Ivan the not so Terrible|
By: Derek Beyer|
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Ivan the Terrible was the most ruthless, yet innovative leader of his t ime, and was the first to establish a modern government. Ivan was the first to edit the law code and create a more democratic style of legal proceedings, and also the first to help eliminate corruption from Russia’s way of life. He helped to revolutionize Russia from a medieval state, to an empire by expanding trade. Ivan the Terrible is truly the most influential tsar of Russia, of all time. Ivan Vasilyevich IV, also known as Grozny, which translates to awesome, was born on August 25, of 1530, in Kolomenskoye, Russia. Ivan was proclaimed the grand duke of Muscovy at the age of three, upon his father’s death, Vasily Ivanovich III; however, he was not in control of the government until 1544, at age 14. Like his name, Ivan’s childhood was also terrible, by today’s standards. His father died when he was only three, due to blood poisoning, and his mother when he was seven, although the cause of death is undetermined, it is suspected she was assassinated via poison. Upon this Ivan and his younger brother were taken it by the boyars of the Shuisky and Belsky families. A boyar was the second highest rank in Russian and Bulgarian government, to only the princes and tsar (noble). According to Ivan’s own letters, they were treated very cruelly and violently by the boyars. This naturally created an unquenchable odium toward the boyars and their cause, and a growing respect towards their enemies, the lower class. It is believed that during this time is what caused Ivan to hold human life and dignity with such contempt, especially nobles. As a young boy, it is rumoured he would torture small animals, like many young serial killers do today. Contrary to one would believe from his actions, Ivan was deeply in love with God. It is said that he would often develop calices on his forehead, from bowing his head to the floor, when kneeling and praying. On January 16 of 1547, Ivan was crowned as the first tsar of all Russia. On February 13 of the same year, Ivan married his first of six wives, Anastasia Ramonovna. This was the one and only true love of Ivan’s life. It is with her that he has his two sons, Ivan, and the mentally ill Feodor. Ivan was said to be very suspicious and paranoid throughout his reign, but when Anastasia became ill and died in the summer of 1560, what was left of Ivan’s compassion died as well. Ivan had believed she was poisoned by the boyars, and took out Anastasia’s death on everyone. Torturing and murdering many innocents he believed to be associated with Anastasia’s death. The first half of Ivan’s reign, contrary to his nickname, was peaceful. It was then that he: reformed and revised the law code, known as “sudebnik”, formed the “streltsy”, under the “Zemsky Sobor”, which was the first Russian parliament, made up of a group of nobles. In 1953, Ivan established the Moscow Print Yard, which contained Russia’s first printing press. Through the rest of the decade several religious books were printed in Russian, as they were the first Ivan wanted. The conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan were the first of many sieges. On June 16, 1552, Ivan led an army of 150,000 Russian troops towards Kazan, in an attempt to end a two decade on-going war. Through superior weaponry and military engineers, Kazan fell on October 2, upon the water supply being cut off, and walls being breached. The majority of the population was slaughtered, and anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 Russian prisoners were released. Grozny celebrated by building several churches, the most spectacular being Saint Basils...