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Where two worlds met : the Russian state and the Kalmyk nomads, 1600-1771 /
Michael Khodarkovsky.
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1992.
xiii, 278 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
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Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1992.
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Includes bibliographical references (p. 251-262) and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1993-03:
Khodarkovsky offers a short survey of Kalmyk society and a longer narrative on relations betwen Russia and the Kalmyks until they returned to Mongolia in 1771. The Kalmyks were nomads from Western Mongolia, Lamaist or Tibetan Buddhist in religion (although animism persisted among them). They replaced the Nogay Tatars in the steppes north of the Caspian Sea by the 17th century, and in the late 18th century, they felt the pressure of the Turkic Kazakhs. Contact between the war-like Kalmyks and Russia took varying forms. By the end of the 17th century, Kalmyk troops were being used by Russia in foreign as well as domestic wars. Russia saw the Kalmyks as a "subject people" while the Kalmyks thought of themselves as allies, a confusion that linguistic and cultural differences facilitated. The bloody wars of frontier life began to diminish as agricultural settlements spread. The story reminds readers of a pervasive theme of Russian history, the dangerous frontier, on which the Kalmyks were a formidable player in action that included the Crimean and Nogay Tatars, the Yaik and Don Cossacks, and Ottoman Turkey and Poland. Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty. D. Balmuth; Skidmore College
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Choice, March 1993
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Main Description
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the expanding Russian empire was embroiled in a dramatic confrontation with the nomadic people known as the Kalmyks who had moved westward from Inner Asia onto the vast Caspian and Volga steppes. Drawing on an unparalleled body of Russian and Turkish sources-including chronicles, epics, travelogues, and previously unstudied Ottoman archival materials-Michael Khodarkovsky offers a fresh interpretation of this long and destructive conflict, which ended with the unruly frontier becoming another province of the Russian empire. Khodarkovsky first sketches a cultural anthropology of the Kalmyk tribes, focusing on the assumptions they brought to the interactions with one another and with the sedentary cultures they encountered. In light of this portrait of Kalmyk culture and internal politics, Khodarkovsky rereads from the Kalmyk point of view the Russian history of disputes between the two peoples. Whenever possible, he compares Ottoman accounts of these events with the Russian sources on which earlier interpretations have been based. Khodarkovsky's analysis deepens our understanding of the history of Russian expansion and establishes a new paradigm for future study of the interaction between the Russians and the non-Russian peoples of Central Asia and Transcaucasia.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Abbreviationsp. xi
Note on Transliterationp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Kalmyk Nomadic Societyp. 5
Mutual Perceptionsp. 58
The Arrival of the Kalmyksp. 74
The Rise to Power of Ayuki Khanp. 100
Uneasy Alliance: Ayuki Khan and Russia, 1697-1722p. 134
Succession Crisis, 1722-1735p. 170
Russian Colonization and the Kalmyks' Decline and Exodusp. 207
Conclusionp. 236
Kalmyk-Muscovite Diplomatic Confrontation, 1650: a Translationp. 243
Bibliographyp. 251
Glossaryp. 263
Indexp. 267
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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