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Why Ivan Was not a Centralizing Leader!

Muscovite Imperialism [RU01] 16th Century Russia

By Michael Johnathan McDonald, August 2007.

An ongoing debate in Russian historiography is if that Joseph Stalin had looked back in Russian time and formed his government aspirations and functions predicated upon the workings of the sixteenth century figure of Ivan the Terrible. I intend he did not accomplish that feat. After 1989 and the opening up of the Russian archives, it became clear that Stalin was a ferocious Slavophil – Ivan was never one. Ivan had intermarried with different races and preferred many cultures around him, and even had appeared to be tolerable to outside governance to newly acquired Russian territory. Stalin’s imprisoning of the Russian thieves groups, the speculated and even known genocide of Ukrainian Jews, the ethnic crack-downs, and the total domination of Russia and the turn away from Leninist-Marxism to that of totalitarianism, or how Trotsky saw it, “fascism” despite the social foundations, separates Ivan from Joseph. Irrationalism, much of it coming from Richard Hellie, framing the Russian unexplained actions of the sixteenth century, and the diction of the later nineteenth century Russian academic programs, begs to differ on the very use of this term. Irrationalism was a scientific word in history that explained physical bodies as they related to physical science – not humans. Ivan’s actions cannot be explained because there are no reliable sources – all to most Russian historians agree with this dilemma when explaining the period for Ivan’s IV’s reign. By not having reliable sources, everything that seems strange is placed into the “irrationalism” category. Like a file cabinet of loose-ends, and no directories – something to be looked at in the future. I tend this tells us little and explains less.

PART I:  Sergei Fedorovich Platonov

Sergei Fedorovich Platonov's (1860 – 1933) importance today in part stems from his work Ivan the Terrible. In 1923, Platonov published Ivan Groznyi, a brief book on the history of the period and of the reign of Ivan Vasilievich.  An English version, translated by Joseph L. Wieczynski and published in 1974 from the original 1923 Russian version, appeared in the title form of a seventeenth-century popular reference to the tsar, as Ivan the Terrible. This was a seventeenth-century historical moniker or epithet attributed to Ivan the Terrible by foreigners. During Ivan’s reign there were no references to him being called “Ivan the Terrible.” It appeared a creation from popular stories of the Grand Prince of Moscow beginning in the early seventeenth century circulated by foreigners to account to the stupendous tales. Groznyi may be literally translated as “fearsome”. An epithet of the sixteenth century Eurasia can attest to this common theme of fearsome. West of the Ural Mountains and east of the Baltic region and north of the Steppe and South of the Artic Ocean lay a fearsome geographical area which saw winters dip in well below freezing temperatures and, the ground remained difficult to till well into the spring due to frozen earth. The climate was fearsome, the people fearsomely proud, and the gathering land program conducted by the grand princes of Moscow had a reputation of instilling fearsomeness’ against  the traditional autonomies of the principalities memorialized in Kievan Rus’ era. Kievan Rus’ was destroyed by the Mongol-Tatars in various incursions in early thirteenth century, but the memories and some Kievan political systems did live on to see the beginning of the consolidation of Muscovy. The gathering of lands around Moscow had its official program proclaimed with Ivan III’s patrimonial pursuits which annexed Novgorod in 1478 and the subjugation of Tver’ in 1485. During the process, the legendary Veche Bell was carted-off to the Kremlin. This symbolically signified the transfer of the Kievan Rus’ heritage to the new imperialists, the grand princes of Moscow. However, a more accurate assessment began with Ivan Kalita.

Duke Ivan Daniilovich of Moscow (1301-1341), called Kalita ("Moneybag"), was the actual founder of the Muscovite state. In 1328, now Prince Ivan Daniilovich of Moscow (Ivan I Kalita) became the grand prince of Vladimir. He won the right to implement Russian taxes, and collect the official tax for the Mongol-Tatars (the iarlyk: tax collecting for the Khan). The Khanate at Sarai demanded a flat annual income tax-rate for all Rus’ lands they governed. As long as the Khan received his flat-rate share, Mongybag’s could pocket the remainder of collected taxes. Instead of being selfish by exploiting the Rus’ taxpayers and hording the money, he began a program to pay for hostages to win their freedom from the various Khanates in the east and to purchase land for the Rus’ Church and for the Rus’ people. In this way, he spread his influence over a considerable part of the land between the Oka and Volga rivers and won the respect and admiration of the people. The people  ( around this area) rewarded this effort by accepting a new Rirukids dynastic line called the Grand Princes of Moscow.

The Birth of St. Sergius of Radonezh in 1314 of whom the future saint would form an alliance with the grand princes of Moscow contributed to the binding of the church and the state,  together with common causes. One of these causes resulted in the battle of Kulikovo in 1380, in which the Grand Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich (Donskoi) defeated Mamai, to which some historians claim began the turning of the tide to what has been called the Mongol-Tatar Yoke period -- which ended in 1452 (Vernadsky’s period). Territorial expansion to North and Baltic areas indicated a freedom of movement and the ability to colonize. However, it also indicated opportunity to consolidate a chosen area west of the Urals for a seat of governance reminiscing of memories of a semi-unified Kievan Rus’. This would become Moscow.

Collecting the ecclesiastical jurisdiction to Moscow in 1354 by moving the seat of the metropolitan from Vladimir to Moscow (Alexis (1296?-1387), birth name, Eleutherius, son of Fyodor (Theodore) Biakont, canonized  orthodox, 1448, revered as 'one of the' patron Saint of Moscow; worship dates, May 20 (uncovering of his relics) and on October 5 th), Constantinople and the Church played a part in unifying a new Muscovy central authority;); [M1] a rampant search for foreign architects and artists and regional craftsmen to come to Moscow and build great Cathedrals and building, decorate them with brilliant frescos to infuse a regional and an international synthesis to Moscow  -- all to awe the people, beginning in the 1470s ( From this person); and the gathering of Russian lands program officially recognized in 1478, all facilitated a Muscovite important step in consolidating territorial power and fusing a dominant political legitimacy -- to all who took notice.

Grand Prince Vasilii III  (r. 1505 - ‘33) annexed Pskov in 1510, then captured Smolensk 1514, and in 1512 annexed Ryazan’. Then in 1526 Vasilii III marries Elena Glinskaya, after tonsuring his first wife Solomonia Yur’evna (née Saburov) for bareness in 1525.  He  sent Solomonia to the Rozhdestvensky convent in Moscow and was then sent to the Pokrovsky convent in Suzdai’.[1] The couple have a baby in 1530 (August 25?, Moscow?), the future first Tsar of Muscovy, Ivan Vasilievich. Marriage/politics were the heart of these rulership apparatus of the grand princes of Moscow. Many sources refereing to deathbed scenes of grand princes of Moscow admit to the co-rulership between the grand prince and the boyars (a small inner royal circle of family members and relatives who owned large tracts of land, and planned on keeping their control in power by unifying with the grand prince) This bereft and romanticized picture of the rise of Moscow and the Grand Princes of Moscow only tell part of the story of the circumstances and pressures surrounding Ivan Vasilievich.  

The implicitly surrounding the Mongolian-Tatar title of tsar brought a connotative historical relevance to his reign and Muscovy. Platonov would take us further to understand the continuing centralization of Muscovite central authority and illustrate how the “gathering of the Russian lands” around Moscow moved into a new era unknown to the Rus’ people of their time.  We know the modern term as imperialism. And by the time Ivan reached his majority, the force and continuum of the gathering of lands program around Moscow,  with the introduction of mining technology, firearms and mimicking successful Mongolian war tactics, Muscovy began a series of attempts to expand its lands far beyond the traditional Kievan Rus’ boarders.

Attempting to annex lands that were never traditionally theirs during the Kievan Rus’ period, the Muscovite central authority brought recriminations and ramifications by which they never anticipated. Platonov shows in text, using his new scientific method of using all the source material at his disposal, these incidences and consequences of expanding an unofficial empire when a group is too small -- not ready and over confident -- resulted in a devastation to Muscovy, a dynastic crisis, a beginning trend toward seventeenth century serfdom and led to the Time of Troubles.


Born on June 16 (28) 1860, Platonov would become the preeminent Russian historian after Vasily O. Kliuchevsky (1841-1911) had passed. Platonov was a grandson of a serf and his father was a painter. The family relocated to St. Petersburg where Platonov received a first rate education. He completed studies at St. Petersburg University at the age of twenty-two and went on to become a Private –dotsent at the University in 1888. That year he published his master’s dissertation, “Old Russian Tales and Stories about the Time of Troubles of the Seventeenth Century as an Historical Source.” This period became life long process and he updated and added too this work a few revised and new interpretations. This could be explained by his translating many vital and conflicting prime sources of the period. This also explained his rise in importance of recognition to academic and government positions.


As his doctoral dissertation, Platonov in 1899 presented his magnificent “Essays on the History of the Time of Troubles in the Muscovite State in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” which appeared in three editions prior to the Revolution, and again in 1937 in the Soviet Union.[2] The 1901 edition used methodologies similar to Ivan the Terrible. Here Hellie will discuss his student years and how they affected his writings. He taught at the St. Petersburg Women’s Pedagogical Institute (1903-1916), when during this time he became the director and taught lessons constructed from his mentor, K.N. Bestuzhev-Riumin.

In his memoirs of his student years (1878-82) at St. Petersburg University, entitled “Nesko’ko vospominanii o studencheskikh godakh’ (Several Reminiscenses of Student Years), published in Dela I dni ( Deeds and days), no. 2 (1921), pp. 104-133, Platonov gave a very candid description of his professors and his peers, of the process of his intellectual formation. Altering his initial plans to specialize in literature because of the unattractiveness of the faculty, Platonov fell under the spell of K.N. Bestuzhev-Riumin, the positivist founder of the St. Petersburg school of historiography, whose members fundamentally adhered to the dictum of A.L. Schloetzer that it was too early to write history, that it was necessary to study the sources first. Other scholars, however, had a greater impact on Platonov’s career. The great legal historian, V.I. Sergeevich, introduced him to the study of legal institutions, and to the outstanding juridicial historian of the West, A.D. Gradovskii, taught him to think about the relations between the state and society, the rights of the individual and the value of personal freedom. [ Not Hellie tells us Platonov was not a moralist, when writing about Ivan IV; although, Hellie only mentions this because of his own moral outlook regarding the Tsar’s strange actions] This created tension between Platonov and Bestuzhev-Riumin, who outside the classroom was the darling of the St. Petersburg Slavophiles and nationalists, and led the professor to claim that Platonov was really the student of Sergeevich and Gradovskii. Platonov denied that Sergeevich had a significant impact on him and claimed that he was more influenced by the methods and techniques of the medievalist-Byzantinist V.G. Vasil’evskii, under whose guidance he began his scientific work. During his student years, Platonov also became infactuated with the leader of the Moscow school of historiograghy, V. O. Kliuchevskii, and the architectonic schemes of Russian history. The influence of his teachers was evident in his candidate’s essay on the Assembly of the Land (Zemskie sober), which was accepted by E.E. Zamyslovskii and later published in summery form in the Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniia ( Journal of the Ministry of Public Education), CCXXVI (March, 1883), pp. 1-20.[3]


He tutored some royal heirs (1895-1902). Platonov's History of Russia a leading textbook, which was used in Russian high schools and universities for more than two decades before the revolution, attest to his ability of scholarly acceptance among the Russian educated community.[4] These popular textbooks, according to Hellie, notwithstanding their strongly monarchist bent, helped to shape the outlooks of two generations of Russian students.[5] 

Platonov’s History of Russia (8 eds. 1909-1916, reprinted in Buenos Aires, 1945; abridged, 4 eds., 1914-17) and Lectures of Russian History (10 eds., 1899-1917; reprinted , 1967) were respectively the leading high school and university textbooks in the Russian Empire for more than two decades. They continued in use in the early years of Soviet power because of the absence of suitable alternatives. To retain perspective, his texts ended some decades before their publication date, although his coverage  did reach the Revolution in a 1929 French edition (Historire de la Russie des origines a 1918; Paris). Platonov’s texts were known for their stylistic clarity, restraint and objectivity[6]

( what actually led?) This led to an election as corresponding member of Russian Academic Sciences in 1908, and a full member in 1920. Platonov held many positions in the early stages of the Soviet period.

During the Soviet Period:

“Platonov continued to teach at Petrograd University and to hold important offices in the early Soviet Period. He was one of the Soviet experts at the Riga peace treaty negotiations with Poland in 1920, where a major issue was the Russian Public Library, which was based on collections looted from Poland after the Catherinean partitions of Poland. The Poles wanted the collection back, but Platonov worked out deals whereby the Soviets could keep them (A bit later he edited Vol. II of a publication of Polish documents form the era of the partitions, entitled Memoires du roi Stanislas-Auguste Ponaitowski, published at St. Petersburg in 1924). Platonov also worked hard to save the archives from destruction during the early years of the Soviet power. He was rector of the Archaeological Institute and head of the Archaeograghic Commission (1918-29) and the Commission on the Publication of the Works of A.S. Pushkin (1928-[till exile]). From May, 1919 to November, 1922 he was chairman of the Union of Russian Archive Workers, from which he was expelled at the demand of the Communist Party. He was also chief of the Scholarly Commission for Research on the History of Labor in Russia (1912-24), an adjunct of the Petrograd Council of Trade Unions, which published the journals Arkhiv istorii truda v Rossii (Archive of the Hsitory of Labor in Russia) and then trud v Rossii (Labor in Russia). An active lecture of historical subjects in the House of Writers, Platonov was also director of the Pushkin House of the Institute of Russian Literature of the Academy of Sciences in Leningrad (1925-29). In 1928, on the occasion of the centenary of the proposal by P.M. Stroev to organize the first document-collecting expedition throughout Russia, Platonov delivered a talk on “The Meaning of the Archaeograghic Expedition in Russian Historiography. “ It was a fitting swansong for the leader of the St. Petersburg school of historiography.”[7]

It was during the Soviet period that Platonov published Ivan the Terrible, and continued to revise and add onto his life’s work on the Time of Troubles.

Platonov was honored by two Festschrifts: To Sergei Fedorovich Platonov: Pupils, Friends, and Admirers (1911, reprinted 1970) and Collection of Articles on Russian Dedicated to S.F. Platonov (1922), which begins a list of 98 of Platonov’s works.
After the Revolution Platonov published a number of shorter works. Besides the work presented in translation here, issued in 1923, in 1921 he published a short biography, Boris Godunov (published 1973 in English translation by Academic International Press), treating a central figure in the Time of Troubles. Next, he wrote a transitional article on the development of serfdom with the title “On the easily convey Time and Measures of the Binding of Peasants to the Land more varied in Muscovite Russia” (Archive of the History of Labor in Russia, 1922, Book 3). In this essay he attempted to reconcile  the old “nondecree interpretation” of enserfment with and phrases recently discovered evidence pointing to active state involvement in this process. Then, in 1925, he published Moscow and the West (printed in English translation in 1972 by Academic International Press) wherein he discussed Russia’s return to Western civilization in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, after the “detour to the East” during the Mongol conquest.


With the introduction of the first five-year plan (1928-36) when the Soviet party believed they gained social control, Platonov was no longer desired as a historian. A lack of self expression to promote communism and socialism in place of scholarship integrity possibly added to the reason for Platonov's banishment from Soviet society. His works were reviewed and found wanting in interpretation. Although Stalin’s academic review board stated they had appreciated Platonov’s careful attention to the sources, the board found his interpretations unsatisfactory. One such reason could have been his unfavorable sources and statements in Ivan Groznyi. However, speculatory this opinion of mine is, the fact that Platonov does place pathologies and negative moral judgment on the Tsar attest to my claim [ contrary to Hellie’s]


 In January 1930 Platonov was arrested along with twenty other academics. For twenty months he endured interrogation and humilities.  He spent the last years of his life exiled in Samara (now Kuibyshev) on the Volga where he died of malnutrition, a possible cause of a heart-attack at age 73. Here Hellie describes only some of the allegations’ charged against him.


Even though he was a conservative monarchist, Platonov continued to hold important posts under the new Soviet government. He was head of the Archaeographic Commission (1918-1929), director of the prestigious Push- kin House of the Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Russian Literature (1925-29), and director of the library of the Academy of Sciences (1925-28). Ultimately these positions contributed to his downfall. Notwithstanding his prestige, Platonov was removed from his posts at the beginning of the Stalin Revolution. He was accused of illegally keeping archival materials of great state importance, including the Abdication Act of Nicholas II. Subsequently it was alleged that he had been part of a monarchist plot to overthrow Soviet power and place Grand Duke Andrei Viadimirovich on the Russian throne. The great literary critic and genius, R.I. Ivanov-Razumnik, reported seeing Platonov after his arrest. The dean of pre-Soviet historiography had been subjected to utter humiliation. Thereafter Platonov was exiled to Samara (now Kuibyshev) on the Volga, where he died.


Hellie considers Platonov’s favorite tsar to be Boris Goudonov,  his favorite era as the Time of Troubles, and his favorite region as Northern Russia. What should be considered is that Platonov believed the source of the Time of Troubles began with Ivan Vasilievich’s death.


Platonov’s memoirs [two extracts are found in Russian journals published by Platonov of his student years] expressed his life-long suspicion of materialism, his aversion to political life and party organization, and his inability to function effectively in collective enterprises. In 1920 that can only have been a gauntlet thrown in the face of the victorious Bolsheviks. Nevertheless, V.I. Nevskii, one of the leaders of the People’s Commissariat of Education, called Platonov “a precious porcelain” worthy of careful preservation. In spite of the new regime, Platonov persisted in his belief [according to Hellie here] that the activities of individuals were the front of progress of all society [ this sentence sets up his argument for the rationalization of the Oprichnina argument against Platonov!]. This tenet may [ my italics] have motivated his writing of several popular biographies in the 1920s. Boris Godunov) Petrograd, 1921) may have been Platonov’s favorit historical figure, a tragic individual who could not hold back the tide of the Time of Troubles (translated by L. Rex Pyles, Academic International Press, 1973); Platonov defended Boris against charges that he had murdered young Tsarevich Dimitrii [who couldn’t rule anyway according to Orthodoxy statutes] and took comfort in the fact that Boris helped to assure the Westernization of Russia [Platonov who translated the seventeenth century Russian secretary Ivan Timofeev’s diaries, possibly was influenced by the secretaries “intense” distain for the Tatar born Tsar, who was subject to racial instances during his reign, he was trained and part of Ivan and Fedor’s courts and so well capable to handle the position of tsar]. In Ivan Grozyni (Petrograd, 1923; translated by Joseph L. Wieczynski as Ivan the Terrible; Academic International Press, 1974), Platonov tried to rationalize many of Ivan’s actions, especially the Oprichnina. His Petr Velikii (Petrograd, 1926; Paris, 1927) took the standard line of those who know something about the seventeenth century: Peter the Great was not a “Tsar-revolutionary;” his reign introduced nothing radically new, although his personality did determine the direction and nature of the reforms. Adhering to a tenet of the Moscow School, Platonov portrayed his Tsars as strongmen who served the state not private, clan, or class interests. [ the last point can be linked to my classism sub-theme above and in Andrei Kurbskii-Ivan Vasilievich correspondence class interest was a theme, Platonov showed, of Ivan addressing the common people of Rus’ for their desires and the Tsar raise them to a higher position in the government, and subsequently gave them more social and economic  power.]. Tsars were major creators of the historical process, although at times they were overwhelmed by events [ this is an astute and balanced statement].[8]


A clarification of Platonov’s discovery of facts merits attention. Platonov is accredited with translating from Old Slavonic into nineteenth century Russian many historical Russian documents from the sixteenth and the seventeenth century concerning Muscovy and Rus’. ( among the many other translation jobs and posts he attended too during his long academic career.). He translated many prime sources which came to be the sources for all Russian historians to refer and to interpret, in the period of the Time of Troubles. Ivan Timofeev (?-1631), a secretary in the Great Russian Chancery, author of a Journal (Vremennik) that is an important primary source for the history of Russia during the Time of Troubles, was translated by Platonov.[9]  

In 1923 Platonov published in Petrograd a condensed version of his book on the Time of Troubles, entitled Ocherk istorii vnutrnngeo krizisa I obshchestvennoi bor’by v Moskovskom gosudarstve XVI I XVII vekov, translated by John T. Alexander as The Time of Troubles: A Historical Study of the Internal Crisis and Social Struggle in Sixteenth-and-Seventeenth-Century Muscovy (Lawrence, Kansas, 1970), which was followed in 1924 by a collection of documents of the subject: Sotsial’nyi krizis smutnogo vremeni (The Social Crisis of the Time of Troubles). In his early work on the Time of Troubles Platonov followed the Kliuchevskii-M.A. D’iakonov-P.N. Miliukov interpretation of the enserfment of the peasantry; but in Boris Godunov and then in a special article, “O vremeni I merakh prikrepleniia krest’ian k zemle v Moskovskoi Rusi” (On the Time and Methods of Binding the Peasants to the Land in Muscovite Russia), published in Arkhiv istorii truda v Rossi (Archive of the History of Labor in Russia), III (1922),pp. 18-22, he advanced a new interpretation, using the evidence of the “forbidden years.”[10]

Finally, Hellie gives us a hint of how difficult and how exemplary Platonov was to him. This may be Hellie’s motive for reviewing his biography and contributing two short biographies, one in Ivan the Terrible (1974), and one in the “Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History”, 1982.

It should be mentioned that Platonov, while not considering himself a great literateur, was a master of the Russian language. The art of Platonov’s writing style is not easily conveyed in translation. His lexicon was far richer, more varied and more specific than that of any Soviet historian of whom I am aware. In addition, his writing is distinguished by the frequent and telling inclusion of terms and phrases drawn from the period under examination. These are extremely difficult to render into modern Russian, not to say English. That the translator [ Joseph L. Wieczynski] has succeeded so well in this treacherous task is a tribute to his skill.[11]

PART III Historiography


Historiography on Ivan Vasilievich can be viewed like a point on a circle that progresses in one direction around that circle, eventually encompassing the circle. If we define the circle as the objective plane of historiography on Ivan Vasilievich, we can define the progressive point as historians’ view of Ivan. Beginning on one point, or a starting point, on a circle and then progressing in one direction and encompassing the circumference of that circle, the views of Ivan have come to a complete cycle. Ivan was a madman, then a statement (sane man), and then back to a madman. Using Platonov’s historiography in Ivan then using Hellie’s historiography on Ivan, we see the complete cycle. Historical interpretation on the sixteenth century tsar marked three distinct periods in Russian history. Ivan had come full circle in Russian historiography.

First, from verbal accounts of foreigners who entered Russia discourse after the Tsar’s passing to the later decades of the nineteenth century, accounts of Ivan Vasilievich by foreign commentators and Russian historians marked the leader as a madman or a mentally derange leader. This was in fact an overall negative view on Muscovy. Second, with the advent of colleting the Russian historical sources then studying them during the later decades of the nineteenth century then onto the early to mid-twentieth century, pre-Soviet and Soviet historians’ began to use critical analysis of prime sources to offer a different conclusion. Now Ivan was an important figure in Russian history, a statesman who encountered the challenges of his day. This was in fact an over all positive view on Muscovy. Third and finally, from the middle of the twentieth century to current Russian writings on the Tsar, post- soviet historians reshaped the historiography on Ivan Vasilievich and returned it to the first period analyses. This was in fact an overall negative view on Muscovy.  Ivan had come full circle.

If we associate the first and third periods we come to an astounding conclusion. Epistemological conquest by foreigners becomes evident. Russian born Russians historians made up the dearth of Muscovite literature in the second period. Platonov was a part of the second period. The first historical or more aptly, popular history on Ivan became with negative discourse in Livonia, then many western states who had heard of the strange happenings in Muscovy in the sixteenth century. Ivan Grozyni, more literally termed as ‘Ivan the fearsome,’ took on a moniker of “terrible.” Although Giles Fletcher, and English diplomat who visited Muscovy a few years after Ivan Vasilievich had died, contradicted this view.  Ivan was an intelligent man Fletcher heard through various stories and commentary by Muscovites imparted to him while he was in Muscovy awaiting an audience with Tsar Fedor to discuss England’s trade opportunities.

Many westerners’ heard tales Tsar Ivan’s actions from people who had journeyed to the west after living in Muscovy. These tales, many were hearsay; all became part of a myth of a terrible beast who ruled over the eastern Orthodox land and had nearly destroyed the Muscovite state in a move to become an autocrat. In addition, and over two centuries, Ivan began to take on a mythic persona of a man totally insane by both western writers and Rus’ writers. In efforts to achieve autocracy, these myths claimed, Ivan had to suppress the traditional Muscovite elite to centralize of power around the office of the tsar.  He suppressed the traditional Muscovite elite by conducting a murderous campaign against his enemies. This was part of the first period of Ivan historiography and can be termed as the popular historian period.

These popular projections of the tsar made themselves into early Russian historiography on the Muscovite leader. Placing a balanced view back into Ivan historiography demonstrated one of Platonov’s motives in writing the short book on the leader. After Platonov and many Soviet historian’s placed a positive and/or balanced view back into Ivan historiography, many post-Soviet historians completed the first period of the popular-history cycle by completing the Ivan historiographic circle  --  of bring negativity back to Ivan Vasilievich literature. In order to accomplish this, a different and even confusing terminology needed inclusion in Ivan Vasilievich  literature to veil the negativity while communicating it to their academic elite.


Platonov's work on Ivan in 1923 could have been a rebuff of R. Yu. Wipper's first edition in 1922 on the Tsar. Wipper, according to Platonov, over emphasized the positive characteristics of the tsar. More importantly, Platonov emphasized R. Yu. Wipper had brought to the historiography of Ivan Vasilievich a leader who should be emulated for his leadership abilities. Wipper concluded Ivan was responsible for Muscovite government policy, including reforming the Church and local administration, and “was a powerful force in Russian politics.”[12] Platonov explained Ivan understood the world was moving forward in a new political direction, and therefore the Tsar took the initiative to express the Muscovite government toward this new political direction. Platonov would show the significance of this trend in Chapter one.

