweden and Lithuania to enter what became the lengthy Livonian War (1558–1583). Lithuania’s ally, the Crimean Khanate, unreconciled to Muscovy’s annexation of Kazan’, also joined the hostilities. The Crimean khan also gained the reluctant support of his suzerain, the Ottoman sultan, who was alarmed by Muscovy’s advances from Astrakhan’ into the North Caucasus. Muscovy occupied most of Livonia and seized Polotsk from Lithuania. But in 1569, the Ottomans, taking their first offensive action against Muscovy, attempted to build a canal between the Don and Volga Rivers in order to seize Astrakhan’.52 Their plan failed but convinced the Muscovites to withdraw from their fortress on the Terek River. Two years later Crimean Tatar forces penetrated Muscovy’s southern defenses and reached Moscow, which burned. A series of Polish-Lithuanian and Swedish campaigns (1579–1582) pushed the Muscovites out of Livonia and Polotsk and threatened Novgorod. After twenty-five years Muscovy concluded truces with its adversaries. It lost all the lands it had conquered in Livonia, its territories along the coast of the Gulf of Finland, and some districts north of Novgorod.

The Livonian war, fought on multiple fronts, left Muscovy economically depleted. High taxes imposed to prosecute the war, Ivan’s destabilizing domestic policies, and foreign invasion had prompted peasants to flee from the Novgorod region as well as central Muscovy, leaving those areas depopulated and unproductive. Tsar Ivan IV responded by temporarily forbidding peasants to relocate during the two-week period allowed since 1497.

While addressing the economic crisis, Ivan’s feeble-minded son Fedor, guided by his chief advisor Boris Godunov, also confronted challenges from Muscovy’s neighbors. In 1591, the Crimean Khanate staged another offensive that breached Muscovy’s new frontier fortifications and was only repulsed outside Moscow. In the north Muscovy regained territories on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland from Sweden (1595).53 Fedor’s government also encouraged commercial development. In 1585 the construction of Arkhangel’sk was completed. Built for Dutch merchants, who had been bringing goods to the mouth of the North Dvina River since the 1570s, it also served the English, who had discovered a northern route through the White Sea to Russia in 1553, had received privileges for their Muscovy Company, and in addition to purchasing timber, tallow, tar, and rope fibers in Muscovite towns, had traveled down the Volga River through Muscovy to reach Central Asia and Persia. The commercial activity generated by the annual fair held at Arkhangel’sk from June through August and the customs fees collected there contrasted with the depressed agricultural economy in the center of Muscovy.54

Muscovy, moreover, continued to expand eastward. After his conquest of Kazan’, Ivan IV had chartered lands in the Kama River region to the wealthy Stroganov family. But the salt works and other enterprises they founded and the thousands of workers they brought to the region antagonized the indigenous population as well as Kuchum, the khan of Sibir’. Ermak Timofeevich, a Cossack hired by the Stroganovs to guard their establishments, led an expedition across the Urals and defeated Kuchum’s forces with his cannon and muskets (1582). Although Ivan IV neither anticipated nor approved the conflict with Kuchum, Fedor’s government dispatched regular troops to replace Ermak, who was killed in 1585. He also authorized the construction of forts at Tiumen’ (1586) and Tobolsk (1587) to consolidate Muscovite control over the region, thereby releasing Muscovy from its geographic confinement in eastern Europe and launching the first stage in its exploration and annexation of Siberia. See Ermak’s route and the forts of Tiumen’, Tobolsk.

When Fedor died in 1598, he left no male heirs. The Riurikid dynasty and its rule over the lands of Rus’ ended. A new dynasty founded by Mikhail Romanov, who became tsar in 1613, would oversee the transformation of Muscovy into the Russian Empire and for the next three centuries would contend with the new opportunities and challenges generated by its ongoing expansion into both Europe and Asia.

Discussion of the Literature

Since the 18th century, when scholars began to engage in the Normanist Controversy, which has focused on whether Scandinavians or Slavs were responsible for founding Kievan Rus’, the place of Rus’ in the broader Eurasian context has been a prominent theme underlying and running through studies of the history of Rus’ under the Riurikids, especially those investigating the political structures of Kievan Rus’ and Muscovy, the powers of their rulers, the role of the Church, and foreign relations. Many scholars have dealt with this theme implicitly, but others have directly addressed aspects of it, examining the origins, characteristics, and nature of Rus’ institutions and the foreign influences that may have shaped them and also debating whether Kievan Rus’ and Muscovy were essentially European, Asian, a combination, or neither.

