This essay examines the problem of basqaqs and the Mongol decimal system in Appanage Rus’. It surveys the functions of the basqaqs or daruγas and the importance of the divisions of ten thousand and thousands in the Mongol Empire. In Appanage Rus’ the decimal system was of less importance for the organization of the Rus’ian armies than it was for the administration of the tribute and the collection of other taxes, especially on the local rural level. In Rus’ the Mongol division of ten thousand (tümen) was separated from its military connotations and became associated with the rural district of the volost and rural officials known as the hundredmen and tenmen. The essay reviews the various functions the hundredmen played in Europe and their place, together with the tenmen, in Appanage Rus’ for the collection of the tribute. At the same time, the thousandman or chiliarch gradually disappeared in northeastern Rus’.
This article examines some of the economic dimensions of war in the reign of Vasilii II and argues that Rus’, much like England during the Wars of the Roses, suffered economic stagnation and perhaps even a depression. The combination of war, plague, and famine in Rus’ resulted in a decline in population and strained economic resources evidenced by abandoned agrarian lands, the burden of the Mongol tribute and princely debts, debased silver coinage, and the cessation of urban expansion, Moscow being the major exception. Moscow, like London, prospered, but most of England and northeastern Rus’ did not. Pillage, ransom, and territorial aggrandizement were some of the means Moscow employed to augment its acquisition of silver beyond that supplied by the fur trade. Immunity charters were offered to retain and to attract peasant settlers in an effort to stabilize agriculture and with it a taxable population. The relative prosperity of the eras of Ivan III and Vasilii III should not obscure the economic contraction that occurred in the late fourteenth and first half of the fifteenth centuries.