Ivan 4: historical portrait, years of reign. The Importance of Ivan the Terrible in Russian History

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Ivan 4: historical portrait, years of reign. The Importance of Ivan the Terrible in Russian History
Ivan 4: historical portrait, years of reign. The Importance of Ivan the Terrible in Russian History

Wars were burning in Europe in the 16th century. Italy and Portugal fought the Ottoman Empire, England fought Scotland. Religious battles unfolded in France. Protestantism gained strength. In Muscovy, as foreigners called the Russian kingdom, at that time an autocrat appeared, crowned by God to the kingdom. Ivan 4, whose historical portrait is presented below, was a unique sovereign, whose great autocracy always amazed foreigners.

Fathers and grandfathers

John 4 the Terrible

Ivan III, Ivan the Terrible's grandfather, sought to centralize his possessions. He saw the Russian lands as a single state, the third Rome. He had five sons - Vasily, Yuri, Dmitry, Semyon and Andrey. How to divide the land between the sons? Previously, they divided, but now everything went to the eldest, Vasily III. The rest of the brothers had only their inheritances.

Vasily had no children for a long time. I had to imprison his wife in a monastery and take the second, ElenaGlinskaya, who fled from the Principality of Lithuania. In the meantime, there were no heirs, even younger brothers were not allowed to marry, so that applicants for the rule would not multiply. Finally, in 1530, the future Tsar Ivan 4 was born to Vasily and Elena Glinskaya.

Vasily ruled until 1533. Once he received a small scratch while hunting, which suddenly began to fester and brought the king to death. When he died, his little son, three years old, ascended the throne. Under him, seven guardians were appointed by will. Elena Glinskaya, Ivan's mother, eliminated them all and ruled herself.

Ivan's childhood

Ivan 4 began to paint his historical portrait himself - he had an enviable literary gift. The sovereign also mentioned childhood in his writings.

Elena Glinskaya

Mother Elena Glinskaya died at the age of thirty, when he was eight years old. She was poisoned, and after the funeral they began to release everyone who had been imprisoned by her. Among them will be the wife of Andrei Staritsky, the youngest son of Ivan III, and their little son Vladimir. The boyars decided to leave it as a "fallback" in case of Ivan's illness or death. Now the cousins ​​are being raised together.

Ivan watched what was happening in the palace, and hatred ripened in him. The boyars fought for power and stole in unheard of quantities. For example, the guardian of the king, Prince Vasily Shuisky, will rob the richest Pskov in such a way that neither the poor nor the rich will remain there. Everyone will be beggars.

Once, when Ivan was only thirteen years old, he waited with the kennels at the Boyar Duma for his other guardian, Prince Andrei Shuisky,and told them to seize him and kill him.

So already at a very young age, the fierce character of Ivan 4 manifested itself. From now on, the boyars began to have a “great love” for him.

Together with a company of peers, Ivan 4 had fun, a historical portrait of which would be incomplete without mentioning the period of his adolescence. Young people (including Prince Vladimir) trampled Muscovites with horses, robbed passers-by, drove and raped girls.


Cap of Monomakh

At the age of 16, the tsar decided to take two steps of national importance, which strengthened his support among the people and gave weight to Russia's international position:

  • marry the kingdom;
  • marry.

Perhaps these decisions were suggested to him by Metropolitan Macarius, who previously supported Ivan's father, Vasily III. He sought to limit the arbitrariness of the boyars by strengthening the autocracy.

The wedding took place in January 1547. The Church was now considered the "mother" of the royal power, Prince Ivan became the "God-crowned" autocrat, Moscow was titled the reigning city.

Interestingly, almost twenty years later, in 1565, Ivan 4's policy towards the church will change. He will demand a limitation of the power of the clergy in order to deal with the boyars without hindrance. Otherwise, he will threaten to renounce his reign.