The notion that Kievan Rus’ was essentially European was prominent in 20th-century Marxist scholarship, which advanced the theory that feudalism, as applied to medieval Europe, also described both Kievan Rus’ and Muscovy. Western scholars challenged that characterization, arguing that particular features associated with feudalism were not present in the Rus’ states or, as in the case of serfdom, were institutionalized only in the late Muscovite period. Dimitri Obolensky, emphasizing the Rus’ states’ Orthodox Christianity and ties to Constantinople, proposed the theory that they had been part of a Byzantine Commonwealth and distinct from Western Europe.55

Recently scholars have offered new arguments for situating Kievan Rus’ within the framework of medieval Europe. Christian Raffensperger, discounting the division between western and eastern Churches, rejected Obolensky’s interpretation. Claiming Constantinople’s influence was felt throughout Europe and highlighting factors such as intermarriages between European royal houses and Riurikids and the role of the brides in the transmission of cultural norms, he has argued that Kievan Rus’ was a kingdom indistinguishable from its counterparts in medieval Europe.56 But other scholars have pointed to influences on Kievan Rus’ derived from its steppe neighbors. They have noted that Rus’ princes also married Polovtsian women and have also suggested that the diffusion of political authority among multiple Rus’ princes and the lateral patterns of succession to the position of prince of Kiev had more in common with practices observed among confederations of steppe nomads than they did with European monarchies.57

Investigations into the Mongol invasion and Muscovy have been, perhaps, even more concerned with the place of the Rus’ states in Eurasia. Studies published in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have raised two intertwined issues: the character of Muscovy and the influence of steppe culture on its development.58 The first is derived from the description of Muscovy, made by 16th-century European visitors, as a despotic state. Richard Hellie, using terms such as “service state” rather than despotism, and Marshall Poe have favored that characterization.59 Nancy Kollmann,60 building upon premises advanced by Edward Keenan,61 disputed it, arguing that Muscovy’s despotic image was a façade concealing a form of collective rule designed to maintain domestic stability. Daniel Rowland proposed that the ideologically based practice of consultation by Muscovite rulers with their advisers was inconsistent with despotism.62 Donald Ostrowski, examining the functions of Muscovite political institutions, such as the boyar council,63 also argued that the tsar was not an all-powerful despot or autocrat.

The second issue concerns the influences, if any, that shaped Muscovy’s institutions and political culture. Keenan proposed that Muscovy’s development was sui generis.64 Ostrowski, arguing that some of Muscovy’s central political and military institutions had Mongol or steppe models, set forth a case that steppe influence on Muscovy was profound.65 Kollmann and Rowland saw resemblances to European monarchies in Muscovy’s practices of consultation as well as in the role and power of its elite clans. Another group, exploring the military revolution in Muscovy and the hypothesis that Muscovy was, like contemporary European monarchies, a fiscal-military state, also highlight similarities not only with European military and administrative institutions and policies but also with the factors that generated them.66

Scholarly studies from this period have also moved beyond political issues and influences shaping Rus’ political structures and power. Often adopting innovative methods, they have explored a range of social and cultural themes, including gender; ethnic relations; the Church, its rituals, and the visual and literary art it produced; and the frontier.67

Primary Sources

The basic sources for medieval and early modern Rus’ history are the Rus’ chronicles, which have been published in the series Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei and Russkie letopisi. The earliest of these, the Tale of Bygone Years, also known as the Primary Chronicle, and the Novgorod Chronicle as well as the 16th-century Nikon chronicle have been translated into English.68 The oldest chronicles, however, were composed centuries after the earliest events recorded in them occurred. Archeological evidence, including numismatic evidence analyzed by Thomas Noonan and others, has been a valuable supplement to the chronicle record, as have observations recorded in Arabic, Persian, and Byzantine sources.69 For the later periods there are more documentary sources. Many are included in published collections, e.g., Akty istoricheskie and Dopolneniia k aktam istoricheskim. Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova contains documents related to Novgorod. Muscovite diplomatic documents have been published in Sbornik imperatorskago russkago istoricheskago obshchestva; volumes 35, 41, 71, and 95 are particularly valuable for Muscovy’s relations with Lithuania and the Crimean Khanate. The series Posol’skie knigi po sviaziam Rossii s Nogaĭskoĭ Ordoĭ contains diplomatic documents on Muscovite-Nogaĭ relations.70 Military records, published in razri͡adnye knigi, and records related to the pomest’e system (pist͡sovye knigi) contain information that also inform issues, such as demographics, the economy, ethnic integration, and women. Other sources, including petitions filed with government officials by individuals, family genealogies, wills and testaments, and monastic account books provide insight into the lives and concerns of non-elite Muscovites. Accounts written by foreign visitors to the Golden Horde and Muscovy are also a rich source of information.71 The Hathi Trust Digital Library allows full access to most of the older collections.

