Vol 20, No 3 (2021): Political Communication Models of the Russian State with the Peoples of the Ural-Volga Region, Siberia and Central Asia in the 16th–19th Centuries

Political Communication Models of the Russian State with the Peoples of the Ural-Volga Region, Siberia and Central Asia in the 16th–19th Centuries

The legitimacy of Tsarist authority over the peoples of Siberia in the late 16th to early 18th centuries

Zuev A.S., Slugina V.A.


The article studies the methods that substantiated the legitimacy of the power of the Russian monarch over the vast territories of Siberia. The context of this study is the Russian political culture of the late 16th to early 18th centuries. Based on information from chronicles as well as diplomatic and administrative documents, the authors identify and systematize the main political, ideological, and legal arguments that were most often used by the Russian government to justify the Tsars’ rule over Siberia. The arguments can be divided into two groups according to the target audience: the first group was intended for conversation with the heads of foreign countries, the second one addressed the Siberian peoples and also the Russian people broadly. In foreign policy, the representatives of the Moscow Tsar emphasized the “antiquity” and the “strength” of the bond between these territories and the Russian state. The diplomats tended to exaggerate the scale of the Russian military, socio-economic, political, and cultural (religious) development of the new territories. At the same time, they were silent about the resistance of the local population to the tsarist servicemen. At home the authorities applied other legal arguments to bolster their legitimacy. In interaction with indigenous populations, the Russian governors and service people usually forced the communities (in the form of an ultimatum) to accept the claim that the Tsar owned the Siberian lands as a fiefdom. With this the socio-political status of the Siberian peoples radically changed: they became subjects to the Russian Tsar, as kholops or yasak-payers. The Russian combatants and colonists, in direct contact with the indigenous population, informed the Siberian peoples about recent government directives and fully identified with the official claim to authority. In the eyes of the Russian population, an additional element was the religious and political idea that the Tsar had been chosen by God, from which followed the duty to expand the Russian Orthodox tsardom.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):340-352
pages 340-352 views

The ulus elite of the Yakuts in the communicative space of the Russian state from the 17th to 19th centuries

Borisov A.A.


The article discusses the incorporation of the elite of the Yakut uluses - traditional potestary institutions - into the Russian state through its communicative space. At the same time, a new interpretation of uluses is given as a special political form of organization of nomadic peoples. In view of their dispersed and mobile lifestyle, communication played an important role among them. With titles such as toyons, kniastsy , and "best people", the taxonomy of the representatives of the Yakut elite finds analogies among other nomadic peoples. The article discusses the genealogical principle of the legitimacy of power and the governance practice of the Russian state in Yakutia. This article breaks new ground by analyzing the routes and forms of political communication through which the influence of the Russian state on the ulus system in general and on the ulus elite in particular was carried out. The activities of the provincial administration in relation to toyons to make them Russian subjects are interpreted as a route for the formation of the communication space in the imperial outskirts. The delegations of the Yakut nobles to the Russian tsars of the 17th and 18th centuries, and the inclusion of Yakut elite representatives into the Russian nobility, expanded this space by increasing the Yakuts’ confidence in the ruling regime. The article also takes account of local features of this process, which influenced the rate and nature of incorporation. The paper characterizes the communicative practices of embedding the Yakut ulus elite into the district governance system of Yakutia. The author argues that typologically, the ideas of citizenship adopted in the Russian state and in the Yakut ulus elite coincided. The Yakut nobles, apparently, did not differ in this from the related Turkic-Mongol elites of Southern and Western Siberia, but differed, in turn, in the pace of transition to tsarist power, since the former had an alternative in the face of politically strong neighbors, for example, Dzungaria.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):353-364
pages 353-364 views

I.D. Khokhlov's mission to Bukhara in 1620-1623 and the communication networks of Russian diplomacy in Central Asia

Moiseev M.V.


This article examines Ivan Danilovich Khokhlov’s mission to the Khanate of Bukhara in the early 17th century to gain a better understanding of the Russian envoy’s links with the Central Asian states. Working with the embassy’s report and related sources, the author looks at both the official and unofficial contacts of the mission’s members and pays particular attention to identifying with whom they dealt. Unusually, the diplomat limited himself to official contacts in building his information network. Together with his interpreter, Khohklov worked hard to set up a network of horizontal contacts to provide him with comprehensive and detailed intelligence. Endeavoring to improve relations, he described the ruling khans and those close to him, all the while making sure that he strictly adhered to Russian diplomatic protocol.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):365-377
pages 365-377 views

Keeping cultural codes: the customs and ceremonies of ethnic minorities under Russian rule

Trepavlov V.V.


