Secret of Moscovy’s Extraordinary Expansion to current ‘Russia’ borders? Slavery

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Harvard Professor Richard Pipes starts a new chapter of his book “Russia Under the Old Regime” with the following quote of Sigismund Herberstein, a sixteenth-century German traveler to Muscovy: “All the people consider themselves to be kholops, that is slaves of their Prince”. And continues with the question many people ask even today: “How was Moscow’s extraordinary expansion achieved? The answer is best sought in the internal structure of the Moscow state and particularly in the tie connecting its sovereign with his ‘land’. After prodigious effort and at great cost to all concerned, the tsars eventually succeeded in transforming Russia into a gigantic royal domain. The system of management which had once prevailed on their private properties was politicized and gradually imposed on the rest of the country, until it came to embrace the whole empire. In this spacious kingdom, the tsar became seigneur, the population his kholopy, the land and all else that yielded profit his property. The arrangement was not without serious shortcomings. But it did give the rulers of Moscow a mechanism for mobilizing manpower and resources which no government of Europe or Asia could duplicate.” Do we observe exactly the same structure under the Putin regime and during Muscovy’s current attempt at expansion? It would be a revelation for many to also learn How Moscow Became the Capital >

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