Further Reading

Crummey, Robert O. The Formation of Muscovy, 1304–1613. London: Longman, 1987.Find this resource:

Fennell, John. The Crisis of Medieval Russia, 1200–1304. London: Longman, 1983.Find this resource:

Franklin, Simon, and Jonathan Shepard. The Emergence of Rus’, 750–1200. London: Longman, 1996.Find this resource:

Golden, Peter B. “Aspects of the Nomadic Factor in the Economic Development of Kievan Rus’.” In Ukrainian Economic History: Interpretive Essays. Edited by I. S. Koropeckyj, 58–101. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.Find this resource:

Halperin, Charles J. Russia and the Golden Horde. The Mongol Impact on Medieval Russian History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.Find this resource:

Keenan, Edward L. “Muscovy and Kazan: Some Introductory Remarks on the Patterns of Steppe Diplomacy.” Slavic Review 26 (1967): 548–558.Find this resource:

Martin, Janet. Treasure of the Land of Darkness. The Fur Trade and Its Significance for Medieval Russia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986.Find this resource:

Martin, Janet. Medieval Russia, 980–1584. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Noonan, Thomas S. “Rus’, Pechenegs, and Polovtsy: Economic Interaction along the Steppe Frontier in the Pre-Mongol Era.” Russian History 19 (1992): 301–327.Find this resource:

Noonan, Thomas S. “Scandinavians in European Russia.” In The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings. Edited by Peter Sawyer, 134–155. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.Find this resource:

Noonan, Thomas S. “European Russia, c. 500–c. 1050.” In The New Cambridge Medieval History. Vol. 3: c. 900–c. 1024. Edited by Timothy Reuter, 487–513. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.Find this resource:

Perrie, Maureen, ed. The Cambridge History of Russia. Vol. 1: From Early Rusto 1689. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Vernadsky, George. A History of Russia. Vol. 2: Kievan Russia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1948.Find this resource:

Vernadsky, George. A History of Russia. Vol. 3: The Mongols and Russia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1953.Find this resource:


(1.) Thomas S. Noonan, “Volga Bulghāria’s Tenth-Century Trade with Sāmānid Central Asia,” Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi 11(2000–2001): 152, 157–158, 167–194, 214–217; Noonan, “European Russia, c. 500–c. 1050,” in The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 3, ed. Timothy Reuter (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 503–507; Noonan, “Scandinavians in European Russia,” in The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings, ed. Peter Sawyer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 134–155; Noonan, “When and How Dirhams First Reached Russia. A Numismatic Critique of the Pirenne Theory,” Cahiers du Monde russe et soviétique 21 (1980): 407–408, 427, 447–448; Janet Martin, Treasure of the Land of Darkness. The Fur Trade and Its Significance for Medieval Russia (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 12, 35–36, 37, 39.

(2.) Simon Franklin and Jonathan Shepard, The Emergence of Rus, 750–1200 (London: Longman, 1996), 12–27.

(3.) Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopiseĭ (hereafter PSRL), vol. 1: Lavrentev’skaia letopis’ (Moscow: I͡azyki russkoĭ kul’tury, 1997), 19–20.

(4.) For survey of views of the succession system, see Donald Ostrowski, “Systems of Succession in Rus’ and Steppe Societies,” Ruthenica 11 (2012): 39–48.

(5.) Daniel H. Kaiser, trans. and ed., The Laws of Rus’—Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries (Salt Lake City: Charles Schlacks, Jr., 1992), xvi–xx, 14–40; Simon Franklin, Writing, Society, and Culture in Early Rus, c. 950–1300 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 156–158.

(6.) Kaiser, Laws of Rus’, 42–43; Franklin, Writing, 152–156.

(7.) Franklin and Shepard, Emergence, 206, 208–213.

