And drawing on the works of other historians, including Russian ones, Mirovalyev suggests that it was Uzbek Khan who determined that Moscow would first become primus inter pares among Russian principalities and then the dominant one, a view that many Russians are certain to view as at a minimum lese majeste or even as an insult to their national dignity.
The Uzbek historian notes that he is far from alone in his position on the provenance of the cap of the Monomakh. Irina Bobrovnitskaya, who curates the crown, argues that Moscow Prince Ivan Kalita received the cap from Uzbek Khan, and Moscow historian Nikolay Borisov considers it to be a woman’s tyubeteika which belonged to the wife of Moscow Prince Yury.
Uzbek “ruled the Golden Horde in its golden age,” the Tashkent historian says, and during his reign, “the Moscow princes began to aspire to primacy over the remaining Russian principalities, above all as allies of the Horde which gave them the right to collect tribute from the others.
Consequently, Mirovalyev says, “if it weren’t for Uzbek, then the Russian state in its present-day form, as a continuation of the Grand Principality of Muscovy simply would not exist.” It might even have happened that Islam would have become the predominant religion of that state or that it might have accepted Christianity on its own.
Picking Moscow as its favorite, the Uzbek historian says, the regime of Uzbek chose a weak competitor in order to promote its plans of dividing and ruling this part of its own empire. And he notes that the ethnic diversity of the region is so great that “even the word ‘Moscow’ most likely is Finno-Ugric in origin.”
But as has often happened in other empires, border cities and states, often emerge as the dominant players with the help of outsiders. And that is what happened in the case of Muscovy. But its help came not from Constantinople as most Russians now imagine but rather from the Golden Horde, something they are reluctant to admit.