By Robert F. Dorr, Mark Rolfe
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45 Communications between Moscow and Siberia show a bureaucracy functioning surprisingly well only a few decades after Ermak. Indeed, had this not been the case, Russia could never have accomplished what it did in Siberia. In a manner of speaking, the state was so efficient at expanding iasak that by 1700 Siberia’s supply of ‘soft gold’ was nearly exhausted. More to the point, the Muscovite apparatus made of exile something ‘To where the Sovereign Chooses. ’ 31 quite different from what it later became.
Annexation of Sibir would give the Russians greater access to Persian and Central Asian markets, which in turn would boost Muscovy’s economy. ) Ivan’s initial hesitation should therefore not be read as a lack of intention but rather the result of financial constraints and requirements imposed by other military commitments. Second, Martin’s argument credits Ivan with too much economic wizardry, for the possibility that Sibir’s fall would depress the fur market was itself dependent on several variables recognizable only in hindsight.
Perevedentsy were by definition state peasants or guliashchie already living in Siberia prior to removal. The first group was transferred as early as 1624, when officials removed peasants living near Tobol´sk and Tiumen to nearby Nitsa. Other small-scale transfers followed. 54 Later that decade Tsar Michael sent 300 cossacks ‘selected from Tobol´sk and other Siberian towns’ under Prince Andrei Khovanskii to establish Eniseisk ostrog. 56 Moscow apparently sent no perevedentsy to eastern Siberia for almost 50 years: during the interregnum it attempted to convert exiled criminals and other deviants into peasants.