(8.) Franklin, Writing, 37–40, 162, 170–171.

(9.) Christian Raffensperger, Reimagining Europe. Kievan Rus’ in the Medieval World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), 71–114; Norman Ingham, “Has a Missing Daughter of Iaroslav Mudryi Been Found?” Russian History 25 (1998): 231–270.

(10.) Janet Martin, Medieval Russia 980–1584, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 55, 56.

(11.) Noonan, “European Russia,” 505; Martin, Treasure, 15; Noonan, Medieval Russia, 5, 18, 43.

(12.) Franklin and Shepard, Emergence, 85, 86, 97; Peter B. Golden, “Aspects of the Nomadic Factor in the Economic Development of Kievan Rus’,” in Ukrainian Economic History: Interpretive Essays, ed. I. S. Koropeckyj (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 1991), 88, 91.

(13.) Golden, “Aspects,” 92–94; Martin, Medieval Russia, 53.

(14.) Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperio, Greek text, ed. Gy. Moravcsik, English trans. R. J. H. Jenkins (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, Center for Byzantine Studies, 1967), 51; Golden, “Aspects,” 95.

(15.) Franklin and Shepard, Emergence, 170–173.

(16.) Golden, “Aspects,” 91–92.

(17.) Thomas S. Noonan, “Rus’, Pechenegs, and Polovtsy: Economic Interaction along the Steppe Frontier in the Pre-Mongol Era,” Russian History 19 (1992): 309.

(18.) Golden, “Aspects,” 91–95, on typical relations between sedentary and nomadic societies, 79–87.

(19.) Golden, “Aspects,” 95; Noonan, “Rus’, Pechenegs, and Polovtsy,” 306–307, 309.

(20.) PSRL I: 78, 130, 141–142, 144; Golden, “Aspects,” 92–94.

(21.) Noonan, “Rus’, Pechenegs, and Polovtsy,” 305.

(22.) PSRL I: 232–233.

(23.) PSRL I: 277–280, 394–396; Noonan, “Rus’, Pechenegs, and Polovtsy,” 311–312.

(24.) Anna Litvina and Fjodor Uspenskij, “Russo-Polovtsian Dynastic Contacts as Reflected in Genealogy and Onomastics,” The Silk Road, 12 (2014): 66–67

(25.) Litvina and Uspenskij, “Russo-Polovtsian Dynastic Contacts,” 68; PSRL I: 282–283, 328, 330.

(26.) These efforts included use of the title “grand prince,” an attempt to create a separate metropolitanate, and the construction of monumental buildings. On titulature, see Andrzej Poppe, “Words That Serve the Authority. On the Title of `Grand Prince’ in Kievan Rus’,” Acta Poloniae Historica 60 (1989): 159–184; cf. Martin Dimnik, “The Title `Grand Prince’ in Kievan Rus’,” Mediaeval Studies 66 (2004): 253–312. On the metropolitanate, see Ellen J. Hurwitz, Prince Andrej Bogoljubskij: The Man and the Myth (Florence: Licosa Editrice, 1980), 29–32. On building projects, see Jonathan Shepard, “Rus’,” in Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy. Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus’ c. 900–1200, ed. Nora Berend (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 397–398.

(27.) Martin, Medieval Russia, 132, 135.

(28.) George Vernadsky, The Mongols and Russia (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1953), 153, 165–166.

(29.) A. A. Gorskiĭ, Rus’. Ot slavi͡anskogo rasseleniia do Moskovskogo t͡sarstva (Moscow: I͡azyki slavi͡anskoi kul’tury, 2004), 194.

(30.) Gorskiĭ, Rus’, 195.

(31.) Vernadsky, Mongols and Russia, 142, 238; John Fennell, The Crisis of Medieval Russia 1200–1304 (London: Longman, 1983), 87; Fennell, The Emergence of Moscow 1304–1359 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), 122; Gorskiĭ, Rus’, 195–199.

(32.) Gorskiĭ, Rus’, 196; Donald Ostrowski, “Why Did the Metropolitan Move from Kiev to Vladimir in the Thirteenth Century?” in Christianity and the Eastern Slavs, vol. 1: Slavic Cultures in the Middle Ages, ed. Boris Gasparov and Olga Raevsky-Hughes (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 83–101.

