1637 The Volga Rules – Snippet 06
Chapter 1: Taking to the Sky
Brandy struggled through the Russian documents. Her Russian wasn’t great and the Cyrillic letters didn’t make things easier. But she needed the practice. When she married Vladimir, she hadn’t quite realized the extent she was marrying Russia too. Information flowed, not just from the Ring of Fire to Russia, but from Russia to Grantville. Brandy was now working her way through a two-hundred page report on resource exploitation in Russia, compiled by the staff at the Mining Bureau and forwarded to them by Boris Petrov. Iron production was up significantly, especially in the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly area. There was a new iron mine south of Moscow, and more mines in other places, all as a result of the information provided from the Ring of Fire. Not just the information that there was a massive load of iron there, but the knowledge that the iron was going to be desperately needed all through Europe over the next decades, made the government and the new industrial class realize the investment of resources in mining was worthwhile.
The new Russian industrial class was worrying to Brandy. It was a mix of streltzi — the city guards or foot soldiers, deti boyars — the retainers of the great houses, and the dvoriane — the service nobility, soldiers and bureaucrats who kept the gears of Russia turning. Finally, there was considerable investment by the great houses and the monasteries. All of that would have been fine, but the laborers in those new mines and factories were mostly serfs, and sometimes outright slaves. It looked to Brandy as though none — or at least very little — of the economic boom that was spreading from the Dacha was reaching the lower classes.
Natasha Gorchakov had paid her serfs for their extra labor, before she fled to Ufa, but a lot of people hadnâ€™t — and their number was bound to decline further now that Sheremetev had seized power in Moscow. weren’t. In any event, most of the Gorchakov profits had come from — and still did — selling or leasing patents on the new products, not from making them themselves.
Things seemed to be getting worse for the Russian peasants, not better.
Vladimir came into her office. “How’s it going, love?” he asked, then leaned down and kissed her neck. “Have you drowned in Ivan’s statistics yet?”
Ivan was Ivan Petrovich Lebanov, the head of the Mining Bureau. “Not yet, but he’s clearly trying. You know who I think is drowning, Vlad? It’s the peasants and especially the serfs. And worse, the slaves.”
“What makes you so sure of that?”
“It’s the costs. I have records here of the costs of the mines, including labor costs. But the labor costs aren’t being paid to the worker. They’re being paid to their landlords. Aside from your sister, no one seems to be using free people as labor.”
Vladimir grimaced. He was almost certain she was right, but when he had left for Grantville back in 1631, he would have seen nothing at all wrong with it. He did now, but that was after years of living surrounded by up-timers. Vladimir was frankly shocked that the Dacha had become as liberal as it had, just from the books and Bernie Zeppi. Tami Simmons and her family had arrived in Moscow, but had gone into seclusion with Czar Mikhail and his family, so had had very little influence on attitudes in the Dacha or the rest of Russia. How had his sister become friends with an escaped slave? He never would have believed that Bernie Zeppi, of all people, could have had such an effect.
“I hate to say it, but you’re probably right,” Vladimir said, then winced at the look she gave him.
“We have a new baby, Vladimir. I don’t want us to have to move to Russia and start a revolution!”
“I don’t either,” Vladimir said as placatingly as he could. What did she expect him to do about it? Wave a magic wand and make all of Russia’s problems vanish? He hadnâ€™t even been able to keep Sheremetev from putting his man Shuvalov in control of the Gorchakov Dacha, Vladimir’s own property.
“I know. But unless Czar Mikhail wins the civil war and puts the new industrialists in their place, there’s going to be a revolution. I haven’t gotten a letter from Evdokia in months.”
Vladimir couldn’t help smiling a little, and Brandy grimaced. “I know. Little Brandy Bates, hillbilly from West Virginny, is upset that the czarina of Russia hasn’t sent her a letter.”
Vladimir felt his smile die. “It wasn’t that. I was just happy that you were comfortable enough in your relations to the czarina that you would call her by her name without title. But given everything thatâ€™s happened over the past weeks Iâ€™m not surprised she hasnâ€™t written to you. For that matter, she may have composed a letter — but how would she get it to you? She and the czar canâ€™t very well land that great dirigible of theirs in Moscow and drop the letter off to be delivered to the USE.â€ He placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. â€œDonâ€™t be upset about it. I know from Natasha that Evdokia holds you as one of her true friends.”
July, 1636 Â
The Nizhny Novgorod militia was definitely a bit ragged. It was strange. General Boris “Tim” Timofeyevich Lebedev should have been scared and, in a way he was. But the effect it had on him was weird. He just noticed things. Every detail became intense and distinct. The stench of the air, not just the acrid smoke of the burned powder, but the smell of the river’s muddy bank, combined with the dew on the grass. The patterns the smoke made as it wafted away under the light breeze. And, most of all, the enemy across the field. It was almost as if he could see their faces. Feel the fear that was eating away at the little discipline they had. He was honestly a little amazed that they had held this long.
