Although the history of Russia each of us studied in school, not everyone knows who was the first king in Russia. This loud title in 1547 began to call Ivan IV Vasilyevich, nicknamed for his difficult character, cruelty and abrupt temper the Terrible. Before him, all the rulers in the Russian lands were the great princes. After Ivan the Terrible became tsar, instead of Muscovy, our state began to be called the Russian kingdom.
Grand Prince and King: what is the difference?
Having dealt with those who first called the king of all Russia, you should find out why the new title became necessary. By the middle of the XVI century, the lands of the Moscow principality occupied 2.8 thousand square kilometers. It was a huge state, stretching from the Smolensk region in the west to Ryazan and Nizhny Novgorod counties in the east, from Kaluga lands in the south to the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Finland in the north. About 9 million people lived on such a huge territory. Moscow Rus (the principality was called this way) was a centralized state in which all regions submitted to the Grand Duke, that is, Ivan IV.
Knowing who in Russia became the first king, it will be interesting to get acquainted with the biography of this person. Ivan the Terrible was born in 1530. His parents were the Grand Prince of Moscow Vasily III and Princess Elena Glinskaya. The future ruler of the Russian lands early orphaned. When he was 3 years old, his father died. Since Ivan was the only heir to the throne (his younger brother Yuri was born mentally retarded and could not head the Moscow principality), the rule of the Russian lands passed to him. It happened in 1533. For a while his mother was the de facto ruler of her young son, but in 1538 she was no more (according to rumors, she was poisoned). Fully orphaned by the age of eight, the future first tsar in Russia grew up among the guardians of the boyars of Belsky and Shuya, who were not interested in anything but the authorities. Growing up in an atmosphere of hypocrisy and meanness, from childhood he didn’t trust others and expected a trick from everyone.
Adoption of a new title and marriage
As a 17-year-old lad, the newly-minted king decided to marry. In search of a bride, dignitaries traveled all over the Russian lands. Ivan the Terrible's wife was selected from a thousand and a half pretenders. Most of all he liked the young Anastasia Zakhar'ina-Yuryeva. She conquered Ivan not only with her beauty, but also with her mind, chastity, piety, and calm character. Metropolitan Macarius, who crowned the kingdom of Grozny, approved the choice and married the newlyweds. Subsequently, the king had other spouses, but Anastasia was of them all the most beloved for him.
In the summer of 1547 in the capital there was a strong fire that could not be put out for 2 days. His victims were about 4 thousand people. Rumors spread throughout the city that the relatives of the king of Glinsky had inflamed the capital. The angry crowd of people went to the Kremlin. The houses of the princes of Glinsky were plundered. The result of popular unrest was the murder of one of the members of this noble family - Yuri. After that, the rebels came to Vorobyovo village, where the young king was hiding from them, and demanded to extradite them all to the Glinsky. The rioters were able to calm down and send back to Moscow. After the uprising subsided, Grozny ordered the execution of its organizers.
The beginning of the state reform
The Moscow uprising spread to other Russian cities. Before Ivan IV, the need arose for reforms aimed at restoring order in the country and strengthening its autocracy. For these purposes, in 1549, the Tsar was created the Chosen Rada - a new government group, which included people loyal to him (Metropolitan Macarius, Priest Sylvester, A. Adash, A. Kurbsky and others).
This period includes the beginning of active reform work of Ivan the Terrible, aimed at centralizing his power. To manage the various branches of state life, the first king in Russia created numerous orders and huts. Thus, the ambassadorial order was in charge of the foreign policy of the Russian state, which was headed by I. Viskovity for two decades. The petitional hut, under the control of A. Adashev, was obliged to accept applications, petitions and complaints from ordinary people, as well as to investigate them. The fight against crime laid on the robber order. He served as the modern police. Metropolitan life governed Zemsky order.
In 1550 Ivan IV issued a new "code of law", which was systematized and edited all existing in the Russian Kingdom legislation. When planning, take account of the changes that occurred in the life of the state over the past half century. The paper first introduced the punishment for bribery. Prior to that, Moscow Russia lived by the "Sudebnik" of 1497 years, the laws of which to the middle of the XVI century is markedly outdated.