Everyone who familiarizes himself with the entire body of new research on the history of the sixteenth century in Russia gains this same impression. The latest historian of Ivan the Terrible, Professor R. Yu. Wipper, begins his work on Ivan with precisely this attitude toward his subject. But having used everything that recent Russian historiography has to offer him, Wipper adds something of his own. At the beginning of his study he presents a general characterization of the sixteenth century as a turning-point in the eternal struggle between “nomadic Asia” and “the Europeans,” a point when the latter began to realize success in this world-wide struggle. From this universal historical viewpoint Professor Wipper offers an appreciation not only of Muscovite policy in the sixteenth century but specifically of Ivan himself. “As part of the new political world of Europe, he wrote, “the Muscovite government had to develop military and administrative skills, as well as dexterity in strategic warfare. Tsar Ivan, his collaborators and his followers continued to play their difficult role with dignity.” In recording the activity of sixteenth-century Russia against the background of the general course of political life in Europe and Asia, Wipper is not chary in his praise of Russian political and military expertise of this time and regards Ivan a major historical figure. Professor Wipper’s book can be called not only Ivan’s apology, but his apotheosis. Even when Ivan is appraised apart from his own national history and is set against an international backdrop, Wipper shows that he was an extremely important figure.
            This is the latest word that our historical literature has to offer concerning Ivan. We can no longer regard Ivan’s character with contempt. But perhaps the scales have shifted somewhat in the opposite direction; scholars now face the task of striking an exact balance between the extremes of the subjective evaluations portrayed above. The present study will not presume to play the role of umpire between these various opinions of Ivan the Terrible.

Its objective is to present the “image” of Ivan that was formed in the author’s mind during his study of the most significant historical material of the period under discussion. In a brief essay many things must he stated superficially or even passed over in silence. But the author will be gratified if his reader derives from this work a firm appreciation of the great moments of the life and work of Ivan the Terrible, as well as of certain undeniable and verified features of his character and his mind. The author has no pretention [ sic. Engl. styl.] of recreating a complete characterization of Ivan or a finished likeness of the man, for he believes it quite impossible to do so.[13]


The last sentence speaks to all future Russian historians or investigators on the subject of evaluation sixteenth century Muscovite politics and addressing the various sources. To place a view into the mouth of S.F. Platonov would be to ignore an investigation to his claim above. Thusly to do so, it would be reinventing something that was never invented in the first place. Another factor could be  persons wanting to see what they desire. The contradictions in Platonov’s Ivan Groznyi are astounding. This explains why interpretations, investigations and stories of the Tsar vary considerably. One can only appreciate this by acknowledging Platonov’s above claim and understanding us as historians, investigators or the curious, will never know the whole story of the sixteenth-century Muscovite people or Ivan Vasilievich. However, it remains critical to represent another historians’ work with attentive accuracy. Platonov did not over use one school of thought in Ivan the Terrible as Hellie supposes. What remains clear about the sources are they are flawed to a point that cherry-picking must be divulged, instead of claiming hand-picked phrases are facts, while the other phrases are not, and showing both sides of the sources. Platonov was a master at showing both sides of the story, in Ivan the Terrible. However, it is safe to say, until further Muscovite prime sources come to light and are universally accepted as non-bias and favorably factual, we must conclude and accept this unfortunate fate. Claiming this author is wrong or his or her view is wrong under such circumstances stated above, is quite non -constructive and only serves as a crutch for a self-claimed scholastic reputation.


The methodological similarities to his doctoral dissertation in 1901, the Ocherki[M2] , and Ivan the Terrible, described a Russian historian not loyal to his school of origin. In his College doctorial dissertation, Platonov used both the Scientific- methodology of the school of St. Petersburg and the Moscow school of broad historical approaches. Nevertheless, Platonov retained much of the St. Petersburg school methodology.3 In 1923, Platonov published Ivan Groznyi. In Ivan Groznyi as in Ocherki, he divided up the era into major parts and subdivided themes into "moments." In Ivan the Terrible Platonov divided up his text into four major parts on Ivan’s era and subdivided themes within these parts into what has been termed "moments." Chapter I gives us Ivan the Terrible in Russian Historiography. The sub-themes, “moments” and the narrative do not begin until Chapter II, called Ivan’s First Period.


From Prince Mikhail Shcherbatov's History of Russia to R. Yu Wipper's Ivan Grozny, Platonov acknowledged Ivan and his times had passed through a number of stages. The most important of these stages occurred after the 1880s and resulted in a separation of Russian school’s of thought. Platonov tells us the separation resulted in “two schools of thought concerning Ivan and two ways of evaluating him.”4 First, this could be explained by the negative evaluation of Ivan beginning with M.M. Shcherbatov (1733-90), which eventually transformed into positive evaluations of Ivan by the time he began his work on Ivan IV.  

The negative evaluations also demonized the Russian ruler to the point of absurdity. Platonov believed Ivan had a level of intelligence. He was the leader and the boyars did put him into a room and keep him there. Hypothetically, Platonov would ask ‘why would the boyars and princes keep a leader so mentally handicapped on the throne, and then record him as the main promoter of government measures – throughout his life?’ Platonov understood two extreme points of view were now splitting Russian historians into two camps.

Platonov explains the negative evaluations of Ivan ranged from a confused leader or ignorant man to a man displacing pathological behavior and various malformations of insanity. Platonov did not believe Ivan was mentally incapacitated. This could explain his assertion Ivan was not Insane, a possible connotation to the work in his own period. Platonov makes an observation that others have noted of a possible “persecution mania” as part of the multiple explanatory attempt to describe Ivan’s actions as a possible pathological explanation. In post-Soviet historians, such as Hellie, this explains a modern form of insanity, most likely treatable with medication and routine physician care.


 However, the positive evaluations ranged from, Ivan as a capable leader to a leader that solved all the state's problems. Platonov's contemporaries, Pokrovsky S.V. Bakhrushin (1882-1950), I.I. Smirnov (1909-65), and R.YU. Wipper (1859-1954), all idolized Ivan IV.  “Soloviev endorsed despotism of Ivan’s reign, particularly the tsar to strengthen the new middle service class at the expense of the old boyar class.”[14] ( The interpretation is not incorrect, but one feels Hellie’s condemnation in textual analysis to this interpretation, this is what the sources claimed) ( add more positive here)


 Concerned over this trend, Platonov wrote “perhaps the scales have shifted somewhat in the opposite direction; scholars now face the task of striking an exact balance between the extremes of the subjective evaluations portrayed above.”[15] He wanted to bring a balanced characterization of Ivan back into historical literature. What concerns us is Hellie’s attempt to ignore this claim. Hellie’s general interpretation of the methodology of Platonov was  an author espousing a continual “rational causality” toward some of Ivan’s actions. It appears Hellie ignored this passage on purpose, because Platonov placed a negative (irrational in Hellie’s use of comparative terminology) view of the tsar back into Ivan historiography. Again, Stalin’s scholastic review board would not have approved on some of the condescending tonality by some of Platonov’s selection to the sources. [ note, not at Platonov’s view, but his source selection] Some of these views, such as one of his themes on Ivan’s cowardness, strike parallels to Stalin’s inadequacy in social justice and the negative extreme seen in the first period of Ivan historiography.


Two schools of thought expressed Platonov’s period of Russian historiography and educational background, according to Hellie.  His use of the scientific method would stress reconstructing the facts and attributing considerable significance to these acts of individuals.  Platonov followed in the footsteps of  mentor K.N. Bestuzhev-Riumin and others at The St. Petersburg school of Russian historiography. This school, with Platonov's initiative, slowly developed along the lines of scientific investigation.  In respect, the shining achievement had drawn to a close with " decisive victories of the scientific method " Platonov claimed. He looked at the main historical sources of his period-- collection of chronicles, cadastres and official material that had survived fires and other catastrophes.6 This process of looking at all the sources gave a new impression of sixteenth century. First, instead of focusing on Ivan as the lone agent, that is looking at his actions and his character as the lone historical agent in the creation of Muscovy, these sources revealed social, political and economic information. Second, friends and critics, in which he had many, agreed he was an influential Russian linguist. Not only did he have a deep mastery of many Russian historical dialects, but he had an appreciation for discernment and a wherewithal for skepticism. Hellie claimed Platonov’s “lexicon was far richer, more varied and more specific than that of any Soviet historian of whom I am aware.”[16] Platonov grasped the language of the sources. He could understand the complexities of the reforms, the land and people surveys,  and therefore conduct a clearer picture of the period—then his predecessors. This can explain Hellie’s admiration to the scholar and this work, even when he interjects some the scholar’s interpretive problems.


Following the notion that Platonov did not stick to one school of thought, Hellie tells us Platonov acknowledged early influences of Kliuchevsky who followed S. M. Solov'ev (1820-1879), both part of the Moscow ‘juridical’ and 'statist school.'  This school developed along the lines of a broad understanding of the nature of historical processes. [17] Platonov tell us Solov'ev’s ideas fostered a positive figure out of Ivan Vasilievich who became a bearer of the state ' principle.'[18]  Hellie’s terminology does not address Platonov’s terminology. Furthermore, Hellie interjects a misused Classic Greek term “ rationality” into Platonov’s Russian historiography.  It is this term which causes confusion, and is explained in this paper. Consequently, Kliuchevskii understood that Ivan was pitting the Oprichinki against his enemies, not only the traditional rulers and the princely class. He, according to Hellie, claimed the Oprichnina was politically pointless. Ivan has focused his suppression against individuals, not systems. However, since I have not read a translation of his work, I can only guess there was more to this observation by Kliuchevskii then offered by Hellie. If Ivan was suppressing “individuals” then there was a purpose to creating a personal army for Ivan. It would have been more difficult to command the general army, supposedly under the auspices of the Boyar Duma, ( or the traditional rulers in the case of Hellie’s understanding of rule in Muscovy, he belived the boyar Duma a long purported myth) and to enact personal decision making toward anyone individual. Furthermore, Muscovite record keeping remains suspect to true accountability. In the mid-sixteenth century, Historians claim the government controlled the sources, beginning roughly during Ivan’s reign. One needs to understand Ivan is not depicted well in the official sources. If Ivan had any control of the official sources, then why paint him in a very bad light in the sources? Why not propose his cause and justify his actions? It appears Platonov’s statements of Ivan’s of redaction and addition, allegedly, to the official chronicles possibly meant he did not have total control of record keeping. He possibly made an attempt at some time to correct passages, but failed to complete the process. (this will be covered later on).


In Hellie’s interpretation of Soloviev, he stated,   “Soloviev endorsed despotism of Ivan’s reign, particularly the tsar to strengthen the new middle service class at the expense of the old boyar class.”[19] The interpretation by Soloviev does not contradict the sources, but Hellie’s condemnation of the author’s interpretation and in lieu the flawed sources reflect the Chicago’s professor’s preference to interpret Ivan’s character as “totally insane.” In the sources, there are no contradictory claims to Platonov’s or Soloviev’s observation.  Ivan solved problems of the state. The Rus’ and Muscovite tradition of co-rulership with the boyar Duma placed in these two author’s minds a second in importance in lieu of international implications cited in this paper during the Oprichnina.


Platonov suggested a reconstruction on the reign of Ivan after witnessing Soloviev’s over positive assessment on Ivan’s actions.  The evidence of negative quotes against Ivan in the Kurbskii correspondence and History, and the demonstration of Ivan’s actions toward the editing of the official chronicles,  indicates Hellie’s thesis suggested Platonov continued a positive view of Ivan’s actions. This may have been due in part  to one condition overlooked or ignored by Hellie.  Platonov remained cautious of his treatment. He wrote, "The present study will not presume to play the role of umpire between the various opinions of Ivan the Terrible" 10 In addition, and cumbersome not only to Hellie but to many post-Soviet scholars, Platonov stated he formed only an "image" of Ivan. An image is not a view nor did Platonov elucidate his claim. Platonov like the first histories on Ivan, placed two “images” on the tsar into the story.   

Hellie appears to have concentrated on Platonov’s Ivan Historiography in chapter one, but refused to acknowledge a key statement by Platonov in regards to any given point of view. Platonov stated, “[I]t is clearly impossible to compose a serious and factually complete biography of Ivan the Terrible.”[20]  In Planotov’s assessment on Ivan, as well as his in-depth Russian historiography on Ivan Vasilievich in this book, the contradictions surrounding the sixteenth-century leader began as early as the first writers on the topic of Muscovy in the sixteenth century. These contradictions in the prime sources led to a split in the Ivan historiography and formed two views on Ivan – often both views overlap each other and historians contradict themselves – in a hopeless search to reveal the past. Hellie believed, and stated in his introduction, there were enough facts in the official sources to imply a logical assessment.


Statements: Post-Soviet Russian historians apologize for socialist/communist Soviet Russia by placing blame of Stalin’s unproductive measures upon a sixteenth century Muscovite leader, Ivan Vasilievich. Post-Soviet historians rectify their socialist tendencies to offset blame of the actions of Joseph Stalin and onto the actions of Ivan Vasilievich in order to justify their support of the Soviet Socialism (under the term Communism). They contend Soviet socialism could have worked if Stalin did not idolize Ivan’s actions – in which the Soviet leader was influenced by pre-Soviet and early Soviet historians. They showed Ivan to have taken the matters of government into his own hands and to have formed a private army in order to weaken the boyars and princes who were traditional rulers of Muscovy. Subsequently, Stalin had to form a personal army that suppressed those who stood in his way to dictatorship and a program to industrialize Russia. In the sixteenth-century comparisons, these traditional leaders and upper-class of Muscovy were shown to be corrupted and outdated—they opposed Ivan and his reforms. A rare period in Rus’ history had shown in the sources clan instability. During Ivan’s minority, the co-ruling clans, tightly intermarried and politically associated, these clans began murdering, exhaling and imprisoning each other. Popular historians for this period describe a petite révolution, and the sources reveal Ivan had taken autocratic control at the age of thirteen. Comparably, the result of the Bolshevik Revolution was associated with a rise in autocracy in Soviet Russia. Since these two periods are considered rare, in regards to the ruling instability of the government, and the rise in autocracy, they were associated in Soviet and post-Soviet Russian historiography.


{{ Yet, there were other post-Soviet views that described Muscovite oligarchies and laid the foundation for communal or collegial forms that the Soviets could aspire too. This is linked to Keenan’s comparisons. The oligarchy controlled the weak masses who lived by a understanding of compliance. The masses were too weak and hopeless as individuals so they needed a strong central oligarchic government to give them a little push in the “correct direction,” thus communalism (socialism) was linked as a reality and not an ideology to Muscovy – in which the Soviet socialists could draw comparisons upon and direct the future. Under such understandings of Muscovy’s past, the oligarchs of the early Soviet period broke down to an autocracy of the later Soviet period. }}


 Ivan was shown to be a progressive leader, of the likes Stalin could emulate by some early Soviet historians. Ivan was shown as a reformer and modernizer of the emerging state of Muscovy. Stalin was concerned with moving a previously primitive Imperialist Russian state and shaping it into something more modern. This modernization was termed under industrial modernization, but was controlled by force and propagated as Socialism, under the rhetoric of Marxist Communism. In order to do this, Stalin had to take control of the Soviet state. The comparables to Ivan’s reforms and the Oprichnina caught the attention of post-Soviet historians placing their moralistic judgments into question. Post-Soviet historians assessment believed Stalin ignored the people’s will and left the concepts of collectivism and collaboration of the neo-communists interpretation of government inclusion – to in fact imitate the “great reformer,” Ivan Vasilievich. He made all the decisions, just like Ivan had. Instead of blaming Stalin, some post-Soviet historians blame pre-Soviet and early Soviet historians for allowing too positive a view, and in Hellie’s case, a “rational causality.”  They fashioned Ivan, allegedly, as the first ruler of the modern Russian state to move away from co-rulership and into dictatorship – under the term autocracy. Stalin stood in history at the same turning point in Russian politics. Eventually he got rid of his oligarchy and moved to autocracy.  He could either take control of the government or allow communalism of the process of social inclusion to help steer Russia into modernization.


 Post-Soviet historians took offense of this view of Ivan and Stalin’s agreement with pre- Soviet and early Soviet historians because it contended to erase the accomplishments of a secular god, named Karl Marx who had founded a teleological government model, muddled  in double discourse promoting the  “real(ness)” model to end all other predecessor ideological models. All teleological models are ideological in form – thus the contradiction. The contradiction matched the consensus of Muscovite historians. There seemed no plausible consensus to what actually happened, but only a figurative formulation of a political bias happening in anyone individual historian during their modernity.


 In effect, Muscovy offered its own contractions. In the 1550s, the Muscovite central authority asked itself – should we go east or should we go west? A strain and contention in the sources revealed it was not a unanimous decision but a compromise appeared as a result. Instead of inconclusiveness, two separates states were formed and two directions of imperialism were undertaken: one toward the east and one toward the west. Political chaos resulted as indecisiveness of a Muscovite central authority demonstrated a lack of political unity.  The sixteenth century lacked unity and this lack of unity represents the historiography of this era.  It is under these circumstances blame has been placed on Russian historians focusing on this Muscovite period. It has been adopted many of the Soviet problems have been result of these interpretations.  }}


Stalin looked back to this period and named some of his “suppressor troops” after the title of Ivan’s personal army, Ivan needed to be reinvented by the pro-Socialist historians. More precisely, Ivan was brought back to the historical point of popular histories of the tsar in the early seventeenth century, mainly by the writings of foreign enemies to the state of Muscovy. No longer was the scientific model assessed, it was demolished. These popular histories created an epistemological conquest and created Ivan as a beast or more politically correct an insane person with much bizarre pathology. The methodology constructed offered a solution for the pro-socialist post-Soviet Russian historian.  If Ivan could be excused, then Stalin could be excused, and socialism would continue to triumph. In this manner socialism continues to be the correct form of government preferred over capitalism, as the benevolent government system in modernity. This can be explained by Stalin’s actions were a result of his adoration of the sixteenth century grand prince/tsar. ( if you missed it –that was my thesis of this paper, and so is a repetition in sentence two in the next paragragh)


What is the difference between symbiotic relationships and Monolithic relationships? The idea that Imperial and Soviet Russian Historians needed to look back to the sixteenth century to explain Ivan IV’s autocratic actions contrasted against that of traditional co-ruler ship issues, resulted in post-Soviet historians applying excuses for Stalin’s behavior on these interpretations. If the post-Soviet historian could clarify symbiotic relations between the people and the government they could readily explain Stalin’s actions were a result of failed explanations by these pre- and Soviet Russian historians. These interpretations by these historians contended on redefining classim, nation, agency and religious and astronomical terminology. This could help explain Stalin’s failures in light of failed Russian historiography, they eruditely (re)veiled in their analysis.


Soviet Russia failed to unify under a paradigm of proper communism, as many Soviet and post-Soviet historians witnessed; and a failure of the agency of the masses resulted as an autocratic government headed by Stalin. Soviet Russia under Stalin was in fact better termed as the Cult of Stalin[M3] . The cult of Stalin could be better described as a dictatorship while masking in propagandist rhetoric of a façade of socialism. Many examples repeat themselves, such as Hugo Chavez’ Venezuelan Twenty-First Century Socialism, which is in fact a dictatorship.


Socialist’s promote the government as the destiny (controller and propagator) of human progression. They believe socialist government better servers to handle justice, loosely defined as individual’s inherent right of equality.  When things go wrong in the Soviet society, socialist’s claim the problem is not the model of a socialist government.  It is the leader who may have looked back into history and copied programs of pervious Russian leader who was a sane and intelligent person. This explains why some neo-communists believe “erasing the past” will help solve this dilemma ( cases such as Mao’s China, Lois, Vietnam) .  This “model” socialist leader would model him or herself on these past figures looking for answers for social control. In this way the model of a Russian socialist government is not to blame, but a long dead Russian leader. To admit Russian socialism is fallible is not in the best interest of many modern socialist Russian historians’.


Edward Keenan of Harvard University underlined his themes in Russian history linked to communal determinism and the concept of “risk adverse” of the common villagers, which penetrated the ruling elite, the boyars, and provided an Muscovite ideology of us verses them. Keenan spoke on the individual who in Muscovite society could not survive on their own,  in his discussion on the Muscovite Political Folkways  on page 125 in The Russian Review in 1986 (The Russian Review, vol. 45. 1986, pp. 115-181). Outstandingly, this thought pervaded all levels of society. The docile peasants went along with the small ruling elite as sort of a pessimistic forbearance. Hope was little, life was hard, and survival amounted to conforming to what Sydney Verba called "the subjective orientation to politics."[21] This orientation acts upon the concept of a perpetual constant, denying a discontinuance separating its norms and behaviors. The Keenan concept of concept of “risk adverse” denied Russian’s agency – the individual was already dead before they were born. An epistemological conquest by some post- Soviet historians denied a formulation of culture, a setting aside of dissenters,  and other cultural phenomenon, while focusing on the concept of power alone. This allowed Keenan to promote his main political assessment of the inner workings of Russian politics. This model described a simplified government concept of the oft understood “system of circles.”


These early models of government appeared in early middle age Europe, such as Charlemagne’s political system and can be traced to some systemic government practices in “limited” examples of Islam history. Its basic notion is central autocracy in conjunction with a dominant ruling oligarchy, all disguised as socialism – the process of showing compassion for one’s subjects, a goal of remaining in power, and an attitude of “us” verses “them.” This is not to confuse the post-modern Democratic-Socialism seen in Western Europe in the later decades of the twentieth-century, where elections and revolving (“circular” in conceptual-regard to each group’s representation in appointments) appointments determined safeguards for “potential” undesirable-elected officials – and solved the problem of power sharing. 

The oligarchy “circle system” managed the social controls of the state and acted as a representative for compassion and understanding toward the common people, but never considered itself to be expendable. As an arm of a representative body to the common people, it made the laws and decided what was best for the people. It better represents a small group of decision makers who ruled over decision followers. This to Edward Keenan represented what the Soviet Government appeared to be to its people.  He then concluded that a pattern, in fact for him, “was recognized” and consisted of a continuum since a pre-modern Russia to a modern Russia. In fact, politics had little changed in Russian politics and this represented a stark contrast to the west’s emergence into liberalism. In Keenan’s Muscovite Political Folkways, he illustrates his theories in which he received contention from other Russian historians who although believed he brought a new perspective into the discourse of Russian politics but inadvertently or “purposely” took agency away from the individual.

In 1987, Richard Wortman, summed up Keenan’s pattern and illustrated the link.

Like all important reinterpretations of the past, Edward Keenan's "Muscovite Political Folkways" makes us sit up and take notice. Keenan presents a sweeping overview of the Russian past distinguished by his characteristic rhetorical flair and iconoclastic elan. He links the Soviet Union today with Russia's early history, and connects current political behavior with patterns originating at the beginnings of the Russian state. It is in Muscovy that Keenan discovers the structure of political attitudes and responses that continued through the imperial, or "early modem" period, to the present. Keenan analyzes Russian history within the framework of a model of political culture elaborated by political scientists during the 1950s and 1960s. He strives "to discern the 'deep patterns' of political behavior, and to discover fundamental congruity between the content of a society's processes of socialization (including long-term historical experience) and its 'rules' and institutions" (p. 116).[22]


Keenan’s understanding of power resided in the small oligarchies of Soviet government and in the small oligarchies of Muscovite government. Agency was taken away from the individual (or people) to have a voice of power. Logical assessment makes us understand people inherently want their own power. However, in a socialist view, the people are denied having this human right, and are subject to controlled discourse denying any such behavior. Wortman contends Keenan’s understanding of the Russian political system “ ignores or minimizes the divergence observed by anthropologists between behavior and attitudes, described by Robert Linton as "real" and "ideal cultural patterns."' When ideas or ideologies are discussed they are treated as rationalizations of the system, or subterfuges to conceal its operations, like the myth of the all-powerful tsar in Keenan's construction.”[23]


Keenan expressed Muscovite political silence as it related to the internal power structure of the ruling elite. Politics equaled marriage relationships, or more specifically an ideology of silence of the inner circles of power – boyars as warrior class intent to keep their power by double discourse. To this mode, the tsar realized he was isolated from a real decision-making process. To make the audience of foreigners comfortable, all government written documents were “made-up” to reflect an autocratic leader of the Russian people.  “The Muscovite court provided "ceremonial camouflage," and the office of tsar a convenient instrument for their political game.”[24] By penetrating the middle age structure inherent in many political system, Keenan elaborates on government as a system of circle around a circle and the ruler as a symbolic figurehead – with no real power. This circle system created powerful individuals who intermarried and formed tight-bonds with each other in order to keep control and remain in power. It was not advantageous, so to speak, for these people and their families which made up these systems of circles to allow new families or individuals into them or let them know the game. Furthermore, it was the locus of the symbol of a grand prince/tsar which held the circle in place -- while the center of that circle remained controlled and silenced.  It is out of this understanding that secrecy was the main political goal,  a type of Façade of autocracy, such as Nancy Kollman illustrates in Muscovite culture.

Jack Kollman relates the understanding of this system of circles to that of the American Italian Mafia “family” model. The leader is the godfather who has an inner circle of associates, mainly his own family and relatives. The family, like the mafia has a proceeding network of circles as a chain of command, but the inner circle doesn’t allow members from the outer circles to gain access into the inner circles until approved – usually by forming blood relationships – into marriage contracts. Kollman argues this constituted the Muscovite government from the fifteenth century to the seventeenth century. There appear two deathbed scenes in the fifteenth century in the sources where these grand princes compliment their co-rulerhsip with their boyars.” This appears as textual evidence but undermines Keenan’s thesis the sources are unreliable.

