A Brief History of Russia by Michael Kort

By Michael Kort

Detailing the social, monetary, and political alterations and crises that the folks of Russia have needed to suffer, this publication presents a complete account of this big country's background. It comprises assurance at the conquest and rule of Russia by way of the Mongol Golden Horde; and the reign of terror by way of Ivan the poor.

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Ivan was highly intelligent, possibly brilliant. He also, it seems fair to say, was possessed. Ivan went through periods of deep religious devotion. He was driven by a messianic commitment to Russia’s greatness and what he considered its God-given mission to lead humanity, a calling he believed he had to serve at any cost. He also was haunted by personal demons—some known to historians, others known only to Ivan, and still others that he himself could probably not identify—that made him erratic, paranoid, ruthless, and capable of acts of extreme cruelty, including mass murder.

They also had to pay an exit fee to their landlords, which in almost all cases was a difficult obligation to meet and therefore a serious obstacle to departure. This directly promoted the interests of Ivan’s pomestie nobles, who could serve in Ivan’s army and fight his wars only if they could count on peasant laborers to farm their estates. During the 16th century the right of peasants to move would be further restricted until, by the middle of the 17th century, when another law code was issued, Russia’s peasants were reduced to serfdom.

First, the czar took a wife, Anastasiya Romanova, from a prominent boyar family. It 32 INDEPENDENCE AND UNIFICATION: THE LAST RURIKIDS TO THE FIRST ROMANOVS was a good match and a happy marriage with a sad ending. Her death in 1560—Ivan believed she was murdered—devastated him, and while the mental changes that led Ivan to launch a reign of terror at that time clearly antedated Anastasiya’s death, that loss and the deep personal distress it caused him must have contributed in some way to the dreadful events that soon took place.

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