Why some rulers of Russia looked like Asians

Among the Russian monarchs there were those in whose appearance Asian features were clearly traced, which were the result of the conclusion of profitable dynastic marriages with Eastern ethnic groups.

Andrey Bogolyubsky

Born from the marriage of the Grand Duke of Moscow Yuri Dolgoruky and the daughter of the Polovtsian Khan Aepa Anna, Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky demonstrated in his appearance the features of different peoples.

The renowned anthropologist Mikhail Gerasimov, who in the 30s of the XX century created a sculptural reconstruction of the portrait of Andrei Bogolyubsky from the skull, was sure that he was the owner of typical Mongoloid features. Replicated in Soviet history textbooks, the image of this political leader of ancient Russia had: a narrow cut of the eyes, overhanging upper eyelid folds, fleshy lips, raised eyebrows, protruding cheekbones, sunken cheeks and combed back hair.

However, in the 21st century, after the scientist Viktor Zvyagin conducted a forensic medical examination of the relics of Andrei Bogolyubsky using computer technologies, it turned out that M. Gerasimov made a mistake in conveying his appearance.

According to modern researchers, Andrei Bogolyubsky had purely European facial features, and M. Gerasimov made them Asian either on the false assumption that absolutely all Polovtsians were Mongoloids, or by deliberately committing a historical forgery.

Anthropologist Denis Pezhemsky believes that a similar situation has arisen due to the fact that earlier a number of craniological features determined by the skull were considered to belong to the Mongoloid race, although in our time they are not.

His colleague Sergei Vasiliev is inclined to assume that Gerasimov made a mistake due to the prevailing theory at that time that the steppe inhabitants of the Cumans outwardly resembled Asians, however, in the course of an in-depth study of this ethnic group, it turned out that that they were people with blue eyes, blond hair, and Caucasian features.

Ivan the Terrible

Looking at the images of Ivan the Terrible recreated by specialists, one can find his resemblance to Asians.

In the article "Was Ivan the Terrible's mother a Tatar?" Published on the pages of the periodical "Tatar World", the issue of the legitimacy of the existence of the version is considered, according to which the mother of the first Russian tsar Elena Glinskaya was a distant relative of the temnik Mamai himself.

Since there is no official data on the origin of the Glinsky clan, it is quite possible to rely on the reliability of information stored in private genealogies, such as the Synod List or the Cell Book. From these texts it follows that in the male line, Elena Glinskaya was the granddaughter of Mansur-Kiyatu, who was the eldest youth of the Golden Horde Emir, the governor of the Crimean ulus Mamai.