Some of early human societies foraged wild vegetation and hunted animals for subsistence. In history, this way of life is known being hunter-gatherer culture. Our distant ancestors kept this way of life till civilisation came alone. Larger the wildlife more menacing it becomes, hence requiring better collaboration and advanced tools.Skills needed to successfully hunt and those necessary successfully battle are similar. Such skill transfer can be observed throughout history, including nomads using their horseback hunting propensity for battles and invasion. 

Nomadic tribes conquering settler societies are recorded are the Tangut, Liao, Xiongnu, Jin, Avars, Vikings influx. The Franks formed in a similar way German nation. From this perspective, a question is if the first nation state emerged in a similar manner. 

After conquering modern day Chinese territory, the Liao, Tangut, Jin, Mongol tribes adopted Chinese governance structure not leaving a long-lasting political legacy in. The XIII century Mongols who ruled hundreds of years a half of the world, including China, Persia, Middle East, Turks, Armenia, Georgia, Korean peninsula, Eastern part of Catholic world, have left no succeeding socio-political inheritance. In fact, Central Asian nomadic tribes invading Chinese civilisation before the Mongols, had assimilated to the Chinese culture not leaving a bequest, but historical records. In a similar way, the Avars and the Huns who formed its tribal confederation in Europe are forgotten today.

Nonetheless, Russia is the country which have the most of inheritance in governance and military systems! Kievan Rus’ had formed about 1000 AD. In fact, it is a state founded by Scandinavian Varangians on East Slavic land. Around its decline, in 1230s, the Mongol warriors led by Bat khan and general Subedei conquered the Rus’, breaking off its order of succession. The Mongols ruled there over 250-300 years. At that that time, Russia was incorporated in weak five nation-states, dependent on trades with the Ottomans and the Cumans, virgin to European culture, but Asian. 

In any event, the Mongols left a tremendous political legacy for Russia, mainly negative.[1] At first, it cut off trade and intellectual ties with the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East. Further, by hindering its relationship with Europe, Russia left out of four major societal transformations: Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightment, and Industrialisation. Mongol Igo Mongols oppression halted Kievan Rus’ political development hence this concept started over again after East Slavic first settlement perished. European feudal societies evolved over 800 years reaching today’s state, whereas in Russia it sustained over 200 years till Ivan III set on the throne in the middle of 1500. Moreover, the Mongolian form of serfdom governance remained unchanged till Alexander II ruling in XIX century.

Finally, the Byzantine legal tradition suspension by the Mongols resulted in cruel and barbaric political life in Russia. The Mongols invaded others to enrich themselves and taxed conquered territories to squeeze maximum wealth. In fact, they did not command political institutions or jurisdiction, or a fairness theory to be duplicated in newly acquired territories due to being a tribal society. Compared to agricultural society lords, the Mongols aim was to squeeze maximum wealth for short periods. Punishments were strict and cruel. They would burn down a city and massacre its residents to demonstrate and showcase the lesson. They recruited Russian elites to act as tax collectors, including Moscow count, who later established a Russian state. A representative of a khan set in every region and was in charge for taxation, post, and military deployment. A part of collected revenues would pocket a tax collector who would rob fellow community on behalf of the Mongols. It had become the foundation of corrupt government. In such ways the Mongols trained and instilled its culture. On top of it, marriage alliances were a common practice, thus genetically linking two nations. Scratch a Russian and you will find a Tartar! 

Mixing up with the Mongols, Tartars, and Turks further distanced Russia from Europe. Hence, the Mongol invasion and its subsequent ruling firstly, washed of Kiev culture, secondly, cut off East Slavic from West, thirdly, not only forming Moscovit Russians but also making them domineering nation among East Slavic people.

By taking over Novgorod and Tver’, Ivan II established the foundation for powerful and independent Rissia. As soon he continued Mongolian tradition of territorial expansion. For over hundred years, Russia expanded 100 times. Russia with its vast territory became a singular nation.

Moscovits strength was not in its pay to its servicemen, but in the land awards to horseback military personnel, who made a middle class in the society. They were not permanently stationed, but on duty calls, when lords need the service, for which pomestye land lot would be given. Over the years, the land expansion reached the Pacific Ocean. 

The Mongols, generally nomad warriors were smart military strategists. Long before the battle they would engage targets in fearmongering. A few Mongol warriors would assault a target city or village, killing everyone on the way and burning it down, then retreat. Of course, the news about the Mongols cruelty would spread wide bringing panic and fear. Then the army would advance. 

During the Crimean War in 1853 Кarl Marx wrote in his work The Russian Menace to Europe: “If you want to negotiate with Russia, do not fear”.[2] Traditionally, fearmongering and pressure were guarantees for 50% of success for Russian military actions in history. For today’s war in Ukraine, Russia threatens with nuclear weapon deployment, twisting history, overly praising its military strength, bombs schools, hospitals, kindergartens, kills civilians and even kidnaps children! The term used for it now is Hybrid War. It is learned from the Mongols!

Due to small population number, nomads would recruit military personnel from within the conquered nations. In 1242 the Mongols did the first census in Russia to mobilize locals for Europe crusade. When Khubilai army invaded Southern Sun dynasty, 70 percent the troops made up by subjects of Northern Sun dynasty. Koreans were the main force when the Mongols advanced twice to Japan. It is said that Kalmyks played a crucial role in Russian crusades to Caucasia. During WWII, so called “penal battalion”, a military formation consisting of criminals and political convicts battling on the front line for certain death. Official statistics show that casualty rates for minority soldiers from the Republic of Dagestan and Buryatia in Ukraine is the highest. Also, a Mongolian teaching!

