Bagany Tsar Ivan the terrible

Ivan the terrible was unfairly maligned. Destructible, mepielan the terrible – first Tsar of all Russia, known for its barbaric and incredibly rigid methods of government – the liberal lie
historians, repeating the propaganda of the Catholic and the Lutheran envoys, the escaped conspirators…


Ivan the terrible was one of the most humane rulers of Europe. Exposing the myths

The Author – Oleg Matveichev

The myth of this weapon. Ancient Chinese General and philosopher of war sun-Tzu said: “know how to fight the one who wins without fighting. Able to fight one who captures a fortress without siege. Able to fight the one who breaks a state without an army” – he was talking about the power of Myth. The history of any people, his spiritual health, his faith in yourself and your strength is always based on certain myths, and these myths become living flesh and blood of this nation, its place in the universe. Today our consciousness has become a battleground of ideas two myths, the myth of the Black Russian and the Light of the myth of the West.

Vast majority of historians, publicists, writers, etc . regards Ivan the terrible as a deliberately “unprecedented”, in fact, pathological tyrant, despot, the executioner.

It would be absurd to deny that Ivan IV was a tough ruler. Historian Skrynnikov, who has devoted several decades studying his era, proves that when Ivan IV the terrible in Russia was carried out “mass terror” during which it was destroyed about 3-4 thousand people.

But let us ask ourselves: how many people sent to the light of Western contemporaries Ivan the terrible: the Spanish kings Charles V and Philip II, king of England Henry VIII and the French king Charles IX? It turns out that they are most cruelly executed hundreds of thousands of people. So, for example, that during the simultaneous reign of Ivan the terrible – from 1547 to 1584, in the Netherlands alone, were under the rule of Charles V and Philip II, “the number of victims… came to 100 thousand“. One of them was “burned alive 28 540 people“. The French king Charles IX on 23 August 1572, took an active personal part in the so-called massacre of St. Bartholomew, during which were brutally killed “more than 3 thousand Huguenots” only because they belonged to Protestantism, not Catholicism; thus in one night was destroyed about the same people as during the terror of Ivan the terrible! “Night” had continued, and “in General in France, then lost in two weeks about 30 thousand Protestants.” In England, Henry VIII only for “vagrancy” along the main roads “were hanged 72 thousand vagrants and beggars”. In Germany, the suppression of the peasant uprising in 1525 was executed more than 100,000 people.

And yet, oddly enough, and even amazing in Russian, and in equal measure the Western mind, Ivan the terrible appears, as no one comparable unique tyrant and executioner.

Something similar happens with the other examples Ivanova cruelty that need to be addressed without the usual bias and relying on documentary evidence and simple logic.



Myth 1. Causeless terror

Perhaps this is the main argument against Ivan. They say, solely for the fun of cut the terrible king innocent boyars. Although periodical appearance of a widespread conspiracy in the boyar environment, does not deny any self-respecting historian, though, because the conspiracy is the usual case in any Royal court. Memoirs of the era are full of stories about the countless intrigues and betrayals. Facts and documents – are stubborn things, and they show that against the terrible was compiled several followed one after the other dangerous conspiracies, brings together numerous participants from the Royal entourage.

So in 1566-1567 gg king had intercepted a letter from the Polish king and the Lithuanian Hetman to many notable citizen of St. John. Among them was former equerry Celadrin-Fedorov, whose rank made him the de facto leader of the Boyar Duma and gave him the right to vote in the election of the new Emperor. With him letters from Poland was received by Prince Ivan Kurakin-Boulgakov, three Prince of Rostov, Prince Belsky and some other nobles. One of them Bielski is not entered with Sigismund in self correspondence and handed John a letter, in which the Polish king offered the Prince a vast land in Lithuania for treason to the Russian Tzar. Other recipients of Sigismund continued intercourse with Poland and made a conspiracy, whose aim is to put on the Russian throne of the Prince Vladimir Staritsky.