Convincingly,  Hellie argues for a discontinuance of this model. “Keenan ignores the fact that the close-knit natures of Muscovite society apparently broke down around 1500, necessitating and end to dyadic legal relationships.” When addressing Keenan’s “extended family,” Hellie argues prior to the late 1670s “it is doubtful that the family of the grand prince and the members of the princely and "boyar" clans had a different family structure from that of the mass of the population in Muscovy”[25] One of the concepts of the political elite family structure for Keenan was a communal adherence to contain strife – to “avoid political chaos” (Muscovite Political Folkways p. 130). However, this appears to represent an archetypal model for all families on all levels – in all cultures.

This could be explained by Keenan’s argument that no political “ideology of government or theory of government appeared in Muscovy until the late seventeenth century.”[26] The very system of us verses them of the political elite of Muscovy bared fruits of ideologies.  To “avoid political chaos” is an ideology of perpetual power. Double discourse is an ideology of a façade of autocracy. Naturally, the Soviet government is linked by Keenan to the Muscovite government. If the Muscovite government was not based on a theory of government nor on an ideology, then neither was the Soviet Government.  


Keenan wants to take any Marxist explanation of a “superstructure” out of the Russian model, therefore it can be linked as a cause celeb of the Soviet model of baseline “industrialization.” Fortunately the Muscovite era practiced Marxism because it had no superstructure and this continued until the Soviet times, advent a few disruptions along the way. To rectify Marxism there must be class conflicts. Keenan’s concluded agrarianism placated peasants throughout late Muscovy into the imperial period and beyond as a result of harmonious recognition of society by the small leadership elite who ruled the masses (thus giving Soviet ideas?). It is a Marxist notion that the state cannot initiate change and it is subservient to the forces below ( Marx’s power form below) that manipulate it. Wortman disagrees with Keenan that the state was a Marxist substructure representing the masses want of agrarianism.


Serfdom was imposed with the active force of the state, provoking the resentment and hostility of those reduced to bondage. Serfdom fixed authoritarian practices and attitudes in the village, and made conflict and animosity realities of village life. Conflict is another element absent from Keenan's integral and harmonious image of the Russian political system. But one does not need to adopt a class-conflict model to acknowledge the hostility between the peasant and master. The antagonism between the peasantry and the privileged classes is certainly one of the major elements of Russian political culture both before and after emancipation.[27]

Wortman who cites Hellie understands of the progression of attitudes, which ultimately Platonov had recognized its roots developing in late Muscovy, did not take place as a state attitude for  peasant-control until a promulgation of the 1649 Ulozhenie code.  However, still defined as legal subjects, the buying and selling of peasants by landlords “only” slowly developed over a century; then a century after the Ulozhenie code was promulgated did peasants became actual slaves (proper- serfs in the nineteenth century) and which resulted in communes. This did not represent an harmonious ordering of society.

Richard Hellie has pointed out, the peasant practices and attitudes underlying the "Muscovite view of man" were not in evidence during the Muscovite period. In fact, the consolidation of the system of serfdom and the formation of the peasant commune (as we know it from nineteenth-century accounts), were probably developments of the eighteenth century, concomitants of the growth of the absolute state.[28]

During most of the Muscovite period, peasants were mainly free. They had opportunities to change employers, albeit by the 1550s, it was a limited time frame, and restricted during the “forbidden years” out of survival necessities of the state, as Platonov illustrated. Proper serfdom was not the attitude of the Muscovite central authority at any time. Hardly could this have been realized with the mass chaos, the migrations and peasant flight,  Platonov demonstrated by cadastre and survey research. Absent of what we conclude are “complex” institutions, the state played a role in the enserfment and emancipation of the odern Russia, because he then must dRussian peasant. The harmonious ordering of Russian society was not at the peasant ordering.

Hellie appropriates an argument on Keenan terminology for “boyar clans” are by no means the same as “princely clans.” Hellie says, “[T]hen the reader has to contend with “nobility, noble and non-nobility elements as well. This generates much confusion and obfuscation in the essay. Boyars were in Moscow more or less from the beginning, the princes did not join the Moscow court until the second half of the fifteenth century, after the die was cast. Keenan's allegations that the boyars were an autonomous, independent corporation capable of entering into an "alliance" (p.135) with the grand prince are pure fiction. This is evident in the quotation from Margeret, in Muscovy around 1600: "There is in the council no fixed number, for it is up to the emperor to appoint as many as he deems proper" (p.144) Peter’s “Table of Ranks” was not [ Hellie’s italics] a merger of "princely and bureaucratic elites" (p. 160). Certainly many, probably most, of the individuals outside the bureaucratic sphere incorporated into the Table of Ranks were not, never had been, and never would be princes.[29]  Here Hellie may be incorrect. As Hellie admits, princes could be as poor as peasants and live as such as foreigner accounts attested.[30] Princes were identified as possessing a Rurikid decadency.  The opposite is true for the top rank a boyar during Ivan Vasilievich’s period, when they were defined as landowners and were as a result wealthy. Boyars developed in the eleventh century in Kievan Rus’ and wielded considerable power through their military and support of the Kievan princes (although boyars were not endemic to Rus’). They received extensive grants of land by the princes but were not donned with a title as prince. In the sixteenth century they also provided the land management expertise so evident in much of the understanding of the managing the new imperialistic towns and cities in the east, as was part of the Oprichnina scenario and the later sixteenth century Muscovy. Furthermore, the princes were gathered as Hellie understands finally by the second half of the fifteenth century – but cases exist where revolts showed evidence well into the sixteenth century “all” were not unified and revolted against the Muscovite central authority. My understanding of Western European nobility, for one specific example,  derives from some Iberian programs during the reconquista period to grant nobility onto petty knights or local strongmen of no nobility for their service to kings who donned the authority to grant such titles – which proliferated to  many non-blood born princes attending offsping lineages, later recognized as descending from princely heritage. My understanding of Rus’ princely system consisted of direct descendants to original Rurikid princes. As a result of many centuries of offspring, this resulted in many descendants and can explain the “poor” prince in Muscovite society, just as it explained the poor princes of the Spanish Empire. As households are divided, so goeth the wealth.  The boyars were just non-noble strongmen who if they had lived and contributed their clan militaries or personal expertise to the Leonese or Castilian Kings in the same fashion as the “real” El Cids’ in history supported their Iberian leaders,  they would be granted nobility as well. As much as Keenan wants to see classim, Hellie does not want too see it.


{{{{ note strikingly opposite, Hellie doesn’t want to see classes in early-mefend confusing Marxist claims of class struggle. }}}


Problems in Muscovite historiography can be found in the works of prestigious and respected historians in modern academia, today. Most of these problems consist of terminological uses which are poorly supported and undefined. Another problem consists of a lack of understanding and logical assessments by post-Soviet Russian historians when interpreting Pre-Soviet and Soviet Russian historians, referring here to the studies attempted on the Muscovite period. Logical assessment, in my definition for this paper, can be interpreted (paraphrased/associated with) by methodology used by the juridical-statis school of Russian historiography of the late nineteenth century. This school of thought attempted to look beyond a single agent and incorporate the world around them (agency, the ability, or active power, to make your own history; agent applies to a single person as an active power of themselves, to make their own history, i.e. decisions)  to form a wider and more comprehensive interpretation of the historical process as a whole. By not concentrating on a single set of objectives, this school of thought looked toward encompassing all the source material possible to paint a picture of the period in question[M4] .  rather than to define it, and place a causality behind subjective official sources, this school of thought used the “open mind” methodology, and looked to outside factors surrounding the inner factors which made up the official stories of government individuals. This school of though used tax records, cadastres, letters, foreign accounts, and proposed to assess all documentation of a said period.  The analysis of all these records sought to encompass a wider meaning contrasted against the acknowledged fallible official sources. This period can be best described as the second period of Russian historiography in which Platonov claimed he was vital progenitor of this system of thought.  This school of thought did not solve the problem of creating an accurate picture of a lone individual’s past, but it widened the picture to encompass more possibilities of causality of an individual’s actions --  rather than a lone agent who was a madman.  Post-Soviet historians looked to Ivan Vasilievich’s reign and saw the first period of Ivan Vasilievich in historiograghy better described a lone agent rather than the second period. The first and third period became absent of the discipline of logical assessment. Emotionalism, claimed as the backbone of social justice by philosophers[M5]  , protruded the first and third periods of Ivan historiography.

The first and third period in Ivan Vasilievich historiography resulted in two causes of Russian historiography in general. First, it created an exotic explanation of the Russian people in general.  Like Giles Fletcher, in the late sixteenth century, the Russian people were no less then barbarians. As citizens, they could only look to their insane leader as an example of them all. For Fletcher, and the hearsay he believed on Ivan, business could be conducted with England, but under no circumstances were cross-culturalization attempted. In the seventeenth century, the exotic interpretation grew in discourse by way of the western Protestant and Catholic countries in tales, songs and popular culture. Second, Post-Soviet historians could now blame Ivan’s actions of a myriad of physical and mental abnormalities, so therefore socialism could triumph in lieu of the comparable exotic explanations. The first and third period historiographies’ here paint a rather grim picture of the Russian people in general. Both proclaimed Muscovy and its people were madmen.

Two explanations remain implicit with non-agency. First, these explanations implied the traditional co-rulers had no power. The boyars and princes could not overthrow Ivan, they were pictured as powerless against his Oprichniki and his authority – in light of their said co-rulership, control of an army, and they chose be cowards who could not stand up to a madman who were killing their own people. Second, if Post-Soviet Ivan historiography could not explain this absence of traditional boyar and princely agency, it was the interest of these historians to figure out complex terminology to deflect attention away from this pressing issue.

 In post-Russian historiography on the period of the Oprichnina, Ivan is the lone agent and all things revolve around him. Ivan created this separation of Muscovy out of selfish reasons, the tsar was insane, the tsar was a madman, and subsequently the period can be defined as an irrational act by the tsar. Some prominent post Soviet historians claim evidence today shows Ivan was in pain, deformed, traumatized, illiterate, confused, sexually frustrated, and all-together an irrational leader.

Platonov, K.N. Bestushev-Riumin (1829-’97), S.M. Soloviev (1820-1879), V.O. Kliuchevskii, would ask, “if Ivan was all of these things, then how did Muscovy under Ivan become an unofficial empire?” Who then were the agents or who was the agent? An irrational, madman, and insanoid cannot be an agent and at the same time Muscovy would accomplish and attempt as much as alleged in the sources.

Problems exist in Muscovite historiograghy when it comes to Ivan Vasilievich, a.k.a., Ivan the Terrible, and post-Soviet historians look to blame someone – and their prime targets are the Pre Soviet and Soviet historians. There is one fact that will remain the same – we will never know the whole story ( yes, there are entire books addressing why Ivan Vasilievich stirs up so much emotion).

Previous historians of the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth century only focused on Ivan, a lone agent of Muscovy’s government and director of its aim. More importantly they focused mainly on his character without looking at things going on around him. What people mainly focused on was the role of the Oprichniki. To understand this group was to understand the strange actions of a single lone agent.

“The attempts by the Slavophile school to develop Karamzin’s view and to give it greater integrity marked the beginning of a long line of artistic reproductions of Ivan’s character,”[31] Platonov wrote. “A conclusion of this sort is the natural conclusion of the scientific-literary school which, in studying Ivan’s era, restricts its concern to the central figure of that period and seeks in the character of its central figure the key to understanding that historical moment in all its complexity.”[32] In Hellie’s encyclopedic entries in the  biography section to  Platonov’s memoirs, he noted in Platonov’s wrote of an early decision not to follow in the line of literature and chose a path toward legal studies. The scientific-literary school differed from the scientific-method Platonov claimed as revolutionary. It should be noted the word “scientific” in this Russian sense only refers to prime sources, and not to the western inductive methodology later attributed to the scientific revolution in western civilization – in victory over the deductive methodology used primarily in the middle ages. However, parallels can be drawn using Platonov’s explanation of the Slavophile era during Shcherbatov’s and Karamzin’s research and focusing on the Moscow Slavophiles of Konstantin Aksakov and Yury Samarin.

“In his work on Stefan Yavorsky and Feofan Prokopovich, Samarin summarized it in a few words: Ivan’s “mystery lies within his soul, which marvelously mixed vital consciousness of all the shortcomings, evils and vices of that century with impotence and inconstancy of will.” Ivan’s “terrible contradiction” between his superior intellect and his weak will is the basic characteristic that explains his entire nature.”[33]

The deductive model of the Slavophiles of Moscow turned toward first assessing a lone variable, in this case, Ivan’s character, then forming an opinion revolving around a lone agent. This explains Platonov inclusion to this historiography on Ivan,  because according to the scientific-method the set of objectives, this school  of thought looked toward the inductive method by considering many variables’ –  that of many agents – not just Ivan alone. Furthermore, this new method Platonov was a part of at St. Petersburg University illustrates the discontinuance of historical approaches and determined the first and second periods of Ivan historiography, in which Platonov was a part of the new scientific process. Finally, the term Platonov used was scientific-literary method – because the understanding of deductive and inductive terminology was not a part of general Russian historic lexicography[M6] .

Platonov had categorized Karamzin, part of the early historians writing on Ivan, as using the scientific- literary method. Karamzin wrote in his History, “the character of Ivan, who was a model of virtue in his youth and a vicious blood-sucker during the years of his manhood and old age, is a riddle to the mind.”[34] In a statement, Platonov justifies his reason from abstaining form the literary methodology not found in Ivan the Terrible. “Although physicians have regarded Ivan a mad degenerate, Ivan’s fellow Russians considered him a great political force, even during the last years of his life. A sensible historical method patiently seeks clues to the incomprehensible and explanations of that which is strange; without forming hasty and irrevocable conclusions, it searches for new ways to interpret phenomena that do not yield readily to research.”[35] Most of these strange occurrences’ relied on literary sources, such as the debated Kurbskii sources. Although Platonov used these sources as part of him “image” of Ivan he also heavily relied on the scientific method. The literary school relied heavily on the correspondence and letters. Where as Platonov looked to additional sources such as legal documents, surveys, cadastres and all other sources to paint pictures.

In his historiography, Platonov continues to illustrate the problems of only following the scientific-literary model:

Karamzin attempted to solve this riddle by relying upon Kurbsky’s interpretation that Ivan always lacked intellectual independence and surrendered to the influence of those around him. He was virtuous when “he was guided by his pair of chosen favorites—-Silvester and Adashev,” but declined morally when he drew closer to depraved favorites. He appears to have been “a mixture of good and evil” and combined seemingly incompatible qualities: “a first-rate intellect” and a “rare memory” with the savageness “of a tiger” and “shameless slavishness toward the most vile lusts.” Although Karamzin constantly lashes out at the contradictions in Ivan’s nature, he nevertheless fails to supply the key to explaining these contradictions and leaves the riddle unsolved in his own mind. His portrayal of a subservient sovereign who was susceptible to outside influences would have been complete, had Karamzin admitted in his work that Ivan had been an intellectual non-entity. But this he could not do, for Ivan always impressed him as “the phantom of a great monarch” who was “energetic,” “untiring” and “often shrewd.”[36]

Platonov referring to Moscow Slavophile,  Aksakov,  summed up the first period of Ivan historiography.

Aksakov made a more complete evaluation of Ivan, although he began from the same viewpoint as had Samarin. “Lack of will and an unbridled will are one and the same,” he said of Ivan and pointed out that “Ivan’s ruin” and moral downfall occurred when he “cast off from himself the moral bridle of shame” and became addicted to capriciousness, thereby exposing himself to evil influences. Weakness of will, coupled with the strength of a sharp intellect, was one of Ivan’s basic features. But another trait was just as fundamental to him. “Ivan IV was the very nature of art, come to life,” Aksakov said. Ivan’s soul was dominated by images and conceptions that attracted him by their beauty and compelled him to love them and to translate them into reality in his own life. Not cold, sober thought but the quest for beauty and  lofty artistic meaning dominated Ivan and drove him to commit the most savage and meanest of his deeds. Therefore we find in Ivan that “there were many motivations in his soul,” and these complicated his spiritual nature.[37]

In the deductive method of the scientific-literary method, we do not see other variables which interact with the lone agent. The “strange,” the word Platonov used to describe the fascination of Ivan’s contradicting character in the literary sources, described the first period’s approach at analyzing Muscovite history.  The first period on Ivan Vasilievich historiography can be described as the popular period – along with its connotative reference to the third period. Platonov explains his aversion to focusing intently on Ivan as a lone agent and the Slavophiles intent on trying to understand the “lone agent” and make him more assessable to populism .

Then came Count Aleksei Tolstoi, with his The Silver Prince and The Death of Ivan the Terrible. The impressions they created became popular. And when Antokoisky, Repin and Vasnetsov embodied this view in precise portraits, everyone began to feel that Ivan had be come understandable and obvious, that everything about him could be understood through psychology and pathology Ivan’s extraordinary refinement of cruelty, the fickleness of his moods, his wedding of a sharp intellect to an obviously weak will and his inclination to succumb to outside influences—all these traits attracted pathologists to Ivan. As a result, a sizable medical literature dealing with Ivan was gradually created. N.P. Likhachev has attentively studied and interpreted this literature. To the historian using the scientific critical method all of this literature seems unscientific, its diagnoses capricious and based on facile and completely groundless conjecture. There is no reason to believe these doctors who, three hundred years after the death of their patient and on the basis of unverified hearsay and opinions, diagnose him as “paranoid,” “a degenerative psychopath” possessed of “violent mental derangement” (mania furibunda) and “delirious notions” and who generally lead us to pronounce Ivan a sick and completely irresponsible individual.[38]

When Hellie claims Platonov paid little attention to international relations, this remains suspect and contradictory to Platonov’s text. Hellie became part of the deductive model, but in a new generation of post-Soviet historians. Yet, they are a continuum of the first period of deductors. Hellie wanted to see what he wanted to see in the sources – Ivan’s character.

 The inductive method of the scientific-method that Platonov helped pioneer, appeared in the text -- the forces acting upon Ivan in regards to international and traditional internal forces -- and shaped the tsar’s actions. Not concentrating on Ivan’s character was the accomplishment of the scientific-method of the second period of Ivan historiography. This paper will help show a shift in Ivan historiography, and how it moved away from the second period of the “inductive” scientific model and back to the first period of “literary” deductive model, while explaining the reason why.

Note this is a continuing intro to Nation, so a statement is still going onward. Here!To


The period of the Oprichinia in general Russian history (implying only the Muscovite period here) is among the most bizarre periods recorded. Platonov explained why there was such a fascination. People congregate (prefer to experience) their emotions toward the strange and curious, he implied. Apparently the mundane actions of Ivan’s father do not garner the attention that his son has received in Russian historiography. However, Platonov explained that the “strange” was in fact a skewed historiograghy on Ivan. “Men are generally inclined to declare meaningless that which they cannot understand and to consider abnormal whatever strikes them as strange.”[39]

The persuasion of the looking at the strange came form the description of the Oprichnina. During the Oprichinina there were a group of servitors directly under Ivan’s control who wore back-monk gowns, with dog-symbols, and comprised of the personal military forces of Ivan to do his bidding. The Oprichniki have been blamed for human atrocities in many documented or guesswork accounts and from different sources of compiling list’s accredited to this period, and of all to the liberal amount of 60,000 deaths compared to the conservative amounts of approximately 3,000 deaths of humans in an around the Muscovite region.   Currently the Synod of Ivan IV at approximately 3,000 human casualties has been accepted by most historians (although no records of non-Christian names exist, according to rules of compilation -- this implies this list is fallible numerically and under reported for all quantitative casualties.). And the former number may consist of military battlefield casualties in the Livonian wars as the Oprichniki also functioned as arm of the Muscovite army, during the  seven year-period of the Oprichnina. 

More remarkably is the report in the years between 1570 and 1572 of Tatar devastation on Muscovy which led in part to the disablement of the Oprichniki, the Oprichnina proper period ( a second phase exists and is explained later in this paper).  Prior decades were extraordinary times in Muscovy, as the upstart Muscovites who begun a series of events to unofficially mark the beginning of an emerging Muscovite empire. They conquered two major historical cities in the east which were never a part of their traditional territory, but played significantly in their recent history in regional political, social and economic relations. Also, they began to expand further into Siberia forcing natives and tribes to pay tribute. The conquests of Kazan and Astrakhan brought recriminations from Islamic forces who garnered sympathy from Crimea, Ottomans and emerging group called the Cossacks (Some include the emerging Iranians, who Muscovy traded with throughout this period).  They backed a plan to retake or punish Muscovy with military reprisals supported by Crimea and blessed by the Ottomans. There appear no sources that say they wanted to conquer Moscow, the city itself. They only wanted to punish the Muscovites.  The Khan who led these assembled forces took notice of the time to strike, in the early 1570s as Muscovy lay divided territorial and militarily and embroiled in the Livonian war, according to legend – from of course the fallible sources. The first attempt was quelled by Muscovite forces, but the second major attempt succeeded beyond expectations.

According to legend, a Muscovite traitor gave directions of a secret rout to Moscow and the Crimean Tatar coalition nearly destroyed the Kremlin except for a limited number of patriots ( in this case they can be called such) who defended the Cathedrals and fortresses from being burnt down, in 1572. On the way to and from the Moscow devastation, the entire region around Moscow lay in shambles, destroyed and no longer livable, the Tatar forces are said to have gone town-to-town and gathered up over 100,000 Muscovite citizens and non-citizens and taken them away as slaves. This astounding number is astronomical. When considering the conservative number of human casualties of the Synod, this event in Muscovite history pales in comparison to the lives ruined during the alleged Oprichniki suppression. 100,000 lives destroyed remains a historic event in Russian history. This interpretation is regarded as schematic and dogmatic and today remains of little concern to post-Soviet historians.

Platonov goes into considerable detail of the Muscovite government’s salvaging attempts at re-organizing, rebuilding and reestablishing Muscovite life after this event. However, this remains a stringent contention to the admittance by him that the chronicles and other sources remain unreliable.

I have found post - Soviet Russian historians gloss over this ‘historical process,’ of a group of citizens attempting to dig themselves out of a deep international relation’s hole. To contrast the person peccadilloes of a leader and the over all historical process, this dogmatic view does not illustrate the “strange” and “fascinating” complex character of a seriosexual maniac at the center of Muscovite politics in the sixteenth century. Conquering Kazan and Astrakhan had major ramifications for the Muscovite people, and subsequently paid a heavy price to human existence, dearly for the efforts at imperialism. At what point to we question the international pressures of imperialism on a primitive state seeking to exert it political and military might on an inhospitable world and contend it affects were caused by a irrationality of one man?

 To blame these circumstances of a Tatar reprisal solely the Oprichnina would be to ignore the historical processes of a framework of a developing state. The Moscow school of thought reverberates throughout Platonov’s text. Hellie appeared to give no recognition to Platonov in covering of international issues and this pressure of imperial ramification. How would a “totally insane” or unstable and illiterate ruler with a small few co-rulers deal with pressures of established states looking for revenge? Platonov’s focus on the Livonian and Crimean issues in Muscovite government was deemed a large part of the reason the Oprichnina was created by Ivan. This interpretation lays at a stark contrast to post-Soviet historians, including Hellie, who claim Platonov’s work on Ivan implied the reason for the Oprichnina was to “weaken the aristocracy,” as the main purpose. ( Make QUOTE HERE IMPORTANT)

In my attempt to strip Platonov’s narrative to illustrate vital Platonov points of discussion on international relations in this paper, I will show where Platonov made this interpretation, gave it weight, considered it important, and deemed it the breaking point of Ivan Vasilievich’s resolve – to solve a dispute over the direction of Muscovy’s imperialism and the pressures inherent in this historical process of a burgeoning state. As far as I have investigated sixteenth century Muscovy, Platonov has offered an unique set of sources which have described more than one explanation for the movement of princes, boyars and servicemen from their homes and the fights that took place to decide the direction of the military and land management – which made the later half of the sixteenth century such a crucial period in the rise of the Russian people to regional and political legitimacy. Apart from some current scholarly research with attempts to show Ivan’s actions as irrational, pre-Soviet, Soviet and some post-Soviet research stress a continuing evaluation of a state troubled by its new and unofficial imperialistic ways.

 Ethical issues were not a factor to the Muscovite state that realized it was targeted for reprisal. Pressures of chaos, also seen today with modern war issues, could be no different then as they are today. Muscovy was under a constant threat for its program of gathering lands, begun by Ivan’s grandfather. However, the larger threats were a turning point in Muscovy from a decision to take land which was never traditionally of the Rus’ people. Ivan’s or the Muscovite central authority explained as irrational diametrically opposes the chaos of this new Muscovite imperialism, and the problems it created.

How does a very small group of individuals, with no institutions, no complex legal system, no defined regional authority, and no complete rules of government hierarchy suddenly expand their land area multiple times and seek to manage it. At the same time, these very small groups of individuals are murdering each other, living in total chaos and supposedly making all the government decisions to rule the masses. Their leader is supposedly “totally insane, never makes move to become autocratic and is considered “irrational”? Some prominent post-Soviet historians do not take into account actions outside of the inner circle of families, traditionally and supposedly ruling Muscovy. What were the ramifications of this new Muscovite imperialism? In fact, there were many.

Iran does not detest the United States of America because they eminently dislike our hip-hop music, but because the U.S. CIA under secret government missions meddled in their politics displacing their own will to direct their own future. They have never forgiving the United States of America for this breach of unwritten international trust, and it is possible a reprisal by Iran in the future is effortless to with stall from happening. The question of Muscovite imperialism has taken a rather silent position in post-Soviet historiograghy. Nor, can we ignore the more modern evidence of Ivan’s health, his unfortunate family conditions and the overall history of the alleged personal problems which may have effected his emotional stability. We will take a look here as well, as Platonov did was well.

Platonov came form the school of St. Petersburg of Russian historiography, but he wrote as if he was schooled in the methods of the Moscow school of thought. Imperialism brought a set of issues unknown to Muscovy. These were new issues of national importance, national direction, national economic decisions and finally national implications. In this paper I will define nationalism, and it most likely will not be a term you are acquainted with due to poor U.S. and world academic discipline. This will be another part of the paper that looks at the other problem of terminology in Russian and general historiography.

PART VII  AGENCY in Russian historiography.