(33.) On the Mongol census, Thomas T. Allsen, “Mongol Census Taking in Rus’, 1245–1275,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies 5 (1981): 32–53; on tribute collection, Lawrence N. Langer, “For Want of Coin: Remarks on the Mongol Tribute and the Problem of the Circulation of Silver,” in Dubitando. Studies in History and Culture in Honor of Donald Ostrowski, ed. Brian J. Boeck, Russell E. Martin, and Daniel Rowland (Bloomington, IN: Slavica, 2012), 85–101; Halil Inalcik, “Power Relationships Between Russia, the Crimea, and the Ottoman Empire as Reflected in Titulature,” in Passé Turco-Tatar Présent Soviétique. Turco-Tatar Past Soviet Present. Studies Presented to Alexandre Bennigsen, ed. Ch. Lemercier-Quelquejay, G. Veinstein, and S. E. Wimbush (Paris: Peeters and L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 1986), 208; Michel Roublev, “The Mongol Tribute According to the Wills and Agreements of the Russian Princes,” in The Structure of Russian History, ed. Michael Cherniavsky (New York: Random House, 1970), 29–64.

(34.) Lawrence N. Langer, “The Black Death in Russia: Its Effects Upon Urban Labor,” Russian History 2 (1975): 59–60.

(35.) Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova, ed. S. N. Valk (Moscow: Akademiia nauk SSSR, 1949, reprint Düsseldorf: Brücken Verlag and Vaduz: Europe Printing, 1970), 56–57, nos. 29, 30; Gail Lenhoff and Janet Martin, “Smolensk after the Mongol Invasions: A Reconstruction,” Die Welt der Slaven 59 (2014): 119–120.

(36.) David B. Miller, “Monumental Building as an Indicator of Economic Trends in Northern Rus’ in the Late Kievan and Mongol Periods, 1138–1462,” American Historical Review 94 (1989): 360–390.

(37.) Miller, “Monumental Building,” 370, 376, 377, 379–380; Langer, “The Black Death,” 62.

(38.) Donald Ostrowski, “The Replacement of the Composite Reflex Bow by Firearms in the Muscovite Cavalry,” in Everyday Life in Russian History. Quotidian Studies in Honor of Daniel Kaiser, ed. Gary Marker, Joan Neuberger, Marshall Poe, and Susan Rupp (Bloomington, IN: Slavica, 2010), 204–205.

(39.) The Testaments of the Grand Princes of Moscow, ed. and trans. Robert Craig Howes (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1967), 129, 215–216.

(40.) Vernadsky, Mongols and Russia, 280.

(41.) Bulat Rakhimzianov, Kasimovskoe khanstvo (1445–1552 gg.). Ocherki istorii (Kazan’, Russia: Tatarskoe knizhnoe izdatel’stvo, 2009), 55–57.

(42.) Ostrowski, Mongols and Muscovy, 48–50; Richard Hellie, “Warfare, Changing Military Technology, and the Evolution of Muscovite Society,” in Tools of War: Instruments, Ideas, and Institutions of Warfare, 1445–1871, ed. John A. Lynn (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990), 77; Jaroslaw Pelenski, “State and Society in Muscovite Russia and the Mongol-Turkic System in the Sixteenth Century,” Forschungen zur Osteuropäischen Geschichte 27 (1980): 163.

(43.) Richard Chancellor, “The First Voyage to Russia,” in Rude and Barbarous Kingdom. Russia in the Accounts of Sixteenth Century English Voyagers, ed. Lloyd Berry and Robert Crummey (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968), 28; Richard Hellie, Enserfment and Military Change in Muscovy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), 30.

(44.) Hellie, Enserfment, 156–157, 160–164; Ostrowski, “The Replacement,” 218–219; Dianne Smith, The Muscovite Army of Ivan IV, The Terrible.

(45.) Sigismund von Herberstein, Notes Upon Russia, trans. R. H. Major, Works Issued by the Hakluyt Society, vols. 10 and 12 (London: Hakluyt, 1851; reprint, New York: Burt Franklin, n.d.), 10:30–32, 54, 95; Marshall T. Poe, “A People Born to Slavery.”Russia in Early Modern European Ethnography, 1476–1748 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000), 118, 123, 126–128.

(46.) Gustave Alef, “The Adoption of the Muscovite Two-Headed Eagle: A Discordant View,” Speculum 41 (1966): 1–3; reprinted in Gustave Alef, Rulers and Nobles in Fifteenth-Century Muscovy (London: Variorum, 1983).