Then the Czarina Evdokia appeared over the roofs of Bor. It was massive and it was flying. It wasn’t the first time these men had seen it. It had made several test flights and some of them had gone over Nizhny Novgorod. But in this case, it meant that their last reason for being here was floating away.
“Next rank! Forward five paces!”
The Nizhny Novgorod force scattered. Tim let them. Honestly, he had nothing against those men. They were following the orders they had been given by their lawful lords.
Ivan Maslov came over. “So what now, Tim?”
“We go to Ufa.”
“How? The riverboats are full.”
“That’s an excellent question, Ivan. Why don’t you figure it out and tell me?”
Ivan looked at him like he was crazy for a moment, and Tim pointed to the star on his collar.
Ivan looked, swallowed and said, “Yes, sir.”
Tim tried not to smile . . . but he failed. He was only nineteen, after all. Czar Mikhail had given him the rank because there wasn’t an army to give him. It was silly and he knew it, but Tim still couldn’t help enjoying it. He wondered how the real generals, General Shein and General Izmailov, were going to respond. Last Tim had heard, Shein and Izmailov were in Tobolsk, keeping company with Siberian tribesmen. But, looked at pragmatically, Czar Mikhail didn’t really have that much of a chance. Tim was fully aware of that, and so was Ivan Maslov.
Marat Davidovich, the new commander of Princess Natasha’s guards, came over. “Well, General, what now?”
“I have Ivan Maslov working that out.”
“Lord help us, the baker’s boy,” Marat Davidovich said only half in jest.
Tim looked at him, trying to figure out what to do. Marat Davidovich was a good man and experienced. He was one of Princess Natasha’s hand-picked guards, and a skilled man at arms. But, even he was stuck with the notion that Ivan couldn’t fight because of the fact that he was the son of a baker.
There must have been something in Tim’s expression that he wasn’t aware of, because suddenly Marat Davidovich braced and said, “Sorry, General.”
It was all Tim could do to keep from letting his eyes widen in shock. “It’s all right, Marat Davidovich. But Ivan Maslov is very good at figuring things out.”
Ivan Maslov looked at the bodies laid out on the ground and tried to think. Captain Ruslan Andreyivich Shuvalov was cold, having been killed in the fighting last night. Now, he and the other casualties from the night before were joined by streltzi from Nizhny Novgorod, but it wasn’t the dead that were the problem. It was the living. The staff of the dirigible works were going to be needed in Ufa and so was a lot of the equipment. The steamboats were already overloaded, and Ivan didn’t think that the city fathers of Nizhny Novgorod were going to be in any mood to provide them with extra riverboats. Ivan took inventory of what they were going to need and realized that they weren’t going to have room. He pared down his list to things they had to have . . . and it was still way too much. Some of the equipment on the boats would have to come off. By the time Tim and Marat got back to the hangar, Ivan had a plan. He explained it.
Could the folks from Ruzuka see and follow the balloon?
Could the folks from Ruzuka see and follow the balloon?
No, it moves way too fast
â€œBrandy was now working her way through a two-hundred page report on resource exploitation in Russiaâ€
Judos for her valiant attempts! 17 c. Russian looked like that:
^ A grammar book, 1653
Thatâ€™s before Petrine reforms, which made language more resembling the modern one:
^ â€œVedomostiâ€, first Russian mass produced newspaper (est. 1703).
Whoâ€™d compile (by hand) a 200 (two hundred) pages long report in the first place? Whoâ€™d even think of making a copy of it (by hand) and send to anyone else? Why? Besides â€“ there was no concept of â€œpagesâ€ in the official documents back then. Even if something would end up written on different leaves of (expensive, rare) paper or even vellum theyâ€™d be then glued together into one scroll.
â€œIron production was up significantly, especially in the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly areaâ€
True, for the first time this Magnetic Anomaly had been described in 1773. But only a century of observations and research itâ€™d been mapped properly and the technology developed to the sufficient level to tap into the mineral wealth within. First samples of the iron ore had been extracted only in 1923â€¦ after boring as deep as 167 meters (550 feet). Modern day mines in the region are, of course, much, much deeper.
Question time! Who in the 1636 possessed both the working knowledge, will, resources and expertise to accomplish just that? Besides â€“ take a look at the political map of the early 17 c. Kursk, Voronezh and Belgorod (especially Belgorod) were right here on the border with the PLC. You do not establish a strategic mineral extracting enterprises in the potential warzone. There was a reason why the Ural had been chose instead in the OTL.
â€œThere was a new iron mine south of Moscow, and more mines in other places, all as a result of the information provided from the Ring of Fire.â€
Did these encyclopedias also magic(k)ally turned people into professional geologists and expert mine-builders? Because maps are not enough.
