By Paul Dukes
With its breadth of scope and conciseness of presentation, this 3rd variation of A background of Russia could be important to scholars of eu and Russian background, and in addition to scholars of Russian language, literature, and social science.
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Extra info for A History of Russia: Medieval, Modern, Contemporary, c.882-1996
Domestic manufacture increased as well as arable and cattle farming. The village was becoming involved in at least the local market, and some rents began to be paid in money rather than in kind, in the Novgorod lands, for example. A further consequence was the build-up of economic links within the principalities, and between them. The foundations were laid for the unification of the principalities in one state. Far from seeing the period as one of general decline, the Soviet historian G. E. Kochin concluded by saying: The second half of the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were taken up by a great and powerful feat of the working people of old 34 MEDIEVAL RUSSIA: KIEV TO MOSCOW Russia, as a result of which huge areas of northern forest were brought into arable farming; tens of thousands of new settlements were created, villages built permanently and surely for centuries, lasting down to our own times; hundreds of thousands of well organised and by the standards of the time highly productive units of agricultural economy were created or structurally renewed.
Even if this was so, pressure from the West continued to be an important feature of Russian history through the years of the more notorious infiltration from the East. And as for Alexander Nevsky himself, John Fennell has emphasised that the Prince did nothing to defend the integrity of the Orthodox Church (even though it later made him a saint) or to assist the spirit of resistance to the Mongols (even though he also later became a great national hero). 7 On his return to Mongolia, Batu did not manage to get himself made Great Khan or even to exert much influence at the centre of Mongol power.
3 Concerned with the vicissitudes and failure of the campaign against the Polovtsy undertaken in the late twelfth century by Prince Igor of Novgorod ° 22 MEDIEVAL RUSSIA: KIEV TO MOSCOW Severskii, it is a Russian equivalent to the later Viking sagas, to the French Song of Roland or the German Saga of the Nibelungen. So far, however, we have been talking for the most part of the higher levels of activity; we must now attempt to say more about the middle and lower levels, about literacy and education, and about folk culture.