Steppe nomads and Russian identity: the (in)visibility of Scythians, Mongols and Cossacks in Russian history and memory




Maximick, Katherine

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The Russian people and the steppe nomads have maintained a symbiotic relationship for 2600 years that was undeniably fluid; however, for the most part mental and sometimes physical barriers have been erected in Russian society and historiography in an attempt to deny or suppress many aspects of Russia’s “Asian” features or historical past. This thesis aims to bring to light the fluidity and cross-cultural exchanges of this relationship, the substantial influences of steppe societies on Russian society and history, as well as to examine the motives and ideologies behind Russia’s anti-nomadic sentiments that ultimately shaped and censored Russian national history. The invaluable benefits of nomadic and steppe customs in Russian society and on Russian identity have previously been ignored, dismissed or downplayed in Russian historiography, and revisionist historians hope to reverse this and introduce the concept that the rise of the Russian nation would not have been possible without the influence of steppe nomadic societies.



Russia, Steppe nomads, Scythians, Mongols, Cossacks