It is said that Russian rulers occurred in two contrasting types. They tended to be either extremely meek, or extremely self-assertive. In the case of Ivan IV, he was extremely self-assertive. At first this was a good thing he used it to his and the countries advantage via reforms etc However, Ivan experiences a turning point after which that self-assertion transforms into insanity, and completely destroyed all the positive things he built up. Ivan was a madman without genius, the quality ideas he was able to bring to the country was coincidence that was brought about by his infatuation of the military. Ivan became the prince of Muscovy when he was only 3, and until he assumed the throne in 1547, (which was also the year that he married Anastasia Zakharyin at age 16) various factions of boyars competed for control of the regency. During this 13-year gap, he endured much slighting, neglecting, endangering or patronizing at the hands of various hooligans, helped to form Ivan into a paranoid mentality. As a result Ivan was plotting to murder and torture all of his enemies, real or fake, but such early vicious tendencies are the obvious signs of torment eventually found it s outlet in massacres sparing neither princes nor peasants . It is these very childhood visions of violence that prove he had violence, and fighting in his mind very young, thus inevitably becomes a major role in his adult life. During the early years of his reign, Ivan s greatest contribution to the growth of Muscovy, was the development of the military campaign conducted against the Tartars of the East and Southeast. His grandfathers Ivan III slid out of the Tartar Yoke rather than overthrow it shedding direct military conflict, fearing he would not be able to stand out to the Tartars. Ivan IV personally took the war into his own hands and entered the enemy camp in 1552. He stormed and captured Kazan after a six-week siege. He made himself master of Astrakhan four years later. Each a Tartar Khanate and each part heir to the defunct Golden Horde, the two realms were absorbed by Muscovy which now embraced the course of the whole Volga in its entirety. It was these expansions that first embarked on its remarkable career as nucleus of a multiracial state. Acquiring Bashkirs, Cheremises, Chevashes, Mordvinians, and others. This expansion was a key to the importance of Ivan s rule. All his predecessors avoided the Tartars, but he had that military intensity to finally challenge them. With the success of the attack, he not only eliminated a major power in the area that could have maybe taken them back into the Yoke somewhere down the line had he not broken the trend, but h expanded Muscovy s land thus stabilizing it, and adding more strength to the nation as a whole. During these early years of Ivan s reign important domestic reforms were enacted under influence of two men of poor origin whom the young Star chose as his closest counselors were. From their perspective they saw the overhaul of the legal systems with the publication of a new law code. Ivan also reformed local government through measures designed to protect provincials from the theft of administrators appointed by the centre. He also established the first rudimentary Russian standing army units called Streltsy. And he introduced printing. It seems that a leader that has someone else advise him on what to do with anything non-military, that that leader is only interested in the military. They pointed out the overhaul of the legal systems, Ivan created the Streltsy. That obvious action proves this theory. A turning point in Ivan s attitudes gradually became noticeable just after his wife Anastasia died in 1560. It is his behavior from this point on that earned his nickname Ivan the Terrible. The two advisors were his first victims of his new personality that was briefly seen during his childhood. He banished or imprisoned them because of a difference of opinion. The wanted Ivan to fight further and capture the powerful Crimean Khanate. But Ivan wanted to carry out his grandfather s goals of extending territories on the Baltic coast. This sequence sounds as if when his wife died he thinks of family such as his grand father, and the death probably triggered self-examination as death often does. He then rediscovers his childhood torment, and he takes up his grandfather s quest with vicious attitude.
He fought and won spectacular early victories against the enfeebled order and continued doing so aimlessly. Ivan s war in the Northwest was a failure as disastrous as his early victories over the Tartars had been glorious. While waging a long bloody war against its Swedes, Poles, and Livonians, he had also been engaged in warfare no less bloody against his own subjects. Ivan had created an army of licensed gangsters established in 1565 called the Oprichnina, through which he was able to conduct these mysterious persecutions. Sovereign s private army consisted of about five or six thousand murderous fiends carefully picked for their loyalty to the Tsar. If they rode around on black horses, clad in black, pillaging. The most appalling massacre by the Oprichnina, and most extensive with the sack of Novgorod in 1570. Ivan s unjustified fears that this second City of his realm (Novgorod ) was engaged in betraying him to Poland. Tens of thousands of victims were slain in a five week orgy, and in this time the Oprichnina also tortured and murdered many monks whilst looting their monasteries. The paranoia instilled in him as a child has surfaced, he believes the people in the city s he has fought to gain are turning on him for Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, and Denmark, for these are his rivals with whom he s undergone constant battles during the 25 year war. But all his assumptions have no ground. And the whole country, although larger, and without the Tartars around to take advantage of them, is being destroyed by this uncontrollable madman.An English Observer reported that when he visited Moscow the Tsar welcomed him when passing through Russia early in Ivan reign. He had been struck by the countryside and it s prosperity. He found Moscow to be a city larger than London. The small villages so filled with people it was a wonder to see them. In 1588 he visited again to find the countryside vacant and desolate without any inhabitant , the like is in all other parts of the realm. Ivan differs from all the other leading later native oppressors of Russia in the extent to which he devised and even personally administered ingenious forms of death, often inflicted before an audience. In July 1570 he presided over it is dismembering and boiling alive of previously tortured victims. The Tsar was also remarkable in making ostentatiously tearful repentance for his evil deeds, and in assigning sums of money so that prayers might be said for the souls of his mutilated, burnt, or drowned victims. This bit of remorse for his evil deeds without a doubt is a legitimate feeling, but he cannot control himself anymore. When Anastasia died Ivan s whole life collapsed. We cannot blame him for his emotional breakdown, for he endured a horrible child hood that shaped him into a monster of warfare. However this monster created diversity by expanding Muscovy, and got rid of the Tartars. A feat unattainable by anyone before him, and very possibly no one else could have done it. Ivan the Terrible s Death in 1584 brought immediate relief to the country demoralized by his manic caprices.