Church and military policy
Under Ivan the Terrible, the influence of the Orthodox Church significantly increased, the life of the clergy improved. This was facilitated by the Stoglavy Cathedral convened in 1551. The provisions adopted on it contributed to the centralization of church authority.
In 1555-1556, the first tsar in Russia, Ivan the Terrible, together with the Elected Rada, developed the “Code of Service”, which contributed to an increase in the number of the Russian army. In accordance with this document, each feudal lord was obliged to put a certain number of soldiers with horses and weapons from their lands. If the landowner supplied the king of warriors above the norm, he was encouraged by monetary reward. In the case when the feudal lord could not provide the required number of soldiers, he paid a fine. The “Code of Service” contributed to the improvement of the combat capability of the army, which was important in terms of an active foreign policy pursued by Ivan the Terrible.
In the reign of Ivan the Terrible was actively carried out the conquest of neighboring lands. In 1552 the Kazan Khanate was annexed to the composition of the Russian state, and in 1556 - the Astrakhan one. In addition, the king's possessions expanded due to the conquest of the Volga region and the western part of the Urals. Dependence on the Russian lands recognized Kabardian and Nogai rulers. When the first Russian tsar began active accession of Western Siberia.
During the years 1558-1583, Ivan IV led the Livonian War for Russia's access to the shores of the Baltic Sea. The beginning of hostilities was successful for the king. In 1560 the Russian troops managed to completely defeat the Livonian Order. However, the successfully started war dragged on for many years, led to a worsening of the situation inside the country and ended for Russia with complete rout. The king began to look for those responsible for his failures, which led to massive opals and executions.
Rupture with the Chosen Rada, oprichnina
Adashev, Sylvester and other leaders of the Elected Rada did not support the aggressive policy of Ivan the Terrible. In 1560 they came out against Russia's conduct of the Livonian War, for which they provoked the wrath of the ruler. The first king in Russia dispersed the Rada. Her members were harassed. Not tolerating dissent, Ivan the Terrible thought about establishing dictatorship on the lands subject to him. To this end, in 1565 he began to pursue an oprichnina policy. Its essence was to confiscate and redistribute the boyar and princely lands in favor of the state. This policy was accompanied by mass arrests and executions. Its result was the weakening of the local nobility and the strengthening of the power of the king against this background. Oprichnina lasted until 1572 and was discontinued after a devastating invasion of Moscow by Crimean troops led by Khan Devlet-Giray.
The policy pursued by the first king in Russia led to a strong weakening of the country's economy, the devastation of land, the ruin of estates. By the end of his reign, Ivan the Terrible refused to be executed as a way of punishing the guilty. In his testament of 1579, he repented of his cruelty to his subjects.
Wives and children of the king
Ivan the Terrible entered into marriage 7 times. In total, he had 8 children, 6 of whom died in childhood. The first spouse of Anastasia Zakhar'ina-Yuryeva presented the king with 6 heirs, of whom only two survived to adulthood - Ivan and Fyodor. The son of Vasily was born to the emperor by the second wife, Maria Temryukovna. He died at 2 months. His seventh wife, Maria Nagaya, gave birth to the last child (Dmitry) to Ivan the Terrible. The boy was destined to live only 8 years.
His first son, Ivan Ivanovich, was killed by the first Russian tsar in Russia in 1582 in a fit of anger, so Fyodor was the only heir to the throne. It was he who headed the throne after the death of his father.
Ivan the Terrible ruled the Russian state until 1584. In the last years of his life, it was difficult for osteophytes to walk on their own. The lack of movement, nervousness, unhealthy lifestyle led to the fact that in 50 years the ruler looked like an old man. In early 1584, his body began to swell and produce an unpleasant odor. Doctors called the sovereign's disease "blood decomposition" and predicted a quick demise. Grozny died on March 18, 1584 during a game of chess with Boris Godunov. So ended the life of the one who was the first king in Russia. There were rumors in Moscow that Ivan IV was poisoned by Godunov and his accomplices. After the death of the king, the throne went to his son Fedor. In fact, Boris Godunov became the ruler of the country.