SECOND PERIOD OF RUSSIAN HISTORY--THIRTEENTH TILL THE MIDDLE OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
THE dispersal of the Kiev Russ marks the beginning of the second period of Russian history. During this period the mass of the Russian people inhabited the valleys and plains of the Upper Volga and its tributaries. Although the social composition of the migrating mass was, to begin with, the same as it was before the dispersal--the princes with their drujina or fighting comrades, the merchant class, the free common people, and the kholopi and cheladi (cultivators and houseyard slaves)--the relative importance and numbers of these classes had been changed by the circumstances of the enforced migration. Undoubtedly the kholopi and cheladi had suffered most in the onslaughts of the Tartars; their bones bleached on the fields of Kiev. The merchants were ruined, and the political influence which they had exercised had disappeared. Thus in the new region the trading town no longer held its head so high against the prince as it did before the dispersal, and no longer determined the political boundaries.
The channels of external trade had been rudely interrupted, and some of them had been closed altogether. Economical necessity thus threw the population more and more into agriculture. But there was no longer available the ample money capital of the Kiev economy, and it was thus not possible for agricultural exploitation to be conducted very speedily. The forests had to be cut down or burnt up, and the heavy clay had to be modified by cultivation and by manure before a full yield could be obtained. For a long period the husbandry was half-migratory. While the whole population was poor and capital was scarce, there was little effective demand for capital, although, partly under the influence of the clergy, the rate of interest was much lower than it had been