Dismissing claims of dogmatic interpretation explain why most Post-Soviet historians see the Oprichnina today as an irrational act by Ivan. Why not refute a claim when one can more easily dismiss it with a catch-all-negative word, such as dogmatic. And at the same time playing down the fact that autocracy did not apply to Muscovy  -- all at the same time claiming, Ivan took matters into his own hands in the beginning of 1565! If we look at agency, the literal term here, we come to a juxtaposing claim (?). If Ivan made the decision to create the Oprichnina, then who did not run the government – in other words – post-Soviet historians claim Ivan was only a co-ruler as tradition dictated. This means there were agents and not a lone agent. However, post-Soviet historians want to see the Oprichnina period and the Muscovite central authority during this same time in two opposing and distinct ways. This appears to be many post-Soviet historian’s undogmatic expertise. Therefore, an undogmatic explanation surmises, Ivan was the lone agent in this sub-period of his reign, but then he was not at the same time. In sophisticated explanation, Ivan was and was not at the same time.  This way, they can easily box the agent(s), deflect the issue, and categorically deny the pre –Soviet and Soviet Russian historians’ who saw a broader context in the Oprichnina period, then a single crazed leader.

Soviet historians tried to place Ivan as a figure who took part in a modernization effort for Muscovy. What in fact show in the prime sources is a primitive government system applying their will onto the world and achieving imperialism. Without caring if someone cites me as agreeing with a dogmatic explanation and pre- and Soviet historians, Imperialism was a vital part of modernization process in the historical processes of states. To bring in the very term dogmatic into an interpretation like Hellie accused Platonov of, and other Soviet historians, is to issue a Catholic pejorative to indicate a measure of morality. Imperialism when taken to functionality, as the Muscovites’ took it, fails to determine a moral code of ethics. These Hegelian set of historical examples were not fancies made up by pre- and Soviet historians, but revealed themselves in the sources. Hellie determined this school of thought originated at Moscow’s higher learning centers.

To Muscovy, morals were not at issue for conquering Kazan, Astrakhan and beginning the subjugation of the Khanate of Siberia.  It was an economic opportunity at the expense of people one sees as expendable. The Volga river region was as vital a trade thoroughfare as when the Mongol-Tatars settled in its lower regions in the thirteenth century.  Hellie miss- applies a moral terminology in his interpretation with a real intended purpose of the Muscovite central authority. Imperialism was a new historical process for Muscovy. Is imperialism an irrational causality?


Terminology can best be described as tackling the intangible. Terms in history have been defined, redefined and re-re-defined. However, the best solution to understanding the root of any term is to attempt to see it in historical circumstance and define it with simplicity—leaving later historians, philosophers and intellects to add-on their meanings to prescribe the historical setting they attempt to use it. For Muscovy, the term nation did not exist. However, universally and retroactively the term fits into all states in history. Muscovy was a state, albeit primitive, during the sixteenth century.

Nations have existed since history began ( def. written history, Sumerian cylinder seals[M7]  cont.). Many prestigious historians of the period of Keiven Rus’ and Muscovy claim during these periods that there was no such identification or consensus of people that described [prescribed]  them as a nation. I have seen some historians clarify the term, in the modern sense. However, I have not read a clarification in text of a full defining and logical assessment on what is considered a nation, in the limited and English versions of Russian historical texts I have examined. The French word did not exist during these periods in question. Many historians will claim “nationalism,” the concept and word, was formed during and after the French Revolution. However, the French developed the word to more specifically describe events of groups in history – not just as a result of the French Revolution.

The bereft definition of a nation determines ‘a group of people coming together under a common purpose.’ A nation never has to have a defined territorial boundary or a military, of any kind. The term takes the form of plurality and implies a group consists of more than a single family unit. For example, a group of clans coming together under a common purpose can be a correct definition of a nation. These clans do not have to define a set territorial boundary or operate a military per se. A nation can consist of any form of ides. Also, a nation can be created by two families, clans, or groups forming an alliance under agreement of a set of common ideas. The French did not concern themselves this terminology only applied to them. Only later historians placed this invention into texts to show importance of the French people’s contribute to the historical process. It would be similar to a historical invention that Europeans created capitalism, a theory developed under a western vision, when we know that capitalism existed throughout history without the help of western influence in the eastern hemisphere. An example shown by a University of California professor,  the Tokagawa period which saw capitalism develop later in its period in the countryside, and without the presence of westerners or their influence of a free-market system ( see my history pages on Tokugawa and the expert and revered U.C. Berkeley professor who discovered this natural process of free-market theory by spending a great deal of time in Japanese town-archives) exemplified a Japanese economic agency.

 A proper term for a nation that defines boundaries and establishes a military is called a state. Under the correct definition of nation, Kievan Rus’, Muscovy, and Russia are legitimate nations. A modern logical assessment should clear up for any historian in that not all people living within the sphere of any such group in a historical period support an  “idea” of a common purpose. This does not take away from the definition if a source reveals more than two families, units of groups, or clans make a pact or an agreement. In fact, this is exactly how the boyars and the princes formed alliances in the eleventh century Rus’ period. For example, some Russian historians believe Russian history- proper began during this time.  A common purpose can take many forms, including but not limited too common survival, regional and political legitimacy or religious purposes.   It is a myth today that everyone who lives in the United States of America supports its nationality, it nationhood, or the nation. The same can be said of Muscovy.

Baron Bodissey explained the terminology of the word “nation” had changed during the late part of the twentieth-century. In order to demonstrate the French word’s alteration, he first illustrates the common base form of the Greek word “demos”,  a recognized western term for populous.

By definition, a democracy can only function if its basis is a demos (δμος ), a group of ordinary people who share the same language and general values. There is no modern English word or phrase that describes exactly the same thing.

The closest approximation is probably “ethnic group”, but even that does not quite catch it, since the word “ethnic” derives from another Greek word, ethnos (έθνος), which means, “people of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture.” [A] Demos, in contrast, means “the common people;[,] the populace.” In an ancient Greek context it could be used pejoratively, to depict the populace as base, as a rabble. This sense is still preserved in the word “demotic”.

Up until the early 20th century, the word “nation” was a good approximation for “demos”. In the Bible, a nation was a collection of tribes that shared a common culture. In the 18th and 19th centuries, during the rise of nationalism, in Europe, the word meant the same thing.

But not any longer. Nowadays the concept of a nation is in disrepute, and the preferred political form which has replaced it is despotic rather than democratic [actually demotic would be the correct word here!]: people are to be bound together by allegiance to a common ruler or oligarchy, whose rule they are not permitted[M8]  to dispute.[40]

Under the many post-Soviet historians points’ of view pre-Soviet and early Soviet historians misused the term nation. Platonov used nation many time in his text. However, he did nothing of the sort to imply that all of the figures in Eurasia were unified. To Platonov, Rus’ was not unified, but they were a nation.  The people of Rus’ shared a common language and a common religious belief. This is all that mattered for a definition of nationalism.

To claim  that Kieven Rus’ or Muscovy were not nations, some historians refuse to understand the term nation itself. One will find problems of such definitions in many academic circles where a point is made either during instruction or in textual material – where the problem will exist. Nation as a term and a word is poorly defined and understood in Russian historiography in general. Furthermore, the term nation is also miss-applied in most instances in modern world subject matter.

A fact remains that some Russian historians have confused the term nation with that of civilization. Civilizations are combinations of institutions and ideas by which a large number of people conduct their complex-collective way of life over an extended period of time. This has been confused with the period of the French Revolution where institutions’ began under the auspices of progressive thinkers promoting public archives and laws, of which later historians reinventing the word civilization incorrectly claimed this was a definition for a nation. A nation does not have to have an institution. I and many Russian historians agree that Muscovy in the sixteenth century did not have institutions. One earmark of an institution is an archival retrieval and dissemination of those archives to the people. Illiteracy in Muscovy was rampant, and we should not concern ourselves with literacy being a factor in determining a definition for “nation” when a nation can communicate spoken ideas and agree upon them – as was done throughout history all around the world.



Using consistent terminology with a consistent claim and calling for procedures of historians to use proper terminology remains a vital necessity in clarification and application in writing. In Richard Hellie’s award winning introduction in Platonov’s 1974 translated version of Ivan  the Terrible, the liberal use of western terminology  inaccurately explains the forms of class distinction. Consequently, his claim remains’ inconsistent and under his attempted clarification.

Hellie claimed there were no class distinctions in Muscovy. “Early Russia [ Muscovy] did not develop notions of an autonomous class society of the class consciousness characteristic of Western Europe”[41]  Estates of Nobles, Peasants and Church were the traditional three tired class societies in the middle ages, in Western Europe. However, later and over time, a middle class developed to classify the Estates as quadruple tired class, resulted. During the middle ages, serf’s understood they had no comparable privileges’ under the aristocracy’s rulership, and same can be said of a distinction between the boyar elite and the common peasant in Muscovy.

However, Hellie’s liberal use of western European terminology to explain Muscovite classes confuses the reader in his introduction.  “The Nobility was incapable of uniting to resist the undertaking of the ruler [Ivan Vasilievich].”[42] In another passage describing the period during the Oprichnina, he says, “Moreover, many of the middle service class were physically exterminated [ during the Oprichnina]. As for the Church, data now available show that Church landholding increased in the years 1565-72.” [43] In the above quotes, the liberal use of western class terminology is used by Hellie.

 If there was no demarcation of class consciousness, why would the western term Nobel and the reference to Church   (a possible indication of the estate of the Church when used so closely with other western class terminology, page xxii) and determiner  a “middle” be used? What constituted an “upper’ classmen to contrast to that of a “middle’ classmen, which would also contrast a demarcated term for a “lower,” in Muscovy? “It should be remembered,” Hellie points out, “also there was [sic] no gentry which could coalesce against autocratic caprice” [44] Why did he say this? Because they were militia from various backgrounds [ whatever that means] and they formed at the end of the  fifteenth century [ I guess one needs to define over a 100 years before a gentry can be classified?] , but more importantly they were given a façade of autonomy in the local administrations – in reality they were tied further to the tsar’s clutches, as prime sources indicated.[45] Hellie here is agreeing with Platonov’s explanation of a primitive form of autocracy forming in Muscovy during Ivan’s reign. Hellie points out there were Muscovite nobility, and at the same time there wasn’t[M9] .

 One of Hellie’s supporting cases for the lack of estate or classlessness of the Church was it had no power “for most of its time since its introduction in 988, the date of the conversion of Russia to Christianity [actually Russia didn’t exist then, more likely the Slavic clans that formed the leadership of the people who referred to themselves as Kievan or Rus’].”[46] Therefore, the Church was not an estate in its historical sense alongside the grand princes. First, the influence of the Church over the grand princes is considerable in the prime sources and other than Ivan Vasilievich’s era, there is no proof of the Church’s autonomous control over the rulers of the European west. The myth that the Latin Church had supreme power over princes, leaders of groups and states or principalities in the Middle Ages in Western Europe has been a long invented myth. Certain rulers belonged to the total control of the Papal States, other legal control happened in matters of lesser political importance. A more normative view, The Church, a separate class itself, worked alongside the rulers of Europe. They did not rule over them, by law or decree – although they tried and exceeded often – it was never a successful endeavor when pertaining to the scope of the entire middle ages. Under Ivan, the Church lost its bargaining power with the political authorities, or notably Ivan, Hellie claims ( and other historians, Ivan appeared to take control of appointments). The sources reveal, Ivan secularized the church by appointing his own people to support him and if a clergy person didn't support him, he removed them by various measures.

During this same period in Western Europe, the Latin Church lost most of its influential power over the northern rulers and, the Latin Church focused mainly on Italy, Spain, France and the Mediterranean Christian rulers. The Russian church was a vital organ since its inception, and whatever titles associated to the prefixes before Orthodox conveyed, a theocracy in public projection was promoted, but and a political dependency existed for the Church in reality. Sometimes the metropolitan worked alongside the grand princes, and even stood in to take their place when the grand prince was out on campaign, but the overall decision makers during the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries were the Boyar Duma and the grand prince/tsar.

  In the chronicles, there were peasants, princes and well-to-dos, and other well-off individuals; and here Hellie calls into question, ‘middle’ service class. If a middle service class-person was not a peasant or a prince or of a particular boyar status, then what were they in context of classification?

All hierarchal societies consist of class distinction. All groups which demarcate special offices and privileges to certain segments of society, be it family, club or chosen members, fall under the auspices of classism. In political science, three major sub-departments in the field of political science mark a procedural test for proving most defined functions of some political science terminology. They are institutional, culture and economy, and in no order of importance.  To conduct a litmus[M10]  test on Kieven Rus’ and Muscovy, only one of these sub-departments needs to qualify as defining a hierarchal presence in either these two periods. Economically, both Kieven Rus’ and Muscovy fail the “no-class” test. Both periods saw wealthy families gain special influence in their respective towns and cites, while peasants struggled economically, without a vast and an institutional legal recourse. Boyars, grand princes, princes and various sub-demarcations of unofficial rankings of classes dominated the cultural scene of both periods. One had to be voted in to become a boyar, which was extremely selective at various times throughout these two periods. 

While an institutional test remains unclear[M11]  because of a primitive legal and definitions of institutional systems, there still remains a privilege of unofficial laws, usually demarcated as customary. Customary law would be defined as traditional unwritten laws of clans, groups consisting of a nation. Therefore both periods do not pass the test of non-classism. There were no institutions of complex legal and social laws that comprise the keeping of large archival material to refer back to in legal references (courts or government offices, Although Russian historian Charles J. Halprin in The Tatar Yoke, [Columbus, Ohio: Slavica Publishing Inc., 1985] has went to great lengths to show such a system used at Sarai by the Mongols during the early states of the Russo-Mongol-Tatar period). During the mid-sixteenth century limited social record keeping came in the form of “system of places” (Mestnichestvo).

The third test, the economic test is logically assessed by the privileges of the grand prince and boyars, and princes who gave out vast tract of lands to their family members and relatives ( and influential groups such as a important strategic partners, possibly a trade family). A logical assessment of these inclusionist families lived an economically richer life than the common Kieven Rus’ citizen or Muscovite tells a story of classim.

By understanding proper procedures in defining political science terms, we saw Richard Hellie’s consistency in defining classim and the consistency in use of western European terms fail his claim and confused readers toward his interpretation, in regards to the introduction of the 1974 English translation of Platonov’s book, Ivan the Terrible.

Andrei Pavlov and Maureen Perrie in their book, Ivan the Terrible: Profiles in Power, Published by Pearsons Education Limited, in 2003, regularly use the western term “estates’ as understood on the Western model.[47] The “noble class” is the entire ‘service class,” (if everyone was a servitor, after 1550s, then everyone was a noble, no peasants – this is incorrect evaluation!) and the aristocracy is reserved for the princely and boyar families (the privileged elite); but “gentry” was appropriated to the less privileged majority (class) (one can see the confusion, if all are noble, then how are part then “less privileged, when privilege is the defining factor to understanding “classims?”.) During the sixteenth century, Pavlov and Perrie tell us,  these “lower class,” because of a less privileged and organized status, were grouped into sections of land and served to function as a dual use purpose for the Muscovite central authority. They were the producers for the higher classes as well as servitors for the elite,  when called upon too by the Muscovite central authority. The lower class,  all managed by the “higher class, ” were termed in Muscovy as ‘ deti boiarskie.’  The term is translated as ‘boyars’ sons.’ However, the trickery of comparative terminology for a comparative to the privilege elite made up the implicitly. Many lower class people would never become part of the privileged class people, until Ivan Vasilievich era.

Edward Keenan, a Russian historian and professor at Harvard University stated “A D’iak, no matter how powerful or rich, could never become a member of the aristocracy; a prince, no matter how poor, could never become a d’iak [clerk, 14th century forbearer were secretary slaves,17th a state secretary is often a comparable reference]  – at least a few did if only because kniazhichi were seldom literate.”[48] In which social functions were determined by hereditary birth, Keenan mentioned “It is important I think, to note and to remember this feature of the d’iak class, as one might call it.”[49] However, it is also important to point out a prince could be poor and live in the means of a peasant, whereas during Ivan reigns, a boyar in his court would be defined as the elite and/or privileged.

Social Mobility Note in “Keenan’s Scholarly Ways” Hellie does claim “social mobility” existed. This is a terminology directly associated with classism. Without classism, there are no social mobility opportunities. Acumen to saying, there are no leaders or slaves, just people living on an exact economic, political and privileged level.

This brings up a vital problem? How will the lower classes rise up to a higher privileged status, and not have to diminish the upper classes? For Hellie, dogmatics was the solution. If you cannot explain it or argue it, then place it under a slogan like the Communist Chinese era, as a catch-all slogan to implicate what is not acceptable in argument. Platonov described the creation of a sharing of upper-class privileges’ and responsibilities’, with Ivan’s administering orders to raise the lowly to the higher government and social positions ( better pay) during the period of the Oprichnina.

 For people studying psychology, geography or history, they come to a point in their studies where their attention to a text by an author will present an argument as one privileged class voluntarily giving up their power and land for a cause. How could the pre-Soviet and Soviet historians explain it another way when classism existed under the correct defined terminology? The reason post-Soviet historians do not see it this way,  is they do not understand classism, and therefore confuse themselves which is  then passed on to confusion others not investigating the intricacies of the privlegships’ of Muscovite people, which begins a historical string of confusion.

By ending this section on class distinction, we understand that to measure the correct logical assessment is to gauge one’s interpretation of classism and to measure the privileged structure in a state which reveals themselves in the sources to all of the three- main branches of political science. If they cannot pass all of the tests, and contain reasonable doubt, then these results are concluded as classism. For a simple declarative statement: In the history of humankind, there has never been a “state” that didn’t have classism. Written rules do not define classism, written rules define written rules. A communiqué to any particular group of said social structures which did exist in Muscovy demarcate a class hierarchy. When the pre-and Soviet historians tried to convey this, the post- Soviet historians quickly reacted. It was not in their best interest to show class structure and contend with an irrational explanation of the Oprichnina.

 In all intensive purposes, Musvovy was a state, it had relative defined boarders, at least it understood them, and it had an army, and state symbols, be it religious and secular. For the pre-Soviet historians, this was clear and simple understanding. To a post-Soviet historian, Hellie, Pavlov and Perrie, this was dogmatic and confusing. (This can be explained because of the educational system in the west has been dumbed down.). Privilege defines classism, and in the most democratic country to ever exist in history, the United States of America, classism is still as vital an issue today as it was for the abolitionists during the early period of the country.

 (End/ class distinction – section terminology)



Platonov claimed the absent of historical sources and the variety of interpretations of these sources created only an “image of Ivan the Terrible.” Platonov’s selectiveness of the sources he used did not deter him from using contradictory assessments, often conflicting sources on the same event. This muddled methodology can confuse even the brightest historian. Most historians’ are taught to pick sides. Platonov decided not to pick a side in his this work.  He did this to illustrate his assertion that we will never know the true history of this period and of the man himself. Why would this importance be of concern? First, this was Platonov’s thesis in Ivan the Terrible. Second, many Russian historians often use his earlier work, or misquote the author, rushing into assumption he had a particular view in mind – when in fact, he had changed his view over time on the period of the sixteenth century Muscovy. 

One of the target terminologies of the current period of Russian research into the sixteenth century Rus’ period comes from not the contemporary Russian rhetoric, but of a later European rhetoric of the Age of Enlightenment. The terms modern Russian historians project onto the late nineteenth century Russian historians are of Greek origin and pertain to scientific terminology: rationality and irrationality.

In modern Russian historiography, a reinvented metaphor came into popular usage and described Ivan’s actions in a mere secular and modern Protestant tense. The term was “rationalization.” Modern historians, describing Russian historians in the later half of the nineteenth century, beckoned to reinvent an old Classic Greek term to indicate human pathology. No longer were Ivan’s actions insane, that of a madman, but an irrational leader with a myriad of medical excuses. During the later half of the twentieth century, ‘rationalism’ became a key term to describe Russian rulers’ unexplained actions in Russian historiography. But this was not only the case for Russian historians. Rationalism and irrationalism were used as terms to explain a wide variety of new science terminology being formulated in western civilization  -- with the goal of determining the unexplained. Some western Russian historians went so far as to associate “irrationalism” with a myriad of modern medical diagnoses. Yet, more prevalent were the issues of reconstructing the written language after the demise of influence of the Latin Church to address these new medical explanations.

Boastful, these views by the modern intellectual thinker believed they could now explain religious terms like “evil” by acknowledging medical descriptiveness for insanity.  Madman lost its religious connotation of a ‘person who had a demon inside of them.’ Madman took on a scientific explanation. Sigmund Freud could partially explain Ivan’s parent complexes under the explanation of an untraditional childhood. Ivan lost his father and mother in early childhood, and his mother possibly took on a lover while disregarding her deceased husband’s wishes to keep the appointed caretakers assigned to the child.  Ivan, according to Kurbskii, grew up surrounded by people not interested in raising the next Muscovite leader. During Ivan’s childhood a rare occurrence of clan instability resulted in chaos in the Kremlin. Ivan witnessed traditional families no longer part of the court. Some families were deposed, some members were murdered, and many figures were imprisoned. Ironically the official sources claim Ivan made some of these decisions, some as young as six years old. Apart from understanding the sources were deficient in explanation and wholly constructed, the matter scientific terminology could now explain Ivan’s pathology ( not scientific-method). In early writings on Ivan, he was a madman. In the third period, Ivan now was a tragic figure afflicted by chance or fate and tragedy resulted in his personality – which explained his actions.

The problem with the scientific terminology was it failed to pin-point the true cause of his actions. Therefore, a catch-all term needed to include a facsimile to ‘madman’ to describe Ivan’s actions. Post-Soviet historians, mainly Hellie, developed this catch-all word to apply to a myriad of scientific explanations all at the same time. An Aristotelian metaphor used to describe Greek Cosmology, fulfilled this lexiconic function. Now the Oprichnina could be explained.  The modern Russian historians focusing on defining the actions of Ivan Vasilievich’s decision to create the Oprichinia could look to Hellie use of the term “irrational.”

Platonov never used the terms rationality or irrationality in Ivan the Terrible. These words belong to current contemporary Russian historiography on Ivan Vasilievich.  Russian historian, Richard Hellie, in the introduction to the English version of Ivan the Terrible, said about Platonov: “He was a positivist and looked for scientific laws and regularities in historical events”.[50] In Ivan the Terrible, Platonov claimed on page seventeen of the English version translated by Joseph L. Wieczynski to want to reconstruct the period and of Ivan himself, and add back into Russian literature the “negative” way of looking at the Tsar. Platonov’s thesis raises concerns on modern historiography. It is quite possible that few Russian historians found his thesis or even any of them. In Hellie’s view, he calls Platonov a positivist in the introduction. However, Hellie misses the objectivity of Platonov’s intent to reconstruct Ivan back into a negative light.

Platonov in the first chapter discusses his methodology and the historiography on Ivan Vasilievich, in which he illustrates the growing trend of evaluating Ivan in a positive light, and dispelling the prior trend of the evaluation in a negative light. Here, this shows Platonov understood what trend needed addressing.

This hint negated his career’s trend, if we are to believe Hellie’s general assessment of Platonov’s methodological training.  Hellie had understood Platonov’s thesis and gave a justification for Platonov’s alleged  mistakenly admitted thesis. He claimed Platonov was not well suited to understand what he was reading. Thereby Platonov’s claim, that is his thesis, was wrong.

I contend Platonov knew perfectly well what he was telling his readers, and Platonov even gave many justifications for placing back into Russian literature on Ivan Vasileivich the “negative” into the interpretation of this subject. Platonov’s justifications of his thesis demonstrate an understanding of how a historian supports his claim. Hellie, implying Platonov as ignorant by admitting he doesn’t understand what he is reading, does not constitute an accurate picture of Platonov, but passes-off as an erudite expressionism, not well suited to the task of understanding a complex subject or its general purpose for an enquiry.  This may have been due to Hellie’s extreme views of Ivan’s progressive mental instability. Over the course of Ivan’s life, according to Hellie, the Tsar had increased in irrationality. Ivan, by 1566, was totally insane.[51]  The degree of insanity has not been medically demonstrated. Therefore, we do not know to what degree Ivan was insane, if we are to accept some interpretations by some modern Russian historians. Platonov illustrated Ivan was temporarily impaired during the Oprichnina. He doesn’t go so far to say the Tsar was “totally insane.” However, he does say the entire period of the Oprichnina, was “insanity.” Who was insane? That remains the question. The only person running the Oprichnina was Ivan, so we must connect the dots and claim this was a negative observation on the Tsar’s actions. If true, this reflects Platonov’s objective stated in his thesis.

Hellie claimed that Platonov did not understand the Andrei Kurbskii quotes he used. This is because it contradicted Hellie’s award winning commentary on the book, which makes up the introduction in this 1974 translation into English. How could Hellie justify his thesis for his commentary on Platonov’s book, and allow this Platonov’s thesis to go unforgiven. Prince Andrei Mikhailovich Kurbskii’s writings deal mainly with the personal charactership of Ivan Vasilievich. Supposedly these two were friends, at some point in time. Kurbskii was a general, and was made a boyar in his later career, before he supposedly fled to Lithuania a year before the beginning of the Oprichnina period. Kurbskii’s importance to Platonov remained selective, as a source. Yet, Kurbskii source presents a common problem to the Muscovite gathering of lands program.  How this program upset traditional princes who apparently were unwilling to passively submit to the centralizing powers of the Muscovite central government presented itself in the sources in the early sixteenth century.

Platonov’s book is so complex that unless one reads it numerous times, strips its narrative, reconstructs the moments, one cannot appreciate its complexities. If a casual glance at a particular moment is all that is given in study for this text, one can perceive a myriad of views by Platonov, which are superstitiously in text. This is a problem associated with Platonov’s style of prose. He interlinks his narrative throughout the text while explaining things not in a chronological order, all to form an “image” of Ivan, which is of course, contradictory by its example. Therefore, it is easy to mistake him as to giving a certain view.

