Siberia and Steppe
This chapter examines the Russian empire’s expansion east and south into Siberia and the steppe in the eighteenth century. Regarding the conquest of Siberia, it explores the role of Cossacks, the violence of the conquest and continued treatment of native peoples, and the in-migration of East Slavs. It surveys Russian in-migration and increasing control over the native peoples of the Middle Volga and Bashkiria, focusing on the punitive Orenburg expeditions and the creation of the Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly as an institution for Moscow to interact with and control its Muslim subjects. The chapter details the gradual destruction of autonomies of previous “imperial intermediaries” from the mid-eighteenth century, with the political absorption, reform, or even destruction of such groups as the Ukrainian, Zaporozhian, Don, and Ural Cossacks.
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