Ivan the Terrible (1533-84) began his rule in 1547 at a young age and during the first half of his reign he and his administration made great strides toward reform in the Muscovite lands. In 1564, however, his health starts to decline and so does his power to rule. He separated his administration into people who he could trust, and it is possible that he became mentally paranoid, and a second administration run by boyar elite and nobles. This double administration was called oprichnina and it was also a time of killing anyone Ivan felt he couldn’t trust.
I agree with Crummey’s analysis that Ivan III created reforms to help the good of the people but then his personality changed which disrupted this reformation and ultimately made a failure of the oprichnina. But even in the beginning of his rule, I think he was a bit deceptive with his motivations for certain reforms. His government attempted to strengthen the army, something seen as good for the people, but Crummey argues that it was also to “strengthen the upper echelons of the service nobility”1 . Another reform aimed to grow the central administration, which kept elaborate records and thus “considerable increased its control over the country and its resources”2 . From this reading, it seems that he had hidden motivations as to why he put these reforms in place: to increase his power and control over the region. This sounds like he was trying to deceive the people, but in reality these reforms did indeed aide the population, and I don’t think this deception is integrally connected to his paranoid “reforms” later on.
How did his reforms ultimately influence the Muscovite government in the long run?
What was his “Reign of Terror” and who was it directed towards? Why did he target these people?
Kaiser, Daniel H. and Gary Marker. Reinterpreting Russian History: Readings, 860-1860s. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.