Ivan IV (1530–1584)

Ivan IV (1530–1584)

The collection marks the study of the biography, activities and environment of the Grand Duke and first Tsar of the Moscow State, Ivan IV the Terrible (1533–1584). Archival documents such as letters, chronicles, scribe books, legislative acts, decisions of the church council, memorable speeches of the sovereign himself, his correspondence, writings of his contemporaries and even works of folklore of the 16th century are available. Historical works, thesis, collections of documents, video lectures, visual and cartographic materials are presented.

The personality of Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich is ambiguous and for a long time, starting with the court historiographer N. M. Karamzin (1766–1826), was viewed in a negative light. In the 1930s–1950s, the policies of Ivan IV were assessed as successful and effective. A significant part of the documents was lost in fires of the 16th–17th centuries, therefore, given the limited source base, assessing the era of the second half of the 16th century is especially difficult.

Under Ivan the Terrible, significant reforms took place in the field of legislation and public administration. In 1550, the Code of Law was adopted, for the compilation of which a Zemsky Sobor was convened from representatives of all classes from different Russian lands. The final document eliminated the judicial privileges of appanage princes and strengthened the role of central state judicial bodies. In addition to holding the first Zemsky Sobors, a system of orders was formed - sectoral or territorial bodies of the central government. The collection includes documents about the sovereign's immediate circle, which were members of the Near Duma, or the Elected Rada. Also during the reign of Ivan IV, a church council was held in 1551 - Stoglav, convened on his initiative. Its materials are presented in the section dedicated to the Russian Orthodox Church.

A significant part of the materials is related to the introduction of the oprichnina (1565–1572), a policy aimed at strengthening autocratic power, primarily at the confiscation of plots and weakening the influence of large landowners, as well as the remnants of the appanage system. Along with the strengthening of the central government, the oprichnina, according to a number of researchers, led to a socio-economic crisis and failures in foreign policy.

The latter was also controversial. Under Ivan the Terrible, Russian troops annexed Kazan (1552) and Astrakhan khanates (1554–1556), the Cossack army defeated the Siberian Khanate and annexed Western Siberia. But the war with Livonia (1558–1583) for access to the Baltic Sea ended unsuccessfully for Russia.

The collection reveals the complexities of the process of centralization of Russia during the era of Ivan IV in the field of domestic and foreign policy, economics, development of culture and science.