By Paul Dukes
With its breadth of scope and conciseness of presentation, this 3rd version of A heritage of Russia might be worthy to scholars of ecu and Russian heritage, and in addition to scholars of Russian language, literature, and social science.
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Additional info for A History of Russia: Medieval, Modern, Contemporary c. 882–1996
Ivan I, known as Kalita, or Moneybag, has often been looked upon as the real founder of Moscow's power, although the case for the maintenance of such a view INVASION AND DISUNITY 29 rests not so much upon Ivan's parsimony and skilful land purchase as upon his remunerative subservience to the Tatars. Ivan Kalita succeeded in gaining for himself their approval not only to rule as Grand Prince but also to collect tribute on their behalf from all the principalities. As a further addition to his income, he carried on campaigns in the north to strengthen Moscow's grasp on the fur trade.
Moreover, in the comparative setting to which historians are increasingly turning, analysis of Russia's disunity and subsequent unification reveals that it was by no means a completely unique experience, even though it possesses special features of which the Mongol yoke is perhaps the most important. Political After their conquest of Northern China and Central Asia, the Mongols fanned out to establish their control over a vast area of Western Eurasia, including Transcaucasia and the Russian principalities.
The druzhina comprised the commanders of the armed forces, the chief administrators and the greatest landlords, and, in the words of Kliuchevskii, 'became the governing class'. The merchant class was important in the towns, its most important members allying with the boyars to dominate the veche. Capital was for Kliuchevskii the most important element in the Russkaia PravdaY Most of the peasants and townsmen were legally free, the slaves proper constituting a comparatively small class. But the degree of freedom enjoyed by the Kievan people has sometimes been exaggerated in talk of 'good old days' which in fact never existed.