Private as public

It is important to mention the wives of Ivan 4, whose historical portrait largely depended on the personality of the women close to him. Ivan was going to marry only a Russian girl. Hehe remembered well how he hated the people of foreigners - his mother, Elena Glinskaya, and grandmother, Sophia Paleolog. He chose Anastasia, not the most distinguished, but very chaste girl. She gave birth to six heirs, of whom four died as children; one son the king will presumably kill himself; the last child, Fedor Ivanovich, will inherit the kingdom.

Anastasia Ivan loved, listened to her words and pacified his anger. The second wife, Maria Temryukovna, was passionate, licentious and cruel. Many historians believe that this Asian woman raised the dregs from the bottom of Ivan's soul. Under her rule, feasts and orgies did not stop in the palace, buffoons and magicians were constantly present as a sign of a return to paganism.

Vasilisa Melentieva and Ivan

Both wives, Anastasia and Maria, were poisoned. The third, Martha Sobakina, died of a cold after only two weeks of marriage. The fourth married wife, Anna Koltovskaya, also had an influence on her husband. It is believed that a virtuous and wise woman managed to convince Ivan to abolish the oprichnina. But after a few years, Ivan will send Anna to a monastery.

The rest of the wives, their exact number is unknown, will already have the status of concubines, and their children will be illegitimate. Like, for example, the last wife, Maria Nagaya, and her son, who died as a child, Dmitry Uglitsky.

Reformer King

The historical image of Ivan the Terrible in his youth was quite attractive. After the terrible Moscow fire in 1547, when a rebellious crowd attacked a member of the royal family (Yu. Glinsky), Ivan appears near Ivan (perhapspatronage of Macarius) pop Sylvester, a priest from the Cathedral of the Epiphany. He tells Ivan that everything that happened is the finger of God, for the sins of the king. As the king himself writes, he was afraid, and fear shook him. And there was a transformation.

The great fertile period begins in the life of Ivan and the country, which will last thirteen years:

  • An unofficial government is being formed around the tsar - the Chosen Rada: there will be Sylvester and Macarius, the nobleman Alexei Adashev, Prince Kurbsky and other young people who are striving for change, want to create a new great state.
  • In 1549, for the first time, all estates, except for the peasants, were convened for a council. It was the Zemsky Sobor, a powerful advisory body, which, along with the Boyar Duma, helped to make difficult decisions for the country. Involving elected candidates from different social classes in the adoption of state resolutions is a noticeable democratic step.
  • The updated "Sudebnik" is adopted, introducing a new tax, further enslaving the peasants and declaring bribery a crime (for the first time!).
  • Stoglav, a collection of church council initiatives, is being created, which also demonstrates the special significance of Ivan the Terrible in the history of Russia, namely, the prosperity of Orthodoxy. Church lands were now controlled by the sovereign, the church court, the list of saints, the method of baptism, etc. were approved.

The reforms had tangible significance for the country: they strengthened the autocracy and contributed to the development of the state.

Military affairs

Perestroika also affected the army. Created a standing army, alonetwelve thousand archers. The result - for the first time the Kazan kingdom was subordinated. Then there was the capture of Astrakhan, the conquest of Siberia. During the reign of Ivan 4, the territory of the state doubled. Ivan's closest associate and friend was his brother Vladimir Staritsky, who turned out to be an excellent military leader.

Ivan took Kazan

Next, the king decided to fight with Livonia. He sought to break through the exit to the B altic. The Rada resisted: the Crimean Khan was dangerous, and it is not easy to fight on two fronts. Khan sold into slavery in the Turkish markets boys and girls stolen from the devastated Russian cities, and Vladimir proposed to put an end to this completely. It was a reasonable offer, but the king did not like the opposition. The dark side of Ivan 4's personality reappeared. He insisted on war in order to subdue the Rada.

Rebellion at the royal bed

The historical description of Ivan 4 would be incomplete without mentioning his cunning and deceit. In 1553, the king fell ill with a fever. Being near death, he asked the boyars to swear allegiance to his newborn son. But many refused. It was more expedient to give control to Vladimir Staritsky. The father of the royal favorite Alexei Adashev openly said that he was ready to swear allegiance to Vladimir.