â€œâ€¦made the government and the new industrial class realize the investment of resources in mining was worthwhileâ€
Where and when did there appear a â€œnew industrial classâ€ in Russia? How did it appear without first the appearance of the professional tradespeople, whoâ€™d know how to build and maintain said mines? The authors desire to have a pre-set â€œworldâ€ of theirs soooo much, that they ignore as â€œunimportantâ€ pesky reality on the â€œhow we got from here to thereâ€ way of explanation.
â€œIt was a mix of streltzi â€” the city guards or foot soldiers, deti boyars â€” the retainers of the great houses, and the dvoriane â€” the service nobility, soldiers and bureaucrats who kept the gears of Russia turning.â€
So the authors understanding of basically ALL strata of the political elite is just wrong, not only of deti boyarskiye.
â€œAll of that would have been fine, but the laborers in those new mines and factories were mostly serfs, and sometimes outright slavesâ€
â€œSlavesâ€? â€œSLAVESâ€? Someone is too lazy to find even the basic facts about the serfdom in Russia in 17th c. Or is simply lazy AND projecting pre-set tropes, in order to get the â€œpre-set worldâ€ of theirs (which has no connection to reality) in order to have their own â€œauthenticâ€ â€œGreat Trek Eastwardâ€.
Why the authors didnâ€™t even read the basic history, about Petrine reforms and what steps did he take in his first Russian industrialization?
â€œYou know who I think is drowning, Vlad?â€
I know! The authors in Russian grammar! Because â€œVladâ€ is not a short/diminutive form of â€œVladimirâ€.
â€œVladimir was frankly shocked that the Dacha had become as liberal as it had, just from the books and Bernie Zeppi.â€
Ah, yes. The favorite trope of our authors â€“ the burden of the
White ManUptimer, which (ALWAYS!) turn the primitive natives to the Superior Way, While Not Going Native Himself ™. Plus undertone of the colonial/planetary romance pulp fiction.
â€œBut unless Czar Mikhail wins the civil war and puts the new industrialists in their place, thereâ€™s going to be a revolution.â€
Nah, there wouldnâ€™t. Or the authors simply donâ€™t know the meaning of the word â€œrevolutionâ€.
â€œI know from Natasha that Evdokia holds you as one of her true friendsâ€
Again â€“ Burden of the Uptimer.
â€œGeneral Boris â€œTimâ€ Timofeyevich Lebedevâ€
Several things here. First â€“ not a proper way to construct a Russian nickname. Not from patronymic. Simply. Wrong. Addressing him by patronymic alone? Fine. Calling him â€œBoryaâ€ or â€œBorâ€™kaâ€? Well, depending on who is doing that and how much they like a solid punch in the face â€“ sure thing! Second â€“ there were no tank of the general in Russia back then. It simply did not exist.
â€œIvan looked at him like he was crazy for a moment, and Tim pointed to the star on his collarâ€
The authors are both lazy and unburden with desire to explain things. Why would e have a â€œstarâ€ on his collar to denote rank? Why? Why would anyone decide to do just that? Why star? Why on collar? What form of the collar? Do they have uniform? What kind of uniform? How could it be (mass) produced in enough quantity? Who paid for all of that?
â€œMarat Davidovich, the new commander of Princess Natashaâ€™s guardsâ€
Marat is not a Russian name itâ€™s Tatar. Given his patronymic, at least his father (probably) was baptized. How could they give their child such â€œMuslimâ€ name then?
It’s a little ironic that you wonder who would compose a 200 page report.
“Whoâ€™d compile (by hand) a 200 (two hundred) pages long report in the first place? . . . . Besides â€“ there was no concept of â€œpagesâ€ in the official documents back then. Even if something would end up written on different leaves of (expensive, rare) paper or even vellum theyâ€™d be then glued together into one scroll.
I assume Lytt’s information is correct, and it is nice to have that additional info, but the authors’ responsibility is to move the story along and supply the info needed to understand with a minimal info dump. Specifically, “a 200-page report” gives the modern reader the correct idea that it was a very lengthy report.
“True, for the first time this Magnetic Anomaly had been described in 1773. . . .”
Is there adequate evidence to prove that nothing in writing and no person in Grantville knew of the Anomaly, or that such knowledge never left Grantville in the direction of Russia?
Who in the 1636 possessed both the working knowledge, will, resources and expertise[sic]” (emphasis added)
Presumably, no one in 1636 had both of the four attributes, (1)working knowledge), (2)will, (3)resources, and (4)expertise, and neither did the first humans to extract and use iron. They gained some of these by trial and error as they went along, but never attained the twentieth century levels of any. Even today, people gain expertise as much or more from experience as from book-learning.
I am technically qualified to teach linguistics in college. Lytt’s posting clearly indicates the lack of such qualification. (1) In english, both applies to two (2), not four items. (2)”Because â€œVladâ€ is not a short/diminutive form of â€œVladimirâ€.” As any competent linguist knows, if people use “Vlad” as a short/diminutive form of “Vladimir,” it thereby becomes such. Whether or not it was so used in 1637, it has apparently become so, as evidenced by the fact that it appears in print in the book.
