Eastern direction. Conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan. Annexation of Siberia.

The proximity of the Kazan Khanate created an almost constant threat to Russian possessions. Previous attempts to subdue the Kazan khans were not successful, despite the fact that there were many supporters of the Moscow orientation in Kazan; Murom, Kostroma, Vologda and other counties were attacked. Moscow knew that tens of thousands of Russian people were held captive in Kazan. Efforts to annex the Right Bank of the Volga (“Mountain Side”) by peaceful means failed. The population (Chuvash, Mordovians, etc.) refused to submit to Kazan and expressed a desire to become one of the subjects of Russia. That is why this direction became a priority in the foreign policy of Ivan the Terrible. In 1550, Ivan IV gathered a large army, which included new archery regiments, and began a campaign against Kazan. Before the speech, the tsar visited Vladimir and prayed at the tomb of Alexander Nevsky. The appeal to the image of the defender of the Russian land encouraged the soldiers. The news of the tsar’s campaign near Kazan prompted the Crimean Khan to launch a preemptive strike. The Crimean cavalry headed for Tula. The khan’s army included Janissaries (sultan’s guard). However, the Russian regiments prudently advanced towards the enemy forced the Krymchaks to retreat. In 1551, at the confluence of the river. Sviyagi in the Volga in a short time was put a fortified town – Sviyazhsk, which became the stronghold of the Russian army. Approaching Kazan, the tsar invited the besieged to lay down their arms and surrender the city. There was a refusal. The strong defensive structures of Kazan, water barriers and swampy places on the outskirts of the city gave the defenders hope for a successful defense. The Russian army was well equipped with artillery; mobile siege towers with cannons (“walk-fortified settlements”) were used for the siege. The infantry had protective devices – tours (large baskets on wheels stuffed with earth). In addition, the Russians resorted to undermining the fortress walls of Kazan. In this way, a hiding place for the water supply of the fortress was blown up. Under the leadership of the deacon I. Vyrodkov, the besiegers dug under the walls of the Kazan Kremlin. A deafening explosion destroyed part of the wall. Russian warriors rushed into the gap. On October 2, 1552, after a stubborn assault, the city was taken. Having freed many Russian captives, the besiegers, following the royal order, did not spare the armed Kazan. Contemporaries noticed that Kazan fell almost on the day of the feast of the Protection of the Virgin, which was imprinted in the memory of subsequent generations. But hostilities in the region continued until 1557, the Kazan Murzas did not want to give up their positions.

The fall of the Kazan Khanate made a strong impression on other states and peoples. Not relying only on force, Ivan IV sent letters to the subjects of the former Kazan Khanate, addressed to “black people” (i.e., the people), with a call to come under the rule of Russia. The letters promised the preservation of the lands they occupied, protection from encroachment, the inviolability of existing beliefs and orders. Taxes to the royal treasury should not exceed the level of payments to Kazan khans. The Bashkirs at their tribal meetings decided to voluntarily enter into Russian citizenship. The city of Ufa was built in the center of Bashkiria. It is quite possible that something similar took place in Udmurtia. The rulers of the Nogai Horde turned to the tsar with a request for acceptance into Russian citizenship.

Almost without resistance in 1556, the Astrakhan Khanate passed under the rule of Ivan IV. Now the entire Volga river route was within Russia. Opportunities for comprehensive relations with the peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia have expanded. Ambassadors from Kabarda appeared in Moscow with a request for acceptance into Russian citizenship, to which consent was given. At the end of the XVI century. the desire to become subjects of Russia was expressed by the rulers of Imereti (Eastern Georgia). Then new elements appeared in the title of Russian sovereigns, including the mention of mountain princes and the Iberian land.

Not without the influence of Russia’s successes in the fight against the states – the heirs of the Horde, the ruler of the Siberian Khanate Yediger in 1555 sent an embassy to Ivan IV. Together with congratulations on the conquest of Kazan, Ediger’s envoys conveyed their master’s request for acceptance into Russian citizenship. The answer was positive. The following year, a small yasak arrived from Siberia to the royal treasury – a tribute in furs as recognition of the subordination of Siberia to the scepter of the Moscow Tsar. The title of Ivan GU is replenished with the words: “And the ruler of all the Siberian lands.” Peaceful vassal relations of the Siberian Khanate with Russia were established.

A few years later, Ediger was killed by Kuchum, who seized power in the Siberian Khanate. At first, the new ruler continued to pay yasak and did not refuse to submit to Moscow. But then he changed his position and began to attack the Russian borders. He entered into contact with the Crimean Khanate, hostile to Russia, which also pushed him to a confrontation with Moscow.

By that time, the Russian cities of Cherdyn, Solikamsk and villages appeared in the Urals (it was then called Great Perm). In these parts, rich merchants Stroganovs received vast possessions according to royal letters of commendation. They built new towns and villages, began to extract salt. They traded with the inhabitants of Siberia before, acquiring valuable furs from them. The Stroganovs intended to further expand their possessions, hoping to enter the lands of Siberia. They managed to obtain from the government of Ivan IV the right to keep hired soldiers for defense against possible attacks (in fact, the patrimonial army). Warriors on the outskirts were usually Cossacks and free “walking” people. One of these detachments, led by ataman Ermak Timofeevich, was invited to serve the Stroganovs in their Ural estates. According to other sources, the Cossacks went to Siberia, fleeing the royal disgrace, and the Stroganovs rafted this restless gang beyond the Urals, providing them with everything necessary. On September 1, 1581, Yermak set out with his retinue from the Stroganov estates. The trip turned out to be successful. The Cossacks approached the capital of Kuchum Isker (Kashlyk, Siberia) and stormed the city. Subsequent hostilities led to new defeats of the Kuchumov army. The Cossacks made campaigns, took the oath of the local peoples. Yermak understood that it would not be possible to keep Siberia with the forces of his small squad. He sent an embassy to Moscow with the news of the capture of the “Siberian kingdom” and the collected yasak, which meant the recognition of Russian citizenship by the local non-Russian population. This act was reinforced by a sworn record drawn up on behalf of the Siberian yasak people. Tsar Ivan was delighted with such news, especially since the long Livonian War turned into failures for Russia. The reinforcements sent to Siberia did not help Yermak. Arriving military people came without food, and the Cossacks themselves were starving. The harsh winter exacerbated the difficult situation. The end of the glorious ataman was also tragic. He died during a night battle, when the soldiers of Kuchum attacked the exhausted sleeping Cossacks. But the Siberian Khanate, as a result of the actions of Yermak’s Cossacks, received such a blow from which it could no longer recover. New detachments of Russian service people moved beyond the Urals and completed Yermak’s work. The Russian cities of Tyumen (1586), Tobolsk (1587) and others were built. The way to the Siberian expanses was opened to Russia.

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