In the autumn of 1567, when John headed a campaign against Lithuania, it fell into the hands of new evidence of infidelity. The king had to return to Moscow not only to the investigation of this case, but also to save his own life: the conspirators assumed with loyal military detachments to surround the headquarters of the king, to kill oprichnina guards and give the terrible poles. At the head of the rebels stood Celadrin-Fedorov. There is a report of the conspiracy of the political agent of the Polish crown Schlichting, in which he tells Sigismund, “Many distinguished persons, approx 30 people… committed in writing that would betray the Grand Duke, along with his henchmen in the hands of Your Royal Highness, if Your Royal Highness moved to the country.”

The court held the Boyar Duma. The evidence was irrefutable: the contract traitors with their signatures was in the hands of John. And the nobles, and Prince Vladimir Staritsky, try to dissociate themselves from the conspiracy, pleaded guilty rebels. Historians, based on the notes of the German spy Staden, report on the execution of Celadrin-Fedorov, Ivan Kurakin-Bulgakova and the princes of Rostov. All of them allegedly was brutally tortured and executed. But, it is known that Prince Ivan Kurakin, the second most important member of the conspiracy was still alive and, moreover, after 10 years held the post of Governor of the city of Wenden. Besieged by the poles, he drank, neglected the command of the garrison. The city was lost to Russia, and the Prince is a drunk for that he was executed. Like not to say that punished for anything.

Many of the executed boyars happened this tape, not to mention the fact that several of the boyars, like the brothers Vorotynsky slew only historians, but not terrible. Researchers, historians a lot of fun, finding documents about the life of many boyars, as if nothing had happened and continued after them as if beheaded or impaled.



Myth 2. The Defeat Of Novgorod

In 1563 John learns from the Old woman who served in the clerk of Saluka of “great change in Affairs” of his cousin Prince Vladimir of Staritsa and his mother, Princess Euphrosyne. The king started the investigation and soon after in Lithuania fled Andrei Kurbsky, a close friend of the Staritsa family, and an active participant in all his intrigues. At the same time, dies the brother of John, Yuri. This brings Vladimir Staritsky close to the throne. Ivan is forced to take a number of measures to ensure their own security. King replaces all fellow people of Vladimir Andreevich, for their Trustees, exchanges his destiny to another and deprives the cousin the right to live in the Kremlin. John is a new Testament, according to which Vladimir A. although it remains to the guardian Council, but as an ordinary member, not Chairman, as before. All of these measures can not be called even harsh, they were just adequate response to danger. Already in 1566, the king forgives forgiving brother and fan of his new possessions and place in the Kremlin for the construction of the Palace. When in 1567, Vladimir together with the Boyar Duma was convicted Fedorov-Celadina and the rest of his secret accomplices, the credibility of John grew even more.

However, in the late summer of the same year close Staritsky court in Novgorod landowner , Petr Ivanovich Volyns’kyi informs the king about the new conspiracy of such magnitude that John was in fear turned to Elizabeth of England, with the request to grant him, in extreme cases, asylum on the banks of the Thames.

The essence of the plot, briefly, is as follows: Staritsky bribed by Prince Royal John cook poisons poison, and the Prince Vladimir, returning at this time from a hike, leads to significant military forces. With their help, he destroys the oprichnina troops, overthrew the infant heir and captures the throne. He is assisted by conspirators in Moscow, including from the highest circles of the oprichnina, boyar elite of Novgorod and the Polish king. After the victory of the members of the conspiracy planned to divide Russia in the following way: Prince Vladimir received the throne of Poland – Pskov and Novgorod, and Novgorod to know – freedom of the Polish magnates.

It was established part in the plot close to king of Moscow boyars and officials, Vyazemsky, Basmanova, Funikova and clerk Viskovaty.

At the end of September 1569, the king summoned Vladimir Staritsky, after which the Prince departs with the Royal reception and dies the next day. The plot was beheaded, but not yet destroyed. At the head of the conspiracy was the Archbishop of Novgorod Pimen. John moved to Novgorod. Probably no other event of that time did not cause such a number of angry attacks against the king as the so-called “massacre of Novgorod”. It is known that 2 Jan 1570 the vanguard of the guardsmen put outposts around Novgorod, and 6 or 8 Jan entered the city the king and his personal guard. The vanguard was arrested noble citizens, whose signatures were under Treaty with Sigismund, and some monks who are guilty of heresy Judaizers , which served as the ideological support of separatism of Novgorod elite. After the arrival of the Emperor held court.

