The formation of the nation: the colonization of the North-Eastern Russia

In the history of the country it is always important to know those cornerstones, turning points that radically influenced the existing state of affairs, and, in general, the formation of the country and the nation as such. One of such events in Russian history is the Slavic colonization of the North-East of Russia.

The Slavs came to the territory of the future Russia not immediately, initially living in Central Europe, in the Danube, Oder and Vistula regions. In the west, they bordered the Celts and Germans, in the south - with the Romans, in the north and northeast - with the Baltic and Finno-Ugric tribes, and, finally, in the east - with the Turks and Iranians. Gradually expanding the territory of their resettlement, they began to move in all directions: crowding the Celts and the Germans, to the west; fighting with the Byzantines, to the south, and, less bloody, to the north and east. Populating areas of the Dniester, Dnieper, moving to the territory of modern Belarus, they went further. Slavic then, in the Early Middle Ages, even reached the Volga, which is confirmed by the Bezvodninsky burial ground in the Nizhny Novgorod region, the burial ground near the village of Popovo on the Unzha River, and most likely the Imenkov archaeological culture, later assimilated by the Turks. The Slavs of the first wave differed from all subsequent ones, and, as Sedov writes, soil burial grounds were typical for it, unlike the burial mounds of a later era. At that time, not so numerous Slavs still had a fairly large influence on the local few Finno-Ugric and Baltic populations, and it is likely that even the chronicle measures mentioned for the last time in the context of Oleg 907's campaign were no longer purely Finno-Ugric, but , rather, a mixed Slavic-Finnish tribe. It is possible that it was the descendants of those immigrants who founded Rostov.

But the wave of Slavic colonization did not end there. With a break of several centuries, other Slavic tribes rushed to the northeast. From the north, first settling in the region of the present-day Pskov region, the territory of the future Smolensk, Yaroslavl and Suzdal opolya and partly the Moscow region, Krivichi was mastered, from the south - the territory of the Upper and Middle Oka basin, and Prini and the Moscow River were inhabited by vyatichi. The territories of Prili'men'ya and Beloozero were used by the Slovenian Ilmens. All these tribes originated from the territories of modern Germany and Poland.

Map of the settlement of the Slavs and their neighbors at the end of the VIII century. The borders of some states have been shown since the 7th century.

The attractiveness of the North-East of Russia for the settlers was due to several reasons. Firstly, a medieval climatic optimum was established here, which allowed to harvest large crops and maintain stable agricultural activities; secondly, the development of international trade and the presence of a depleted furs resource in the south also stimulated immigrants, and, finally, an important factor was the factor of greater security of the north- eastern lands in comparison with the more southern ones, where the Slavs were first threatened by Avars, and then Khazars and Pechenegs.

The medieval climatic optimum.

Slavic settlers gradually assimilated the local population, and so, for example, in the same Krivichi or Vyatichi they find a large Baltic substratum. The next wave of Slavic immigration to the North-East was the mass resettlement of the inhabitants of the South of Russia in the 12th-13th centuries. Escaping the nomadic peoples who ravaged Russia, being attracted to the free status in comparison with their gradual enslavement in their homeland, they constantly moved in the direction of Bryansk and Vladimir, establishing new settlements, villages and cities. At Vladimir Monomakh, a road was laid through the previously extremely hard-to-pass Bryansk forests, which also contributed to migration to the northeast.

Settlers from the territories of the future Ukraine often carried with them the names of cities, and such, for example, the existing Russian cities like Pereyaslavl-Zalessky, Galich, Zvenigorod and Yuryev-Polsky have their analogues on the territory of Ukraine. During this period, the colonization activity acquires a centralized character - the princes now organize the resettlement, relying on existing structures, cities and squads. The founder of Moscow, Yuri Dolgoruky, began actively to encourage the resettlement, his son Andrei Bogolyubsky continued this activity, which, among other things, refused to fight for the Kiev throne, seeking to equip a powerful principality from its north-eastern possessions. Seeking to gain dominance in Rus, he ruined Kiev and besieged Novgorod, having obtained recognition as Grand Duke, but he himself did not rule in the south, creating prerequisites for the transfer of the capital to Vladimir.

Andrei Bogolyubsky (Victor Vasnetsov. Sketch of a listSt. Vladimir's Cathedral in Kiev, 1885-1896.The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow)

South Russian immigrants moved to North-East Russia not only the names of their native cities, but also numerous hydronyms. For example, both Pereyaslavl-Zalessky and Pereyaslavl-Ryazan (Ryazan) are located on the Trubezh rivers, named after the tributary of the Dnieper, on which stands the southern Pereyaslavl. There are also the rivers Lybed, Rpen (Irpen), several rivers named Pochayna, Desna, Sula and other hydronyms transferred from Southern Russia.

A new wave of resettlement occurred after the Mongol invasion and ruin of the Russian lands. It was then that finally lost its dominant role Kiev - ruined, he could not recover, and has since lost all the leading importance. The title of Grand Duke passed from Vladimir to Tver princes, and eventually became entrenched for the first, beginning with Yuri Daniilovich, and, on a regular basis, with Ivan Kalita, who were also princes of Moscow. In the North-East, then a large number of local nobles who have risen on the new land move and compose such Russian noble families as Pleshcheevs, Ignatievs, Zherebtsovs, Pyatovs, Izmailovs, Bulgakovs, Pustoroslevs and others. In 1299, the residence of the Metropolitan of Kiev was moved to Vladimir, and in 1325 to Moscow.

The Grand Duke of Muscovy, engravingAbraham de Brein.

All immigrants in fact were a single cultural and ethnic whole, and as a result, without any special problems, they formed into a single Russian nation. The exception here was except that Vyatichi, but the last mention of them dates back to 1197 year. Gradually Russian identity extended to all territories of Russia - including Belarusian and Little Russian lands. Russian identity, which at first was the identity of the Scandinavian elite, separated from the Slavs, eventually spread to the whole population and became the banner under which they fought and died, seized new lands and defended the old soldiers to the last soldier. The Scandinavians themselves, like the Franks or Bulgars, dissolved in the Slavic environment just as they dissolved in the medium of the Gallorim or the Southern Slavs, without having any special effect on local cultures.

In the future, it is the northeastern lands that will become the basis of the revived Russian state, prevailing over the lands of Belarus and Little Russia, falling under the first Lithuanian and then Polish power, as well as in number and in state capacity, preserving their independence, and creating the policy of the Grand Dukes, a sufficiently powerful state, which is then transformed into the Russian Empire and the Russian Empire.

Nikita Novsky

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