â€œI assume Lyttâ€™s information is correct, and it is nice to have that additional info, but the authorsâ€™ responsibility is to move the story along and supply the info needed to understand with a minimal info dumpâ€
The need of all this (IMO â€“ rather unnecessary) scene amounts to reporting that â€“ surprise-surprise! â€“ the serfdom in Russia when applied to the novel technological advances produces rather â€œinterestingâ€ results. Why there was a need to (incorrectly) name-drop Kursk Magnetic Anomaly or mention â€œ200 pageâ€ report? It would suffice for Boris to send a letter to his friend and former colleague/charge Vladimir, saying something along the line â€œHere in prikaz I have lots of reports coming through my hands â€“ the situation is bad. Here some examplesâ€. Thatâ€™s it! Meanwhile the book wastes untold pages on completely unnecessary expositions, descriptions and infodumps while â€œsavingâ€ page count by absolutely atrocious dialogs and lack of really important details.
â€œIs there adequate evidence to prove that nothing in writing and no person in Grantville knew of the Anomaly, or that such knowledge never left Grantville in the direction of Russia?â€
Iâ€™m not saying it is implausible for Grantville to have info about it and for downtimers to acquire said data. I say that this knowledge would be useless.
â€œPresumably, no one in 1636 had both of the four attributes, (1)working knowledge), (2)will, (3)resources, and (4)expertise, and neither did the first humans to extract and use iron.â€
Yeah, yeah, yeah! Go and make Spanish Inquisition joke already! :)
â€œI am technically qualified to teach linguistics in college. Lyttâ€™s posting clearly indicates the lack of such qualification.â€
OR! Or in the process of writing Iâ€™ve remembered other factors which I decided to add, but forgot about â€œbothâ€ already written earlier. Boom â€“ crime solved!
â€œAs any competent linguist knows, if people use â€œVladâ€ as a short/diminutive form of â€œVladimir,â€ it thereby becomes such.â€
No. But go ahead, and show me such linguists whoâ€™d say that using the words wrongly by some people and making thus mistakes changes the whole set of rules. Go and show me those linguists who say that there are not rules, that there is no need to follow rules or that all rules are wrong.
What I see here, Brett, is you going for a cheap shot. You canâ€™t really argue anything else in my comment, so you reach for a low hanging fruit. As for the second one â€“ well, you can either Google or go to the Blessed Wikipedia and find an article about â€œRussian naming conventionsâ€ (it is DIY, because, as you probably know, the pre-mod of the comments containing any kind of links takes forever). Search (either using you own eyes or by pressing CTRL-F) for [Vladimir] and search for [Vladislav]. Read their short forms. Now ask yourself which one of these two names have a â€œVladâ€ as diminutive?
â€œWhether or not it was so used in 1637, it has apparently become so, as evidenced by the fact that it appears in print in the book.â€
Or there is much more plausible explanation â€“ the authors donâ€™t know what they are writing about. Following your logic everything printed in the book must be trueâ€¦
What â€“ really?!
FWIW, while their handling of names is atrocious, it’s not an impossible combination; e.g. Murat Davut-ogly would almost certainly end up with an equivalent of “Davidovich” for patronymic and keeping “Marat” as the common-use name is also likely, whatever patron saint he’d have.
The real problem is different – to use ‘-vich’ form (instead of “Marat Davydov”) he’d have to either come from a foreign noble family recognized as such at conversion time (not impossible, but then his status would’ve been much higher than described) or to pull off something *very* impressive on his own, earning the right to use that…
Said that, the names used by authors are obviously no better than random placeholders. Kinda-sorta plausible for 20c Russia (so far – sample chapters on baen.com contain at least one example with an impossible combination of suffices), but absolutely anachronistic for 17c…
IIRC (people with the book on hand â€“ feel free to correct me) the aforementioned â€œMarat Davidovichâ€ is not just the head of knyazhna Gorchakova men-at-arms, but also, by the virtue of Natalia being the only Gorchakov remaining â€“ the head of all household troops (donâ€™t ask me â€“ ask the authors) for a very long time already. Leaving aside for the moment the fact, that neither â€œVladâ€ nor Natalia existed in reality (no matter which branch of princely Gorchakovs â€“ btw, authors so far did not allow themselves such liberty when â€œhandlingâ€ other European nobles) â€“ just how plausible the whole situation is compared to reality? Not much, no matter what aspect to review.
Instead of trying to find some excuses for the authors, already infamous for donâ€™t giving a proper thought to history and facts, instead of trying to find this or that justification, itâ€™s much more plausible to admit â€“ the authors (probably, due to their laziness) did not care and counted that their readership will consume literally everything penned by them. Which is not a bad approach on itself â€“ if you write fantasy and not history fiction sub-genre.
Please clarify what your objections are to the mention of slavery in seventeenth-century Russia.
