“… And They Do Nothing Good”: “Renegade” Cossacks in Russian-Safavid Relations of 1620s–1630s

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Abstract. The paper aims to study of the “renegade” Cossacks as a factor complicating the relations between the Russian Tsardom and the Safavid state in the 1620s–1630s. The research is mainly based on the materials from the fund 77 of the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts. These are the shah’s letters to Mikhail Fedorovich and the firmans to his voivods, petitions from the heads and employees of missions, the reports of the Astrakhan and Terek voivods, as well as the protocols of different “interrogations”. The author concludes that despite the controversies and mutual distrust, the positions of the Romanovs and Safavids on the Cossack problem came closer together with the growth of trade. Finally, in 1640 the tsar and the shah fixed an agreement on cooperation in opposing the “renegade” Cossacks. And, although piracy did not disappear, the degree of control over the Cossack regions by the Russian Tsardom grew steadily. The policy of liquidating “free” communities was based not on statist concepts of modernity, but mostly on pragmatic considerations of security and the image of anti-social people generally accepted on both sides of the Caspian, whose extermination seemed to be pious.

Keywords: “Renegade” Cossacks, Russian Tsardom, Safavid State, archive documents, Caspian Sea.

For Citation: Shorokhov V.A. “… And They Do Nothing Good”: “Renegade” Cossacks in Russian-Safavid Relations of 1620s–1630s, in Novoe Proshloe / The New Past. 2021 No 2. Pp. 28-41. DOI: 10.18522/2500-3224-2021-2-28-41.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0) - Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

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