_ Henry Norman Spalding (using the pseudonym «by an English Eurasianist»). «Russia in Resurrection. A summary of the views and of the aims of a new Party in Russia». Part One: Byzantine and Mongol Russia. Chapter II. The Races. London, 1928.
Part One: Byzantine and Mongol Russia
II. The Races
Asiatic and European settlers
The population of Russia is as diverse as her territory, and like it is partly European and partly Asiatic.
The Slavs, a branch of the Indo-European family, form by far the largest and most important ingredient. Their early history is somewhat doubtful. G.V. Vernadsky says that from the sixth to the ninth century they were settled between the Carpathians, the Danube and the Dnieper. It is widely held that their original home was in the Carpathians, and that in about the sixth century they descended the streams flowing down the North-East slopes of those mountains to the Pripet, and then turned Eastward down the river and its marshes until they reached the Dnieper. Some of the Slavs settled permanently to the North of the Pripet, and became the ancestors of the White Russians. Others sailed down the Dnieper and there settled in the region where Scandinavian traders afterwards built the city of Kiev, the capital of early Russia. These Slavs became the ancestors of the Little Russians or Ukrainians. Yet a third party made their way up the Dnieper, carried their boats along what is still called the Drag to the headwaters of the Volkhov, and sailing down it eventually founded what was destined to become the trading city proudly called “Lord Novgorod the Great”.
The Slavs did not, however, find an uninhabited land. The merchants of Novgorod, pushing East as well as West, found the forests of North Russia inhabited by Finnish tribes; the settlers round Kiev found their way to South and East blocked by distant kinsmen of the Finns, the Turkish tribes of the Polovtsi on the Dnieper, and of the Khazars North of the Black and Caspian seas. Hence further expansion found that the line of least resistance pointed towards Central Russia — to that low plateau where forest, field and meadow mingle to the South of the great curve of the upper Volga. To this spot bodies of Slavs probably passed across the bridge of land between the head-waters of the Volkhov and the Dnieper, The Novgorod merchants, again, found that the easiest mode of access to Eastern and South-Eastern Russia and to the Caspian sea and beyond was to transport their wares overland, not to the upper Volga, which Was in those days a set of impassable marshes, but to the Moskva, a tributary of the Oka, the great stream whose waters pass near the source of the Don and themselves flow into the Volga. The adventurer from Kiev, shut from the South by the Polovtsi and the Khazars, sailed North-East up the Desna and eventually reached the same spot. Hence upon the Moskva eventually arose (tradition says in 1147) the city of Moscow, the capital of a third group, the Great Russians — a city destined to become the Capital of the Tsardom of all the Russias.
Hitherto Europe had been advancing at the expense of Asia; it was now the turn of Asia to invade. In 1240 the Mongols, under Batu, grandson of the great conqueror Chingiz Khan, subjugated Russia, sacked its capital Kiev, and settled permanently in a Golden Camp or Horde near the lower Volga. From that date to 1480 they exacted a tribute from Russia — first from the scattered Princes and then from the Prince of Moscow as the over-lord of the rest. Then came the turn of the Slavs to advance once more-to subjugate the Asiatic peoples of European Russia and of Northern Asia. The Golden Horde broke into three portions-the Mongols of Kazan, of Astrakhan and of the Crimea, the first two of whom were reduced by Ivan the “Terrible” between 1552 and 1554, and the last rescued from the Turk by Catherine the Great in 1774. In 1580 a Cossack named Yermak, the leader of a band of Volga pirates, crossed the Urals and next year took Sibir, the town which gives its name to Siberia. Thanks to the waterways and to the decay of the Mongol and Turkish kingdoms which had succeeded the Empire of Chingiz Khan, the Russians advanced rapidly over Siberia, reaching the Pacific in 1539. Peter the Great seized the Persian provinces at the Eastern end of the Caucasus in 1722, and in 1799 the last King of Georgia, which had for centuries looked for protection to Russia as suzerain in its struggles against Persia and Turkey, resigned his crown to the Russian Emperor. Finally the reign of Alexander the Second saw Russia established in Central Asia.