The Mongols and their predecessors never had a permanent army. However, a such military service has long existed in Rome, China and India. Nomads formed their troops under the pretext of war. Russia has it since the reign of Catherine. The army of Peter I was small, yetsufficient to fight the Swedes. Many of the states, heirs of the Golden Horde, were also annexed to Russia in a Mongolian way, acquiring as war gains. Russia's attitude toward post-Soviet independent states is reminiscent of this.

With the territorial expansion, peasants rewarded with land stretching to the Pacific Ocean. For ancient and medieval nomads, war was not only means of land expansion, but also a source of wealth. It was the main occupation. Genghis Khan invaded and destroyed the Tanguts, taxed heavily, and left to fight Khwarezm. Since then, it has been ordered: "Remind me every morning that there is a state of Tanguts in the south." Some scholars suggest by saying it he encouraged his warriors the war of conquest was not yet over and that there was other business behind it. After the capture, he spent several days within the walls of the fallen city to give rest to his soldiers. Under such circumstances, robbery, pluntering, murdering, and rapes ran rampant. Countless civilians were killed in retaliation for the siege. It's the Middle Ages!

War gains were sent back to Mongolia from afar. It seems that Karakorum was not a capital city, but a warehouse for the loot. Khans, who didn’t know or acustomed to city lifetyle, roam endless steppe around throughout a year. The governments decision did not come from the capital, Karakorum, but from the khan's yurt. Khans and princes from time to time meet in person there for convention.

Less than a month after Russia invaded Ukraine, the world was shocked by the news of civillian massacre, household appliances looting in Kiev suburban areas. The Russian government also took advantage of the situation and stole wheat harvest from Ukraine in large quantities. This is not new for the Russian army. There is a strange fact on the Soviet Red Army conduct at occupied territories of Eastern Europe and Germany at the end of the WW II. They roamed like "being on holiday". The Germans hardly mention it due to the shame of the war and the killing of millions of Soviet citizens. They don't even make films or documentaries about the hidden facts of the war. However, Western scholars and historians have published extensively on the subject.

British historian Max Hastings' book Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 provides detailed evidence on the topic.[3] Recently, Russian historians have revealed many archival documents. For example, Russian researchers M. Semiryaga and B. Knyshevsky made public many facts. In just two or three months, hundreds of thousands of German women were raped. Robbery has gone astray. Each Red Army soldier was allowed to send booty home. The number is not limited for officers .

The Soviet government alone plundered 2,885 factories, 400,000 railway carriage items, 96 power plants, 1,335,000 head of cattle, 1 million tons of potatoes, 2.3 million tons of grain, half a million tons of sugar and 20 million liters of alcohol. And 60,000 pianos, 460,000 radios, 940,000 pieces of furniture, 265,000 wall and table clocks, and 190,000 carpets were registered but distributed to superiors. There are an estimated unregistered 1.2 million coats, 1 million hats and 168,000 bottles of wine. The Germans estimate that there are still about 200,000 rare museum exhibits in Russia and in the member states of the former Soviet Union. In 1948, Stalin confiscated 194 pieces of furniture, 485 items made of rare skins, 4,000 meters of tissue, 44 carpets, 55 paintings, and 7 boxes crystal items to press a criminal charge against Marshal Zhukov. The Russians did not know the purpose of the night gowns brought with them, so until the 60s they would wear PJs at resorts and celebratory events as a kind of summer suit. Later, pajamas became a uniform for patients in neurological hospitals and boarding homes.[4]

The most interesting place for nomads in Europe was the Pannan Valley. The Huns and the Avars lived there. Today it is the territory of Hungary. The prototype Hungarians coming to this land were also uncivilized nomads. The Mongols also dominated there. The nomads conquered agricultural lands, but never used. However, there were recorded many incidents where farmlands destroyed and turned into pasture. There has always been a nomadic interest in territorial expansion to compete with each other.

Mises' Еconomic reasons for war “... Mankind fought each other for thousands of years in senseless wars, but from the 18th century they began to fight for economic reasons. Accelerated development led to a shortage of raw materials, and the essence of war has always been economically motivated. He singled out Russia, explaining that Russia, who has no shortage in raw materials, fought without any economic justification, simply started a war to expand its territory, based on an ancient belief.[5]

The history of Russia stretching over 500 years, is a constant battle for the territorial expansion. It has Siberia for more than 400 years, but almost never explored. It is a place of exile under the Tsars, and the Gulag under the Soviets. Russia fought with the Turks a dozen times to gain access to the Mediterranean. It is the most dangerous country for its neighbors. Russia's neighbors China, Persia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Tibet, Mongolia, Xinjiang, Manchuria, Japan, Finland, Poland, Sweden and Romania have been subjected to its aggression. Some of Russia's neighbors gave up its land to it.

The greatest legacy that the Mongols handed over to Russia is the Russian governance system, and perhaps the global image of Russia as a nation.

May 23, 2022

[1] Fukuyama, Francis The Origins of Political Order. (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2011


[3] Hastings, Max Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 Vintage 2005


[5] Robbins, Lionel The economic causes of war New York Howard Fertig 1968