By Michael Kort
Detailing the social, monetary, and political alterations and crises that the folks of Russia have needed to undergo, this ebook presents a complete account of this enormous country's background. It comprises assurance at the conquest and rule of Russia by way of the Mongol Golden Horde; and the reign of terror by way of Ivan the poor.
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In addition, the boyars continued to meet in a council called the boyar duma. Although the duma lacked specific powers, by virtue of tradition it acted as a break on the authority of the grand prince. Ivan did not directly attack the boyars’ economic and political powers; rather, he chipped away at them. He established a new class of nobles by granting estates called pomestie on a conditional basis, primarily in exchange for military service. Land for this purpose often came from newly conquered territory.
Adding insult to injury, Ivan seized Novgorod’s famous bell, the proud symbol of its republican way of life, and removed it to Moscow, declaring, “A veche bell in my patrimony, in Novgorod, shall not be . . I will rule the entire state” (Riazanovsky 1969: 115). Just to make sure that statement would not be challenged and that no opposition 25 A BRIEF HISTORY OF RUSSIA survived, Ivan conducted further purges of the city’s elite during the 1480s, deporting 9,000 boyars, smaller landholders, and merchants in 1489 alone and replacing them with loyalists from Moscow.
Kiev fell in December of 1240 after a long, heroic defense. That resistance had its price. The destruction at Kiev was so total that six years later a visitor from Europe found only 200 houses standing in that formerly stately city. The only major Russian town the Mongols did not attack and sack was Novgorod, protected from the Mongol cavalry by the dense forests and swamps of the far northwest. In 1241 and 1242 the Mongols overran Russia’s western principalities and pressed onward into Poland and Hungary, where they crushed the mounted knights of those countries, the most important battle taking place in 1241.