Today the position of these mingled and far-flung tribes of Europe and Asia is as follows:-
1. The Great, Little and White Russians still occupy their original sites about the Moskva, the Dnieper and the Pripet, respectively numbering some 55,000,000, 22,000,000, and 5,000,000, the Great Russians predominating and mingling with the other races all over Europasia.
2. The Finns have been broken into two great groups, Western and Eastern-the former including the Finns of Finland, the Esths of Esthonia and the Livs of Livonia (part of Latvia)–now no longer forming part of Russia-and the Karelians and Lapps. The Eastern group comprise the Finns of the Volga (including the Mordvini), those of Perm (including the Votyaks and Zirians), and the Ugrians (including the Voguls and the Ostyaks). The Samoyedes are also probably Finns. The Finns in Russia now number some 2,500,000.
3. The Turkish tribes include the Bashkirs, the Mescheriaks, and the Chuvashes in the meighbourhood of the middle Wolga and its Eastern tributary the Kama; while at Kazan, at Astrakhan and in the Crimea live the remains of the Golden Horde. The Turks of Asia include, in Siberia the Yakits on the Lena and the Kirghiz on the great grass steppe; and in Russian Turkestan the Turkomans, Uzbēks and Sants. There are in Russia altogether over 13,000,000 Turko-Tartars, 4. Where the Great Plateau crosses Western Mongolia lies the fertile vale of Dzungaria, the original home of a Mongolian tribe known as the Kalimuks, Those living along its Western fringe were included within the Russian frontier during the nineteenth century; but six centuries before, when the Mongols began their great invasion Westward, they took with them certain of these Kalimuks who, having borrowed the Syriac alphabet from their Turkish neighbours the Syriac, had attained a greater degree of literary culture than themselves. These Kalimuks settled down in the Crimea. In the seventeenth century others migrated from Dzungaria across the Kirghiz steppe fed finally settled West of the mouth of the Volga. A century later the descendants of the original Russian Kalimuks were driven by Catherine the Second’s general Suvorov and by the rebel Pugachév from the Crimea and joined their kinsmen in the steppe west of the Volga. Again, in the seventeenth century the advancing Cossacks found two other Mongolian tribes living in Eastern Siberia-the Buriats in the Great Plateau around Lake Baikal and the Tungusi on the Amur, whence they have spread to the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk and to the Eastern tributaries of the Yenesei. The Russian Mongolians number only half a million.
5. In the fifteenth century White Russia and the Ukraine passed under the domination of Lithuania and in the sixteenth of Poland, the Jewish inhabitants of which settled in them in large numbers. In 1914 there were nearly 7,000,000 Russian Jews. Of these 2,000,000 now live in the Ukraine and 1,000,000 more in White Russia and elsewhere. The remaining 4,000,000 are beyond the Russian frontier in Bessarabia, Poland and Lithuania.
These races differ greatly in culture and civilization. The Slavs form as a whole a nation of peasants who plough and pray”; mining, manufacture, and commerce are relatively unimportant. Their character is well shown in a number of epic songs handed on by word of mouth till the second half of the nineteenth century, the two best cycles of which date respectively from the period of St Vladimir (who died in 1015A.D.) and that preceding it. Three great characters typify the three chief elements of Slav society: Ilya of Murom the heroic and religious peasant, Dobrynya the perfect knight, and Alyosha Popovich the cunning son of a priest. The tales of these and other heroes emphasize what was true of Russia then as it is to-day, that it is the land, not only of the noble and the clerk, but first and foremost of the peasant. The Finns vary from the primitive Easterm folk who still believe in charms and witch doctors to the highly cultivated people of Finland. The Turks show their usual honesty and industry, the Bashkirs especially having been for ages a trusted outpost for the Slavs in Eastern Europe. They are agriculturists, the Yakuts agriculturists and hunters, and the Kirghiz of the steppes cattle-raisers. Of the Mongols, the Tungusi are hunters who have degenerated from the days when they perhaps shared the civilization of China; the more civilized Buriats breed live-stock in the valleys East of Baikal (the “Rich Lake”); the Kalimuks, again cattle-raisers, have an interesting epic literature. The Circassians and Georgians are farmers and cattle- (including camel) raisers, while some domestic industries flourish among them. The Jews, on the other hand, are for the most part middle-men, many of whom are also money-lenders, who sometimes press unduly heavily on the peopler whose industry they control. In particularthe great grain trade of the Ukraine was almost entirely in their hands.