In Ivan's testament of 1582 which doesn't exist today, and those who saw the testament in the eighteenth century attest to his pleasure of separating himself from the boyars and the Russian state. In this version, "the words " banished by boyars" as used by the tyrant seem physiologically abnormal."[52]  This assessment by Platonv agrees with the assessment by Hellie, that is if Platonov was to use “irrationalism” in the context Hellie use it.


Aristotle argued rationalism and irrationalism in terms of nature and how celestial bodies act upon one another due to forces of the Universe. The rationalism of Aristotle’s terminology pervaded scientific use of these terms in the works of Copernicus, Galilee Galileo, Johannes Kepler, Sir Isaac Newton, René Descartes, and other astronomers and scientists during the Age of Enlightenment and onward. The rediscovery of Greek terminology came at a time that Ivan Vasilievich was alive. These terms came into being with the translation of Greek text previously translated into Arabic texts and recovered from the many Islamic libraries, now back in control of the European Christians authorities. The uncovering of Roman texts by way of excavations in Italy, in the proto-Renaissance period,  and continuing during Northern Renaissance period, also brought to western academics Greek translated terminology. Notably, René Descartes, Johannes Kepler, a Galilee Galileo used the term “irrational” to argue against Aristotle’s rationality of the motions of bodies in the heavens, and the forces behind them -- in Greek historian’s argument of the construction of the Universe. 

Reason has always been in literature and writings, albeit in different iconic terminology. However, the Greek logos of reason may have been connected to the actions of man, in the ensuing period of the Age of Reason. Russian historians focus on determining if Ivan Vasilievich had a reason to divide the Rus’ region into two distinct sections.  Reason is directly connected to the connotative term rationally, in context. However, the term began as an association of Greek Astronomical theories  that were used to define their arguments of natural forces behind the Greek gods’ plan.

Reason may have many different denotative forms, but remains a function of explaining things that pertain to the question of “the unknown?” post-Soviet historians claim to “know”. Like Hellie, who ‘knows’ Ivan was totally insane, the mystery no longer exists. Therefore, irrationality is incorrectly used. A rational explanation for Hellie is Ivan Vasilievich is “totally insane.”

Platonov didn’t use the terms rational or irrational, in Ivan the Terrible. It appears he understood the confusing consequences of using such terms or it was not part of the linguistic program in his period of Russian historiography. It has been given as a term by modern Russian historians to explain Platonov’s reason for “why” he said what he said of “why” Ivan Vasilevich said or did what he said. One can appreciate the complexity of reverse physiology of Russian historiography. Yet, it makes little sense and only confuses an investigator and historian.

‘During the phone conversation, the mother acted irrational when her daughter asked her if her school friend could spend the weekend with them at their home.’ In this example, irrational is a catch-all word, poorly defined, and leaves the reader wondering what happened. The vital information is left out, and term does not do any justice to move the story along. Guesswork now enters an interpretation. Guess work is frowned upon by Hellie citing the Moscow school of thought. Yet, irrationalism explains nothing. It was used to describe the unexplainable.  Yet, the use of the term by post-Soviet historians and, the serious attempts to explain what happened contradict the term’s proper use.

For example, Ivan’s actions in creating the Oprichnina were irrational possibly due to psychological damage resulting from a tragic, dysfunctional and possibly horrific upbringing. This possible simplistic declarative statement employs a contradiction. First, the unknown is declared. Second, the unknown is presented with possible known declaratives. Finally, the unknown becomes the known, but the unknown term remains a key part of the declarative statement. ( having your cake and eating it too).

 The above example could possibly be one interpretation why Ivan did what he did. The interpretation could be wrong or could be correct. The foci {of what} are not on the interpretations by various historians using guesswork, but the usage of the term “irrational.” Implied, used, attempted to define does not change the meaning of the concept that irrational means “cannot be explained.” ( since it cannot be explained it remains a negative, as opposed to a positive victory of conquering reason – man’s understanding of the universe.) In the nineteenth century, unexplained actions of Ivan were termed as insanity or derangement. In post-Soviet historians, now insanity took on medical meanings, meaning man could explain irrationally. The argument is not the contention; we will never know the whole story of Ivan, but the use of terminology. To claim, as Robert Crummey has, that Ivan’s punitive expedition against his supposedly treasonous subjects in Novgorod in 1570 can best be explained in terms of paranoia triggered by an unhappy childhood and reinforced by alcohol abuse in later life,[53] this is a rational explanation at any derivative of a definition. No longer were Ivan’s actions irrational, they were explained. R.G. Skrynnikov, D. M. Glagolev, and P.I. Kovaleskii and other Russian historians explained some possible psychiatric causes for Ivan’s actions. The point of the contention is not if they are correct or incorrect, but that they are attempting to explain irrationality as a rational explanation. This places them in the genre of a rational causation, as Hellie disbelieved it existed as an explanation of Ivan actions.  By 1566, Hellie claimed, Ivan was ‘totally insane.’[54]  Psychoanalytical tools took irrationality out of the interpretation. This evidence lessens the terminological authority of Hellie’s thesis in the introduction of Platonov’s book, the translated version published in 1974.


During Ivan’s time, words could be used such as “evil,” “madman,” or “demon.” For example,  Ivan’s actions in creating the Oprichnina were evil.  We could possibly envision people uttering this independent clause in the sixteenth century Muscovy. If we believe the government controlled chronicles, Ivan tortured, murdered and banished many people. Logic tells us that the word “evil” used to describe Ivan’s actions, and must have been often used by these people he apparently persecuted, explained his actions. “Evil,” in these cases during this era,” implied the concept (Ivan’s actions) “cannot be explained.” They were not part of God’s plan of love and unity.

Modern science tells us today, psychological trauma of growing up in an environment of murder and general instability will have lasting psychological affects on a person later in their life – to varying degrees. Insanity now had a variety of names: Schizophrenia, Acute Affective Disorder, depression, delusions, and paranoia mania. Therefore, progressing in the two negative eras on Ivan’s historiography, the general interpretations of the Tsar went from “evil” man, to “madman,” and finally to an irrational man, today. Gone today are the metaphors for evil. More or less, Russian historiography with this modern terminological invention could replace Biblical moral and ethical terminology, with a more or less atheistic terminology.

The academic revolution against the terminology in the roles of the people supporting Church and God, a rethinking of terminology possessed the minds of the newly converted. Terms had to be rethought and changed to disassociate themselves with the Church’s general use of words and their terminology. 

The three periods linked to rationalism contain a separation of the second period to the first and third periods. The First and third period Russian historian looking at Ivan believed the change resulted from medical diagnostic breakthroughs in mental illness and general psychosis --- also, psychological breakthroughs and studying of the inner workings of the mind. Science explained everything or most things – according to who you read. God was now debunked by erudite and world academics, in overwhelmingly consensus.  Now Ivan’s rightful place in Russian historiography could now be determined. The first phase of interpretation on Ivan was he was irrational. The second phase of interpretation on Ivan was he was rational. The third phase of interpretation on Ivan was he was irrational. Ivan’s interpretation had come full circle, but the terminology had not. In effect, the terminology changed, but the concept remained the same. No one knew what rational or irrational meant in the context of man. The mighty intellect of Aristotle grappled with the term and tried to understand it. Yet, today, the term is loosely applied and the term is still less defined. It is broadly used today in Russian historiography, and with no consensus for a definition. It is as broad of a term as the term “nature” itself. What is nature? Well, what is rational?

The Age of Enlightenment, and the beginning of the scientific revolution, brought the term “reason” to the forefront of western literature ( although it had been used in Muslim civilizations throughout the middle ages), and later spawned the concept of rationality during the Age of Reason.  (what it the key point to the age of reason) Man could apparently now think things through [for himself], explain the previous unexplained, and man could now determine the causes behind nature or God. More importantly, the change in terminology reflected a discontinuance of ecclesiastical terms used to describe people’s unexplained actions, in sixteenth century contemporary literature. God’s hand in the universe was replaced by man. Man’s tool was scientific investigation.

Gone was a standard use of Russian Orthodox lexicography.  Terms of evil, ungodly, madman and sinner were replaced with more scientific terms. Mental illness now could be treated and controlled with medication.  A re-categorized list of words in western lexicography resulted. The varying names of mental illness replaced madness, insanity, and derangement and Ivan’s actions were excused with a catch-all word ‘irrational.’

Current society tells us what is rational and irrational, if we use a Foucaultian definition for ‘disciplinary function’ in our society. In sociology, rationalism is a legally acceptable mannerism of a human in society. But during Ivan’s era, the legal code was primitive. Rationalism in the context of modern society does not carry the same logical or legal thought process as the Muscovite thought process in the sixteenth-century Muscovy. In effect, the terminology changed, but the concept remained the same. Ivan was a mentally sick human being. The question remains, how did this happen. How did the Tsar return to being a madman?

Irrationalism also came from a 1969 autopsy on the body of Ivan. Modern Russian historians cite two main causes. First, the Russian historians of the second period came from a rational background. Thusly, they wanted to see positive assessments of the Russians and its leader in general, and to curtail negative assessments on the Tsar himself. Secondly, they didn’t have the knowledge possessed in modern Russian historiography. Around the mid-twentieth century, Ivan’s body was exhumed, discovered in a crypt in Archangel Michael’s Cathedral, Moscow. His body parts were sent to America and an autopsy report concluded the possibility of the leader living in pain, as well as evidence he possible medicated himself to relieve the pain, which would have in fact created another form a mental pain, a derangement – due to high-amounts of mercury associated with medicines in the Middle Ages. However, there is another reason why these progressions as come full circle.

Another reason was the Tsar was associated closely with Joseph Stalin, who actually revered the Tsar and his efforts to control, as he would have explained, a people that needed controlling and a leader to show them the way thought difficult circumstance. In essence, the backlash on the positive assessments of Ivan came from comparing Stalin to the so-called visionary Tsar.  By turning Ivan back to a madman, this was a reflection of the negative view of Stalin by modern Russian historians’.  However, there remains another, if not, the most important evidence to why Ivan had come full circle.

If we can never know the Muscovite sixteenth century, then one truism can be stated with certainty. Ivan will continue on his journey around the circle in an endless adventure we call infinity.

This is contrasted against the opposite term “rationality.” Richard Hellie attacks the Russian historians from the era of these “rational” schools of thought (Moscow and St. Petersburg schools of Russian historiography). If the work irrational defined means “cannot be explained,” then Hellie is explaining Ivan’s actions could be explained under the opposite definition of irrational. Therefore, Hellie mis- interprets “can be explained,” the era of Russian historiography in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. Hellie believes the story of the sixteenth century can be told with the sources that exist today. This is not in dispute, but only the use of describing the history of Ivan’s historiography that is in dispute.  [ However, very little has been introduce into the cannon of prime sources on Ivan Vasilievich, other than his autopsy.] This brings us to the discussion of prime sources.

Platonov used many sources and did not draw a conclusion. Trying to understand the Oprichnina was difficult to impossible. Platonov used various historians and sources to paint a picture of the era, rather than give content to its meaning.[55] When Platonov speaks about the positive way of looking at Ivan, some Russian historians link it to,  talking about rationalism. The word rationalism, rational, or any attribute to the concepts of a rational universe which led the concept during the Age of Enlightenment and then the Age of Reason, was never used by Platonov in Ivan the Terrible. Rationalism came about by Descartes, Galileo, and Kepler arguing with Aristotle’s construction of the Universe, in the argument  of the “motions ( forces) of bodies,” and the rational causalities of the Universe.  When Platonov speaks about the negative way at looking at Ivan, we can replace it with the term, irrationality. This is how many Russian historian constructed their arguments in the 20th century. Platonov had no reason to use the term, because it had no use in historical purpose. Rationality and Irrationality can coincide and operate together at any moment in time. For Platonov, the “positive” and “negative,” views of Ivan IV could also operate together in a historical moment.

In one main source Platonov used contained both positive and negative views of Ivan. This was the Ivan-Kurbsky correspondence. Hellie stated in the introduction that Platonov’s extracts from the “correspondence” do not serve to illustrate what he thought they did.[56]  However, Platonov used positive quotes from Kurbsky and negative quotes from Kurbsky. This source was used primarily for looking at Ivan’s personal character by Platonov. He could have left out the negative quotes,  if he was only interested in fashioning a rational Ivan. He included them for a purpose. Were Ivan’s actions rational ( positive ) or irrational (Negative)?  Platonov asks this in text and with contemplation by using various and often conflicting sources.


Can we relay on the prime sources? Platonov claimed this was impossible. There were three reasons connected to three different factions of the prime sources.  First, the official Russian Chronicles began during this time to come under government control. Most historians looking at sixteenth century period in the Russian Chronicles conclude the government took over the production of content. Many historians agree with Platonov and other previous Russian historians, the biasness and official ‘face’ (Façade) of the government was produced in this source. An example, a young grand prince makes pre-teen decisions to jail intimate family members, who then are murdered. Nor are the government sources complete. Conspicuously, the period of the Oprichnina, so vital an issue to the strange and fascination of investigators, breaks-off in the beginning of the official Russian chronicles. For the Oprichnina period mainly foreign reports provide the only glimpse into this period.

Second,  sources available to historians were personal letters, correspondence and epistles. Most letters, if ascribed to the person who wrote them, came down to Russian historians as copies. These are manuscripts of the seventeenth century or later.  In addition, many prime sources were destroyed during the Time of Troubles and the fire of 1626.  Furthermore, many Russian historians’ today also believe the collection contain forgeries. Among them correspondence between Ivan and a former general in the Muscovite military who wrote intimately on the Tsar’s younger life and Ivan’s intimate logical reasoning remains in dispute.  During Platonov’s day, this source had already been in dispute over its authenticity. Today, some historians consider it a vital second source material, such as Hellie. Others view it as forgery to paint the Russians in a negative light.

Thirdly, sources from foreigners, although as secondary sources were used for certain information. The first accounts to be seen by westerners were from foreigners, some who were in Muscvoy during Ivan’s life. These foreign accounts by historians are considered hearsay, and historians were cautioned when using them as factual. All these source create problems when trying to view Russia in a non-bias, balanced and clear light. Recently, some modern historians use symbolic, theoretical, and guesswork, until other prime sources appear and are authenticated.

Historians disagree over what part of the sources are reliable and which ones are unreliable. R.O. Crummy in The Silence of Muscovy, claims that Keenan regards all foreign and domestic sources as unreliable. This view helps to solve the issues that arose from positive evaluations. Platonov’s contention in view from Hellie, if the two met together today,  is he admitted to this problem. Keenan through his own research happened to agree with Platonov’s view on the sources,  in regards to the reliability of the sources. Hellie believes there are enough reliable sources to make an adequate assessment of Ivan’s reign.

When describing the original texts of the literary texts of Ivan, Platonov tells us they are unreliable, exist in only copied form and various editions. “even Ivan’s “Testament” of 1572, which is an official document, is not extent in its original form but has been reprinted from an incomplete and defective copy of the eighteenth century.”[57]  How do we then assess Platonov who allegedly belonged to a school of thought that allegedly promoted “rational causality” to the period, as Richard Hellie claimed? Platonov stated, “If a learned skeptic were to appear and content that all of Ivan’s “works” were spurious, it would be difficult to argue with him.”[58] This was not only the view of Ivan’s personal accreditations, but Platonov reflecting on all of the sources of this period. “Yet little more can be said for the entire body of chronicle material dealing with this era.”[59] Platonov claimed the chronicles, a thirteen volume of the Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles, contain fragments allegedly revised and augmented by Ivan. “Clearly the historian who uses such a source must be extremely caution, lest he fall victim to the one sided interpretation of events.”[60] The last person one wants to understand of redacting, augmenting and changing the text of the official chronicles is the grand prince of Muscovy.

The incompleteness of the prime sources offers little clarity into the world of sixteenth century Muscovy. If one author calls another’s methodology dogmatic or schematic, how does one rectify the fact that one cannot tell the whole story with clarity of Muscovy in the sixteenth century? Platonov claimed this view. Platonov so fully understood this that it would be reckless to place a view into his mouth, in which he asked us not too. The only thing is left is to tell the story and the way in which it is broken, fractured and incomplete. This means there is no meaning but only discourse – ramblings.

“In the sixteenth century the writings of chronicles in Russia came under official control; for this reason the chronicles become reserved and biased.””[…]They strictly adhere to the government’s point of view when recording events that occurred in their own day.” { page 3}

The thirteen volume of the Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles contain fragments from several pages of this collection that apparently have been revised and augmented at Ivan’s personal command.” { page 3}


Muscovy and its Implications of Imperialism

Ivan became the first leader under which the term Tsar referred too a Muscovite prince, as to the leader of the Muscovite people. The descriptive title contained in documents, there was little evidence that Ivan was always called Tsar in daily encounters with his people, and the descriptive consisted of a façade of autocracy to influence foreigners and dignitaries. Together with the Boyar Duma, the current scientific school of thought contends today, the Grand Prince and the Boyar Duma ruled in tandem.

A ruler of a group or nation ( nation is defined as a group with a common purpose, they do not have to have defined borders or a military)  remains behind the façade and ideologically holds two bodies. For political reasons, the origins of the king’s ideology are divided between the private human and private government matters and the public office and public relations. Personally, rulers (he or she) are just infallible human beings that have personal problems like all other commoners, to use a contrast to social status as an example. Governments’ understand this and present a picture to the world in symbology of a leader’s infallibility. This façade keeps the opponent, possible enemies, on their toes so to speak. This is the public body of the ruler and is formed with an ideology.  Ideologically, the public office promotes a façade of political legitimacy. The office, the face (façade) of a government, is a reflection of the group as a whole -- who the group supports to rally behind in ideology, culture and physical survival.  In the Muscovite case, the offices of the grand prince/tsar are used as a political face (façade) for regional legitimacy.

 In the Muscovite period, the grand prince/tsar, could not force his own will legally on the top-class Muscovite citizens. These were his co-rulers who made up the Boyar Duma.  Through the office, legalities constituted a measure of legitimacy in the eyes of the citizens and to other nations, clans, and tribes or any of a number of group identifications. To the domestic and foreign groups, the grand prince/tsar appeared as the decision maker. To the Boyars’ in the Duma, the grand prince/tsar was just a co-ruler and a co-decision maker with them. They met in a very small rule daily and decided the fate of the nation.

In addition to Muscovy having legal codes, the most important among them were the tsar could not try any top-ranking boyar as a lone judge without their inclusion into the proceedings. As a part of the conflict of interests of these families, who would rule, who received power, who could appear next to the ruler, and rarely but in Ivan Vasilievich’s minority, murder solved problems. Ivan Vasilievich lived during a rare period in the history of the Rus’ people where close-knitted clans murdered each other. This rare period also a designation change in the form of the specified name of the ruler of Muscovy.

Ivan’s father and grandfather having a title, traditionally referred too as the Grand Prince, date back to the eleventh century rulers of diverse groups during the Kievan Rus’ era (mainly Slavic clans ruling, but not all). The title of the ruler not only changed, but it can be said changes in the sixteenth century Muscovy influenced the seventeenth century Muscovy and shaped the groups living in this region into something different. During the sixteenth century Muscovy became an unofficial empire.

During the consolidation of the Muscovy in the fifteenth century, periodic campaigns undertaken into Siberia established diplomatic relations between Ibak, the Khan of Tiumen and the Russian government. Developing over the sixteenth century, several Yugorian tribes began to pay tribute to the Russians in the lower courses of the Ob River.  The last quarter of the sixteenth century Russia consolidated relations with the Khanate of Siberia.  Conditions were right for the Russian state to consider the possibility of acquiring Siberia.[61]  

It was during Ivan Vasilievich’s reign that two near-eastern and important Tatar Khanates fell to the Muscovite forces. Muscovy not only changed in regards to geography, it also grew in diversity and population. Control of the middle Volga region, with a chain of fortresses along the river, allowed Muscovy to energetically colonize many people in fertile mid-Volga lands, including grain-producing expanses.[62]

In addition, the “Wild Field,” which lay south of Riazan, Tula and Kaluga was a refuge for Russian and Tatar wanderers escaping the tyranny of enemies and sanctuary from the law.[63]  In the 1550s, after Kazan was conquered, the Muscovite central authority sought to take control of this region. This attempt continued during the Oprichnina period, at the same time Platonov admits Ivan had a server fit of paranoia and a monomial case of persecution mentality. The incorporation of new Muscovite proto-citizens, including new pools of military servitors, reignited an age old stratagem – acquiring access to the Baltic Sea trade routs. The Livonian war associated with this attempt of acquiring access to the Baltic Sea trade routs also proceeded into the strange era of the Oprichnina period.

Economic issues were always the motive for these monumental efforts, in regards to western and eastern projects of expansion of Muscovy. Muscovy eventually failed to gain access to trade routs to the Baltic Sea under Ivan, but it proved Muscovites were thinking about expansion and regional legitimacy, nonetheless. It is under these auspices, which some historians refute the monumental accomplishment of the Muscovite group, sighting the ruling body of Muscovy was too small, primitive and its leader, Ivan the Terrible was believed to be totally insane or nominally irrational. Supporting evidence is overwhelming in both directions. Monumental things were happening for Muscovy at the same time the leader was having a complete mental breakdown. The key supposition was the period of instability, called the Oprichnina. A post-Soviet identification of this period follows:


{according to the sources} Oprichnina was a seven-year period in which Ivan Vasilievich divided up the land (1565-72) into two main parts, formed a personal court, separate administration, a personal army, and conducted a notorious “reign of terror” designed to purge his enemies – but ended up affecting everyone in Muscovy. This represented something dramatically different and was not a reform. Some historians have discerned a purpose in the Oprichnina period that it was directed against the old boyars, or the Church, or Novgorod.  Russian historian Richard Hellie in the introduction to the English translation of Russian historian S. F. Platonov’s (1860-1933) book on Ivan IV, entitled Ivan the Terrible, described Russian historian S.M. Soloviev’s view of the Oprichnina period as Ivan IV struggling “to strengthen the new middle service class at the expense of the old boyar class.”[64] Richard Hellie in the same introduction explained his interpretation for the views of the best known nineteenth-century Russian historian, Vasily O. Kliuchevsky (1841-1911): “the Oprichnina was directed against men, not against the prevailing system, and consequently it was politically aimless.”[65]  It is hard to make sense of this chaotic period, when so many suffered, not just one group. Ivan’s alleged psychological and physical problems might have been part of the cause. To some modern historians, it was more likely a dramatic need of the tsar to escape from rulership, for which there was no precedence (although he apparently tried to abdicate). The social, political, and economic results were a genuine disaster. Ivan may have killed his son Ivan Ivanovich, leaving a feeble-minded son Feodor on the throne that died childless -- leading to a dynastic crisis which ultimately led to the unfortunate events of the Time of Troubles.

The academic consensus remains disputed among Russian historians about the true reasons of the Oprichnina and on many levels.  A lack of writing of this period remains the key evidence. And yet, more or less, this paradox affects all Russian historians and investigators of this era. Platonov saw more than one definite purpose and changed his theories throughout his life, and in many writing projects. Altogether, however, the sources to this era remain scant, suspect and contradictory. It is by this dilemma that Russian historiography remains divided and frequently vacillates between positive assessments of Ivan and the era in general  to {need to match these adjectives to similarities}  negative assessments on Ivan and the era in general.

Platonov:  Non-View

We must be careful when reviewing Platonov’s work claiming it had a view. We should treat it as nothing more than an ongoing investigation on Ivan Vasilievich. Russian historian Richard Hellie in the introduction of this 1974 translation by Joseph L. Wieczynski suggested Ivan the Terrible should be read as part of this established and continuing tradition attributing rational causality and deliberate intent to Ivan’s measures and their consequences.[66] Platonov gave varying explanations for the Oprichnina and in more than one book. He also gave an many explanation in Ivan the Terrible by suggesting things could have turned out differently.

Platonov’s claims the Oprichnina was not all positive. First, everyone was affected during the Oprichnina, and second, the political terror was “insane.” The measures Ivan took could have been implemented rationally as the two major reforms Ivan’s son had accomplished.  The person running the political terror was of course, Ivan. Here he left open his positive interpretation to doubt.

Bekbulatovich – Needed or Plaything?

Andrei Pavlov and Maureen Perrie did not accept Platonov’s view that Ivan’s action in placing  Bekbulatovich on the throne was merely “some kind of game or whim,” and “the meaning which is obscure and its political significance minimal.”[67] They may have looked at Platonov's Ocherki, which were only in Russian. However, this seems to be Ivan Timofeev’s view and not Platonov, the translator of this seventeenth century prime source.  The issue of Bekbulatovich’s brief enthronement continued Platonov’s non-view. During the middle ages, such localized management, even after vassals or princes conquered regions, allowed ethnic rulers to oversee and govern acquired principalities. This does not seem to be non-normal behavior from Ivan, but a standard of the western middle age programs.

A source to the humble state secretary Ivan Timofeev says in his Annals that Ivan divided the land in order to “start a schism.” Ivan “had come to hate the towns of his land.”[68] The result was a division of the lands that would begin a competition of powers between Ivan’s Oprichina part and the zemshchina portion of the land. Platonov did not explain his view of this source. This source also stated, “Ivan was playing with God’s people.”[69] This showed there was no purpose to the Oprichnina and Ivan acting irrationally, using a Hellie’s termonology here. What is important to note here is,  Platonov gave a possibly moral and ethical negative source and a moral and ethical positive source, according to view of common ideas of ethics in society. In Hellie’s terminology, this would be both rational and irrational views of Ivan in the sources, presented in Platonov’s work. But Hellie is incorrect that Platonov gave his view when providing the sources in his text. In fact, Platonov was demonstrating the conflicting source material of this period. This was not a view of Platonov at all.

