Early Russian History. Key Issues. Гончарова Л.Ю. - 16 стр.



threaten Western Europe in 1242 when he suddenly turned back and retreated to the
Black Sea steppes. For the next 240 years the Mongols stayed in Russia.
Golden Horde Takes Shape
In the Black Sea area Batu established the autonomous Mongol state of the
Golden Horde with the newly built capital of Sarai on the lower Volga. This state
included the Russian principalities, the land of the Volga Bulgars, the Black Sea
steppes inhabited by the Cumans, the northern Caucasus, Western Siberia and
Turkestan. The Golden Horde was at first a province of the Mongol empire. This fact
forced many Russian princes to travel all the way to Karakorum in Mongolia to
consult with the great Khan himself over such things as tribute, conformation of
office and redress of grievances. But dissension eventually weakened the empire and
its autonomous states became warring factions.
In the fifteenth century it became apparent that the Mongol empire could no
longer hold together. At the same time the Russians finally succeeded in overcoming
their ancient disorders and building up a unified state under the leadership of the
Moscow princes. The disintegration of the Golden Horde and them consolidation of
Muscovy culminated in what is traditionally known as the "liberation from the Tatar
yoke," an event that took place at the end of the fifteenth century..
The khans of the Golden Horde were stern masters. The principal objective of
their Russian policy was recruitment of men for the army and the raising of revenue
to meet the costs of administration and imperial expansion. Russian soldiers are
known to have fought in the ranks of the conquerors. The Russian princes continued
to draft men into their armed forces as they did before the invasion, but under the
Mongol rule these troops were largely at the disposal of the khan.
Exaction of tribute was one of the chief concerns of the Golden Horde in
dealing with the Russian dependency. There was a variety of new taxes and their
assessment was based on census taken by the Tartars. Collection of tribute was at first
in the hands of Mongol officials, but late this function was handed over to Russian
grand dukes and princes. The most important direct tax was the "vykhod". Its total
amount was determined by the Mongols and was then assessed by the local grand
duke among the princes under his jurisdiction, who made the final allocation and then
collected it. Direct extortions were heavy, among them being the provision of
transportation, lodgings and maintenance for Mongol officials. No less burdensome
were the frequent trips the princes had to make to Mongolia and Sarai to appear
before the Khan. They usually brought their families and suitable presents for the
Khan and his officials.
While the devastation wrought by the invasion was great, the conquerors made
surprisingly few formal changes in the pattern of the Russian government. But one
change was unmistakable: the source of all power was now the sovereign will of the
khan of the Golden Horde. This meant in practice that the Russian princes had to be