When establishing its rule over other nationalities, the Russian Empire relied on local elites, including their aristocracy, tribal chiefs, and sometimes the clergy. In addition to retaining some of their traditional privileges, they were also granted new benefits. The same paradigm applied to the ethnic policy of both the Muscovite state and the Russian Empire: a combination of nation-wide standards of citizenship and management with local traditional principles of organizing society. The cultural codes of Russian officials and settlers on the one hand and the expanding state’s non-Slavic population on its the eastern and southern frontiers overlapped and influenced each other. To lessen the opposition of its minorities, the empire’s administration often adapted new regulations to their cultural norms. For pragmatic reasons, officials acknowledged the importance of at least showing some respect to subjects who spoke different languages and professed different beliefs. As a result of this interaction, the cultures of the rulers and the non-Russian nationalities they ruled influenced each other.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):378-387
pages 378-387 views

Siberian Bukharans in Russian mission: gathering intelligence in Russia’s south-eastern borderlands, 17th-18th centuries

Puzyrev I.D.


Siberian Bukharans were one of the most agile group of the native population of Western Siberia and the Urals in the 17th and 18th centuries. This paper analyzes information about the border activities of Bukharans, characterizes their participation in the implementation of Russian foreign policy. The author considers the phenomenon of “intelligence” and the intermediary and diplomatic role of the Bukharans through the study of various aspects of Russian policy on the southeastern borderlands. The result shows that Bukharans were involved in intelligence activities in several forms. The Russian authorities could interview Bukharans who came to trade; they could include Bukharans in Russian embassies; or they could send them into the steppe as independent agents. The geography of their missions in the 17th and 18th centuries included the Kuchum lands, the Kazakh khanates, the Oirat and Dzungar lands, as well as the Qing Empire. Bukharans participated in the negotiations as interpreters and they were sometimes allowed to participate in diplomatic ceremonies such as gift exchange. The intelligence activities of some Bukharans could go hand in hand with their trade operations. Recruiting Bukharans for intelligence gathering tsks allowed the Siberian and Orenburg authorities to conduct a more effective policy in the steppe borderlands, based on the knowledge of local realities. The Russian authorities used information provided by the Bukharans for purposes such as drawing up maps, informing the voivodes of the borderlands about military dangers, the movement of troops, and diplomatic negotiations.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):388-398
pages 388-398 views

Caravan trade of Central Asian merchants with Russia in the first quarter of the 19th century

Abdrakhmanov K.A.


The article analyzes the everyday business activity of Asian entrepreneurs who participated in caravan trade with the Russian Empire through the cities of Orenburg region in the first quarter of the 19th century. The specifics of foreign trade operations of merchants from Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand during this period were almost completely ignored by Russian historians in the pre-revolutionary, Soviet and modern periods. The source base of this article consists of unpublished archival documents that shed light on the details of the business activities of merchants from Asia. Letters to the regional and Imperial administration made by Asian entrepreneurs, as well as personal letters from foreign merchants are particularly valuable in this regard. Traders had to deal with a long list of tasks. Before the caravan could go along the required route, it was necessary to hire responsible guides, which was not always possible (guides often turned out to be unreliable, which led to additional expenses for the cargo owners), acquire pack animals, take care of security and prepare a considerable amount of money for various road tolls for travelling through the Kazakh steppe. The merchants who were successful in the caravan trade were characterized by moral and psychological stability, the ability to restrain themselves, not succumbing to momentary desires, and even the skills of using cold weapons and firearms. To resolve issues that were exclusively within the competence of representatives of the Russian regional or central administration, Asian merchants had to possess certain communication skills.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):399-410
pages 399-410 views

The visits of the rulers of Russia’s Central Asian protectorates to St. Petersburg at the turn of the 20th century: communicative practice

Brezhneva S.N.


This article considers the visits of the rulers of Russia’s Central Asian protectorates to St. Petersburg as a means for the imperial authorities to communicate with the Muslim elite. It argues out that gifts, decorations and lavish receptions were all means to exert psychological pressure on the Emir of Bukhara and the Khan of Khiva. Together with other practices, these were meant integrate the Muslim elite into Russian society. As relations with the protectorates evolved, the Russian government developed a plan to annex them. However, the ministry of foreign affairs effectively blocked the move. At the same time, St Petersburg accorded extensive powers to the protectorates’ rulers that even exceeded those of Turkestan’s governor-general, encouraging them to consider themselves to be independent rulers. At the same time, differences in outlook, faith, and ways to communicate led the protectorates to separate themselves from the Russian Empire and drove them into the arms its enemies during World War I.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):411-425
pages 411-425 views


Military clergy reorganization in the Paul’s I of Russia military reform

Vasilyev A.V.


