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Troops under the command of Ivan the Terrible captured Kazan

2 October 1552

After the fall of Golden Horde the Khanate of Kazan became the neighbor of Russia in the east. In XV – first part of XVI cent. Kazan troops used to invade Russian lands in order to get loot and captives. Such towns as Nizhny Novgorod, Meshchera, Murom, Gorokhovets, Vladimir, Yuryev, Shuya, Kostroma, Vyatka, Veliky Ustyug etc. were devastated.   

In the mid. XVI century the urgent issue of the foreign policy of Russia was the struggle against Tatars and the Khanate of Kazan annexation. But two campaigns undertaken in 1550-s turned out to be a failure.

The Government of Ivan IV Grozny started a thorough preparation for the new campaign. Several reforms were introduced in order to strengthen the Russian Army, moreover the Russian fortress Sviyazhsk was built not far from the Khanate.

On June, 16 in 1552 the large and well-equipped Russian Army under the command of Ivan IV left Moscow and moved to Kazan. The Russian Army numbered 150 000 men and had 150 guns. The enemy’s Army was represented by 65 000 men of Khan Yadegar. The garrison of Kazan numbered 33 000 soldiers and 70 guns.

On August, 30 the troops of the voivode A. B. Gorbaty destroyed the Kazan field unit and occupied the Arsk District. The Russian Army blew up the town’s water supply system and ruined its walls. By September, 30 the ring of the blockade grew narrow. There was only a moat between the Russian turrets and the fortress left. On October, 1 on the holiday of Pokrov (the Protection of the Mother of God) the moat was filled up and the town’s walls were undermined.

On October, 2 in 1552 the garrison refused to give in and the Russian Army began to storm the fortress. By the afternoon the resistance was broken down and the Russian troops seized Kazan. All the armed defenders of the town were killed, only women and children were taken prisoners.

After the seizure of Kazan the Khanate of Kazan ceased to exist and the Middle Volga Region was annexed to Russia. This favoured the campaigns to Siberia and Ural and the development of trade relations with the countries of Caucasus and East.

Lit.: Афанасьев В. К 350-летию покорения Казани 1552-1902. Подлинная о Казанском походе запись Царственной книги 1552 года и сказание князя Курбского о покорении Казани. М., 1902; Богданович М.И. Военно-исторический очерк осады Казани // Инженерный журнал. 1898. № 8-9; Ельчанинов А.Г. Иоанн Грозный под Казанью в 1552 г. // Военно-исторический вестник. Киев, 1910. № 5-6. С. 43-53; Казанская история. М.; Л., 1954.

Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Гавриил, архимандрит (Воскресенский В. Н.). Историческое описание памятника, сооружённого в воспоминание убиенных при взятии Казани воинов на Зилантовой горе. Казань, 1833;

Гавриил, архимандрит (Воскресенский В. Н.). Слово на день взятия Казани царём Иоанном Васильевичем Грозным и на освящение храма, сооружённого в Памятник над могилой православных воинов, за веру и отечество при взятии Казани живот свой положивших, говоренное Казанского Успенского Зилантова монастыря настоятелем архимандритом Гавриилом 1832 г. октября 2 дня/ архимандрит Гавриил. Казань, 1833;

Можаровский А. Ф. Покорение Казани Русской державе и христианству. Казань, 1871;

Полное собрание русских летописей. Т. 19. История о Казанском царстве (Казанский летописец). СПб., 1903;

Трофимов В. О. Поход под Казань, её осада и взятие в 1552 году. Казань, 1890.