Novgorod Tartars in the Time of Troubles and after: Social Group Reconsolidation

  • Adrian Selin
Keywords: Time of Troubles; Novgorod lands; Tatars; newly-baptised; servicemen; social groups


The regional diversity of Muscovy, which was established in the second half of the 16th century, and attempts to describe it with the help of the emerging language of Muscovite bureaucracy was a way to construct the ranks that were later to become a specific feature of Muscovite society. The Novgorod lands were the first place where this language was created. Throughout the 16th century, the structure of ranks in the Novgorod lands became more diverse and complex. This article studies the restoration of a specific group of servicemen of Veliky Novgorod following the Time of Troubles and 1617, i. e. Muslim Tartars and the newly-baptised. Due to an immense decrease in the number of representatives of this and other categories of servicemen, the bureaucratic structure simplified. Very few Novgorod Muslim Tartars and newly-baptised kept their estates. Although different records kept referring to this special rank, it was mentioned together with all the other categories of servicemen in the same documents. Large numbers of the descendants of Novgorod Tartars changed their status and started receiving salaries on a regular basis, which made their status comparable to that of streltsy and artillerymen. For the purposes of comparison, the author refers to examples connected with former representatives of the group who, following the Treaty of Stolbovo, became subjects of the Kingdom of Sweden. Initially, i. e. until 1630, the Swedish administration kept references to this rank in its documents but as of the second generation of former Muscovite servicemen, their descendants were referred to as Bayors (Swedish baijorer), and almost all of them converted to Lutheranism. References to the Tartar descent of landowners can only be found in registries until the mid-17th century. The article considers the correspondence of the bureaucratic ranks to 17th-century social groups. In this context, it seems appropriate to consider Novgorod Tatars, as they were a group which was special both from the point of view of language and religion.

Author Biography

Adrian Selin

Dr. Hab. (History), Professor, National Research University Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg Campus.

16 Soyuza Pechatnikov Str., 101000, Moscow, Russia.


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How to Cite
Selin, A. (2018). Novgorod Tartars in the Time of Troubles and after: Social Group Reconsolidation. Quaestio Rossica, 6(4), 943–954.
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