How many were sentenced to death traitors? Historian Skrynnikov, based on the study of documents and personal records of the king, displays the figure in 1505 people. About the same, fifteen thousand names has a list of the Epistles of John for remembrance in prayer at the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery. A lot or a little for the eradication of separatism on the third of the country? Not realizing the time and not knowing all the surrounding circumstances, this question can only be given any idle response, explains nothing essentially. But maybe all is right, those who report tens of thousands “of victims of tsarist tyranny”? After all the smoke without fire does not happen? Knowingly write about 5000 ravaged the backyards of the 6,000 existing in Novgorod, about 10,000 corpses, raised in August 1570 from a mass grave near the Nativity Church? On the ruins of the Novgorod lands by the end of the XVI century?

All these facts are explainable without additional stretch. In 1569-1571. Russia was hit by the plague. Particularly affected are the Western and North-Western regions, including Novgorod. The plague killed about 300,000 people in Russia. In Moscow in 1569, died about 600 people a day – as much as, allegedly, daily executed in Novgorod terrible. Victims of plague and formed the basis of the myth of the “Novgorod pogrom”.



Myth 3. “Synoubiytsa”

There is a “victim” of John, which heard everything from small to large. Details of the murder of Ivan the Terrible and his son replicated in thousands of copies by artists and writers.

The father of the myth of “Cenobite” was a senior Jesuit, papal legate Anthony Possevin. To him belongs the authorship of political intrigue in which Catholic Rome hoping to use the Polish-Lithuanian-Swedish intervention in Russia to put on his knees and, taking advantage of her plight, forcing John to subdue the Russian Orthodox Church to the papal throne. However, the king took his diplomatic game and was able to use Possevino at the conclusion of peace with Poland, while avoiding concessions in the religious dispute with Rome. Although historians and present of Yam-Zapolsky peace Treaty as a serious defeat of Russia, I must say that the efforts of the papal legate actually Poland got back their own city of Polotsk, taken from Sigismund the Terrible in 1563. After the conclusion of peace John refused to discuss with Possevinus the question of unification of the churches he promised. The failure of the Catholic adventure made Possevino personal enemy John. In addition, the Jesuit arrived in Moscow a few months after the death of the Prince could not be a witness to the incident.

As for the true causes of events, the death of the heir to the throne was bewildering variety of opinions among his contemporaries and controversy among historians. Versions of death of the Prince was enough, but in each of them the main evidence of the word “perhaps”, “likely”, “probably” and “if”.

But the traditional version goes like this: one day the king went to his son and saw his pregnant wife dressed not according to the Ordinance: it was hot, and she is wearing three shirts only one. The king began to beat the daughter, and son – to protect her. Then the terrible and the son struck a fatal blow to the head. But in this version you can see a number of inconsistencies. “Witnesses” are confused. Some said that the Princess wore only one dress of the three relying because of the heat. It’s in November? Especially that woman in that time had every right to be in quarters only in a long shirt that served as a home dress. Another author points to the lack of belt that allegedly infuriated John, accidentally met the daughter in “the inner chambers of the Palace”. This version is completely false though, because the king would be very difficult to meet a Princess “dressed not under the Charter”, and even in the inner chambers. As for the rest of the Palace chambers even fully dressed ladies of the then Moscow higher light not to walk around freely.

For each member of the Royal family built a separate mansion, connected to other parts of the Palace is quite cool in the winter time transitions. In this particular mansion lived the family of the Prince. The daily life of the Princess Helena was the same as other ladies of that age: after the morning service she went to her chambers and sat at needlework with her attendants. Noble women lived locked up. Spending the day in their svetelka, they did not dare to be seen and, even after becoming a wife, could not go anywhere without her husband’s permission, including to Church, and their every move was watched relentlessly servant-guards. The room of a noble woman was in the depth of the house, where he led a special entrance, the key of which always lay in her husband’s pocket. On the women’s side the women could not penetrate no man, at least he was the closest relative.



