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Full Access Simeon Bekbulatovich and Steppe Politics: Some Thoughts on Donald Ostrowski’s Interpretation of the Tsar’s Remarkable Career

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Simeon Bekbulatovich and Steppe Politics: Some Thoughts on Donald Ostrowski’s Interpretation of the Tsar’s Remarkable Career

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Donald Ostrowski proposes that Ivan IV made Simeon Bekbulatovich the grand prince of all Rus’ in order to thwart a conspiracy aimed at replacing Ivan with the Crimean khan. Ostrowski invokes the theory of steppe politics, which includes the principle that only Chinggisids could hold the title of tsar, to explain and support his hypothesis. A review of the practice of steppe politics in the decades preceding 1575, however, reveals that the rivalries among competing branches of the Chinggisid dynasty and the bases for Crimean hostility toward Muscovy make it unlikely that Ivan could have effectively preempted the presumed coup by yielding his throne to Simeon Bekbulatovich. This observation suggests that the theory of steppe politics does not offer a satisfactory explanation for the appointment of Simeon to the position of grand prince of all Rus’.

Affiliations: 1: University of Miami, Email: j.martin1@miami.edu, URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink

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/content/journals/10.1163/18763316-03903004
2012-01-01
2016-12-02

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