Once the boyars entered the royal chamber, and Ivan was sitting on the bed, as if nothing had happened, and no signs of illness were visible anymore. He said that God saved him from the disease. Perhaps there was no illness, there was a great performance, conceived to test the subjects for loy alty. And Ivan did not forgive those who refused to swear allegiance to his son.

Cameend of the council. Sylvester tried to reason with the king, but the fear of God no longer had power over Ivan. Sylvester will be sent to a distant monastery, Alexei Adashev will be imprisoned, Prince Kurbsky will have time to escape to Lithuania, and Vladimir Staritsky will be in disgrace. Then he and his family will be forced to drink poison. Now the reign of Ivan 4 is no longer threatened by the fulfillment of the dream of most boyars - the meek Vladimir instead of a tyrant on the throne.

Oprichnina 1565-1572

The lands united by grandfather, Ivan IV orders to be divided again - into zemshchina and oprichnina. He will ask for an oprichnina share of the land and a thousand guardsmen who will have to protect him. This is the "chosen thousand", the personal royal guard, which will then grow to six thousand.

The main goal of the oprichnina is believed to be to undermine the land ownership of the richest boyars. There is an opinion of the historian A. A. Zimin that not all land holdings will be destroyed, but only those whose names are associated with the name of Vladimir Staritsky. It is a certain circle of boyars that will take the blow of the oprichnina corps.

Together with the guardsmen, the sovereign will punish Novgorod and Pskov. Then the reprisals will begin in Moscow - they are looking for "conspirators" against the government. When in 1571 the Crimean Khan attacked Moscow and burned it down, the guardsmen not only fought ineptly, but even sabotaged the mobilization. Many will then be sent to the gallows. Oprichnina will end. Bottom line: terror and looting led the Russian economy to a crisis.

Ivan asks to be tonsured a monk

The defeat of Novgorod

The sovereign, who had become pathologically suspicious, began to think that a conspiracy against him was brewing in Novgorod. ATIn 1570, he arrived in the former Novgorod Republic, annexed by his grandfather, Ivan III. The guardsmen staged a revelry, daily punishing up to six hundred people. Class affiliation did not matter. The city was cordoned off, the monasteries were occupied, the treasury was ruined.

There is another point of view: there was a conspiracy. Novgorod and the surrounding territories sought to become part of the Lithuanian kingdom and accept Catholicism. In this case, Ivan's actions already seem logical. In any case, along with Veliky Novgorod, the alternative way for the development of Russia - the republic - was finally killed.

End of the Livonian War

The exhausting Livonian War continued from 1558. There were successes until Lithuania united with Poland (the Commonwe alth). Further, the Russian state only lost its conquests, the economy plunged into decline.

The king decided to end the war through diplomacy. He sent an embassy to the Pope, Gregory XIII, in 1580, which demonstrates what Ivan the Terrible was as a gifted diplomat. The sovereign knew that the Pope was dreaming of an alliance of Christian kings against Turkey. To stop the opposition of Christians, the Pope sends an ambassador to the Russians, priest Antonio Possevino. He managed to make sure that negotiations with the Polish king and commander Batory ended in a cessation of hostilities.

The twenty-five year struggle for territory has been suspended. Livonian and Belarusian lands were lost, the state was ruined.

Death of the king

Shortly before his death, the king was frightened of his deeds and began to send synodics to the monasteries - liststhose whom he sent to execution. He sent money and asked to pray for those on these lists. The tormenting fear of God's punishment was drowned out by unbridled depravity. This completely spoiled the he alth of the autocrat, and in March 1584, death occurred.

Ivan ruled for more than fifty years, from 1533 to 1584, a record time on the throne for the Russian state. When Ivan died, a mighty kingdom was left behind him.

Results of Ivan's policy 4

Ivan IV in bronze

After centuries of feudal fragmentation, Russian tsars begin to act on a different scale: they strengthen their international and domestic position, continue the unification of lands, carry out large-scale reforms, and resolve issues of class struggle. The democratic model of the development of society in Russia finally perished with the fall of Novgorod. The population for centuries had the impression that the course of history in the country depends on only one person. It is relevant to this day.

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