The muslim policy of the russian state under ivan the terrible: controversial aspects

Maksim Moiseev

Abstract


The article studies the history of interaction between Orthodox Christians belonging to the Russian state and Muslims. The available data demonstrate that, as early as the 14th century, Muslims started living in a number of Russian cities. With the collapse of the Golden Horde and the confrontation between its successor states, the influx of migrants to the Russian lands was constantly growing. The conquest of the Kazan and Astrakhan khanates in the 16th century and then Siberia completely changed the ethnic and religious composition of the region. One state united Russians, Tatars, and various Finno-Ugric peoples: now under its aegis were both Orthodox Christians and Muslims. This influenced state ideology and policy. To study the aforementioned issue, historians have referred to a multitude of documentary and narrative sources. However, non-Russian scholars have focused on ambassadorial books which mention interaction between Christians and Muslims. The author maintains that these sources may prove very useful. First, referring to these books, the author reveals the specificities of the relations between the native Muslim population and the outside Russian administration in conquered Astrakhan. Secondly, the author traces the routes of voluntary and forced migrants and the elite of the Nogai Horde into Russia. The author describes the details of Christian-Muslim relations and argues that the Kazan war was not a “crusade”. The resettlement of part of the Kazan nobility to Novgorod did not automatically mean their conversion to Christianity. After the conquest of Astrakhan, its government was a diarchy consisting of the military administration and the local elites. Siberian archival materials provide no information about policies of intentionally converting the conquered population to Christianity. The analysis of ambassadorial books proves that Tatar prisoners were christened irregularly. Hence, the author concludes that the Russian state under Ivan the Terrible was rather indifferent to its residents’ religious views. The epoch in question can be characterised by the absence of a policy of converting the Muslim population to Christianity en masse. It was only the misbalance between religious freedom and state security that led to the repression and conversion of part of the Muslim population.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2016.1.140

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