Tatars in the service of Russia in the wars against the Poles and Swedes in 1613–1618

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Research objectives: An investigation of the participation of Tatars in the service of Moscow in the wars with the Polish and Swedish states in the years after the Smuta (1613–1618). Research materials: This study is based on the data of the official order books, as well as some act materials. The novelty and the results of the research: The study of the particular subject of Tatar service in these wars helps us to understand their place in the armed forces of the state of Moscow during the military-political crisis which continued after the enthronement of the first Romanov. This category of troops took an active part in repelling the raids of Poles and Ukrainian Cossacks while simultaneously containing Swedish aggression. Having considered some episodes, it was possible to either discover or make informed assumptions about the number of Tatars and their proportion in the Russian military contingents, their combat missions, command, and variety of Tatar units. The considered sources allow us to speak about a one-time participation of two thousand Tatars in the wars with the Poles and Swedes (excluding groups with mixed composition). They took part in most of the important military activities of those years, and regarding their presence in the army, they usually comprised 15–28% of the entire force (in some cases they could be less, or much more). It is possible to speak confidently about emergence in these years of a practice of service of units by “halves”. Serving Tatars participated in defensive and offensive operations, in capturing prisoners of war, battles with small enemy units. These functions were similar to those performed by Russian nobles. The academic novelty of our research emerges from its being the first detailed examination in historiography on the participation of the serving Tatars in the wars of 1613–1618 and makes a number of conclusions about their contribution to the defense of the state of Moscow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)766-782
Number of pages17
JournalZolotoordynskoe Obozrenie
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Military history
  • Moscow state’s army
  • Russian-polish war
  • Serving tatarian


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