(47.) Alef, “The Adoption,” 5; Hellie, Enserfment, 154.

(48.) A. V. Kuz’min, “Kreshchenye Tatary na sluzhbe v Moskve: K istorii Telebuginykh i Mi͡achkovykh v XIV—pervoi polovine XV veka,” Drevni͡ai͡a Rus’ 3(9) (2002): 5–7; Donald Ostrowski, “The Extraordinary Career of Tsarevich Kudaǐ Kul/Petr in the Context of Relations between Muscovy and Kazan’,” in States, Societies, Cultures: East and West: Essays in Honor of Jaroslaw Pelenski, ed. Janusz Duzinkiewidz et al. (New York: Ross Publishing, 2004), 697–719; Janet Martin, “Religious Ideology and Chronicle Depictions of Muslims in 16th-Century Muscovy,” in The New Muscovite Cultural History: A Collection in Honor of Daniel B. Rowland, ed. Valerie Kivelson, Karen Petrone, Nancy Shields Kollmann, and Michael Flier (Bloomington, IN: Slavica, 2009), 289–292.

(49.) Herberstein, Notes Upon Russia, 12: 63; A. A. Zimin, Rossii͡a na poroge novogo vremeni (Moscow: Mysl’, 1972), 75, 240–247; Inalcik, “Power Relationships,” 182, 209.

(50.) Hellie, Enserfment, 157.

(51.) Janet Martin, “Tatars in the Muscovite Army During the Livonian War,” in The Military and Society in Russia, 1450–1917, ed. Eric Lohr and Marshall Poe (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 365–387; Martin, “Multiethnicity in Muscovy: A Consideration of Christian and Muslim Tatars in the 1550s–1580s,” Journal of Early Modern History, 5 (2001): 1–23.

(52.) Halil Inalcik, “The Origin of the Ottoman-Russian Rivalry and the Don-Volga Canal (1569),” in Annales de L’Université d’Ankara (Ankara, Turkey: University of Ankara, 1947), 47–110; Alexandre Bennigsen, “L’expédition turque contre Astrakhan en 1569,” Cahiers du Monde russe et soviétique 8 (1967): 427–446.

(53.) George Vernadsky, Tsardom of Moscow 1547–1682, pt. 1 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1969), 197–199; A. P. Pavlov, “Fedor Ivanovich and Boris Godunov (1584–1605),” in The Cambridge History of Russia, vol. 1: From Early Rus’ to 1689, ed. Maureen Perrie (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 270–271.

(54.) Paul Bushkovitch, The Merchants of Moscow 1580–1650 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 26–30.

(55.) Dmitri Obolensky, The Byzantine Commonwealth: Eastern Europe, 500–1453 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971).

(56.) Raffensperger, Reimagining Europe; Yulia Mikhailova, “Reimagining Medieval History Against the Last Bastion of the West-Centric Master Narrative,” Russian History 42 (2015): 188–203. Cf. Roman Kovalev, “Reimagining Kievan Rus’ in Unimagined Europe,” Russian History 42 (2015): 158–187.

(57.) Litvina and Uspenskij, “Russo-Polovtsian Dynastic Contacts,” 65–75;Peter B. Golden, “`Ascent by Scales’: The System of Succession in Kievan Rus’ in a Eurasian Context,” in States, Societies, Cultures East and West. Essays in Honor of Jaroslaw Pelenski, ed. Janusz Duzinkiewicz (New York: Ross Publishing, Inc., 2004), 246–247; Ostrowski, “Systems of Succession,” 36–37.

(58.) For surveys of earlier studies related to these issues, see Vernadsky, Mongols and Russia, 333–334; Ostrowski, Muscovy and the Mongols, 1–4. For Oriental Despotism, see Karl A. Wittfogel, Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957). For discussions and critiques of Oriental Despotism, see the articles in Slavic Review, 22 (1963): Karl A. Wittfogel, “Russia and the East: A Comparison and Contrast,” 627–643; Nicholas Riasanovsky, “`Oriental Despotism’ and Russia,” 644–649; Bertold Spuler, “Russia and Islam,” 650–655. See also Ostrowski, Muscovy and the Mongols, 8–9, 11–12. For a Eurasianist view, see Vernadsky, Mongols and Russia, 333–390. On Eurasianism, see Between Europe & Asia: The Origins, Theories, and Legacies of Russian Eurasianism, ed. Mark Bassin, Sergey Glebov, and Marlene Laruelle (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015).