The religions of Russia are as diverse as her races, and here again Europe an a Asia mingle, Christians, Mohammedans, Buddhists and pagans are to be found within her borders. The Slavs and most of the Caucasians (some 89,000,000 in all) are Christians of the Eastern or Orthodox Church, including some 2,000,000 Raskólniki (Nonconformists). Catholics and Protestants are few, since Poland and Finland, at the end of the World War, ceased to form part of Russia. Some of the Russian Finns are Orthodox and some pagan (shamanists), while many retain a good deal of paganism under a veneer of Orthodoxy. The Turkish tribes are Mohammedians, and the Mongols as a rule Lamaite Buddhists,
Their friendly relations
The relation between the Slavs and the Asiatic Russians is in general exceedingly friendly. It is, indeed, hardly accurate to speak of the predominant race as Slavs at all; from the earliest days of their settlements on the Volkhov and the Dnieper they married with the Asiam Finns and Turks, and from that time to this their blood has been largely Europasian-they are not Slavs, but Russians. “It is a widespread prejudice that the Russians are Slavs; they have really intermingled greatly with races of other origin and especially with the Mongols.” Intermarriage is frequent and regarded as perfectly natural; an Eastern strain in the blood is looked upon with pride rather than with horror. The great-grandmother of many a Russian noble to-day was a Finn or a Mongol-in her girlhood a pagan or a Buddhist; such marriages after the conversion of the bride proved as a rule extremely happy, Many Russians, again, are proud to claim descent from Chingiz Khan; a Colonel in the Army recently bore his name. Russian colonists in the outlying districts often marry native women; this would be even more frequent, were it not that in Russia whole villages often migrate together.
In their social intercourse the Russians are equally broad-minded. The rulers of the peoples absorbed or conquered by Russia habitually became Russian Princes; their sons were educated in the best schools and Universities of Petersburg and Moscow; they rose to high positions in the Army and in society. The spirit of the Russian settler is the same. Though
there are certain material features-the wooden house, the oven, the bath -and still more certain fundamental beliefs and characteristics, which he never abandons, even in the midst of an alien population, he nevertheless shows great adaptability, which makes him an excellent colonist. He will speak the language of the people he lives amongst, adopt their methods of hunting and fishing, cattle-breeding and cultivation, assimilate his dress, and even some of his ideas, to theirs; while at the same time, especially where whole villages have migrated, he in his turn slowly brings his neighbours over to the Russian manner of life.
Above all, to pagans, Moslems and Buddhists alike, the Russian is perfectly tolerant in matters of religion; “he looks rather to conduct than to creed,” says a writer in the Encyclopedia Britannica, Thus St Petersburg contained a Buddhist temple and (almost opposite the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul) a mosque, at the consecration of which the Dowager Empress was present; the aristocratic Lyceum, half school, half university, had among its students a Kalmuk Khan whom his subjects regarded as a god, and for whom Buddhist rites were performed in the school premises; the Guards Cavalry-first a Division and then the whole Corps- was commanded by a Mohammedan. The apparent exception is the Jews; and they were attacked for economic rather than for religious reasons.
In its treatment of native races no nation in the world has shown so much largeness of mind and brotherliness offeeling as the Russians.
And for that very reason, and because the same friendly and receptive spirit has been shown to neighbouring peoples, Russia is something more than a congeries of various civilizations lying alongside: there exists a super-racial civilization, a blend of many, that is not Slav nor Mongol, not Byzantine nor European, but Russian. It shows the influences, not only of the races that now inhabit Russia, but of her neighbours on several sides – indeed, it is only within recent times that the frontiers of Russia have become more or less sharply defined and fixed. These foreign influences, like her land and her races, are Europasian-partly European and partly Asiatic. “The influences of South, East, and West,” write the Europasians in a short sketch of Europasianism, “have succeeded each other as paramount in Russia: the influence of the South in the shape of Byzantine civilization, which was exclusively important over the long period from the end of the tenth to the thirteenth century; the influence of the East in the form of the ‘steppe’ civilization of the Mongols from Central Asia who formed the Empire of Chingiz Khan and his successors, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century; and the influence of the West, which began to show itself at the end of the fifteenth Century and to become of supreme importance at the beginning of the eighteenth. Hence Russian civilization cannot be called either European or Asiatic; uniting some of the elements of both Continents it is best classed as Europasian.”
Byzantium, the Mongols and the Tsars
“Two great civilizations of the past (the writer goes on) can also be called Europasian: the Hellenistic, which united the Hellenic world with the ancient East, and the Byzantine, its heir and successor in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East. Russia in her turn has become the heir and successor by Byzantium.” This city, the real cradle of Russian culture and civilization, was indeed a Europasian city in the fullest sense; standing on the frontier of Europe and Asia it united many elements of both. Thither Constantine brought the government and the law of Rome, to be wielded by a Caesar to whom Diocletian had given the autocratic power and courtly splendour of the Kings of Persia; thither from Palestine came the Gospel of Jesus, with its perfect ethic and a view of the Universe which was developing in the light of Greek philosophy, Further influences flowed into Constantinople from Asia Minor, Syria and Armenia, while even the constant raids and invasions of the nomads of the Scythian steppes left their mark upon her civilization. At the Western end of these steppes there reigned at Kiev on the Dnieper a certain Prince Vladimir, a descendant of Rurik, a Scandinavian adventurer whose descendants had for a century and a half ruled the various Principalities near the Dnieper which then together constituted Russia. Vladimir, the “Fair Sun” of ancient epic song, was, like his slav subjects, a hearty pagan much addicted to fighting and to feasting. In a 8 a he determined to abandon paganism. After causing inquiry to be made concerning all the religions known to him he rejected Islam, because it forbade the drinking of wine, “the joy of the Russians”; Judaism, because God had scattered the Jews; Roman Catholicism, because the German Churches had “no beauty”. But after taking part in an Orthodox service in the Church of St Sophia at Constantinople (tradition says that it was the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom) his envoys reported: “We no longer knew whether we were in heaven or on earth, nor such beauty, and we know not how to tell of it.” Vladimir accordingly determined to adopt Orthodoxy, and was himself forthwith baptized at Kherson and married to a Byzantine princess, while his people were baptized wholesale in the Dnieper, Thus began the supremacy of religion in the hearts of the Russian people, and the supremacy of their rulers as the servants of religion. Thus also Christianity, and with it civilization, came to Russia in its Greek or Orthodox or what may accurately be called its Europasian form; and from that date to this it has been the predominate power in shaping the spirit and the lives of the Russian people. It was due to the preoccupation of Constantinople and of the theologians whom it revered with the opening chapter of the Gospel of St John that not the whole Bible, nor the New Testament, nor the Epistles of St Paul, but the Gospel itself, has been the sacred source from which Russia has derived her knowledge of the life, teaching and significance of Jesus Christ. From Constantinople, too, Russia derived much of her thought that is Greek, and especially Platonic, in spirit; and to this day the Greek Fathers of the Church, especially Gregory of Nazianzus, the brothers Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, and John of the Golden Mouth (Chrysostom) exercise through their writings a profound influence in Russia. In them, and especially in Gregory of Nyssa, are to be found those doctrines of the predestined likeness of man to God, of the unity of the Cosmos, and of the Final Restoration of all things to God, which a still greater future perhaps awaits. The sermons that St John Chrysostom preached in Constantinople are still read by Russian priests, laymen and lay women. St Basil was the founder of that form of the religious life-Eastern monasticism -which still makes so powerful an appeal both to young and old in Russia; a monasticism which has given her in the past such glorious figures as St Sergei of Radonezh, the mirror of the strength and simplicity of the Russian character-and in modern times St Seraphim of Sarov, the ascetic lover of God and His creation, and such Elders or teaching monks as Father Ambrosius of Optyma Pustyn, the prototype of Dostoievsky’s Father Zossima. From Constantinople, too, came the glorious services of the Church, rich in symbolism, in the noble language of the Fathers, and in splendid music, a revelation to the Russian of the unseen world within the seen; and also the models of those ikons or holy pictures of Christ and the Mother of God and the Saints which were till 1917 to be found in almost every room in Russia, painted, after the manner of Byzantium, in a symbolic style which refused to imitate Nature and thereby carried the mind the more completely from earth to Heaven. From Constantinople, too, came the practice of pilgrimage. Perhaps the greatest teachers of Russia-greater than her saints and monks and singers and painters and priests-are her pilgrims-her people themselves, the product of all these – men and women who, journeying from monastery to monastery and from shrine to shrine, learn everywhere and teach everywhere the things that God has revealed in Christ to those whose minds and hearts are diligently eager to receive Him.
But as Constantine’s city on the Bosphorus was the first great teacher of Russia, so (in the view of the Europasians) the nomads of the steppes who owed allegiance to the Empire of Chingiz Khan were the second. In 1240 Chingiz’s grandson Batu sacked Kiev and added Russia to the provinces of the immense Mongol Empire. The rule of the Mongols was no doubt in many respects selfish and ruthless, but it had also many excellencies. Chingiz, who succeeded at the age of thirteen to the chieftancy of a group of Mongol tribes, spent thirty-one years in reducing them to submission and uniting them as one people; then he turned to conquer, first Northern China and then Central Asia as far as the Volga. “The Mogul Emperor,” says Gibbon, “became the monarch of the pastoral world, the lord of many millions of shepherds and soldiers.” He knew how to choose great generals -Samuka and Subutai; but he himself was rather an organizer and civilizer than a soldier, Chinese engineers accompanied him on his campaigns; he took from Samarkand thirty thousand artists and artisans and set them to work in Karakorum, China and Siberia. He compiled a Code of Law (Yasak) of the “ancient customs of the Turks and Mongols”; “the cruelties of Chingiz,” says J. B. Bury, “were always the simple executions of the law; he was never capricious.” On the contrary he founded his Empire on the nomad virtues, which he enjoined in the Yasak: courage, fidelity to one’s word, loyalty to one’s superiors. Thus material welfare became subordinated to moral welfare; men cared for their honour more than for their bodies. To Crown all Chingiz was deeply religious; he saw the State as an association of men and nations serving one another in an hierarchy of which the Head was God, Whom he called Tengri, “the Eternal Blue Sky.” “Heaven (Tengri) ordered me to reign over my people,” he said repeatedly, and he reigned “by the power of the Eternal Blue Sky”; it was “thanks to the help and protection of the Eternal Blue Sky that he conquered the Karaits and reached his high rank”; if future generations would obey the law, “then from the Heaven will come help and favour,” “It is,” says Gibbon, “the religion of Chingiz that best deserves our wonder and applause. He established by his law a system of pure Theism and perfect toleration. His first and only article of faith was the existence of One God, the Author of all good, Who fills, by His Presence, the heavens and earth, which He has created by His Power. The Tartars and Moguls were addicted to the idols of their peculiar tribes; and many of them had been converted by the foreign missionaries to the religions of Moses, of Mahomet, and of Christ. These various systems in freedom and concord were taught and practised within the precincts of the same camp; and the Bonze, the Iman, the Rabbi, the Nestorian, and the Latin priest enjoyed the same honourable exemption from service and tribute. The calm legislator respected the prophets and pontiffs of the most hostile sects.” But Chingiz was ready not only to tolerate but to employ Buddhist, Mohammedan, Jew and Christian, Orthodox, Catholic and heretic, whether in civil or in military capacities, as best might serve the public good; some of his generals, for instance, were Nestorian Christians. He showed the value he placed upon religion by freeing from taxation and all other burdens the clergy of every creed. Thus Chingiz Khan and his descendants united Europasia and built up a vast unified though not uniform state upon a religious and moral foundation, recognizing by their tolerance that civilizations and religions, however much they may differ outwardly, inwardly aim at the one Truth.
