Early Russian History. Key Issues. Гончарова Л.Ю. - 18 стр.



The Russians had no choice but to fight. Dimitry issued a call to arms, but few of
Russia's princes responded. Yet enough of an army was raised to give the Russian
forces under Dimitry an unexpected victory in 1380 at the Battle of Kulikovo near the
Don. Dimitry thus received the name of Donskoy. This battle was the first and only
major Russian victory over the Golden Horde and it added stature and luster to the
grand dukes of Moscow.
However, the Tartars soon recovered and reasserted their domination of Russia.
They now interfered more directly in Russian affairs than before Kulikovo. More
revolts and punitive expeditions followed for another whole century. Finally in the
second half of the fifteenth century Moscow grew stronger and the Mongols weaker.
The leading Russian prince of this period was Ivan III of Moscow (1462-1505). The
Golden Horde was ruled from 1460 to 1480 by Khan Akhmad.
Friction, presumably resulting from Russia's failure to provide tribute, led to a
major Mongol invasion in 1472 which was accompanied by the destruction and
burning of a number of cities. Two years latter Moscow was visited by a large Tartar
embassy and a huge trade delegation comprising some 3000 merchants. New
difficulties soon arose thereafter. When negotiations failed, Akhmad concluded an
alliance with the king of Poland and the grand duke of Lithuania and in 1480 invaded
Ivan was reluctant to accept the challenge but was finally persuaded to assume
command of the troops. The two found themselves facing each other across the Ugra
River, a narrow stream that formed the boundary between Russia and Lithuania. They
just stood there glaring at each other for months. Finally in November Akhmad
suddenly retreated. Why? Well his Polish and Lithuanian allies failed to send troops
and a rival Tartar chieftain attacked one of his camps which contained Akhmad's
wives and family. Soon after that Akhmad was assassinated by one of his
countrymen. In this undramatic and unheroic fashion the "Tartar yoke" fell from the
neck of Russia. The Golden Horde survived until 1502, when the Crimean Tartars
delivered the final blow which terminated its existence as a state.
The Yoke in the Long Run: Determinant Influence?
Two and one half centuries of foreign rule are bound to leave a profound
imprint on a subjugated nation. The influence of the Mongol tradition may be traced
in the crude methods by which Russia's unification was achieved in the fifteenth
century and in the character of the absolutist government that was to rule her for over
300 years. The conditions created by the invasion were probably instrumental in
bringing about the destruction of the veche, although there is no assurance that this
rudimentary form of democracy would have survived and would have grown into an
institution of truly representative government even if the Tartars had never come to
Russia. The military organization and administrative practices of Muscovy were
probably also affected by Mongol institutions.
The social effects of the Mongol rule are more pronounced. There was a great
deal of intermarriage and social intercourse between the Russian princes and
members of the Russian upper class, on the one hand, and their opposite numbers in