During the world wars of the twentieth century, Russia gained a reputation for being absolutely ruthless towards its own people.   Russian soldiers would routinely burn villages and crops and shoot livestock in order to leave nothing for enemy soldiers to live on – but this left their own civilians with nothing to live on, either.  How do you think living under Mongol rule centuries ago might have helped make this kind of brutality acceptable to modern-day Russian culture?

Title: The Historical Influence of Mongol Rule on Modern-Day Russian Culture

The question posits a possible link between the historical influence of Mongol rule in Russia and the perceived acceptance of brutality within modern-day Russian culture. This analysis aims to explore the impact of Mongol rule on Russia during the medieval period and its potential societal consequences in contemporary times. By examining the historical context of Mongol rule, this essay will provide insights into how it may have contributed to shaping Russian cultural perspectives on violence.

I. Historical Context of Mongol Rule in Russia:
The Mongols, under the leadership of Genghis Khan, began their conquests in the early 13th century, establishing the vast Mongol Empire, which encompassed parts of Eurasia, including Russia. Known as the Golden Horde, the Mongols dominated Russian territories for nearly two and a half centuries, exerting both military and administrative control.

During this period, the Russian principalities, such as Moscow and Vladimir, acknowledged Mongol suzerainty and paid tribute in exchange for relative autonomy. The Mongols imposed a system of governance, known as the yasak, that required tribute payments, military service, and the subordination of local rulers to Mongol authority.

II. Mongol Influence on Russian Society:
1. Destruction and brutality:
Mongol conquests were characterized by relentless military campaigns and widespread destruction in the territories they occupied. Mongol forces employed brutal tactics to subdue potential opposition, including burning villages, destroying crops, and killing livestock. Surviving historical accounts depict the Mongols as highly effective warriors who utilized savagery to intimidate and demoralize their enemies.

2. Social and economic impact:
The Mongol occupation of Russia resulted in significant social and economic changes. To prevent uprisings and ensure their control, the Mongols appointed local collaborators to positions of power, fostering a divided society filled with suspicion and loyalty conflicts. The extraction of tribute by the Mongols exerted significant strain on the Russian economy, leading to increased poverty and social unrest.

III. Potential Cultural Implications:
1. Endurance and resilience:
Living under the oppressive rule of the Mongols for centuries may have ingrained in the Russian psyche a toleration for immense suffering. The ability to withstand such brutal conditions and maintain national identity despite centuries of occupation may have fostered a sense of resilience and toughness within Russian culture.

2. Acceptance of violence:
The extreme violence and destruction perpetrated by the Mongols during their conquests likely had a profound impact on the Russian people. Witnessing the unconstrained brutality employed by the Mongols may have desensitized the population to acts of violence, leading to a cultural normalization of aggression and ruthlessness.

3. Patterns of authority and power:
The hierarchical structure and authoritarian rule imposed by the Mongols could have influenced the subsequent development of Russian governance. The top-down approach to governance employed by the Mongol overlords may have contributed to a cultural acceptance of strong central authority and autocratic rule in later periods of Russian history.

IV. Modern-Day Russian Culture and Violence:
The question at hand suggests a possible correlation between the historical Mongol influence and the perception of brutality within modern-day Russian culture. While it is challenging to draw direct causation, it is plausible that the experiences of Mongol rule and the subsequent historical trajectory of Russia have contributed to certain cultural aspects that intersect with the notion of violence.

The historical experience of Mongol rule in Russia had a profound impact on the society and culture of the time. The enduring influence of the Mongols may have contributed to a cultural acceptance of suffering, resilience, violence, and patterns of authority. However, it is important to recognize that cultural influences are complex and multifaceted, and various other factors have shaped modern-day Russian culture. Further research is needed to comprehensively understand the link between Mongol rule and contemporary cultural attitudes towards violence in Russia.