17 c. Russian looked like that
It is complicated, but I was able to read it without a great difficulty. Besides, who’s to say that “Dacha” and all similar institution exposed to Grantville didn’t introduce modern (or “relatively modern”, as in “Petrine”) rules in documents they were creating? It was well understood by Russian literate class (thin as it was) that old grammar was over-complicated, so IOTL Peter just followed an advice from one of his court clergymen (Prokopovich?)
Whoâ€™d compile (by hand) a 200 (two hundred) pages long report in the first place?
Nothing unheard of, especially if you use relatively modern grammar and handwriting style (another big problem with old Russian). When in high school, I was writing 8-10 pages essays in 1.5 hours. Taking into account that the report in question is a result of research done by an organization (and is likely written by a group of scribes), I’d say it is possible.
there was no concept of â€œpagesâ€ in the official documents back then.
There was a concept of “tetrad” (a pile of paper or velum pieces bound together). The “Mining Bureau” could’ve adopted it instead of official old-fashioned “scrolls” as a sign of their modernity.
First samples of the iron ore had been extracted only in 1923â€¦ after boring as deep as 167 meters (550 feet).
Yes, authors fall into a classical “google trap”. They evidently googled “the largest iron ore deposit in Russia” without knowing if this deposit was accessible and practical to mine with pre-industrial technology. The answer is “it wasn’t”. The ore deposit in Kursk area is too deep to be mined using pre-industrial technology, and smelters wouldn’t work without coal (which today has to be railroaded from afar). What they need to start iron production on a “massive pre-industrial” scale in Russia is a place where the ore is close to the ground and there’s an abundance of forests (for charcoal) around. There’re 3. Tula (the ore is rather bad, they had to use so-called bog iron IOTL), Lipetsk, Ural Mountains. The latter region has an additional advantage of being far from any potential invaders and having a decent waterway to deliver goods to Volga basin (it was a sort of one-way street, as rapids made it complicated to go upstream on Chusovaya river). Taking into account a deficit of workforce suffered by Russia at that time, I’d suspect that they would want to develop Ural area first (Lipetsk being uncomfortably close to PLC border, as you correctly noted).
Who in the 1636 possessed both the working knowledge, will, resources and expertise to accomplish just that?
German downtimers and uptime books, as far as knowledge and expertise. The will and resource parts would have to be supplied by Russians (government, most likely), and with abovementioned limitations, I’d say that Kursk is a bridge too far.
Where and when did there appear a â€œnew industrial classâ€ in Russia? How did it appear without first the appearance of the professional tradespeople, whoâ€™d know how to build and maintain said mines?
Well, this is a completely separate can of worms. Authors blindly copy “American” model of industrialization, when industry development had been driven by private initiative of robber barons, although Russian history proved time and again that state-driven “authoritarian modernization” is more likely. Peter the Great, railway boom of 1800s, Stalin’s industrialization — all of them were driven by state’s orders, not by private initiative. The question “who would build mines” is a secondary one, IOTL Russians fared quite well with combination of local workforce and German mining expertise (all modern Russian terminology related to mining is of German origin). The main question is “who’d drive modernization”.
So the authors understanding of basically ALL strata of the political elite is just wrong
More or less.
Someone is too lazy to find even the basic facts about the serfdom in Russia in 17th c.
They likely meant “kholopstvo”, but the institution was never widespread enough to provide a workforce for this “Russian industrialization” authors envision. IOTL it were “assigned serfs” who provided a bulk of labour for Tula and Ural projects.
not a proper way to construct a Russian nickname.
He could’ve gotten it from uptimers or “Old Grantville Hands” and kept as a sign of distinction. The nick alone makes him “an old Grantville hand” in eyes of an ordinary Russian (and therefore lifts his prestige, and he needs every drop of it, being a low-born 19-y.o. guy in charge of a military operation).
there were no tank of the general in Russia back then. It simply did not exist.
It could’ve been introduced by “Grantville-inspired” reforms. For some “new order” troops originally. And then again, the very use of it makes the user “an old Grantville hand”. Lebedev could’ve thought of Shein as “a General” because it is a sign of modernity to him, although Shin’s proper military rank was “voevoda”. See early stages of Petrine modernization (before Narva disaster), when Boris Sheremetev was a “voevoda” in his capacity of head of old feudal cavalry, but became a “general” when he was given leadership of New Order regiments.
Marat is not a Russian name itâ€™s Tatar. Given his patronymic, at least his father (probably) was baptized.
There’s a bit of disagreement over the name’s origin. It either comes from the famous French revolutionary (and, as such, a purely Soviet invention) or from an Arab word meaning “a pious one” (and, as such, adopted by Soviet Muslims as a way to kill 2 birds with one stone — to show a loyalty to Soviet state while still keeping their roots). I would give authors a leeway and assume that the latter version is true. Davidovich is not necessarily Christian, then name Daoud (Dawood etc.) is quite popular among Muslims. So the “Marat Davidovich” could’ve been an offspring of unconverted Tatar nobility who threw his lot with “reformists” in an attempt to raise his status in the Russian society.
