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The early modern Russian government and Russian Orthodox Church identified as one of their main duties the ransoming of Russian Christians from Muslim Tatar captors. The process of ransoming could be an involved one with negotiations being carried on by different agents and by the potential ransomees themselves. Different amounts of ransom were paid on a sliding scale depending upon the ransomee’s social status, gender, and age. One of our main sources for the justification of this practice was the Stoglav (100 Chapters) Church Council in 1551, which discussed the issue of ransom in some detail. The Law Code (Ulozhenie) of 1649 specifies the conditions and amounts to be paid to redeem captives. Church writers justified the ransoming of Christian captives of the Muslim Tatars by citing Scripture, and they also specified that the government should pay the ransom out of its own treasury.

In: Russian History