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Baskaki Administration

A missionary named Carpini described the Mongol administration of Russia was after the conquest as consisting of Mongol "baskaki" who oversaw the collection of taxes, conscripted troops, and suppressed opposition to Mongol rule . Because the Mongols were herdsmen, they remained in the steppes region of Russia, and sent their baskaki to the Russian forest zone to maintain order during the early days of the Golden Horde. Baskaki AdministrationLater, the Mongol rulers adapted their political and administrative organization to include envoys who delivered directives from a centralized government in the steppes, while specialists followed developing circumstances in other regions of Russia . The Mongols also left many of the Russian principalities intact, but this form of organization did not mean that the Mongols had loosened their grip on Russians. Instead, Mongol domination over Russian society was very effective through most of the thirteenth fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Two of the main duties of the baskaki in a particular region, tax collection and military conscription, were based on population quotas . In addition to being tax collectors and gathering military conscripts, the baskaki were also intelligence gatherers for the Mongol administration . However, many scholars have argued the actual significance and strength of these baskakis. For example, Kargolov argues that Mongol punitive expeditions in Russia originated from the steppes, which indicates that the regional baskaki in Russia's forest zones did not have the strength to advance these punitive measures on their own . Others point out that it is unlikely that Mongol leaders would have been assigned to small Russian villages, but instead remained in administrative posts in larger cities.

In one historic account of baskaki administration found in the Laurentian chronicle, a baskaki name Akhmad in Kursk was faced with an unstable political situation in which two Russian princes were at odds . When the Russian princes attempted to play Akhmad, the Mongol baskaki, against his Russian troops, Akhmad called for a punitive expedition from the steppes, which killed the local nobles and one of the Russian princes . As this account demonstrates, the administration of the baskakis could be very brutal.

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