â€œPlease clarify what your objections are to the mention of slavery in seventeenth-century Russiaâ€
There was no slavery in 17th c. Russia. There was serfdom â€“ regulated by series of laws, which described the duties of both feudal lord and serf peasantry to each other. Back in 17th c. serfs were not treated as private property, i.e. they could not be freely bought and sold, because all of them serfs remained Crownâ€™s subjects only donated (in a fashion) as a way to pay the salary to this or that member of nobility, who in his own term was duty bound of service to the crown.
In the first half of the 17th c. it was impossible to freely assign â€œyourâ€ peasants to this or that work. You (i.e. the noble lord) could not do that. The whole premise of the â€œRussian branchâ€ of the RoF plot is therefore is wrong.
Oh, WikiDorkia article! Goody-goody! Itâ€™s one source of absolutely true knowledge, Shirley?
Nah â€“ still good olâ€™ Wikipedia. Caveat emptor those unprepared and that. Letâ€™s start with the most obvious manipulation â€“ the article claims that â€œkholopâ€ = â€œslaveâ€. Thatâ€™s not true. Both a re categories of the personally un-free, dependent people, but they are distinct from each other. How one can learn that? Well, no need to wait for the owl from Hogwarts, cuz this is not space science â€“ just do a clikety-click on the already hyper-linked word â€œkholopâ€ featuring in the article. There, now you can learn per its own PediWikian article that:
â€œA kholop (Russian: Ñ…Ð¾Ð»Ð¾ÌÐ¿, IPA: [xÉËˆlop]) was a feudally dependent person in Russia between the 10th and early 18th centuries. Their legal status was close to that of serfs.â€
â€œThroughout the 16th century, the kholopsâ€™ role in the corvÃ©e economy had been diminishing due to the increasing involvement of peasant exploitation (see Russian serfdom). At the turn of the 16th century, the service class kholops (ÑÐ»ÑƒÐ¶Ð¸Ð»Ð¾Ðµ Ñ…Ð¾Ð»Ð¾Ð¿ÑÑ‚Ð²Ð¾, sluzhiloye kholopstvo) began to emerge and spread across the country. In the late 17th century, there were also kholops “chained” to their land (Ð¿Ð¾ÑÐ°Ð¶ÐµÐ½Ð½Ñ‹Ðµ Ð½Ð° Ð·ÐµÐ¼Ð»ÑŽ, posazhenniye na zemlyu), who took care of their own household and had to pay quitrent. Those kholops, who had been house serfs, were subject to poll tax in 1722-1724 and were thereafter treated as ordinary serfs.â€
In the PLC the noble lord could kill his serf with impunity and had much, much greater control over his or her life â€“ but this did not made the local serfs into the slaves. This is basics, which anyone talking about the period must learn in the first place, instead of relying of positivistic knee-jerk reactions and immediate conflating of two different yet distinct form of exploitation into one.
Tl;dr â€“ no, there were no slavery in 17 c. Russia. â€œKholopâ€ =/= slave. When talking about kholopi the authors must specify that, instead of lazily relying on another term in order to insert all other associated with that tropes.
If there was no slavery in Russia, then how did Peter the Great free the slaves in 1723? Since he “upgraded” them to serfs, then there was a difference between the two.
Okay, letâ€™s review this two academic papers youâ€™re using as a â€œproofâ€â€¦ Oh, wait â€“ no! They all require registration just to read them! Got anything else, that is both legit and easily accessible to everyone?
1) Kholopstvo (slavery) in 17th-Century Russia: An institution that did not result in a caste, by V. Arakcheev
The preview bravely states that â€œkholopstvoâ€ = â€œsalveryâ€ andâ€¦ thatâ€™s it. How can we have an argument before determining what really constitutes slavery and what not? Besides, there was already back then a distinct Russian word for the slavery â€“ â€œrabstvoâ€. â€œKholopâ€ =/= â€œrabâ€.
2) Escaped Russian Slaves in England in the 17th Century , by Leo Loewenson
The preview here is even less informative. For anything I know, this paper is about â€œRussiansâ€ (who, in fact, might not be â€œRussiansâ€, but Ukrainians) captured by the Tatar slave raids and (re-)sold to the West. Not the domestic slavery in short.
â€œIf there was no slavery in Russia, then how did Peter the Great free the slaves in 1723? Since he â€œupgradedâ€ them to serfs, then there was a difference between the twoâ€
Because he didnâ€™t. What Peter the Great did in his reign was to further destroy the last vestiges of the old feudal monarchy and to strengthen new, absolutist monarchy. His efforts, naturally, covered the key component of the old feudal order i.e. the â€œpatron-clientâ€ bonds between the monarch and nobility and between the serfs and their noble masters. Peter the Great finished what his father and brother began by eliminating any legal differences between the peer-aristocracy (â€œboyarsâ€) and landed gentry (â€œdvoryaneâ€). Naturally, he did the same thing among the lower orders, simply striving for the unification and standardization. For one because kholops did not paid taxes (â€œpodatiâ€) to the state. In 1695 Peter I changed that, and since 1705 made them subject to the recruits draft â€“ was it really an â€œupgrade?â€ ;). The â€œHighest Resolution of 19 January 1723â€ (which only clarified things already defined by the Senateâ€™s order of 1 June 1722) codified all those previous changes already in effect, because the main effort of the whole work was not to target one particular category of the personally dependent people (â€œkholopsâ€) but to revise the whole system of the serfdom in Russia.