(59.) Hellie, Enserfment, 22–25, 33; Marshall Poe, “The Truth About Muscovy,” Kritika 3 (2002): 259–266.

(60.) Nancy Kollmann, Kinship and Politics. The Making of the Muscovite Political System, 1345–1547 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1987).

(61.) Edward L. Keenan, “Muscovite Political Folkways,” Russian Review 45 (1986): 115–181.

(62.) Daniel Rowland, “Did Muscovite Literary Ideology Place Limits on the Power of the Tsar (1540s–1660s)?,” Russian Review 49 (1990): 125–155.

(63.) Ostrowski, Muscovy and the Mongols, 88–89.

(64.) Keenan, “Muscovite Political Folkways,” 118, 132, 137.

(65.) Donald Ostrowski, “The Mongol Origins of Muscovite Political Institutions,” Slavic Review 49 (1990): 525–542; Ostrowski, “The Military Land Grant Along the Muslim-Christian Frontier,” Russian History 19, nos. 1–4 (1992): 347–359.

(66.) Chester Dunning, “The Precondition of Modern Russia’s First Civil War,” Russian History 25 (1998): 119–131; Marshall Poe, “The Military Revolution, Administrative Development, and Cultural Change in Early Modern Russia,” Journal of Early Modern History 2 (1998): 247–273; Sergei Bogatyrev, “Localism and Integration in Muscovy,” in Russia Takes Shape: Patterns of Integration from the Middle Ages to the Present, ed. Sergei Bogatyrev (Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 2004): 59–127; Chester Dunning and Norman S. Smith, “Moving Beyond Absolutism: Was Early Modern Russia a `Fiscal-Military’ State?,” Russian History 33 (2006): 19–44.

(67.) For samples, see Russian History, vol. 19: The Frontier in Russian History (1992); Culture and Identity in Muscovy, 1359–1584, ed. A. M. Kleimola and G. D. Lenhoff (Moscow: ITZ-Garant, 1997); The New Muscovite Cultural History: A Collection in Honor of Daniel B. Rowland; Dubitando. Studies in History and Culture in Honor of Donald Ostrowski; and Everyday Life in Russian History.

For historiographical essays on recent scholarship on Kievan Rus’ and Muscovy, see Maureen Perrie, “Introduction,” in The Cambridge History of Russia, 13–17, Simon Franklin, “Pre-Mongol Rus’: New Sources, New Perspectives?,” Russian Review 60 (2001): 465–474; Robert Crummey, “The Latest from Muscovy,” Russian Review 60 (2001): 474–486; and Nancy Shields Kollmann, Convergence, Expansion, and Experimentation: Current Trends in Muscovite History-Writing,” Kritika 2 (2001): 233–240.

(68.) The Russian Primary Chronicle. Laurentian Text, trans. and ed. Samuel Hazzard Cross and Olgerd P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor, Mediaeval Academy of America Publication, no. 60 (Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1953); The Chronicle of Novgorod, 1016–1471, trans. Robert Michell and Nevill Forbes, Camden 3rd series, vol. 25 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1914); The Nikonian Chronicle, ed. Serge A. Zenkovsky, trans. Serge A. Zenkovsky and Betty Jean Zenkovsky, 5 vols. (Princeton, NJ: Kingston Press, 1984).

(69.) Accounts translated into English include Aḥmad Ibn Faḍlān, Ibn Fadlan’s Journey to Russia: A Tenth-Century Traveler from Baghdad to the Volga River, trans. Richard Nelson Frye (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 2005) and De Adminstrando Imperio. For Russian translations of Arabic and Persian accounts, Россия, Московия, Тартария—10–17 века–ДревЛит—библиотека древних рукописей

(71.) Christopher Dawson, ed., The Mongol Mission (London: Sheed and Ward, 1955); Joseph Barbaro and Ambrogio Contarini, Travels to Tana and Persia (London: Hakluyt Society, 1973); Herberstein, Notes Upon Russia; Rude and Barbarous Kingdom; E. D. Morgan and C. H. Coote, eds., Early Voyages and Travels to Russia and Persia, 2 vols. (London: Hakluyt Society, 1886). For more a comprehensive list of foreign visitors to Muscovy, see Poe, “A People Born to Slavery,” 239–250; Poe, Foreign Descriptions of Muscovy: An Analytic Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources.