Menshchikov V. V., Pertsev N. V. Novgorod expansion to the east in XII-XV centuries (.pdf)
The paper discusses the Novgorod campaigns to Yugra in in the 12th-15th centuries. The Novgorod Republic was the richest land in Russia in the period of fragmentation. It is considered that one of the causes for that was a good geographical location, allowing Novgorod to establish trade with Western European countries. Another reason was Novgorod specific relationship with the Horde, because Novgorod was not involved in the Mongolian dependencedue to the activity of the Grand Duke Alexander Yaroslavich. Concrete historical analysis was made based on the study of Russian chronicles, as well as pre-revolutionary, the Soviet, and modern historiography. The authors analyze Novgorod competition with the other participants of fur trade (Volga Bulgaria, Moscow, German and Arab merchants). Until the 14th century, the demand of the European market for fur was satisfied by own Novgorod resources. The ecological crisis and the simultaneous change in demand since the 14th century the Novgorodians to look for new sources of fur. It was at that time that the Novgorod merchants paid attention to the so-called Yugra, a territory located to the north-east of the Novgorod land and, supposedly,being “expanded” to the east as the Novgorodians moved further. Yugra, formally subordinated to Novgorod, from time to time became the object of the Novgorod military aggression. The reasons for the aggression were economic and political crises in Novgorod. Since the second half of the 15th century, Yugra entered the zone of interests of Moscow principality, with the note that the purpose of Moscow did not differ from Novgorod one and was the desire to put transit fur under control. The last independent campaign of Novgorod to Yugra was implemented in 1445. The conclusion is that one of the reasons for the eastern expansion of Novgorod were periodic internal crises pushing Novgorodians to the need to resolve their search for external resources.
Key words: Novgorod, Yugra, fur trade, chronicles.