Russian conquest of Eastern Russia and Sibeia

Nov 2015
The history of Russian conquest of Siberia was interested me since the 1980s, when I lived and worked in Siberia. Now I see it like this:

In the second half of the 17th century, the Stroganovs equipped the Ermak troops. The Stroganovs were wealthy landowners and industrialists in the Urals. Ivan the Terrible gave them 3.5 million hectares of land along the Kama River. They created there essentially a state in the state, with its own army, the construction of cities and fortresses.

Yermak defeated the Siberian Khanate - one of the former Horde ulus. Most of it was located in the modern Tyumen region, in Western Siberia. He died in one of the battles with the local Tatars.

In 1586, the Russians founded the first city in Siberia, Tyumen, in which I lived for 5 years.

In the next hundred years, one of the remarkable historical campaigns took place. Campaign for the Russian conquest of Siberia.

It was conducted mainly by Russian Cossacks at the behest of the Moscow Tzar who financed these campaigns. The Cossacks built large boats and floated on them along the large Siberian rivers and their channels, gradually moving eastward. By winter, they built wooden ostrog - a small stronghold with a picket fence (later - with walls made of logs) and several huts inside.

The Amanat izba as the hut for the hostages - amanats - was obligatory there. These hostages from among the local tribal leaders, knyazes, or their relatives should have guaranteed the humility of the local peoples to the Russians.

Later, after the Cossacks, Russian priests will move there to baptize the local population. The Cossacks and other Russians who settled in Siberia usually married women from the local peoples, forming the mischievous population of Siberia, who spoke Russian.

In winter, the Cossacks hunted and stocked up on a new voyage. And then they built new lodya (лодья, boat) and moved along the rivers further east. In the ostrog they left a small - two or three dozen people - garrison. Later, early Russian Siberian cities will grow from a number of such ostrogs.

Wooden tower of the ostrog in Btatsk

Apparently, the local population believed that the troops of the Moscow State came to them as the successor to the Horde. And the Horde was one of the heirs of the Mongol Empire - the local population kept historical memory about it. So a number of local tribes and peoples did not resist the Cossacks and resignedly fell under the Moscow Tzar. With him, the Tzardom of Moscow collected tribute - yasak (ясак).

Tribute of the fur skins. The flow of furs from Siberia was a major source of replenishing the Moscow treasury, and this tzardom quickly became rich at the expense of Siberia. Furs were also the main export commodity of that tzardom.

Other Siberian tribes and peoples offered strong resistance to the Russian invaders. And the fights did not always end with the victory of the Russians. One of the most recalcitrant peoples turned out to be the Chukchi, who fought with the Russians for 150 years.

Within one hundred years since the establishment of Tyumen the Russian Cossacks and Streltsy (стрельцы) have traveled a great distance and reached the Bering Strait.

The advance of the Russians to America began with the foundation in 1772 of Unalaska on the Aleutian Islands. In 1802-1805, the Russian war with the Indians in Alaska took place


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
One should mention the peopling of Siberia by Russians condemned to exile ,
they left in escorted convoys from Kitai gorod on the Vladimir road ,
people would line the side to give them blessings and food
it would take them all the way to Kazan and Tyumen on the "road of bones"
more than 2000 kms done on foot ,
those who made it would become Siberians , a hardy bunch much given to religion

the name got recycled later for the Kolima , then transport was by rail