The example of the Mongols (the Europasians maintain) was not lost upon Russia; and she gained also by reaction to their yoke. From them the Russians learnt, as their vocabulary still bears witness, new fiscal methods, an efficient system of posts and communications, new methods of working leather, and the like. They adopted Mongol habits; to this day, for instance, the sacred ikon or the seat of honour is placed Mongol fashion in a corner of the room. But such lessons were the least important. Russia owes her unity to the Mongols. Hitherto she had been a collection of independent Principalities, which the Princes of the House of Rurik had regarded very much as so many private estates; the Mongol yoke and the Mongol example eventually united all under Moscow and so made Russia. In 1325 St Peter, Metropolitan of Kiev, transferred his Metropolitan see from that city, which lay too much exposed to Mongol raids, to the more distant and better protected Moscow in North Central Russia; and three years later Ivan the First, Prince of Vladimir, followed him to the Kremlin. Ivan had already, on Peter’s advice, undertaken to collect from the other Russian Princes the tribute due to their Mongol masters, thereby earning the nickname of Kalitä or the Money-Bag; the Mongol Khan confirmed the arrangement; and the Princes of Moscow thereby gained a hegemony over the other Russian Princes which was acknowledged both from above and from below. Shortly afterwards St Sergei of Rădonezh founded in the forest forty-four miles North of Moscow the then lonely but now famous Monastery of the Trinity, which was destined speedily to become the Mother House of the monasticism of Muscovite Russia. He too played his partin unifying Russia by reconciling several of her Princes to the Prince of Moscow; and it was he who in 1380 sped them, leagued for the first time under a Prince of Moscow, Dmitri of the Don (Donskoi), to Russia’s first great victory over the Mongols on the famous field of Kulikówo. It was, again (say the Europasians), the Mongols who changed the orientation of Russia from North and South to East and West, thus showing her the spaciousness of her home and the true direction of her further expansion. Hitherto Russia had consisted of river States-of Slavs ruled by Scandinavians on the Dnieper and the Volkhov, and of Bulgars on the Volga. But, unlike England and Italy with their clearly defined frontiers, Russia in that age was a seemingly illimitable expanse whose chief axis was the steppe, while the rivers formed subsidiary axes at right angles; and the Mongols taught the Slavs that the important axis was, not any great stream, but the steppe, which fed the forest along the rivers-he who ruled the steppe ruled Russia. Thus they not only brought the Slavs into much closer contact with the peoples of the East, but turned the face of their statesmanship in an Eastward direction, Henceforth Russia was to travel, not along the Volkhov and the Dnieper from the Baltic to the Black Sea, but along the steppe and the arms of the great rivers from the Ukraine to the Pacific. Still more important, the Mongols helped to teach Russia that the State was an organization intended to serve God; an idea that was reinforced by the active and noble part taken by the Orthodox Church in the making of Moscow-by great prelates such as St Peter of Moscow and St Alexei, and by humble monks such as St Sergei. Further, the suffering which their yoke caused-through the payment of the tribute and the exactions of the officials-deepened the religious life of the people; it turned them to God as nothing else could have done. St Sergei is symbolical of the times. His greatest work was not the reconciliation of Princes nor the foundation of monasteries; it was the example he set by the life he led. He loved the forest and its beasts; he worked laboriously and with skilful hands. No spark of worldly ambition tainted his humility; he persistently refused the Metropolitanate of Moscow, and even slipped away from the monastery he had founded when his brother challenged his right to rule it. Above all, an abounding love toward God, from which all his other love flowed, permeated his whole life and his whole world. Finally the Mongols, by the example of their comprehensive tolerance, gave Russia a breadth of view which taught the narrow-minded that Truth the many-sided is reflected in diversity, and so made Russia the most tolerant and “oecumenical” of all Christian nations.
