Chukchi believed that Russians just want to exterminate them, and did not understand the intentions of Russians (it is possible that they did not understand at all who was the Russian “White King” and why they should obey), so therefore they launched a real war against Russia.

The First Victory by Chukchi

A willful Ataman Shestakov separated from the main Russian forces and with 20 Cossacks and 113 Yakuts, Tungus and Koryaks entered into a battle with two thousand Chukchi in 1730, and was completely defeated. Half of the Cossacks and about 20 northerners were killed, the rest fled. The defeat of the Russian team caused some unrest among the already conquered peoples.

2.1. chukchi-armor

 Chukchi Armor

Conquest of Chukchi

The Russian government traditionally has made ​​a bet on peaceful means: “to persuade people to citizenship voluntarily and with affection.” Yet, the intentions of the government were not backed by anything.

If anyone refused to submit to the Russian autocrat, Cossacks killed men and captured women and children in one of the small villages in 1731. Maybe it was the revenge for previous losses, or they didn’t want to risk, but most likely it happened because they were recruited for service in the North from of those who faulted or adventurers. This and other incidents totally undermined Chukchi confidence in the peaceful intentions of the Russians, which was ultimately reflected in their mythology.

In 1747 Chukchi attacked Koryaks and hijacked their deer herd. Pavlutsky with a detachment of 97 Cossacks and Koryaks gave chase and caught up with Chukchi (up to 500 people). After the first firing of the weaponsChukchi soldiers quickly rushed for an attack without giving the Cossacks a chance to reload their guns. Hand to hand combat began. Russians and Koryaks had to take refuge in a defensive installation which was made ​​of sleds. From complete destruction they were saved by the arrival of reinforcements. Chukchi made a hasty retreat, but Russians had already lost half of their detachment.

Chukchi chose the tactics of attacking Koryaks and Yukagirs when fleeing from an organized attack by the Russian forces. The war came to a standstill.

As a result, it was decided to withdraw Russian troops and destroy all the fortifications, because a lot of money was spent to maintain them, which could not be offset by taxes from the local population.

Myth of Creation as a Recognition of Russian Strength

According to a Chukchi myth, God the Father intends for all nations, except the Chukchi, to be enslaved by Russians. Only Chukchi should be equal to Russians. Recognition by Chukchi of Russians as peers says that the offenders turned out to be worthy opponents for Chukchi. In the Chukchi folklore no other nation is actually called “people.” Only Russians and Chukchi.

To Russians, according to the myth, the Creator has given the task to produce tea, tobacco, sugar, salt, iron, and to supply with all of that Chukchi using trade. Although in another Chukchi myth Russians are given the role of leading all other nations.

Conquest of Chukchi

What could not be done by military force, Russia has achieved through trade. The amount of the Russian income from trade with Chukchi was a lot bigger than the taxes, if Chukchi agreed to pay them.

Close contacts with merchants have accelerated the destruction of the communal system of Chukchi and their involvement in the economic relations of the Far East of Russia, which gradually led to Chukchi becoming one of the nation-subjects of the Russian Emperor.


This article contains some materials of V. Kuz’minykh

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