In the English version of Ivan the Terrible,  Platonov gave us a different view for this political move. Using another contemporary source, Platonov explained Ivan had placed  Bekbulatovich on the throne to enact a crack down on treason of “part of the people.”[70]   This showed political purpose and implied a trusted relationship. When Ivan removed the Chinggisid descendant received Tver’ as his rulership. This showed that the ruler had management skills, and Ivan or the government needed him,  even after the strange event. Albeit, some source claimed it was another attempt by Ivan to retire permanently into semi-official life. Although, remaining critical of the sources, we ask if Ivan’s life was threatened by some force if he remained in self-imposed political exile. The reason for this inquiry would indicate in the sources Ivan returned to his position as tsar fairly quickly.  Another such explanation was it had nothing to do with a textual claim in the sources to abdicate, but demonstrated a move to keep secure management of the eastern imperialized lands. Timofeev’s racism is clearly demonstrated for his anger against Boris Goudonov’s Tatar heritage in his journal. The anger apparently directed at Ivan for a  long political association with Tartar and Chingissids demands attention – when assessing the source.

Platonov made sure to add an opposite view of this act by another source to balance out the realization of the bias sources. First, this was due to the population distribution. It is a myth that the Muscovite populating consisted of only Slavic people engaged in Orthodoxy. While the majority of practicing Orthodox’s can be claimed as such, various indigenous tribes comparable to the indigenous American Indians remained scattered on the eastern boarders of Muscovy. Their religions’ were various, but still dependant on theocratic tradition of Sarai’s past. The penchant to manage a group of indigenous peoples traditionally surrounded by Mongolians and Tatars, of whom had adopted Islam as a guiding principle brings up interesting land management questions. If, as in Timofeev’s likely bias assessment, Ivan was just “playing a game with God’s people,” then why would Ivan remove him from this political position and immediately give him another political position in Tver’, to manage another region of diverse peoples? The more important question would be who let Ivan retire if co-rulers had the power, as is claimed by some post-Soviet historians during these important decades in Muscovite history? Platonov’s political assessments of Ivan  are preceded by events taking place after the Oprichnina proper and the imperialism, in which Bekbulatovich provided a key management solution. 

  Ivan Timofeev (?-1631) a secretary in the Great Russian Chancery, author of a Journal (Vremennik) that is an important primary source for the history of Russia during the Time of Troubles, appears to be the source for Andrei Pavlov and Maureen Perrie’s claim that Platonov’s view of Ivan’s action in placing  Bekbulatovich on the throne was merely “some kind of game or whim,” and “the meaning which is obscure and its political significance minimal.”[71] This was not Platonov’s view, but the humble seventeenth century secretary. One needs to wonder why when writing their book did they not understand Platonov’s assertion not to link him to any view during Ivan’s era. They used Platonov’s college dissertation, a work written twenty-years before, and not his more recent book on Ivan the Terrible? By use of contradictory sources of letters and chronicles, in combination with the scientific sources of the cadastres, Platonov constructed many objectives pertaining to the causes of the Oprichnina. Threre remained not one interpretation, but only a demonstration of the conflicting historicity.

George Vjatcheslau Lantzeff

Another key to understanding management problems can be found in the works of George Vjatcheslau Lantzeff (Siberia in the Seventeenth Century: A Study of the  Colonial Administration, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1943, pp. 87-115) and Basil Dmytryshyn ( editor of Medieval Russia: A Source Book, 850-1700, 3rd ed., Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1991, Section 53, “Russian Conquest and Exploitation of Siberia”). These works describe a period after the Oprichnina and continuing into the seventeenth century that describe the Muscovite management problems in regards to their new imperiled lands to the east.

George Bolsover

George Bolsover relates the same duel purpose of the Oprichnina in Platonov’s Ivan the Terrible. …Oprichnina as a deliberate, relentlessly pursued, and successful attempt to destroy the position and power of the old aristocracy. By means of it, Ivan removed the former appanage princes and their adherents from their patrimonies in the central areas of the country, transferred them to frontier areas which needed extra manpower for defense, and divided their land on service tenure among more reliable men of humble origin.[72]

Holt, Rinehart and Winston

In Holt, Rinehart and Winston, the government wanted to send special forces to suppress the people, because the frontier explores and workers needed to co-habituate with the local populations. Therefore special army forces were sent to subjugate tribes. Certain Russian troops specialized in making the natives conform to the Tsar’s wishes/ government. It was not the government trade-workers or explores’ job to take matters into their own hands if leaders of any of the tribes stated they would no-longer conform to their agreements. There were reasons why according the government.  That said, surveillance & communication ran the mechanics of conquest by the Russian government. Between the decades of 1580-1650s, the Russians took control of all northern Asia form the Urals to the Pacific. The conquest of this vast territory, rich in resources and inhabited by primitive tribes, transformed the hitherto East, European, Orthodox, Slavic Muscovite state into a huge multinational and multicultural Eurasian Russian colonial empire.[73] Yet, we can conclude by logical assessment an early need to incorporate management skills just after Muscovy conquered Kazan. This was compounded with the imperalization  four-year’s later of Astrakhan, in 1556. Orthodox managers could not meet the managerial capacities of the likes of these traditional rulers who ruled traditionally these diverse groups, such as Bekbulatovich. This was not an act of an insane man but a calculated move in Muscovite legitimacy, by the Muscovite central authority. In addition to this obligation to Orthodox legitimacy, the Ruler of the eastern lands had to conform to Muscovite symbology.  Bekbulatovich, before taking the position of manager of the eastern Muscovite lands, had to convert to Orthodoxy on orders of the Muscovite central authority.

V. I. Koretskii and 'M. N. Tikhomirov suggest in 1575 a possible zemskie sober met in 1575 to discuss Bekbulatovich’s possible management skills.[74] Fairly recently after that the Chinggissid is given the opportunity to convert to Orthodoxy and take the role of ‘Grand Prince of All Rus.” Of course, Ivan’s title is linked to his birth-right and the dates in the sources are varying. No-one could use the grand prince of Moscow as a title, and the sources vary in accurate timeline. In some sources, it was Ivan who wanted to abdicate and therefore chose Simeona Bekbulatovicha, the Chinggissid’s Orthodox name, to rule in his place. Hellie links this to one of the “strange” events of Ivan’s character – his personal locution[M12]  of an “insane” act.

Zemskie sober 1580 V. I. Koretskii and 'M. N. Tikhomirov

V. I. Koretskii and 'M. N. Tikhomirov suggested a semskie sober also met in 1580. While management problems were happening in the east, the Livonian war continued to intensify. Stephen Bathory becomes King of Poland-Lithuania, in 1567. He was a Hungarian prince of Transylvania. Bathory took over rulership after Henry of Valois left the country to take over the French throne of his deceased brother in 1574. Poland became united under Bathory, and all of Ivan’s military attempts to gain accessed to the Baltic region using the Oprichniki forces previously (before 1572) were now to become obsolete. Muscovy’s imperialistic ambitions came back to haunt them. For Platonov, it was Ivan’s decision alone to turn the military toward the west in 1562. He could have only accomplished this by creating his own army in 1565-‘66.  The result was an over extension of military aged and capable military pool of people. The Zemshchina army had the responsibility to defend the eastern/southern boarders. To make matters worse, Ivan’s Oprichniki suffered from a Poland-Lithuanian blockade of armaments. Armaments could only come thought the very northern port of Archangelsk. This proved seasonable as the port lay frozen for much of the year.

At this supposedly zemskie sober, issues such as continued military threats, management problems, migrations and dire circumstances all connected to imperialism’s ramifications. One pressing issue was the 1571 Tatar recrimination-attack  had forced a mass of migrations toward the Volga fertile lands. This resulted in an absent of labor to provide service to the military stationed in the center of Muscovy. Apparently the next year after this meeting the Muscovite central authorities introduced the ‘forbidden years,’ restricting peasants’ freedom of movement. This apparently was an effort to solve this dilemma. Platonov saw this particular measure a form of lower-class progression into serfdom as a result of a scarcity of labor, exacerbated by improper soil conditions – but brought on by the total destruction of the center of Muscovy by the 1571 Tatar recrimination – but more importantly the recriminations’ of the imperialistic attempts of continuance of the gathering of lands around Russia; only this was the next stage and the result. These migrations had been reveled by survey’s in the sources.  Hellie proclaimed this measure “flowed from the Oprichnina.” Again, Hellie used the deductive method and focused on a long agent suffering from madness and at the same time directing all of Muscovy’s affairs. This reflected the post-Soviet historians returning to a scientific-literary methodology.

Platonov’s  Different Views  & Over Time

Platonov publishes his Times of Troubles: A Historical Study of the Internal Crisis and Social Struggle in Sixteenth- and  Seventeenth- Century Muscovy ( Lawrence, Kansas, 1970), which was followed by a collection of documents on the subject: Sotsial’nyi krizis smutnogo vremeni (The Social Crisis of the Time of Troubles). In his early work on the Time of Troubles Platonov followed the Kliuchevskii-M.A. D’iakonov-P.N. Miliukov interpretation of the enserfment of the peasantry; but in Boris Goudunov and then in a special article, “O vremeni i merakh prikrepleniia krest’ian k zemle v Moskovskoi Rusi” (On the Time and Methods of Binding the Peasants to the Land in Muscovite Russia), publishing in Arkhiv istorii truda v Rossii (Archive of History of Labor in Russia), III (1922), pp. 18-22, he advanced a new interpretation, using evidence of the “forbidden years.” [75] In Ocherki these political explanations for of the Times of Troubles were secondary.

Time of Troubles -- Duel purpose to the Oprichnina

  In the Time of Troubles published in the same year as Ivan the Terrible, Platonov’s understanding for rationalization of Ivan’s autocratic rule was the tsar’s process of persecuting the princely aristocracy. However, there was a duel purpose which supposed a very rational explanation.  The Oprichnina was only a tool used to assimilate the new service class into the confiscated princely patrimonies – centrally located around Moscow. In this way Ivan solved local separatism by creating a new Muscovite state organism which mastered new social elements. In Platonov’s construction of the Muscovy state, he saw from Ivan III to Ivan IV and onward an amassing of people and lands to control and all necessitating a need to overhaul the state structure. In post-Oprichnina, or phase II, after the Opirchniki were abolished, a new dilemma of administering the outlying lands came to a critical point. This dilemma was further complicated by the enormous changes happing from the mid-sixteenth century onward. The political terror, Tatar attacks, and peasant losing their former masters due to the restructuring of the centralized regions created a wave of migration to the outlying regions of Muscovy. On the outlying regions, the appointed and newly local servitors could not control local strongmen – some domestic and some foreign.  Platonov’s explanation of moving some of the old elite to govern the outlying lands of Muscovy was a rational explanation to solve this dilemma. The old princely aristocracies were traditional rulers who knew how to govern; therefore, this was where they were most needed.   In Ivan the Terribe, Platonov used both rationalism and irrationalism while giving Ivan the credit and representing both the scientific and the statist approach. He did this I contend because he had looked over more primary sources for Ivan’s era than concerned him for the 17th century smuta. Presented with more sources of this era, the conflicting views in the sources caused Platonov trouble in forming a full rationalization. For Oprichnina and a rational explanation formulated as a view.[76]

Confiscating the powerful aristocracy’s patrimonies – why?

Many historians contend Platonov’s  main objective to the Oprichnina, was Ivan confiscating the powerful aristocracy’s patrimonies ( hereditary appanages). This was Solov'ev’s view, according to Hellie in the introduction.  Richard Hellie in the introduction to the English translation of Russian historian S. F. Platonov’s (1860-1933) book on Ivan IV, entitled Ivan the Terrible, described Russian historian S.M. Soloviev’s view of the Oprichnina period as Ivan IV struggling “to strengthen the new middle service class at the expense of the old boyar class.”[77] According to many Russian historians, this was Platonov’s main rationalization of the Oprichnina.  This explanation by Hellie had a single purpose in Platonov’s view – to weaken the aristocracy. Since Platonov gave one more possibly explanation for the Oprichnina, we no longer accept Hellie’s interpretation on Platonov. 

“Treason” had erupted with the incorporation of new lands and new cultural identities, all vying for power in various localities, mainly to the south/east. By moving much of the old court to the new outlying regions, and continuing in phase-two of the Oprichnina period, the solution for management was deemed better in the hands of the families who once had appanages. They knew how to rule. Platonov did not discuss this in great detail in Ivan the Terrible, but this was a major back drop and theme to the future era of Muscovy in his work Time of Troubles.  

Curiously enough, here was one more reason why Platonov did not make up an opinion for the Oprichnina. If Ivan had a rational for governing the new lands, then why would Platonov say he had confiscated the appanages of the princely aristocracy to weaken the traditional rule? There appeared two (dual) purposes here for one reason. These purposes had revealed themselves in the sources. We cannot place a view of Platonov when he gives us two scenarios, for the movement of the old aristocracy away from the center of Muscovy.

We know by these contemporary sources Ivan failed to remain in retirement. He conducts business of the state, he takes his personal army out to defend the state, and conducts major business. This shows that Ivan was needed.

Jack Kollman: Psychoanalysis and the Irrationality of the Rational explanation

To explain the an irrationality of the Oprichnina, post-Soviet Russian historian Jack Kollman who translated the acts of the Stoglavy Sobor of 1551 believes “ psychoanalysis is worth talking about.”[78]. He is correct.  A return to the scientific-literary method expanded to include discussion by Edward Keenan, a Russian historian of Harvard University. Kollman believes Ivan was in pain, the autopsy results consider such speculation that the Russian leader lived the later half of his rule in pain or even possibly in severe pain. This helps to explain some of what Russian historians consider Ivan’s irrational actions. The sources, if we are to believe them, exhibit Ivan still managing the realm during his divided realm, and conducting foreign eastern expansion and reaction to foreigner reaction. Later, as his life is coming toward a close, he is being carried around—apparently not fully physically fit. Where his illnesses, which is physical actually deteriorate to the point of non-operational governmental normative duties is still in question. Kollman’s point is that something was terribly wrong with Ivan, be it mentally or physical or possibly both – and this could help to explains certain actions of the Muscovite leader.  When Stalin imprisoned the famed Russian Thieves groups, it was rational action. When he sought to rid his realm of undesirable races and ethnicities, overturned by the later incoming administration, it was rational action. It is a common theme among Russian historians is that Russian leader’s actions of non-diversity are analyzed in modern Russian historiography as a placed ‘value’ on earlier periods of actions of governance. It is quite common that irrationalism is seen during our modern times as anyone dealing with concepts of ethnic-centralism—seen as their heritage and tradition. All scientific marks correlating to irrationalism appear skewed toward the physiological deficiency. The argument therefore sustains, if Ivan was ill, both physically and could be attributed to a mentality disorder of ‘value’ of modernity; he therefore is not a rational being. The problem between relating Stalin’s Slavophil proclivities and Ivan’s adoption of foreigners into his circle is that they were somehow social and mentally different in their toleration of “others.” Russian historian correlate Peter the Great (Western Expansion), and Joseph Stalin (social purity and social structuring) with Ivan IV. I intend that these were distinctive times, and a comparison is only something to do out of academic boredom.

Stalin had appeared intelligent enough to force Roosevelt to concede mass-lands, mass-aid and mass- control to the Russian state. This doesn’t appear to be a correlation to someone that is mentally disabled to the point of comparing irrationalism to Ivan’s actions. We simply know that control-campaigns, such as Ivan’s Novgorod crack-down was premised on central control of tradition to Muscovite rulers and it affected the innocent. Yet, in medieval Europe these same themes and results are no different. It is the modernity of historians to place human rights into the middle ages and place a ‘value’ judgment upon its leaders. Curiously, the European Medieval historians I have come across have not complained of the inhumanity when princes, Dukes, Lords, Kings, and other rulers cracked down on towns affecting the innocents. The sources claim Ivan was intelligent, yet in modern academia, intelligence is marked with a ‘value’ of approval – which had nothing to do with how states are managed, formed, controlled and implemented. When Ivan’s father and grandfathers were consolidating Muscovy, it appears the sources make them out as heroes, none-the-less, in general senses. Yet, during Ivan’s reign, the sources decry the actions of Ivan who we know at this time was taking steps further than his heritage-house. To understand this,  the new imperialism of Muscovy to both the east and west are seen in relation to Ivan’s heritage and not the moment of Ivan’s period. Historians need to separate Ivan from his father and grandfathers who could not expand Muscovy, or the attempt Ivan made, during their reigns. Novgorod had seen a part of the massive European crusade attempts, it was a major stop of the Hansiatic leaguer, it was inundated with foreign interests and distinctly culturalist—even multiculturalist(s) and did not form its character in the eastern modes of Muscovite uniformity.

It is quite possible that Rus needed the shake-up of the future Times of Troubles to move closer to Western Europe modernity.  The war booty brought back from the campaign of Kazan was evident in the spoils of empire. I intend that not all subjects or peripheral peoples would react the same way of a new modern political force. In Novgorod subjugation, Ivan did nothing different than his grandfather. His grandfather apparently had the sources written from his perspective. Ivan was a result of clan infighting that was a direct action, not of Ivan’s doings, but of his father and grandfather(s). The people are now free from ‘yoke.’ With each new generation sought their own freedoms and trajectories, as well as foreigners seeing the former ‘yoked’ as an opportunity as once the Mongol-Tatars had appreciated.

The comparisons to Stalin to Ivan are solely the centralization of their ideologies of power.  Since Ivan’s early days, the clans had constantly, as it appears, been infighting, contributing to unsettlement between them --- such as bickering and loggerheads, it was natural that Ivan incorporated foreigners into his administration and used newly applicable firearms and trained foreign military men to establish his territory – severely upsetting the ones that he believed were to fracture the inner coherence of the Muscovite emerging empire. With the Muscovite conquests under Ivan many newly formed groups needed to be controlled, managed, and aligned with as to offer a continence of Rus’ aspirations. While negatives is attributed to Ivan in Russian historiography, would another leader have been able to contend with foreigners looking to dominate the newly discovered economic opportunities west of the Urals? What makes Ivan’s period so special was that the consolidation of the east by the Volga region set off fears that created the reactions that created Ivan’s suppressions. Ivan, like Peter or Stalin was adhering to these forces not really spoken of in Ivan IV historiography. Since the muscovite ruling clans had written their own histories, it was Ivan that was assumed to continue the small group of inclusive local. Yet, it is Platonov that alerts the Russian enquirer that monuments chances created the reactions of the Ivan responses. Just as the myth that the early United States of America was a monolithic state is grossly overestimated. It was not until the early twentieth century that homogenate of boundaries and crystallization of political directions framed the U.S.A. trajectory into modernity. During the U.S.A. foundations of their civilization, bizarre episodes of territory conquests, repeated fights over representation of North and South and its dividing-line laws created a separate kingdoms in America. Even Peter the Great had a separate kingdom – so why would Ivan’s be so different? Apparently Platonov alludes to these doctrinal fights over the direction of Muscovy by the inner circles of power which took on a new composure during Ivan’s period. I intend it is a natural process of state-growth. Since modern Russian historian view Russia through the eyes of modernity’s Marxist justice ( that is to say the illusion of it), the pretract (not protract)  this image on Russian history back even before Ivan’s reign.

Kennan post-Soviet Historian

Ivan IV: Facilitate Abdication – Or Just a Vacation?

Apparently, according to Edward Keenan, Ivan tried to facilitate abdication –an apparent revolt against the system. In Keenan’s discussion on The Tsar’s Two Bodies (unpublished draft of a public lecture, c. 1975), he spoke of Ivan two bodies were germane to the Oprichnina. To create private personal property and to retire was Keenan’s main explanation for Ivan’s multiple attempts at semi-retirement. Kennan did not neatly define a reason, and the intent of Ivan remained a muddy picture. A vital argument in the Keenan make up of Ivan’s irrationality comes from the tsar’s two bodies. “Oprich” means ‘widow’s mite.’ An as a generic Rus’ word, it implied the infinitive “to separate”. As a noun, the word meant ‘that portion of a person’ estate set aside for the widow.’ This was reasonably for allowing a widow to own property, if her husband was killed in war, and they were of good social standing, involved survival of sociability – if affect, so she doesn’t starve to death. However, this probably did not apply to a lowly peasant. As part of the Oprich, the land included the servants on it to be held by the widow as part the recognition of her husband’s service to the state. Keenan had implied Ivan had served and now was taking his piece of land including servitors with him – and symbolically retiring as the widower of a fallen military officer; Ivan wanted people to understand this by the use of the term. It also meant that the importance of marriage and politics means one cannot have two centers.  The traditional idea of the boyar-grand prince postulate was the boyars wanted to be close to the tsar. In the Oprichnina, there was a big-mixup in this political system -- two concentric circles – now existed. Therefore, this was an untenable dual-power situation and as a result, everyone suffered in the Oprichnina.

 Like Platonov, of whom Keenan admired him for his clarity, the Harvard professors believed that the Oprichnina did not end until Ivan’s death.  Hellie believed it fully ended in 1572, as a result of the inability of the Oprichniki forces to stop the Crimean assault on Moscow ( according to Kurbskii, Ivan actually fled the scene and didn’t attempt to face the Khan’s forces.). Still, according to Keenan, Ivan did not stop his agitation against a system he was born into and forced to live out his position of symbolic head of the Rus’ people. As a result, Ivan married seven times. A series of marriages are disruptive so that people fight for the line of succession, so as to facilitate a series of marriages to create chaos within the inner circles.  Each marriage will up a new set of conflicts in the concentric circles of power surrounding the grand prince. We know after the fourth marriage, Ivan was excommunicated. This also meant that any sons of his would be ineligible, technically that is, to become a grand prince. Keenan’s argument may represent a part of the tsar’s deliberate struggle to abdicate the throne.

The ability of Ivan to remain in an Oprich, stemmed not from a psychoanalysis but from a psychological standpoint . We understand the Livonian war was always continuing during this period, and the Ottoman’s, even though it will be argued in spirit, were attempting to take advantage of Muscovite’s immoral imperialism (albeit, this is the way internationalism works, they forget their done deeds but blame others). It was Ivan’s war according to the sources, as affirmed in The Tsar’s Two Bodies, by Keenan. Kurbskii recognized it as soley Ivan’s aim for the Muscovite state in opposition of turning toward the south/east championed by his favourites.

1566 (June) zemskii sobor which supported the government's decision to reject Polish offers of a truce and to continue the war was distinguished by the unusual diversity of its delegates. Besides the members of the boiar duma and the sacred council, the delegates included 204 members of the service nobility and 75 representatives of the merchant class.[79] Their moral backing of the Ottomans, which led to infiltrated spies to survey the land of Crimea, added a constant “awareness” of military threat for the Muscovite central authority. In 1475, The Crimean Khan had become a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. However, it was in 1569 that an Ottoman attempt to take Astrakhan’ with alliance of the Crimean Tartar failed. Still this failure did not deter the Muslim attempts to enact future attempts to punish the imperialist Muscovites.

{Psychology used in } International relations as used in Platonov’s text contrast the interior relations of post-Soviet historians looking at this period of family squabbles and a leader who wanted out of a system. It is surmised to say post-Soviet historians want to explain the Oprichnina by a catchword to express whole chain of events which duly contrast themselves in the sources. Some would say “Oprich” and give the definition, while others would say “irrational” were the actions of a madman. Needless to say, Keenan does not bring into the picture the ramifications of imperialistic actions. The recriminations, the diversity of people, and management problems did exist. In advertently, he may have added to the pre-Soviet and Soviet historian’s viewpoint. Ivan had to weaken the boyars and the princes in order to escape kingship. However, to Keenan, this cannot be an “irrational” action, although some points given by him indicated Ivan was in pain and possibly contributed to “rash” actions as a result. Be that it may, the weakening of the boyars and princes were in fact causes of the Oprichnina, according to Keenan’s extracts of The Tsar’s Two Bodies.

Although curiously enough, as Platonov struggled with Ivan’s war exploits, Keenan argued Ivan “seems not too have had much taste for the arts of Mars.”[80]  In referring to Platonov’s arguments without admittance that the Livonian war was solely Ivan’s, we appreciate Keenan’s uncommitment to a specific view on the origins of the Oprichnina. “ At some point, however, he seems to “come out of the closet” if I may extend my previous image [ note! Platonov’s thesis here on the word in use of “image”] without unintended ambiguity. The Livonian campaigns seem to be his [ Ivan’s], somehow, more than Kazan’ and Astrakhan’ ones had been. And the stunning event of his departure from Moscow in 1564 – traditionally the beginning of the Oprichnina, is apparently a personal and independent act, just as the Oprichnina seems – one cannot be sure—to be his own idea and undertaking.”[81]  The sober view of Keenan reflected Platonov’s. How could a co-ruler suddenly take over the controls of a state, and imperialistic state that is gaining power in numbers of people and wealth, and then have people follow his commands – in order to murder them, exile them, and persecute them?

Keenan argues, as well as Platonov, that many boyars and princes did not lose power during the Oprichnina-proper. Ivan takes with him selected old aristocracy, who according to Platonov had sworn allegiance. This allegiance was not to him, but to the “idea” of the Oprichnina. The sources do say that many boyars and princes recovered their land after the Oprichnina proper and returned to their traditional powerful positions. However, there seems to have been, as Kliuchevskii pointed out, high-ranking individuals who lost everything. If this was some ill advised coup of certain powerful inner-circle families, it was surely hidden from the sources. What is particular to note, as well as Platonov making it evidence more than once in text, the period immediately proceeding the Oprichnina,  the official sources go silent. We can only assume as to why – we will never know.

Platonov:  interpretive problems

Textual difficulties for Platonov surely developed throughout the text, and could have resulted in impetrative problems, and in this case these developments would not have been Hellie’ fault in following a difficult lexicography. Platonov offered two pictures, and accounts for who was in control, without explaining in text ( but in chapter one he did) –w hcih would confuse a casual reader. This also caught Hellie’s eye and called for an attentive reader when exploring Platonov’s Ivan the Terrible.

