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A report on the biography of ivan the terrible

He was to become the penultimate representative of the Rurik dynasty. Since 1542 Ivan had been greatly influenced by the views of the metropolitan of Moscow, Makari, who encouraged the young tsar in his desire to establish a Christian state based on the principles of justice.

In 1549 the first zemski sobor was summoned to meet in an advisory capacity—this was a national assembly composed of boyars, clergy, and some elected representatives of the new service gentry. In 1550 a new, more detailed legal code was drawn up that replaced one dating from 1497. The conditions of military service were improved, the armed forces were reorganized, and the system of command altered so that commanders were appointed on merit rather than simply by virtue of their noble birth.

The government also introduced extensive self-government, with district administrators elected by the local gentry. One object of the reforms was to limit the powers of the hereditary aristocracy of princes and boyars who held their estates on a hereditary basis and promote the interests of the service gentry, who held their landed estates solely as compensation for service to the government and who were thus dependent on the tsar.

Ivan apparently aimed at forming a class of landed gentry that would owe everything to the sovereign. Muscovite rulers had long feared incursions by the Tatarsand in 1547—48 and 1549—50 unsuccessful campaigns were undertaken against the hostile khanate of Kazanon the Volga River.

Ivan IV of Russia

In 1552, after lengthy preparations, the tsar set out for Kazan, and the Russian army then succeeded in taking the town by assault. In 1556 the khanate of Astrakhanlocated at the mouth of the Volga, was annexed without a fight. From that moment onward, the Volga became a Russian river, and the trade route to the Caspian Sea was rendered safe. The Livonian War With both banks of the Volga now secured, Ivan prepared for a campaign to force an exit to the sea, a traditional concern of landlocked Russia.

Ivan felt that trade with Europe depended on free access to the Baltic and decided to turn his attention westward.

  1. Ivan killed his son with an iron-pointed stick when he was a young man after becoming enraged father.
  2. The Oprichnina did not live long after the sack of Novgorod. And she was given to 100 gunners, who defiled her to death, and the Emperor's hungry hounds devoured her flesh and bones".
  3. In 1577, 1650 troops under the leadership of Yermak crossed over the Ural Mountains.
  4. Under her leadership Moscow successfully waged wars with Lithuania, the Crimean Khanate, and the Tatars.
  5. Under its terms Russia lost all its gains in Livonia, and an armistice with Sweden in 1583 compelled Russia to give up towns on the Gulf of Finland.

In 1558 he went to war in an attempt to establish Russian rule over Livonia in present-day Latvia and Estonia. Russia was at first victorious and succeeded in destroying the Livonian knights, but their ally Lithuania became an integral part of Poland in 1569.

Early life

The war dragged on; while the Swedes supported Poland against Russia, the Crimean Tatars attacked Astrakhan and even made an extensive incursion into Russia in 1571; they burned Moscow, leaving only the Kremlin standing. Under its terms Russia lost all its gains in Livonia, and an armistice with Sweden in 1583 compelled Russia to give up towns on the Gulf of Finland.


The 24-year-long Livonian War had proved fruitless for Russia, which was exhausted by the long struggle. The Muscovites, however, led by the clergy, implored him to continue to rule, and in 1565 he acceded to their request on condition that he should be allowed to deal with the traitors as he wished and that he should form an oprichnina—i.

Ivan IV the terrible

The majority tend to the view that the struggle was between the tsar and the old hereditary nobility, which, jealous of surrendering its power and privileges, had resisted his internal reforms and military projects. The increasingly resentful boyars had indeed opposed Ivan and plotted against him on occasion, but the reign of terror that Ivan initiated by the oprichnina proved far more dangerous to the stability of the country than the danger that it was designed to suppress.

  1. With the use of English merchants, Ivan engaged in a long correspondence with Elizabeth I of England.
  2. He had long looked older than his years with long white hair dangling from a bald pate onto his shoulders. Although more than one architect was associated with this name and constructions, it is believed that the principal architect is one and the same person.
  3. In a letter to Prince Kurbski Ivan remembers, "My brother Iurii, of blessed memory, and me they brought up like vagrants and children of the poorest. Academic International Press, 1981.
  4. A plan to unite the Volga and Don by a canal was detailed in Constantinople.

In 1570, for example, Ivan personally led his oprichniki troops against Novgoroddestroying that city and executing several thousand of its inhabitants. Many boyars and other members of the gentry perished during this period, some being publicly executed with calculated and symbolic cruelty.

Ivan later sent to various monasteries memorials sinodiki of more than 3,000 of his victims, most of whom were executed in the course of the oprichnina. The oprichnina lasted only seven years, from 1565 to 1572, when it was abolished as a result of the failure of the oprichnina regiments to defend Moscow from attack by the Crimean Tatars. He expressed an interest in establishing diplomatic and trade relations with England, even suggesting his readiness to marry an English noblewoman.

Early reforms

In 1575 he seems to have abdicated for about a year in favour of a Tatar prince, Simeon Bekbulatovich. During the 1570s he married five wives in succession in only nine years. Finally, in a fit of rage, he murdered his only viable heir, Ivan, in 1581.

In foreign policy all his actions were directed toward forcing Russia into Europe—a line that Peter I the Great was to continue. Nevertheless, he left his realm far more centralized both administratively and culturally than it had been previously. He himself wrote well, and, though his surviving writings are mainly of a political nature, his command of words and his biting sarcasm are very evident.

Ivan was a devout adherent of the Orthodox church. His arguments on religious questions are striking in their power and convictionbut he placed the most emphasis on defending the divine right of the ruler to unlimited power under God—a view with which most other monarchs of the time would have been in agreement.