The article examines an important historical stage in the development of military clergy. During this period, effective systems of military administration, training and recruitment and social protection of its members were established. In the process of the Emperor Paul's reform the military clergy acquired the features of a political institution. This was manifested in the active intervention of the state in the managerial system of the clergy. And the head of the military priests becomes the ober-priest of the Russian army and navy. A system of candidates’ selection for the positions of military priests has been built. A specialized educational institution was established for recruiting military clergy from the children of military clergy - the Army Seminary. After leaving the military department, martial ober-priests are provided with places in urban parishes, and martial priests are appointed to the rural churches of the dioceses from which they came to serve. A pension was introduced for the military clergy who were unable to continue serving because of age or illness. The military clergy were extracted from the subordination of the Holy Synod. And in the person of the ober-priest it was subordinated to the highest political leadership. As a result, the organization of the military clergy, which was optimal from the point of view of military-political management and effective use, was integrated into the military organization of the state. But this came into conflict with the canonical church norms and the position of the holy synod. After the tragic death of emperor Paul, this organization was largely dismantled.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):426-436
pages 426-436 views

Post-Soviet diasporas in the age of the internet

Pivovar E.I., Ershov V.F., Katagoshchina M.V.


This article examines the impact of recent developments in the diasporas of post-Soviet nationalities during the early 21st century. Its authors argue that new information technologies have a major impact on the creation of identities in diasporas, their interaction with the host countries and the historical homeland, as well as the social adaptation of migrants. Focusing on the evolution of expatriate communities in Russia and its “Near Abroad,” they point out that these diasporas use the Internet to promote common historical, cultural and civilizational values. The article goes on to analyze the information policies of ethnic and cultural organizations, the integration of intellectual elites of post-Soviet diasporas into scientific and educational institutions, the impact of digital technologies on the business activity of diasporas, the daily life of migrant workers, as well as the participation of diasporas in international culture and public diplomacy. The authors conclude that modern means of communicating information have created a fundamentally new environment for migration flows and the creation of diasporas in the post-Soviet space and around the world. Today, this trend plays an important role in economic and cultural integration and social development of Eurasia.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):437-447
pages 437-447 views

Missionary activities of the Russian orthodox church in Southeast Asia at the beginning of the 21st century

Kriazheva-Kartseva E.V., Idrus A.A.


The article analyses the Russian Orthodox Church’s missionary activity of the in Southeast Asia, with a focus on its prerequisites and the stages of its development. ROC missionary work in the region could build on the experience of pre-revolutionary spiritual missions in Asia, as well as on the Orthodox communities of Russian emigrants after the revolution. Important factors are also the formation of the global labor market; international tourism; and the aspiration of compatriots living abroad to preserve the “Russian World” (Russkii Mir). The article analyses the Russian historiography of the missionary activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in Southeast Asia. With the establishment of the Patriarchal Exarchate in Southeast Asia in 2018, with its center in Singapore, a new stage of missionary activity in the region began. The establishment of the exarchate in Southeast Asia brought about the systematical management of the numerous Orthodox parishes that appeared at the turn of the millennium in this region. Relying on little-known and understudied historical sources, the authors identified the forms of missionary work in various countries and assessed the scale of activities in relation to the prevailing confessional traditions. This includes an analysis of missionary work in countries dominated by Buddhism (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos), Christianity (the Philippines), and Islam (Indonesia, Malaysia), with special attention paid to the situation in socialist Vietnam and multi-confessional Singapore. The authors conclude that the missionary activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in Southeast Asia has now passed through several stages from the emergence of the first Orthodox communities in the region to the formation of centralized structured management of the numerous new parishes, with missionary work conducted in ways that respond to the local characteristics.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):448-460
pages 448-460 views


Review on: Michaela Kuthanová, ed. Z historie exilu. Emigrace z území byvalého Ruského impéria v meziválečním Československu [From exil history. Emigration from the Territory of Former Russian Empire to the Interwar Czechoslovakia]. Prague: Památník národního písemnictví Publ., 2019. 176 p.

Serapionova E.P.



RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):461-464
pages 461-464 views

Review on: Amanzholova, Dina A. Sovetskii proekt v Kazahstane: vlast i etnichnost, 1920-1930-e gg. [The Soviet project in Kazakhstan: the power and ethnicity, 1920-1930]. Moscow: The Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences Publ., 2019. 488 p.

Oktiabrskaia I.V.



RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):465-469
pages 465-469 views

Review on: Sinitsyn, F.L. Sovetskoye gosudarstvo i kochevniki: istoriya, politika, naselenie [Soviet state and nomads: history, politics, population]. Moscow: Tsentrpoligraf Publ., 2019. 318 p.

Mongush M.V.



RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(3):470-472
pages 470-472 views

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