The task of welding together the heritage of Byzantium and the heritage of the Mongols fell chiefly to two Muscovite Princes, Ivan the Third and his grandson Ivan the Fourth. In 1453 Tsargrad, “the Caesar-city,” fell to the Turks; its mantle fell upon Moscow. Sixteen years later Ivan the Third, already Prince of Moscow, married the daughter of the nearest relative of the last Greek Emperor and the claimant to his throne. Under the influence of this clever woman and in accordance with the spirit of his age Ivan adopted the ceremonious etiquette of the court of Constantinople together with the Imperial double-headed eagle and the power which this implied, and was prayed for in the services of the Church as “the ruler and Autocrat of all Russia, the new Tsar Constantine in the new city of Constantine Moscow”. That was the beginning of the Autocracy. But he was the heir, not only of Byzantium, but of the Mongols. In 1480 he freed Russia from their suzerainty by refusing payment of her annual tribute, a resolution to which he was sternly admonished to adhere by the Bishop of Rostów-a further instance of the power of religion in the affairs of the State in Russia. But while he threw off the Mongol yoke, he retained the Mongol administration-their system of taxation, posts and the like; he became, in fact, not only the Orthodox Caesar, but the Mongol Khan, and it is as the great Khan that the contemporary songs of the Turanian peoples speak of him. His grandson Ivan the Awe-Inspirer (Grosni-Terrible is a mistranslation) carried on his work in both directions. He was the first Prince of Moscow to be crowned as Tsar (at the age of seventeen he insisted on this), and aimed at great reforms both of State and Church, to effect which he introduced a radical change into the Constitution of the Tsardom. In 1550, at the age of twenty, he summoned the first Assembly of the People (Zemsky Sobor) to revise the laws of the realm, and in the following year a Sobor of the Clergy to reform the life of the Church and to secure a better use of its property. This Sobor was modelled on the Ecumenical Councils of the Byzantine Caesars. “Having arranged the order of civil life in the Hundred Chapters of his Law Code,” says Vernadsky, “the Tsar Ivan now provided for the order of the life of the Church in the Hundred Chapters of this Sobor”-hence the decrees of this Assembly are generally called the Stoglav or Hundred Chapters. For all his faults, Ivan was genuinely religious; history has blackened his character by placing undue reliance on the biased statements of his treacherous friend Kurbsky. He made public confession of the sins of his youth; he ruled for ten years with the help of two excellent though humble men, Adashev and the monk Sylvester; when in a fit of rage he struck his passionately-lowed son a blow which proved fatal, he desired to abdicate “as being unworthy to reign longer”. His nobles begged him to remain. His people loved him, for he never sent away the humble petitioner or suppliant for justice. Ruthless he was, for the sake of his reforms; but the popular songs of the times never speak of him as cruel. On the other side he completed the work of his grandfather by conquering the Mongols of Kazan and Astrakhan. He did more. The Cossack pirate Yermak, dreading the wrath of Ivan, had pushed up the Kama, crossed the Urals and taken the town of Sibir, in a region where (as Gibbon points out) the descendants of Chingiz Khan himself were still reigning after more than three hundred years. Ivan’s encouragement of Yermak began the penetration of Siberia by Russia. Within sixty years she had reached the Pacific.
Thus the great influences that formed the Russian spirit were the civilizations of Byzantium and of the Mongols; and the result was Moscow, St Vladimir and Chingiz Khan, Ivan the Third and Ivan the Awe-Inspirerthese are the outstanding figures. Of the two influences, Byzantium left the deeper mark: Russia’s rulers became Tsars, not Khans; Russians walk by the Gospel, not by the Yasak. The influence of modern Europe was yet to be felt-an influence introduced by Peter the Great and carried to its extreme by Lenin. But greater than all these great figures in the story of the growth of the Russian spirit is that of St Sergei-the humble, laborious, man-loving, God-loving soul whose saintiness of life and sanity of outlook have made him for all time the type of everything that is highest and soundest in the Russian character, and the most perfect representative of Holy Russia herself.