The wild field is the territory of the Old Russian state

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The wild field is the territory of the Old Russian state
The wild field is the territory of the Old Russian state

What is the Wild Field? The description of the territory is found in Gogol. This is how he describes the lands through which Taras Bulba traveled with his sons to the Zaporozhian Sich:

The steppe became more beautiful the farther… never had a plow passed over unmeasured waves of wild plants. Only the horses hid in them, as if in a forest, trampling them. Nothing in nature could be better. The entire surface of the earth seemed to be a green-gold ocean, on which millions of different colors splashed … Damn you, steppes, how good you are!


Steppe nomads

The name was given to the deserted Azov steppes and spaces of the Black Sea. The Wild Field has never had clearly defined, non-controversial borders. Ancient authors mentioned the coast of the Black Sea (among the Greeks - the Pontic Sea) as lands belonging to the Scythians. The small number of the population living there and the lack of guarded borders led to constant raids of the steppe nomadic peoples: Sarmatians, Pechenegs and Polovtsians. The latter were created on theseterritories of the state known as the Polovtsian steppe.

Defensive attempts

Wild Field is a region of Slavic colonization, which was part of the Pereyaslav and Chernigov-Seversky principalities in the 10th-13th centuries. The Russian princes tried to protect themselves from the nomads by organizing their own campaigns. Vladimir Monomakh, who ruled Russia in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, undertook several such campaigns in the steppes of the Wild Field. The result was rich booty: horses, cattle, prisoners. At the beginning of the 13th century (1223), the troops of Genghis Khan passed through these territories of the Old Russian state. Two decades later, his son Batu included the Wild Field in the Golden Horde.

Golden Horde

The invasion of the Mongol-Tatars in the middle of the XIII century led to the destruction of the local population. For a long time the land remained uninhabited. The wild field is steppe soils suitable for agriculture and cattle breeding, but the nomads constantly crossing them did not allow the population to settle. Until the end of the 16th century, the Polovtsian steppe was just a constant battlefield between Russia, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Horde.

Construction of the Notch Strip

The construction of protective structures began in the reign of Ivan the Terrible, in 1550. Ditches were dug, ramparts were poured, watchtowers were erected, barriers were created from fallen trees (zasek). The fortification stretched from Kharkov to the Trans-Volga region and was called the Great Barrier. The development of new territories required an influx of population, so the government developed a number of incentive measures.Settlers were granted land plots free of charge, as well as the right to duty-free distillation and s alt mining. In addition, those who arrived for permanent residence were exempted from taxes and allowed to create their own self-government bodies.

Moscow conquered the Wild Field not because of lack of land. The only reason for the construction of protective structures was the need to protect themselves from the Crimean threat, to protect the population from being taken prisoner. The construction of the security line became part of a large state program to create a defensive line.

Settlement of territories

Zaporozhye Cossacks

The Wild Field is the territories gradually annexed to the Russian Empire during the wars with the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire and called Novorossiya.

Soldiers were the first to arrive on earth. In order not to pay them a "bread salary", the settlers were obliged to engage in agriculture. This is how the odnodvortsy of the south of Russia appeared - servicemen with one yard, an estate. In the 18th century, as the territories of the Wild Field increased and cities arose, the outposts replaced the cities. Odnodvortsam canceled tax breaks, they began to pay at first yard, later poll tax. The settlement of the steppe territories was helped by the Don Cossacks, who founded the cities of Kharkov, Belgorod, Sumy, Chuguev and others; as well as the Polish gentry who founded Oleshnya and Akhtyrka. The local government was headed by a voivode appointed by Moscow.

The region formed between the borders of three states, Russia, the Crimean Khanate and RechCommonwe alth, in the XVII-XVIII centuries was called Sloboda Ukraine, or Sloboda Ukraine. The local population had certain liberties here. Mostly they were Ukrainians, hence the name.

Population growth due to runaways

During the period of the final enslavement of the peasants and the church schism, the peasants fled en masse to the outskirts of the Russian state - where there was no serfdom. The number of fugitives increased due to the threat of punishment during the Time of Troubles, the Copper Riot, after the armed uprisings of Stepan Razin and Kondraty Bulavin.


Lugansk region

Interestingly, despite the complete absence of the Russian population, Slavic names of cities and rivers have been preserved for hundreds of years. So, for example, the cities of Zmeev and Donets, burned by the Tatars in the XII century, are mentioned for the first time in the Tale of Igor's Campaign (XII century), the second time - in the Ipatiev Chronicle (XVII century). The Kharkiv River is also mentioned in written sources from the 12th and 17th centuries.

Currently, the territory of the Wild Field is:

  1. Saratov, Voronezh, Penza, Lipetsk, Tambov, Belgorod, Volgograd and Rostov regions of Russia.
  2. The officially unrecognized Lugansk and Donetsk republics.
  3. Transnistria.
  4. Odessa, Poltava, Kharkiv, Sumy, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kirovohrad and Nikolaev regions of Ukraine.

Now you know what the Wild Field is.

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