In short â€“ â€œkholopstvoâ€ while in some regards similar to, was not the same thing as the slavery. To conflate the two is simply wrong, and shows that the authors (who are not averse to long-info dumps at all) decided instead of explaining the context and the differences between the two instead resort to knee-jerk labeling, saving themselves any trouble â€“ or because they themselves have no idea there was a difference between the two. But doing that would require actually reading sources and research papers analyzing all relevant articles in Russian Sudebniks (of 1497, 1550 and 1589 years respectively) and separate laws and orders passed based on them. The closest (yet imperfect) analogy for â€œkholopâ€ would be an â€œindentured servantâ€ â€“ although this totally ignores (judicially defined) sub-categories of â€œkholopsâ€ and the special legal status of each category.
Time for you to provide your sources. It’s easy to kick back and attack others. Your dismissive attitude makes me question your academic credentials.
Contra your rant: https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/andrei-konchalovsky/living-legacy-of-russia%E2%80%99s-slavery
1st link is to an article not by a professional historian, provides NO referential sources and speaks on a broader subject of the serfdom in Russia at large. Not about the serfdom in 17 or even 18 century. Just about serfdom. Not a source. Dismissed.
2nd one is rather questionable one, because, once again, provides no sources and outgoing links, yet uses the term â€œslaveryâ€ (without explaining it)
â€œkholops: Feudally dependent persons in Russia between the 10th and early 18th centuries. Their legal status was close to that of serfs but in reality closest to that of slavesâ€
â€œBeing closer to smthâ€ =/= â€œsame as smthâ€. And then the author(s) proceed to use the term â€œslavesâ€. Sloppy, bad job. Supplication of the terms instead of education.
â€œYour dismissive attitude makes me question your academic credentialsâ€
What sources? You donâ€™t know how to Google all those things I mentioned â€“ â€œSudebniksâ€ from different years, the laws and orders by Peter the Great? Who is having â€œdismissive attitudeâ€ here if you donâ€™t want to look up the primarily sources, instead writing this:
You haven’t provided any sources. Your core argument is that is something doesn’t exactly match your definition of slavery, then it’s not slavery.
From the same article you quoted: “vidence suggests that Peterâ€™s advisers recommended the abolition of serfdom and the creation of a form of â€œlimited freedom,â€ but the gap between slaves and serfs shrank considerably under Peter. By the end of his reign the two were basically indistinguishable.”
It’s at: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-worldhistory/chapter/the-modernization-of-russia/
Your own source does not support your contention. That does not bode well for the rest of your claims.
â€œYou havenâ€™t provided any sources.
You want sources â€“ go and find the primarily sources I mentioned (Sudebniks, laws and orders). Is your Google broken?
â€œYour core argument is that is something doesnâ€™t exactly match your definition of slavery, then itâ€™s not slavery.â€
It is not â€œmineâ€ definition of slavery. There are scientifically approved and agreed upon terms when discussing the serfdom in Russia. Why are they agreed upon terms? Because before become purely historic, they were legal terms. The people in the past knew their definition very well and operated through the legal system knowing that. Just because you, or someone else is too lazy to learn the proper terms and what they mean, instead relying on knee-jerk-by-association, is not my problem â€“ thatâ€™s your problem. Out of your (and others) unwillingness to learn new things, the reality of the past wonâ€™t change. It would still be there, with serfs, kholops, but not slaves.
â€œFrom the same article you quoted:â€
It was the article you originally posted, without understanding it, without applying critical analysis. You provided an unsourced quote implying that â€œPeterâ€™s advisers recommended the abolition of serfdom and the creation of a form of â€œlimited freedomâ€â€. Uh-huh â€“ no source who, when and under what circumstances did that. The article then proceeds to use the term â€œslaveâ€ becauseâ€¦ because. The author of the article arbitrarily decided to use the terms â€œkholopsâ€ and â€œslavesâ€ interchangeable. Why? I have no idea. Either he was not that smart, or he thought that the intended leadership was not really smart to grasp a new term. Because within thisâ€¦ somethingâ€¦ he failed to prove that â€œkholopsâ€ = â€œslavesâ€.
