Ivan’s Insecurities

Ivan “The Terrible” during his later reign, seems to be pretty catastrophic for Muscovite Russia.  The creation of the oprichniki was his way of getting rid of anyone that could threaten his rule.  This group became extremely problematic, as they had unrestricted authority wherever they went.  There required garb of black further linked them to a sort of “Unholy” group that was linked to Ivan, not the church.  The oprichniki were able to steal property and money from the zemskie people without any punishment.  Anyone who stood in the way of this group or tried to stop them were immediately killed.  One of the governors even fled to Poland once he discovered what was going on with the oprichinia (KM, 152).  Country sides were being ravaged without orders and shows how much power they had accumulated.   Ivan had anyone who he thought suspicious killed and it could be imagined the amount of people living in fear.

However, we see the the Tsar having the leaders of the oprichninia killed as well.  Perhaps it seems that he believed that they had gained too much power and were becoming a threat to himself at this point (KM, 153).  The killing of these leaders was brutal and sent a message to the people in Russia that he was not to be reckoned with.

Was Ivan’s terrorizing rule perhaps good for guaranteeing loyalty for future Tzars?

One thought on “Ivan’s Insecurities

  1. Perhaps it was good for guaranteeing loyalty for the ruler immediately after Ivan. I have read about Theodore, who succeeded Ivan. He was not a particularly strong ruler, though he had good advisors. What helped Theodore in addition to his good advisors, however, was the fact that he looked like a symbol of stability compared to what happened in the later years of Ivan’s reign. If Ivan had a better reign, the simple-mindedness of Theodore would have put him in a bad position.

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