Platonov showed two places in his text where the sources reveal an intent to abdicate by Ivan. First, this led to the creation of the Oprichnina, and the second was post Oprichnina. However, in text, Platonov continues the chronological narrative, post-Oprichnina,  showing how Ivan returns to co-rulership. Astounding as it may seem, the terms ‘government, and Muscovite government” are used in place of Ivan did this, or Ivan did that. Here, again, Ivan is not in control as an autocrat. Together, he is help solving the issues after the Tatar attacks, and planning defensive measures, to illustrate some of the duties Ivan is taking part in with the government after he abolished the Oprichniki. We can understand that when the terms “autocrat,” and “ Absolutism” appear in the text, we are noticing the use of the source for Andrei Kurbsky, and this is not Platonov’s view, but his construction.

When Platonov is explaining the procedure Ivan used to move the aristocracy away from the center of Muscovy to either, according to the conflicting sources, and illustrating the weakening of the aristocracy or the helping by the aristocracy to manage the outlying regions, he draws a relevance to Ivan’s grandfather’s tradition of moving nobles from conquered territories to the center of Muscovy, and exporting loyal servitors out from the center of Muscovy to the conquered territories. Platonov had already explained this fully in his Time of Troubles and drew parallels at the beginning of Ivan the Terrible to illustrate Ivan’s grandfather’s policy of vyvod, which apparently gave Ivan the idea. The only innovation Ivan placed into this old idea was to reverse it. New servators would be incorporated into the central region of Muscovy, while the many in the old aristocracy would be moved away ( in another section and discussed here, Platonov notes Ivan kept certain aristocratic people with him, giving them lands and power in the territory of the Oprichnina, this remains important to keep in mind always).

In one source, Platonov shows that Ivan IV deported his domestic adversaries away from Moscow-- not toward it. In order for Ivan to accomplish this, according to some sources,  Ivan had to run a campaign of political terror on his own people, by constructing the division of the state, and ruling it by an iron hand. In the Time of Troubles, the old aristocracies were the only rulers capable to manage vast portions of lands, and new people. Their traditions brought them experience. By leaving new people to rule the new conquered territories, remember this is before institutions, they as inexperienced managers were susceptible to dominance by strongmen of the area, who knew how to manipulate their surroundings to gain advantage in their favor. The old aristocracy had been raised to understand the complexities of strongmen and could deal better with their independent spirit by enacting the same traditions to suppress independent individuals they governed as a rule for their power in the appanages. Troubling as this may seem, irrationality and rationality can operate together by understanding a duel motive force in one reality for a necessity to move part of the aristocracy away from their traditional abodes. This way, Ivan weakened the power of the aristocracy, and helped to secure the new territories. In order to do this, one needed to take control. Many Soviet historians contended that Ivan had to take control in order to accomplish this feat. We do not know if this was a reason during the time. What we do know is that it happened. Both cases are rational, or in a meaning of having a reason for moving them away from the center, this meant a positive measure, none-the-less.

What Platonov contends, but doesn’t hold as a view, was moving the aristocracy to the zemshchina, was accompanied by irrationality – that is the negative view of Ivan’s actions, in this case.   Platonov admitted the later expression could have come about peacefully under the reign of Fedor. Here Platonov questioned rationality of the Oprichnina. The political terror Ivan enacted on his people remained in Platonov’s mind "this insane and generally unnecessary terror."[82]  Platonov gave various sources to show why the aristocracy was moved away from the center of Muscovy to the outlying regions. This confused many Russian historians because it demonstrated a different reasons ( rationality) for confiscating vochiny, and moving many boyars to govern the zemshchina.

Andrie Pavlov and Maureen Perrie’s – Oprichnina was a Centralization – By A Seriorsexual Maniac

Andrie Pavlov and Maureen Perrie’s interpretation of the Oprichinina come from Kurbskii. “The essence of the oprichninia conflict lay not in a context between ‘ centralizing’ and ‘anti-centralizing’ forces. But in  disagreement between the tsar and his former associates concerning the way in which centralization should be implemented. The nub of this quarrel may be found in the famous correspondence between Ivan and Kurbskii. Tsar Ivan insisted on the unquestionable subordination of all of its subjects – from the most eminent boyar to the humblest peasant – to the will of the autocratic monarch.”[83] This popular history can also be found in Eisenstein’s move “ Ivan the Terrible.” Ivan/Kurbskii source remains a key force in the Muscovite historiography. However, Platonov gave a different view of this disagreement. In part, the contention lay in which direction to imperialize. As one will see in his narrative, Ivan was bent on turning Muscovy’s direction westward, while his “associates” were bent on turning the military south/eastward – both had legitimate reasons, some dire.

PART XIV Platonov Source Problems of Autocrat

When not tying down Platonov to a particular view of Ivan’s era we must call into question his treatment of the sources he presents. Platonov’s show a young Ivan recognizing his autocratic power at age thirteen and ordering a leading member, Prince Andrei Mikhailovich Shuisky, imprisoned. A similar account Platonov did not use appears in the The Chronicle of the Beginning of the Tsardom. This source, said to have been written in the 1550s at the court by someone close to the events, describes Ivan making an autocratic decisions at eight years old. Ivan decides to free Ivan Fedorovich Bel’skii and prince Andrei Mikhailovich Shuiskii from captivity. 21 It is hard to know if Ivan at such a young age makes these decisions or if these sources want to present the future tsar in control. Russian historian Edward Keenan pointed out in a public lecture it was convenient to promote the absolute, autocratic and tyrannical power of their leaders, even at a young age. In this way, he said, foreigners “propagated it conscientiously.” After the account, in Ivan the Terrible’s narrative, Platonov describes, the Glinsky clan took power (1544-46) and continued the violence. The narrative contained many different and conflicting sources.

Platonov had been careful of the sources he used. One chronicle account Platonov did not accept gave the Oprichnina victim list at 60,000. He pointed out instead to look at the source for the testimony of Ivan’s “synodal.” Under the victim count for Novgorod where one of the most violent episodes of the Oprichnina period happened, it gave only a listing of 1,505 victims. Regarding government reforms, he said the chronicles between 1550-1566 were scarce and illegible.  In another reference to sources, he said “Unfortunately, little reliable and specific information is preserved concerning the years 1559-1564, which formed the interval between the period Ivan’s personal selected council -- the “chosen council.”[84] After 1566 and until the end of the Oprichinia period proper, Platonov attributes all the reforms of the first period in his narrative to either the ”chosen council" or to Ivan himself. In other commentary, it is Muscovy or the government which has the decision making processes. This remains on the conflicting assessments of a view to Platonov. If we placed a view into the mouth of Platonov, Which of his various and conflicting sources should we pick?

A.M. Kurbsky's Sources?

Ibrannaya Rada [duma]” or “chosen council” appears only in once source -- Kurbsky’s The History of the Grand Princes of Moscow. Also, this “council” is eluded too by Ivan in the Ivan-Kurbsky correspondence. These writings were said to be written after Kurbsky’s defection to Lithuania in 1564. This was an important historical source for Platonov. This source made up Ivan’s characterization, both positive and negative and can be seen as a direct influence of the school of St. Petersburg approach.  One historian’s study concluded that the “chosen council” was a construct of Kurbsky. Keenan’s study concluded it was a forgery possibly constructed in the seventeenth century.

Hellie had said in his response to Keenan’s The Kurbskii-Groznyi Apocrypha that Kurbsky’s writings were not necessary to construct the period of Ivan’s era. This source for Platonov was central in formulating the backdrop to Ivan’s decision to form the Oprichnina. Platonov did not believe as Hellie did that these sources were adequate to construct a factual picture of Muscovy.

Platonov relied on A.M. Kurbsky's alleged correspondence and his work History of the Grand Prince of Moscow for his main source on Ivan's character. Edward Keenan of Harvard University, in his The Kurbskii-Groznyi Apocrypha argued the letters between Ivan IV and his friend and lieutenant Andrei Kurbsky were seventeenth century forgeries by more than one author.  Keenan struck the wrath of Hellie who bitterly responded and tentivly accepted it as a viable second source. It must be understood without the use of this source, contrary to Hellie’s protests, this placed Ivan into a light of an unstable man – not fit for rulership. In Platonov, this source had already been in dispute. The inside knowledge these letters exhibited assured  R. G. Skrynnikov, a prominent student of Ivan IV,  to regard Keenan's thesis lacked scientific substantiation [85]

In The History of the Muscovite Grand Prince, Kurbsky and Ivan argued over absolutism. However, in Spain, absolutism became a theme of the past as the Duke of Lerma received a viceroy of Naples and was raised to administer position of prime minister-likeness, called a validos - strong men or favorites.  Prior to this governmental change, the Spanish had known absolutism. Spanish King, Philip II: (16 January 1556 – 13 September 1598) represented the archetypal absolute monarch who micromanaged his vast empire from his office.  It had been argued by Keenan that this term was never in use in Muscovy.

Ibrannaya Rada is of Polish origin, not a Russian term. In the correspondence both argued over philosophy and demonstrated mastery of argument. This indicated scholastic or rhetoric training. Kurbsky spent most of his life on the battlefield and was not raised in the court. 23 As a witness in a court case in Lithuania, Kurbsky was asked to sign some documents to confirm his appearance. He made an ‘x’ in place of his name. However, we must keep in mind that “ideas,” such as socialism were in fact argued by Aristotle in his dissertation on the comparisons of Athens’s democracy and the Persian’s Socialism. They happened to be in Greek word forms, but the “ideas” were important for Aristotle to convey – the discussion on the government ideas of those two comparable states remarkably sound just as convincing today as they did during the beginning of the Hellenistic age. Absolutism is comparable to dictatorship or autocracy, as a general compliance term. The Ivan-Kurbskii correspondence and the The History  are not as technically masterful as one would believe, and remains more of a chatty-type of descriptiveness and parts appear formulaic – rather contrived.

“ We have none of the original texts of the literary works attributed to Ivan, only their copies; and from these we cannot reconstruct exactly the author’s own text.”[86] Even Platonov who believed the Ivan- Kurbskii correspondence was authentic still cautioned against its authenticity. [ support  this sentence] However, the Platonov’s narrative employs many polemic passages of the Ivan- Kurbskii correspondence and,  he does not try to explain the use of them, in text. During Platonov’s time, the correspondence was disputed. It is still today. Although, some modern historians believe it was an invention by seventeenth century historians or political figures, the intimate knowledge of the letters brings in questions of how did someone gather this intimate knowledge?

Literacy in Muscovy – No Need to Be Literate

Both Kollman and Keenan argued over qualifications of literacy in sixteenth century Muscovy. Keenan exposé on printing presses, the financial difficulty to operate and import proper paper, indicated a vast quest to prove the government and elite of Muscovy remained illiterate. They argued, during the sixteenth century in Muscovy there was no need to be literate. The clergy of the monasteries took care of recording procedures. It has also been suggested that Kursbky learned to read and write while living in Lithuania. Both Ivan and Kurbsy’s writing styles are similar. Although no original copies exist, there were many variations of reproductions.

Using the Kurbsky sources, Platonov paints Ivan’s character in a rather unfavorable light. Platonov makes a point that Ivan refused to face enemies in Battle. When Livonia regrouped under Bathory, he refused to face them in battle, but retreated to the forest when he was heading the army personally. Although this strategy could be to save an army, the reference in Kurbsky paints Ivan’s character as a “coward.” Platonov does not miss this, mentioning “coward” a few times in his text in regards to this source. Another time Ivan was cited by Kurbsky as a coward, was the Tatar attack on Moscow in 1572. Ivan again took his Oprichniki forces and retreated in efforts to save himself and his men. The Zemshchina happened to save the day, as well as the Moscow stationed boyars who defended the Kremlin from total destruction. Platonov using the same source material points out, Ivan sends his so-called friends periodically to the front lines to fight the wars for him.  How did Ivan’s cowardly actions affect the people seeing a leader that was constantly retreating in the later part of his life?  Although, Platonov would call Ivan a statesman on the battlefield,  he called Ivan by insinuating the source as a “coward.” Platonov believed the The Kurbskii-Groznyi correspondence and, therefore Ivan was viewed in a negative light ( note no mention of irrational ever by the author). This contends Hellie’s assessment that Platonov should be treated as a Russian historian who attributed an ongoing “rational causality” in Ivan historiography.

In stark contrast, using the Kurbsky sources again, Platonov paints Ivan’s character in a rather favorable light. After 1562 when Ivan personally took an army to the city of Polotsk, took a strategic fortress that protected Vil'na, the Livonian capital, he was seen as a hero. The Kurbsky sources address positive aspects of Ivan’s popular rule. This is a big theme with Platonov, because later Ivan refused to fight the khan’s forces that burnt Moscow, and to make matters worse he sends his so-called friends periodically to the front lines to fight the wars for him.

Autopsy:  Was Ivan In Physical Pain?

 (*181) We can possible add one more piece of the puzzle and we know Platonov would have desired to have this assessment of the tsar. Around 1964 Ivan’s body was exhumed from the Cathedral of Archangel Michael in the Kremlin and sent for an autopsy report. The results were nothing less than startling. Ivan’s body had developed with an enlargement of the left side. The right clavicle was abnormally shorter than the left; the left shoulder blade was larger and more massive than the right. Ivan’s whole torso was noticeably asymmetrical. The whole spine was thought to be welded into a single position. Osteophytes on the vertebrae had fused; and around the joints of the long bones of the extremities ridged shaped and lumped – shaped growths were found. Particularly extreme development of such growth (osteophytes) was found in all areas where muscles were attached." Ivan was in great pain.

The amount of mercury found in his system was very great. Mercury was normally associated with pain medication in those days.[87]  The autopsy did not conclude a definitive answer to explain the tsar’s strange actions, but it provided one more piece of the puzzle as to why Ivan may have wanted to retire into private life.

We can remain assured of Platonov’s place in the history of Ivan. He provided us with more than one way of looking at him, using both rational and irrational ways. He used both schools of thought to formulate only a picture of the tsar. 28 He tried to show absolutism with the use of Kurbsky’s writings, and formulate a picture of Ivan’s autocratic rise to power.  Yet he claimed not to understand the Oprichnina and Ivan’s life as a whole. There were not enough sources to do this he said.  In this way, he was only a formulator of history and left further interpretation open to future historians. This represented a true historian. He may have made mistakes by being a product of his generation.  He did not have all the access to information we have today. He remained honest, although, by not writing Ivan the Terrible as content.  


The Moscow line of The Rurikids or Riurikovichi.

1.        Ivan Kalita (r. 1328-41) won the right to the iarlyk. (Founder, MJM)

2.        Ivan II, the Meek (r. 1353-59)

3.        Dmitrii Donskoi (r. 1359-89)

4.        Basil I (1389-1425)

5.        Basil II, the blind (1425-62)

6.        Ivan III, the Great m. Zoe Paleologue ( patrimony, coercive, state building ( takes Novgorod)

7.        Basil III (Vasilli) m. Helen Glinskaia, Regent 1533-38

8.        Ivan IV, the Terrible m. Anastasia Romanova (coercive, state building ( takes Mongol Lands)

9.        the childless tsar Feodor (d. January 7, 1598), of the Moscow line of Riurikovichi, died leaving a dynastic vacuum.

Table: Muscovite line of Ivans’ up till Ivan IV, dispersed by the over-all line of the Moscow line of Riurikovichi. ( note: numbers system apply to modern times, not back then, they were known by their names only)

Ivan Kalita ([Ivan I], and Yuri Danilovich’s successor, Subsequently, Uzbeg Khan supported Yuri over Mikhail Yaroslavich, second son of Yaroslav III who was assassinated by the Khan’s forces, allegedly; during the period of the 1300s: Struggle for grand-princely title: Moscow vs. Tver', Suzdal', Riazan') won the Grand Princedom from the Khan currently controlling the khanates east of Muscovy and he had begun to buy neighboring principalities and purchasing slaves back from the Khan to place them into the service for the Russian peoples. His nickname was ' money bags' because he had won the right to collect taxes for the Khan. Over time the tribute payments lessened, and the tax on the Russian people remained the same which meant that the winners of the tax collection privilege pocketed the difference. The Kalita faction used this extra money for purchasing power of lands and non-free-people.  They also used it to promote themselves by building elaborate buildings as symbols of their legitimacy. They won allegiance and notoriety which led to their favor in political legitimacy. This included controlling the direction of Muscovy. The faction invited great artists, builders and engineers from the west.

The Khan didn't mind this as long as he got his payments in full. Other aspects of the gathering of lands dealt with an issue of patrimony. Ivan III (1462-1505) claimed Novgorod was his domain, and he made war against them and brought them into the sphere of Muscovite politics. He also added the principalities of Tver' to his domains. Finally Moscow took control of all the north-eastern lands, but this can only be prefaced with the disintegration of the Khanate at Sarai which was weakened mainly after Tamerlane cut-off their main financial control of the silk-route. The remnants of the Mongol-Tatar Horde could no longer threaten all the Muscovite lands with a continued plan of subjugation any longer; and either purchase a large military without the access to profits of the silk-route. However, a complexity continues between who ruled who, and the grand princes kept sending tribute, at a lesser amount mainly as a gesture. But more likely, the complexity continued  to keep the Khanate in belief they were under their control. In return the Khans’ supported the grand princes politically, albeit the tension of loosing control was felt by the eastern Khanates.

While Platonov only begun with Ivan’s uncle, he understood what was taking place. The Rus’ people were reforming their freedom that was once lost to the Mongol-Tatars, during the Russo-Mongol-Tatar period. This was an historical process of the Moscow school of thought “in action”, frowned upon by Hellie as a dogmatic explanation of Muscovite leaders making their own agency. Ivan Vasilievich understood this was his heritage and responsibility to continue. A significant part of this heritage is land and people management. This was not as easy as one side was unified, as might be assumed?

When Tamerlane devastated the Sarai trade-link to the silk-rout, the only possibility left for its survival was to accomplish an alliance with the princes of Muscovy. N.S. Trubetzkoy describes this dilemma in the Khanates’ program of mutual alliance, while still feeling it had control by the princes sending taxes annually:  

Thus, the external history of the “rise of Moscow,” or the beginning of the Russian state, can be depicted in the following manner. The Tatars looked upon Russian state they had conquered as a single province. From the perspective of the Tatar state system, the financial and administrative unification of the Russian province was much to be desired. The Muscovite princes took this task upon themselves, and in doing so they were champions of the Horde’s political strategy and agents representing the central Tatar government.[88] 

Both Muscovy and the remnants of the Horde were in political survival mode and both needed each other to survive. This could explain major battles between them when both citizens of the opposite side fought against each other.

Ivan III, Ivan’s grandfather married the the niece of last Byzantine emperor and she, Thomas Palaiologos daughter Zoe ,was raised in Italy. Thomas Palaiologos or Palaeologus (Greek: Θωμάς Παλαιολόγος, Thōmas Palaiologos) (1409– May 12, 1465) was Despot in Morea from 1428 until the Ottoman conquest in 1460. After the desertion of his older brother to the Turks in 1460, Thomas Palaiologos became the most legitimate claimant to the Byzantine throne. The Pope helped engineered the marriage in hopes to Catholicize Russia, but nothing came of the marriage. Zoe returned to her earlier name Sophia and when she came to Rus’, she brought with her cannon makers, and many western technologies never seen in Rus’.

This reflected a new era called the Muscovite synthesis. Ivan III sent more than one expedition to Venice, Italy to gather up architects, practical scientists, and knowledgeable people to help legitimize Muscovy in various constructive projects. This plan of legitimacy consisted of massive building projects that incorporated Italian styles as well as regional styles of traditional Rus’ towns and cities. This way, Moscow and its local surrounding reflected this traditional Rus’ synthesis and also attempted a modernized look.

As Moscow grew politically, it also grew powerfully due to increased economic conditions for workers to make a living. This brought into the center of the Moscow region a vibrant suburb. Control had been also an issue. Ivan III, when he conquered Novgorod under his program of right to patrimony, he moved the elite families of Novgorod to Muscovy in order to keep a watchful eye on them. He also annexed Tver’ in 1485. Ivan’s father also contributed to this gathering of lands program. He annexed Pskov in 1510, captured Smolensk in 1514, and annexed Ryazan in 1521. We are then later to believe by post-Soviet historians that during Ivan Vasilievich’s reign, these subjugated people and the Novgorod elite were passive. Ivan’s grandfather and father may have been lucky and also may have been strong leaders. What we do know is during Ivan’s minority, the upper class clans around the baby grand prince, the inner circle families, begun to become unstable.

Prior clan instability consisted of maiming, poking out eyes and general removal of day-to-day power by these procedures, now clans were murdering each other in a fight for control of the powerful positions in the Muscovite central authority. The Lithuanian army under the command of Jerzy Radziwill, Andrzej Niemirowicz, the Polish Hetman Tarnowski and the fugitive Russian, Semen Bel’sky, again invaded the surrounds of Novgorod-Sevcrsky. During the battle for Starodub the voevoda was captured and 13,000 of the inhabitants were killed [89] No longer were the Novgorodian elite the western flanking protective for Moscow. Serious consequences resulted in Ivan’s grandfather’s and father’s actions.

The influence of the Novgorodian subjugated would never go away. This western most city had contacts in the west not part of the Rus’ian people. Its traditional autonomy for much of the Russo-Mongol-Tatar period created an agency ( see lit. def. above).  Many of the relative had been killed in Ivan III’s conquest. When they are forced to live in Moscow, we are led to believe they loved their forced circumstances. As baby, the Muscovite ruler could have been a possible period to agitate their grievance of long-forced subjugation. We are led to believe that the Ivan minority clans struggles came from nowhere, and no possibly explanation of anything else should exist. This undogmatic, referring to Hellie’s phraseology, interpretations of things that could lead up to clan instability, can be justified by not referring to it as a tension of the small ruling Muscovite elite.  Instead, to explain the feuding clan period (1534-1547) catch-all phrases of “greedy,” “power hungry,” or “intrigue” better describe the tensions inside the Kremlin.  A schematic interpretation assumes that Novgorodians subjugated in Moscow were not what appeared to be – all beautiful and complacent and resolved at Ivan III’s policy and the circumstances happening to their traditional homeland by Livonian coalitional forces. 

 Pressure on the small few ruling in the grand prince’s place, and the addition to a geographical-wife influx of new people created a need to modernize the government system. Change had to come either forced or voluntary. Evidence suggests it came by force in the clan instability period. After this period and Ivan had been crowned, and became of adult age, reforms of the government were finally addressed. What this tells us is changed was needed in Muscovy and a plan of tradition of the Muscovite Rurikids was hatched. The conquest of Kazan was planned, and reforms were needed to gather up a military worthy to fight, die and seek treasure. This was just an extension of the gathering of lands program. Only this time, imperialism ( word not used then) would bring reprisals to the Muscovite people later in Ivan’s reign.

The first Sudebnik, or Code of Law, had been promulgated in 1497 and was largely a compilation of procedural rules. Ivan’s Sudebnik of 1550 was much more ambitious and complex, dealing heavily with matters of local administration.[90] During the Sudebnik, Ivan made a famous plea for the fighting to stop between the clans. “ He set common good as the objective of his administration innovations and strove for it not only by preaching repentance and reconciliation but by practical matters as well,” Platonov tells us.[91] Ivan launched his official administration in 1549 with charters and a code of laws. What is important here is not the authorship of Ivan, or acknowledgement of other’s impute, but why these things took place. Why not remain the way the government was run during Ivan’s father’s day? Post-Soviet historians view this type of reasoning as dogmatic and schematic. These reforms helped progress Muscovy away from the extreme primitive social structure of loosely governed districts to allow a stronger and benevolent connection to the Muscovite central authority, while allowing an air of autonomy to local administrations, which acted in the interest of both the government and the localities.

The Rus’ people living as a theocracy since the 980s had to report these changes to the Church Council in 1551, asking for approval. Even if we are led to believe Ivan was not the director of Muscovite future, we understand that the Church was part of the ruling process. Even if it was procedural, the Church had to be involved. What this told us is these reforms were massive and on a scale fit to accomplish Muscovy’s first major imperialism endeavor.

These measures followed others and increased local recognition from administrations to the Muscovite central authority made Ivan a populous hero, according to Platonov. Changes included taxation, military service, laws and local courts, representation of local administrations to the central authority – instead of just being told what to do – and a new service class which provided jobs. This could have only happened with the planning for the conquest of Kazan.

Kazan and its Implications

Richard Hellie wants future historians to take his pathological interpretation and compare it with Platonov’s claim that the Oprichinina was not “a senseless venture of a half-witted tyrant.”[92] On one aspect of Hellie’s pathological interpretation is his definition of the middle aged paranoid man. “From available evidence it is reasonable to conclude Ivan was a classic paranoid.” Platonov does cite this as one of Ivan’s conditions, however, Hellie goes on to say, “ The evidence cited here, together with that on record elsewhere, demonstrates that Ivan made erroneous judgments about threats to him posed by others, dangers which did not correlate to experience. This is the basic feature of paranoia, a disorder of the middle age (35-50). Ivan was 35 to 42 years of age at the time of the Oprichnina. Paranoia frequently occurs after the death of a spouse, as seems true in Ivan’s case. The sadism, debauchery, and sexual abuse institutionalized in the years of 1565-1572 suggest erotomaniac expressions of paranoia. Today the disorder seems to afflict particularly the more intelligent, more educated elements of society. The impressions of Ivan gained by numerous foreigners picture a highly intelligent, knowledgeable individual.”[93] Hellie inadvertently contradicted his claim against Platonov’s claim. Hellie then agrees with Platonov that Ivan was not a “half-witted” person, but intelligent. Intelligence usually describes a learned person. However, the only remaining conflict remains in the Hellie vs. Platonov claim is the Oprichnina was “a senseless venture.”

