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?

Questions About Ivan IV

1.) Ivan IV reigned over a period in Russian history where the growth of the central government was rapid and intrusive to local administrators. Was centralizing Russia a positive or negative idea?….regardless of whose in charge?

2.) What was the role of the Zemskii Sobor? The “Assembly of Land” took place centuries after Ivan IV, what does this reveal about Russian culture?

3.) How does The Reign of Terror represent Ivan’s irrational approach to ruling over Russia?

Ivan IV Questions

Was Ivan well-liked or at least tolerable in the 1540s and 1550s, prior to his institution of the oprichnina? Does the oprichnina mark the period in which Ivan’s mental health deteriorated or was he extremely paranoid throughout his entire rule? What exactly was the oprichnina? I know it was a second, separate administration instituted by Ivan but what was its intended goal? Did the oprichnina have any other function besides its infliction of a reign of terror?