Cover image for Russia's steppe frontier : the making of a colonial empire, 1500-1800
Russia's steppe frontier : the making of a colonial empire, 1500-1800
Khodarkovsky, Michael, 1955-
Publication Information:
Bloomington ; Indianapolis : Indiana University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 290 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DK43 .K485 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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From the time of the decline of the Mongol Golden Horde to the end of the 18th century, the Russian government expanded its influence and power throughout its southern borderlands. The process of incorporating these lands and peoples into the Russian Empire was not only a military and political struggle, but also a contest between the conceptual worlds of the indigenous peoples and the Russians. Drawing on sources and archival materials in Russian and Turkic languages, Michael Khodarkovsky draws a complex picture of the encounter between the Russian authorities and border peoples.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This innovative and fascinating book examines the relationship between Russia and its neighbors on the Eurasian steppe, which stretches from the northern Caucasus area into the Central Asian region of present-day Kazakhstan, from about 1500 to 1800. During these formative years, Russia's continual southern expansion into the borderlands helped transform it from a fragmented and weak frontier society into a formidable colonial empire. Kohdarkovsky (Loyola Univ.) considers the complex relationship between the Russian state and the indigenous nomadic and seminomadic societies that inhabited the steppe, emphasizing their fundamental differences in social organization, political and economic structures, and values. The author argues that Russia's southward expansion was, contrary to commonly accepted views, a deliberate process designed to colonize the new regions and to subdue their inhabitants. However, Russia's policies gradually changed during these three centuries from defending its vulnerable frontier against nomadic incursions to deliberate colonization by means of pacifying, settling, and converting the new subjects to Orthodox Christianity. Recommended for advanced undergraduates and above. N. M. Brooks New Mexico State University