Communications in the Novgorod Region during the Crisis Period of the Time of Trouble
The expansion of the Muscovite State to Novgorod and Pskov lands in the late fifteenth — early sixteenth century was followed by the spread of the process of state building in the newly incorporated territories. These processes started in Muscovy itself at the same time, in the late fifteenth century. The creation of the communication net provided by the central power played a major role in the processes. The system of state roads appeared in order to provide uninterrupted communication for military and diplomatic aims. New roads with a special system of “yam” distances served mostly to transport troops and escort embassies. The road system organized in Muscovy in the late fifteenth — early sixteenth century directly stemmed from military and diplomatic needs, and was part of shaping the Early Modern state system. It connected Novgorod the Great with the most important fortresses and with the border. During the political crisis of the early seventeenth century, the trunk road system was thoroughly supported by any current authorities. Military events stimulated authorities to increase their control over the roads: a system of outposts was developed at the time. By 1616–1617, however, the mobilization potential of Novgorod government had been exhausted. Some years after the Stolbovo Treaty of 1617, the overland trunk roads came into decline. A reliable connection between Novgorod and Moscow was provided by circular river routes bypassing the devastated lands. Only since early 1620s, the process of restoring the main trunk roads in Novgorod land had started.