IV. Who is Ivan (Ivan the Terrible)?

IV. Ivan (Ivan the Terrible): Controversial Tsar of Russia

IV. Ivan, also known as Ivan the Terrible, is one of the most controversial and complex characters in Russian history. This ruler, who lived between 1530 and 1584, is known for both taking the title of Russia’s first tsar and being remembered for the violence and cruelty in his rule. While his period was critical for the expansion of Russia and the strengthening of the central authority, it also went down in history as a dark period with its policies full of cruelty and fear.

His Early Life and Becoming Tsar

IV. Ivan was born in Moscow in 1530 and was given the title of Grand Prince of Russia upon the death of his father when he was only three years old. In 1547, at the age of 16, he was crowned Russia’s first tsar. Ivan’s ascension to the throne is considered the beginning of a new era in Russia. However, Ivan’s rule, who ascended to the throne at a young age, was fraught with difficulties due to intrigues among the boyars (Russian nobles) and power struggles at the palace.

Reforms and Management Approach

The first years of Ivan’s accession to the throne stand out as a period in which important reforms were carried out. Ivan took steps to strengthen the central authority and made arrangements in the judicial and administrative system. However, this period was also a time of increased oppression and violence.

The period that took place in 1570 and went down in history as the “Oprichnina” was a time when Ivan’s policies of fear and violence reached their peak. During this period, Ivan divided the tsardom into two regions and established a special military force subordinate to him, the oprichniks. During the Oprichnina period, many nobles, priests, and commoners were persecuted or even killed by Ivan’s orders.

Foreign Policy and Wars

IV. Ivan’s reign is also known for his efforts to expand Russia’s territory. By conquering the Kazan and Astrakhan khanates, he enabled Russia to extend to the Ural Mountains. However, some military campaigns, such as the Livonian War (1558-1583), ended in failure, leaving the country burdened by protracted wars.

Personal Life and Legacy

Ivan the Terrible also experienced many tragedies in his personal life. In particular, the killing of his son Ivan went down in history as an event that reinforced negative views about him. IV. When Ivan died in 1584, he left behind a Russia that was both enlarged and deeply wounded.

IV. Ivan remains one of the most contradictory figures in Russian history. While some historians see him as a leader who strengthened Russia’s central authority and put the country on the path to making it a modern state, others focus on his cruel and ruthless style of rule. In any case, IV. Ivan’s reign is remembered as one of the most important and controversial periods in Russian history.

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