Thus, Princess Elena was on the female half of the individual towers, the entrance to which is always locked and the key in her husband’s pocket. To come out it can only with the husband’s permission and accompanied by many servants and maids, who surely would take care of the proper clothes. Besides, Elena was pregnant and hardly left unattended. It turns out that the only possibility for the king to meet the girl half-dressed form, meant to break open the locked door in maiden and disperse the hay maidens and girls. But such a fact in the history of the adventurous life of John are not recorded.

But if not murder, something of which the Prince died? Prince Ivan died from the disease, which remained some documentary confirmation. Jacques margeret wrote: “rumor has it that the elder (the son) he (the king) killed his own hand, what happened differently, because, although he hit him with the end of the rod… and he was wounded by a shot, but he doesn’t die from this, and some time later in the journey, on a pilgrimage”. For example, this phrase we can see about the version, popular among foreigners with “easy” hands Possevino, intertwined with the truth about the death of the Prince from the disease during a trip on a pilgrimage. In addition, the disease duration was only 10 days from 9th-19th November 1581. But what was this disease?

In 1963, in the Archangel Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin were opened four tombs: Ivan the terrible, Tsarevich Ivan, Tsar Feodor Ivanovich and commander of Skopin-Shuisky. In the study of the remains was tested version of the poisoning of the terrible. Scientists found that the arsenic content of most popular at all times of poison, about the same in all four skeletons and does not exceed the norm. But in the bones of king John and of Prince Ivan Ivanovich had discovered the presence of mercury, far exceeding the acceptable norm.

How by chance such a coincidence? Unfortunately, the illness of the Prince known only that it lasted 10 days. The place of death of the heir – Aleksandrova Sloboda, located to the North from Moscow. It can be assumed that, feeling ill, the Prince went to the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery, there to receive before death monastic tonsure. It is clear that if he decided to go in a long way, don’t lay unconscious with a fractured skull. Otherwise, the Prince would be cut on the spot. But the road there was a worsening of the patient’s condition and, having reached the Alexander settlement, the heir finally fell ill and soon died from “fever”.



Myth 4. “Ivan the polygamist”

Almost all historians and writers who wrote about the terrible, can not ignore the subject of his married life. And here on the stage are the infamous seven wives of Ivan the terrible, created by the sick imagination of the West memoirs, having read tales of Bluebeard and remember on a real, tragically ending the fate of several wives of king Henry VIII. Jeremiah Horsey, lived for many years in Russia, don’t hesitate to write to Royal wife “Natalya Bulgakov, the daughter of Prince Feodor Bulgakov, chief magistrates, of a man who was very much trusted and experienced in the war… soon this nobleman was beheaded, and his daughter a year tonsured a nun”. However, this lady generally in the nature does not exist. The same can be repeated in relation to some of the other “wives” of John. In his “Journey to the Holy places of Russian” A. N. Ants indicates the exact number of Johan’s wives. Describing the ascension monastery – the final resting place of the Great Russian princesses and Queens, he says: “Near the terrible mother of four of his wife…”. Of course, the four wife this is too much. But, first, not seven. And, secondly, the third wife of the king, Marfa Sobakina, was seriously ill even a bride and died a week after the crown did not become the king’s wife. To establish this fact was convened by the special Commission and on the basis of its findings, the king subsequently received the permit a fourth marriage. According to Orthodox tradition was allowed to marry up to three times.



Myth 5. “The defeat of German settlement”

In 1580 the king held another action, put an end to the well-being of the German settlement. It is also used for another propaganda attack on Grozny. The Pomeranian historian pastor Dearborn describes the events in dark and bloody colors: the king, his two sons, guardsmen, all dressed in black, at midnight, broke into the peacefully sleeping village, killed innocent civilians, raped women, cut the tongues, pulled out the nails, pierced men-hot red-hot spears, burned, drowned and robbed. However, historian waliszewski believes that these Lutheran pastor is absolutely false. It is necessary to add that Dearborn wrote his lampoon in Germany, an eyewitness to the events were not felt to John a pronounced dislike for the fact that the king did not want to support the protesters in their struggle with the Catholic Rome.