â€œYour own source does not support your contention.â€
Again â€“ this is *your* own source. I didnâ€™t post that. You did. And you seem to already forgot about that. Plus see what I wrote above. This â€œarticleâ€ fails to prove that â€œkholopsâ€ = â€œslavesâ€. It does not do that. Simply saying â€“ â€œokay, we know will call [X] by the term [Y]â€ does not prove that [X] = [Y]. This only proves that you decided to equate them. Thatâ€™s unscientific approach, because it is simply unverifiable. You stubbornly â€œwant to believeâ€ an unproved thing.
Ancient Slavs in the early period and during the early ages of the statehood did have slavery, yes. But we are talking about different situation centuries before the events of this particular book and before the ascent of the feudalism. Should you be talking about that time it might be true. But we are talking about early 17 c.
The new Russian industrial class was worrying to Brandy. It was a mix of streltzi â€” the city guards or foot soldiers, deti boyars â€” the retainers of the great houses, and the dvoriane â€” the service nobility, soldiers and bureaucrats who kept the gears of Russia turning.
Brandy has every reason to be worried, but she seems to be painfully unaware of merchant and tradesmen class (mostly urban) which did exist in Russia and which IOTL had been the main source of industrialists (merchants had capital, and tradesmen knew the craft). Besides, all Russian modernizations until now had been driven by state, and there’s no reason to expect that Russian in RoF world would be different (they had the same challenges and the same sociopolitical structure as pre-Petrine Russia, so they’ll likely follow the model (it was a popular one then and there anyway, with countless state-sponsored “Indian Companies” all over Europe). So it would be a mix of state-owned and managed enterprises with a kind of “formally private, but a part of state machine for all intents and purposes” endeavors akin to IOTL Stroganov’s empire in NE Russia or Demidov’s Ural fiefdom. Demidovs were even granted a right to use labour of “assigned villagers” (pripisnye), effectively making them landlords before they were granted a noble status (generally a big no-no in Russia).
Iron production was up significantly, especially in the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly area
See my earlier comment to Lytt. KMA is a logistical impossibility at this point. Not before you have railroads in Southern Russia. Ural is the place to build (it is a kind of “Russian Irondale” in terms of having all necessary resources available close by).
Things seemed to be getting worse for the Russian peasants, not better.
Very likely. A typical Russian modernization is to improve a situation of the state (create modern army, modern communication system etc.), not to make life easier for an average peasant. Usually it is the next generation of ordinary folks which reaps results of the reform (in terms of better-paying jobs, more consumer goods, improved trade etc.
Itâ€™s the costs. I have records here of the costs of the mines, including labor costs.
Russian economy of the time was not that monetized (i mentioned before that the country had no known silver deposits). A lot of “payments” were in natural form (as in “room and board and some goods for a worker and family”). Plus the abovementioned phenomena of “assigned peasant”, who worked on factories or in mines in lieu of taxes. So Brandy would be working with data which were skewed to a point of uselessness. Welcome to a wonderful world of barter-based economy.
Honestly, he had nothing against those men. They were following the orders they had been given by their lawful lords.
Well, it is correct and incorrect at the same time. While it is likely that Tim wouldn’t hold a personal grudge against “the militia”, it is not because “They were following the orders they had been given by their lawful lords”. The notion of “vassal of my vassal is not my vassal” belongs in Western European feudal system. In Russia everyone was considered a Czar’s faithful subject (even the upper nobility referred to themselves as “Your Majesty’s slaves” when they were addressing the Czar), so Nizhny folks were legally a band of mutineers, regardless of what their immediate superiors ordered them. In fact, their legal responsibility was to arrest a mutinous lord and bring him to Czar’s for punishment. However, as with many other things in Russia, there’s law and then there’s reality. Czar is hundreds of miles away and city’s voevoda is here, so it is kind of impossible to question voevoda’s orders, law or no law. Tim would understand it.
not just the acrid smoke of the burned powder, but the smell of the riverâ€™s muddy bank
Smoke of black gunpowder would well and truly burn the muddy smell of the riverbank.
And, most of all, the enemy across the field. It was almost as if he could see their faces.
What kind of guns Tim’s force has? If it is smoothbores, he should see enemy’s faces in order for his volleys to be effective (a popular criteria was “start firing when you see whites of enemy’s eyes”).
â€œWe go to Ufa.â€
â€œHow? The riverboats are full.â€
Barges. The proper word would be “strug” (plural “strugi”), and both Tim and Ivan would understand it instinctively. Ufa is downriver from Nizhni Put fighting men and post precious cargo on steamboats, load everything else on strugi and tow them to Ufa. If you engage an enemy force, disconnect the strugs from steamboats, anchor them midriver, eliminate the opponent, return, get you barges.
Captain Ruslan Andreyivich Shuvalov
Too many “-viches”. IOTL it was a privilege at this time to be called “Ivanovich”, it was reserved for nobility or for few lowborns who were bestowed the right by the Czar personally. A bureaucratic standard would be “Captain Ruslan son of Andrey Shuvalov” (unless the guy was from nobility). Maslov would be thinking of him as “Captain Shuvalov”