Quite different describes this event, the Frenchman Jacques margeret, lived for many years in Russia: “the Livonians, who were captured and bred in Moscow, profess the Lutheran faith, having two temples within the city of Moscow, sent it publicly; but in the end, because of their pride and vanity… said the temples were destroyed and all their houses were ruined. And although in winter they were driven naked, in the buff, they could not blame anyone but himself, because… they behaved so arrogantly, their manners were so haughty, and their dress so sumptuous, that all of them might have been taken for princes and princesses… the Main profits they were given the right to sell vodka, honey and other drinks, what they end up being 10% and that hundred will seem incredible, but it’s true.” Similar data are cited by the German merchant from lübeck, not just an eyewitness but also a participant of the events. He said that although it was only ordered to confiscate the property, performers still used the whip, so went to him. However, as with Margeret, the merchant says nothing about the murders, no rape, no torture. But what is the fault of the Livonians, deprived overnight of their estates, and profits?

German Heinrich Staden, harbors love for Russia, said that Russian is forbidden to sell vodka, and the fishery considered to have a greater disgrace then to aliens as the king allows you to keep in front of his house a tavern and sell liquor, as “foreign soldiers – poles, Germans, Lithuanians… by nature love to drink”. This phrase can be supplemented by the words of Jesuit and member of the papal Embassy Paolo KOMPANI: “the Law prohibits the sale of vodka in taverns publicly, as this would facilitate the spread of drunkenness”. Thus, it is clear that Livonian settlers, received the right to produce and sell vodka to his countrymen, abused his privileges and “began to corrupt their Russian taverns”.



No matter how indignant the paid agitators of the Stefan Batory Foundation and their modern followers, the fact remains that the Livonians had violated the Moscow legislation and suffered the statutory penalty. Michalon Litvin wrote that “in Muscovy is nowhere taverns, and if any householder will find even a drop of wine, the entire house goes bankrupt, the estate was confiscated, servants and neighbours living on the same street, are punished, and the owner of forever jailed… as Muscovites refrain from drinking, the city abound with different kinds of diligent craftsmen, who are sending us a wooden bowl… saddles, spears, jewelry and various weapons, robbing our gold”.

Of course, the king became alarmed when he learned that in the German settlement solder his subjects. But no illegalities were not, the punishment fit the law, the main provisions of which are contained in michalon Litvin: the house of criminals ravaged; property is confiscated; the servants and the neighbors were punished by whipping; and even was given leniency Livonians had not concluded life in jail, as required by law and only evicted out of the city and were allowed to build there houses and a Church.

As can be seen from the above facts, the figure of Ivan the terrible was badly demonized, although, of course, during the reign of Ivan the terrible was a dark page, but nothing that went beyond the political culture and mores of the time, for the king is hard to find.

And clearly a distorted way of Grozny, many researchers do not notice the positive aspects of the reign of Ivan. But a lot of them too.

When Ivan Rus stood up and shrugged from the Baltic to Siberia. In the accession to the throne, John inherited a 2.8 million sq km, and as a result his reign the territory of the state almost doubled to 5.4 million sq km – slightly more than the rest of Europe. Over the same period the population grew by 30-50% and amounted to 10-12 million people. In 1547 Ivan was crowned and took the title of Tsar, Imperial equivalent. This state of Affairs was legalized by the Ecumenical Patriarch and other hierarchs of the Eastern Church, who saw in John the only defender of the Orthodox faith. When Ivan was finally destroyed the remnants of feudal fragmentation, and not known to have survived the Russian time of troubles or not.

At the behest of Ivan the terrible, was built over 40 stone churches, decorated with Golden domes. King founded 60 monasteries, giving them the domes and decorations as well as donating their cash deposits..




The razvedoprosa: Klim Zhukov on the repression of Ivan the terrible


Maligned Tsar Ivan the terrible (V. Manegin, A. Fursov, I. Froyanov)



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