[On the other hand] Russian historiography on Ivan the Terrible shifted more than once, from an ignorant and irrational tyrant, to competent and brilliant statesmen, and then back to an ignorant and irrational tyrant, of current Russian literature. Prior to the juridical-scientific school of thought, Platonov explains, Ivan was viewed negatively and scant in-depth critical and archival research had not been attempted. The assessments for Ivan’s ill refuted moniker came from foreign sources, which in part spawned the moniker “terrible.” There were no contemporary sources which refereed too Ivan as ‘terrible.’ The first era of Ivan writings were mainly from second hand sources, people viewing these foreign ‘ prime sources,’ which were drawn upon by third-party observations’ during Ivan’s reign.  Ivan was intelligent, but weak as a ruler, a general consensus drawn from the foreign accounts. This view was further developed under the Slavophile school of thought and incorporated into the Karmazin’s “riddle” of Ivan’s contradiction – between his superior intellect and his weak will is the basic characteristic that explains his entire nature.[94]  An eighteenth century historian, Prince M.M. Shcherbatov, in his History of Russia, “having studied the history of this sovereign,” came to the conclusion that Ivan “seems to have so many sides that he often appears to have been more than one man.” Platonov states that Shcherbatov was captivated by the contradiction in the sources.[95] However, Ivan was viewed as negatively, in general during the popular history period of the sixteenth to eighteenth century.

Things changed in Russian historiography with S. M. Soloview and other Russian historians (date and period, school?). They began the “historical-juridical school of thought. This school of thought described the Russian people followed a continuous line of development in which the historical life of the Russian people embodied the entire process of the development of the patriarchal form of life into state forms. Soloviev wished to determine the role played by Ivan in this process, Platonov tells us.[96]  The change from popular historical approach to Ivan to a more circumspect relationship of the Muscovite people to their times came with Soloviev “ who saw Ivan as a positive figure who was the bearer of the state ‘principle.’” Ivan grasped the problems of his times better than did those contemporaries who were more conservative, Platonov claimed as Soloviev’s view, in this text.[97] In circumspect, Ivan’s progressive thinking established a new state ideology. How did Soloviev accomplish this thought process?

Soloviev took the focus of historicy away the Russian leaders’ and used logic to understand the circumstances surrounding them. What was going on internationally around the leader was just as important as what was going on in his immediate surroundings. Thereby, he placed back into the role of the leader the “state principle.” A principle of state concerns the circumspect functioning’s of groups of people happening outside of the immediate inner circle of Muscovite rule. Prior to this Muscovite historiograghy, the focus concerned only the leader as sole harbinger and vanguard of the direction of the Muscovite people. Truly, as Platonov points out, this was a turning point in Russian historiography.

Natural ebb and flow of historical groups vying for land and management of these circumstances {put agent here} now played a major role in Russian historiography, regarding the period Ivan Vasilievich lived. Looking to the outside forces surrounding the Muscovite people, Soloviev understood outside factors and the control of these factors constituted an association with statehood,  which subsequently came in the  historical genre of moments in time.  Platonov’s methodology would reflect Soloviev’s and his historicity became a categorizing of periods of time in the Muscovite era, as moments. These moments can be described as vignettes which compartmentalize sub-themes that ultimately tie together a grand theme, and in this case, of Russian life in the sixteenth century.  For example, “The moment, when the wave of colonization rolled up to these barriers and the impetuous flood of population was thereby somewhat contained, marked an important turning-point not only in the economic life of the country but its political life as well.”[98] Platonov tells us Soloviev described the populating of new lands as a fluid condition, but noted the concern that the “political authorities lacked the power to check these masses of people and bind them in place or organize them in keeping with the aims and intentions of the state and subordinate them to the will of the state.”[99]  The outside forces forced a new perspective in population management. Another reason the Zemshchina  was needed in order to manage these people.

Platonov describes this juncture in the 1550s in more detail in the last chapter. “ The government first noticed disorder among the Muscovite people about the year 1570, but this disorder had of course begun earlier.”[100] Platonov is recognizing a chronicle mentioning the disorder at a later date, but logically this disorder appeared two decades prior. “Presumably it was occasioned, first, by the strenuous efforts to the authorities to regulate the system of service land tenure and, secondly, by the conquest of Kazan. Both occurred in the 1550s.”[101]   The conquest of Kazan created enormous changes in traditional practices of the Muscovite system. It created a need to overhaul the land management and the people on these lands.

Restructuring of the Lands and the Social Hierarchy According to a Ranking System

One such change concerned the general service system to the state of the people. pomest'e (or pomestie) system: Service tenure land given by the central authorities to servitors in return for service to the state. It was conditional, an economic base for the aristocracy,  and tied all strata of servitors in varying degrees to the sovereign. It could be revoked if the service tenure landholder (pomeshchik) failed to render service. Increasingly, from the fifteenth to the sixteenth centuries, it replaced or operated alongside the patrimonial land (votchina) owned outright by its lord who could will it to descendants without approval.[102] Begun toward end of fifteenth century, becoming widespread after the annexation of Novgorod, Ivan III confiscated Novgorod boyar’s votchiny and extensive church landholdings.  By the time of Ivan IV onward (decree 10/3/1550), deti boiarskie made up the majority responsible for rendering military service to the sovereign.  It contributed to a single integrated army for a newly unified Russian state. It acted like a system of rewarding a noble’s work for a state with land. As it grew, it played a major factor in the seventeenth century diminishing differences between landlords and service class gentry as the Ulozhenie code indicated. Peter I’s reforms founded a permanent army and a civil service and this system was no longer needed.

Migration and Settlements and Land Management

The changing of the structure of the pomest'e system in the 1550s now affected the centralization of groupings of settlements in the vicinity of Moscow. Settlements of a full thousand servitors on service tenure estates and stricter tax-paying land expedients created a burden imposed on the people by the Muscovite central authority and encouraged emigrations to new and more desirable places.[103] What we are seeing is a developing need for land and group management, in which the Zemshchina was one such solution a decade later.

In the 1550s, groups who lived under the sphere of  Muscovite influence began to spread out in three directions. In the 1550s, masses of people moved eastward and northwestward, partly encouraged in their migration by the civil authorities.[104] To the south, a new people calling themselves Cossacks roamed the vast expanse that reached to the Northern Donets and the Lower Don. On the banks of the “steppe” rivers they erected their hunting camps, and felt tents [iurty], where they lived by hunting and fishing. But there was better business to be found in the “Wild Field.”[105] Eventually the southern boarders of Muscovy became a management problem.

A Cossack or a group of Cossacks pursued military employment in the “Wild Field”, and along the “steppe.” “Once having formed a military detachment, called a stanista, and having chosen an “ataman,” they could go south to the Back Sea and obtain “homespun coats” in the Tatar and Turkish settlements. On the steppe roads, the Shliakhi, that ran from Muscovy to the south, they could rob Russian and foreign merchants and even ambassadors from the Tsar and the Khan. Finally when summoned by the Tsar, they could hire themselves out to state service and join the Muscovite army in special attachments. In this manner men followed each other into the “Wild Field” In the 1550s, funds were of no concern for Muscovy. In the ensuing two decades, funds became a source of problem for hiring out “special attachments” in the southern lands. Eventually in the mid-1560s, this became a great concern to Muscovy, and constitutes an added hypothesis that the Zemshchina could solve. Platonov pointing this out was an importance piece in this historiography of Ivan Vasilievich.

When the discussion in the early 1550s came about concerning making attempts to gain access to the Baltic and defend the southern and eastern lands from threats from the Ottomans and other Tatar groups, financing became the key issue. Boyar, princes, and a variety of long time servitors to the Muscovite central authority were already on pay-roll, be it incentives, land or posts appointments {Support this sentence}. However, hiring Cossacks and wanderers became an expensive proposal. The southern lands not only needed military servitors, but more importantly it needed land and people managers. A problem discussed was an age old problem, and Platonov points this out. New people incorporated into Muscovy by the conquest of Kazan and later Astrakhan was not loyal to the Muscovite central authority, unless there was an advantage provided for their loyalty. If the Muscovite central authority could not pay-out large amounts of cash to competent new land and people managers, they needed to provide trusted people for these positions. If boyars, princes, and a variety of long time servitors to the Muscovite central authority were already on pay-roll, the central authority could expedite the fiscal situation by moving some of these offices to the needed areas. { I need to find support}

At first, Platonov tells us the Muscovite authorities promoted migration to fill the void of non-loyal people to the Wild Field and to the Volga regions. “Ivan’s contemporaries felt that he even encouraged this exodus to the south, in order to “fill the boarders of his land with military men and thereby strengthen frontier forts against the enemy.” One writer of this era period has even commented that if “any vile creature who had committed evil acts and was sentenced to death could escape to the forts of the steppe or the region of Seversk,” there he could escape “from death.” However, things did change as the military could no longer be properly funded. Platonov’s evidence claims the Muscovite authority saw southern lands became a unmanageable, a frontier of instability. “But with the passage of time the consequences of this sort of indulgence began to disturb the Muscovite authorities. They then concluded that the diversion of the people of Muscovy’s heartland to the Volga region and the “Wild Field” would have a dire effect upon conditions at the core of the state.”[106] Concern for the east was also a factor. In one source, citing the period after Muscovy conquered Kazan, Platonov tells us the boyars reproached Ivan because he “had neglected the administration of Kazan.”[107] Right after the conquest of Kazan the immediate concern was not management of the land, but a reorganizing of the spoils of war which included jewels and other newly acquired treasure.  What we will see is that this problem will later take center stage and roughly about the same time the Zemshchina and the Oprichnina territories emerge in Muscovite history. The emigration was just a part the problem, but it also facilitated a financial instability,  and all this took place during the period that the Zemshchina took place.

What is the Difference between Land Management and Insanity?

We are concerned here of the outlook of modern historians and how they tell us that a small few ruling figures governed this new paradigm in Muscovy and unexplained forces created a need for Ivan to separate himself into his own secluded kingdom, the Oprichnina. He did this out of irrationality, he was possibly “totally insane, “as Hellie pointed out, and no understanding of state management was possible, due to the primitive government of the Muscovite central authority. Persecution mania, and paranoia, both cited by Platonov and Hellie of Ivan’s character (as well as many other historians), inflicted many rulers throughout history in ever civilization I’m aware of. The Old Testament is plentiful on examples of “kings,” as dictators, suppressing their opposition, in which many Minor Prophets of the Old Testament claim many were innocent figures. In the Old Testament, persecution mania resulted from a political survival mechanism of men’s characters. Not only did they reserve escape plans, in case the tides of fate turned against them, they also set up elaborate excuse and retirement schemes. Platonov talks about Ivan’s inclusion many foreigners and a possible escape plan to England, in case politically he was dethroned. Ivan’s monastery built in the north, as Hellie points out, was to be used if he decided, or was forced, into tonsure. To Hellie, these were the acts of a man “totally insane.” In the Bible, these were schemes of political resolve associated with a fate of rule. The reforms of the government, and in the case of the sources, Ivan’s accreditation to these new rules, the reforms were extreme. 

Regardless, the problems of the north, east and south Platonov points out in the 1570s, which he also says begun during the 1550s, seemed to have been resolved “[T]wo or three decades after “taking of Kazan,” the city of Kazan and the entire bank of the Volga as far as Astrakhan had become part of the Russian nation.”[108]

Russian detachments reached Astrakhan which the Khanate of Kazan was being absorbed and, profiting form struggles among the Nogai princes, occupied Astrakhan “for the Sovereign” in 1556. Once they had consolidated their position in this city “so that they could remain without fear,” Muscovite generals “ posted Cossacks and strelsky along the Volga, deprived the Nogai of all freedom and took away from the people of Astrakhan all their fishing grounds and fords.” Thus Moscow had completely at its disposal access to the Caspian Sea and to the markets of Asia.[109] Many prime sources accredit the tsar with the supreme accomplishment, and the sources point out songs, literature and poems praised Ivan as the hero.

Things were so well off during the mid-to-late 1550s that the Muscovite authority under the claimed leadership of Ivan invaded lands controlled by Livonia, which were to the northwest and west of Muscovy. It was the Livonian war which would sap the financial expedience by paying the Cossacks and strelsky to manage the eastern lands. The management of these lands by the 1550s was not a permanent condition. In 1558 Ivan took a military contingent and began the Livonian war with great success. The Livonian war, although in the early years was an astounding success, due to many factors, the war became an expensive endeavor. It not only sapped vital Muscovite monitory resources, but good quality men who could have served well as managers in the southern or eastern lands. The problems in the financing of the eastern management deteriorated during the 1560s and onward.

The Livonian was can be seen as an extreme geographical local in opposite of the south/east land management. Supposedly, a small populous, and a tiny set of co-rulers took on a monumental task of governing a vast territory of land.  The conditions following the incorporation of the eastern Khanates and the Volga region created an exuberance or an over-confidence of the Muscovite authority to over-extend itself both financially and economically which directly led to the rational of the Oprichnina and Zemshchina land management scheme, after the mid-1560s. As for Ivan personally, Platonov points out Ivan received considerable glory through the years leading up to the creation of the Oprichnina, and before the historic fight over the militaries direction with ultimately lead a to an implied nervous breakdown, mentally for Ivan. Here, Platonov points out Ivan had a nervous breakdown. When Bathory and Livonia were retaking the lands initially conquered by Ivan and the Muscovite army, Ivan’s popularity took on a drastic reversal of fortune. It is here, the government controlled sources are quiet about who was controlling the direction of Muscovy.

Hellie Consideration of International Relations?

Hellie inaccurately pointed out a flaw in Platonov’s research. He accused Platonov of not considering the international relations during the period of Ivan in the introduction of this text. However, Platonov spends considerable time explaining the ramifications and results of the Muscovite central authority debating and pursuing the courses of actions of international relations. The conquest of Kazan had a story more in-depth in international relations and appears in the narrative of Platonov. “Moscow adopted several military measures as early as spring, 1552,” (page 69)  Platonov exclaims. Instability in Kazan’s governance created a diplomatic and military measure to offset a Crimean danger. “Shah-Ali was installed in Kazan by the boyars” but he had took the initiative to suppress the elite families residing there. Here, like Ivan would be accused in the sources, the ruler put to death aristocrats who were hostile to him. However, his fate turned to the worst, and forces caused his to step-down from his ruler ship.  Moscow first supported him, however, in February of 1552 Ivan, allegedly, sent Aleksei Adashev to Kazan to remove Shah-Ali and to appoint Prince Semin I. Mikulinsky namestnik in his place. But before Mikulinsky was to arrive in Kazan, the people of Kazan “ committed treason,”[110] (A Muscovite point of view) shut up their city and refused to submit to the Muscovite sovereign. Warfare then erupted throughout the entire region.

Platonov’s attention to international relations was superb. To understand the results of imperialism, he continues with international relevance to matters of the south/east conquest. “The men of Kazan incited against the Russians not only the inhabitants of the “meadow side” of the Volga but also the “mountain people,” so that Sviazhsk [a significant fortress] came under siege. Understanding the citizens of the main city of Kazan were not the only people involved in losing their autonomy, the regions became inflamed with resentment. “Moscow faced a difficult campaign,” Platonov surmised.[111]  The Khan supporting the Muslims of Kazan came up from the southern region and reached Tula. Russia expecting the overland army repulsed the Khan’s forces by attachments sent from Kolomna. The Tatars retreated and the attachment moved eastward to finally in mid-August to capture Sviazhsk. This merchant headquerters resulted in treasures beyond belief, as Kurbky said “ in truth superb…as though it were coming into its own homes, after a long and difficult march.” A huge supply of provisions had been delivered to the fortress by waters, and even “countless numbers of merchants” appeared with goods of every kind. The Siege of Kazan, which lasted a month and  a half, was mounted in earnest from Sviazhsk. Although the sources proclaim the operation had been prepared with foresight, it was the heavy artillery, new mining technology and new firearms which catapulted the Muscovites into imperialism. On October 2, 1552, after an implosion of the major mining the Russian penetrated the fortress, Kazan became a Russian town.[112] In effect, what the Mongol-Tatars had done to Kievan Rus’ was now a policy of Muscovy. Platonov positioned his argument that “these age-old enemies, the Tatars, removed a constant danger, the ramifications and complications of the conquest of Kazan (and later Astrakhan) resulted in more than a thirty-fold increase of the amount of ruined Russian lives than the seven-year period of the Oprichnina - proper.

Still, Platonov attended to the individual and to the negative view in the moment of his glory. “All this brought Ivan extraordinary glory, Platonov tells us in one source. “ All literary works, from the rhetorical compositions of Muscovite writers to the unsophisticated songs of the people, glorified the young Muscovite Tsar as a hero.” This can be attributed to Hellie’s “rational causality” and positivist view of Platonov’s methodology. Yet, in the next set of sentences on page seventy-one of this English edition, Platonov turns to the negative source of the view on Ivan. “The people did not hear the private opinions that circulated about the personal cowardice Ivan had shown during the gravest moments of the general assault on Kazan, when in Kurbsky’s words, the Tsar’s countenance seemed to change from fear, his heart became distressed and others had to take his horse by the reigns to lead the Tsar to the place of battle.”[113] This telling portrait of Platonov purposely describes his claim of fashioning only an “image” of Ivan. This image was not of a positive nature as the rule of his intention. Ivan remained negative oft, even if we consider the source not viable any longer as a prime source. Even clad in this paradox, Platonov could not fashion a simplistic pathology out of cowardness, and relate it to insanity. If the co-rulers were more in control of this operation, the political and economic ramifications of this imperialism, and Ivan lay at the hands of doubt, even of fear, we could understand positions in the government were not well at this time. The conquest of Kazan immediately brought fortune and problems. A foreign account after the conquest tells us of the vast amount of jewels and treasures brought back from the conquest. The 1550s, tells us management problems of the Volga region brought about apparent decentralization to increase effectiveness of central bureaucracy of the outer regions – now understood in modern terms of “imperialized” colonies. The roots of the Oprichnina belong here --  not only for Hellie, but for Platonov.

For Hellie, as well as Platonov, the Kurbsky sources tell of Ivan’s fearful return to Moscow which brought on, in Platonov’s reasoning depression. For Hellie, Ivan is continually slowly descending into severe insanity – this is just another event, followed by another event until 1565. The army had to stay and attend to the possibilities of Crimea launching a surprise re-conquest and fortifying the new colony. However, remote this was, the Muscovite army did not return with the tsar. Instead, as Platonov put it, the Tsar’s trip back to Moscow “apparently caused a change in the Tsar’s disposition.”[114] Platonov wrote, “ In reality, Ivan had sailed the Volga form Kazan to Nizhni Novgorod, then road on horseback from Nizhni. Ivan felt that those who had compelled him to take this route had risked his life by providing him with only a small escort in the unpacified, non- Russian regions that stretched from Kazan to Vasil’sursk and Nizhni. With indignation Ivan exclaimed: “ They tried to deliver my soul into foreign hands.” It is curious why Platonov would relate such an event, even if it bears no factual basis. First, it provides offence to the co-rulers in ability to protect their own. Second, it provides Ivan with an excuse to later take revenge on the co-rulers – who of course, placed him in this predicament. This would be one persuasive subtlety placed in Platonov’s text. It also shows that Platonov concentrated on international relations and connected it to the microcosm of his personal world. If Ivan was a co-ruler, or in fact had little say in official policy, then in his mind he connected this to events of his childhood. Platonov tells us, “ If Ivan had already felt the burden of the guardianship during the campaign [keep in mind the clans instability and the issues of his child guardianship]  against Kazan, then throughout the celebrations in Moscow that followed this victory the young Tsar, even in his daze of glory, gratitude and personal triumph, must have become more sensitive to this tutelage.”[115] In Ivan’s minority, his guardians were imprisoned, murdered and exiled, and his tutelage was “ungrateful,” even in connection to the philanthropies[M13]  of his mother. This is not  a positivist inclusion into the text of Ivan’s character development, but a serious comment into Ivan’s illegitimacy as a young boy and now young ruler. Platonov is relating these circumstances to a boy who had no traditional family upbringing, but was surrounded with discontent even by his mother’s actions. Not only is Ivan less of a ruler in the spirit of victory of Kazan, but he is still looked upon by the co-rulers with distain, abandoned in guardianship when a child and reared in a rare moment of murdership in his home. To Platonov, Ivan’s guardianship, inadequate escort, and uncaring concern for his safe and satisfying return in glory, resulted not only in an illness, but in memories of an uncaring mother and clan stifle not seen before in the Kremlin. The psychological damage resulted in a depression, as Platonov put it, but more importantly, it resulted in what was really possibly going on during his minority.

When Ivan was on his deathbed, not only do the sources confer, but they attest to a battle of rulership – that appears to have been in hope for a long period of time. The source do not appear to make the illness out as terminal; however, the point was the rush to get Ivan to turn over the kingdom to Vladimir Staristky (an appendage prince of Starsitk)  Platonov tells us Ivan Mikhailov told the tsar directly to make his will, and “bequeath the kingdom to his son.”[116]  The understanding of this relevance was that Ivan already had a son who was the legitimate heir to the throne, as he was – a child too. What this situation demonstrated to Platonov was that the co-rulers around Ivan were in fact against him, and this could explain the circumstances on the return journey home by Ivan with a small escort through dangerous land. This provides another circumstance in Ivan’s life, where we see Platonov is setting up his psychological makeup to break with tradition of co-rulership. For Hellie, this was more evidence the Tsar was dwindling further and further into insanity, and that this ploy to get Ivan to hand over the kingdom was never in questing. However, Platonv the expert in the world on the Time of Troubles, understood the problems with dynastic succession more than any other Russian historian before him. It is through Platonov that most historians understand the complications of this conservative makeup of succession rights, and how they were violently opposed decades after Ivan had died. The understanding for Platonov by this was a precursor for a desire of the Russian throne by people who saw Muscovy “radically changing in geography, wealth and regional-political power.”  It is in March 1553 and onward that treasure is pouring into Moscow and the power that money brings to the desperate masses to affect social change reverberates throughout history.

Along with this power and wealth are new people who had a hand in this wealth, and this is where a problem arises. Most post-Soviet historians realize that prior to Vasiliy, Ivan’s father, the boyars and the grand prince were a tight knitted family who banded together to oppose the “wanters.” This was called a tradition of the grand prince of Moscow. They ruled through intermarriage and controlled the power around them by unifying under a sole recognized leader – of whom as the leader,  led the people to understand the boyars were his chosen people and no-one could break the bonds of this co-rulership. Yet, if the historians are to recognize the rare clan instability of precursory to Ivan’s majority, and understand at the same time this 1553 deathbed event, and the ramifications of guardianship in childhood and Kazan’s episodic example of uncaring for its leader, then we see a break in this tradition.  Platonov saw this break too, and was deemed a positivist by Hellie. However, Platonov will illustrate this was only the tip-of-the-iceberg that led up to Ivan breaking tradition.

The question arose in Platonov’s mind in illustrating these events was Ivan’s disassociation and isolation with the traditional co-rulers. Pre-Soviet and Soviet historians were asking if this be the case, and new people that were politically isolated and disassociated were to find someone in power a political unification could occur. Apparently, in the sources, Ivan found commoners at the battlefield of Kazan who would join him later on in his private state. If commoners felt no power and Ivan felt no power but had the mantle of authority, the two could form an alliance. Slowly Platonov is making a case for two fates to demonstrate change. If we are to use reverse psychology and accept Aristotle’s arguments of “irrationalism” of forces of nature and place it onto the canopy of sixteenth century Muscovy, we can see we two “forces” that are not meant to be together get together and form a symbiotic relationship. This would confer “irrationality” into Platonov’s narrative, in which it surely shows regardless of this example. Even if we do not accept any of the sources for Muscovy, in text, Platonov is illustrating “irrational causality” ( not rational causality!). If we look  at what Hellie is looking at, we also see irrationality of Ivan’s actions in accepting non-traditional relationships – now forming in the wake of the imperializing of Kazan. In Hellie’s concepts, this took the form of “insanity.”

Dynastic disputes, in which Platonov mentored us in his Time of Troubles, escalates in the boyar treason of 1554. The precursors of Ivan’s minority, the and the sovereign’s illness episode, further deteriorated in matrimonial issues. Platonov tells us, “ But now a further reason was offered. Ivan’s grandfather [Ivan III] had married a Greek princess [ this is called a princely-blood feud/issue], his father had married a princess from a “great” clan, but Ivan had “married his own slave women” from an ordinary family that was not princely. This circumstance, as it happened had humiliated the “great clans” who now had to serve “ the non-noble people” of the Zakharin family and “one of their own sisters.”[117] In the Time of Troubles, Platonov illuminated clan and populous racism in Muscovite society. Ivan who would marry seven times in his life, married outside preferred channels, according to said complaints. He married a Tatar woman, and had political relations with Tatar political figures. If Ivan psychologically wanted to annoy his co-ruling clans, he definitely understood how to evolve the issue – that is if we trust the sources here – which are suspect always. However, to Platonov, this issue further demonstrated a divide in the co-rulership department. If we are to believe the post-Soviet historians and claimed that Ivan lived under the unity of this tight-fitting relationship of power, then racism would have been no issue – because it was no threat to ultimate power. The joking for the possibility of regency or the throne are possible disturbances in the relationship of grand prince/tsar and the co-rulers. According to the laws there was nothing Ivan could do but to observe these events of dislocation around him. Platonov tells us, “ Decorous relations could be maintained since dire issues had priority over these inner government events. . He is referring to the relationship between the non-princely bloodline and the princely bloodline – to which a rift had formed.  At hand, the management of Kazan leads to massive reforms. Platonov describes these bad-feelings happening at the same time these small figures running a new colony had to address the people they represented. What Platonov ultimately wanted everyone to understand in this “moment” was Ivan was isolated when he was a child, and then as a grown-up, his adopted guardians now were influenced by money and power. The average Muscovite farmer saw riches flow into the Kremlin, new building projects emerge, and opportunity for employment.  At the same time, Platonov demonstrated again, international relations were pressing issues. This issue would be the final “moment” for Platonov before a grand princely decision to create state within a state would be formed in the mind.

“Today no one disagrees that Ivan’s Livonian War was a well-timed intervention into the international struggle for the right to use the Baltic sea lanes, which were of paramount importance to Russia.”

 Political Necessity of Managing the Eastern Lands May Been an Oprichnina Experiment?

I contend out of the new populations a small percentage were local strongmen who forced their way into local politics, which then forced the old establishment to reconfigure itself, and the chronicles do little to address the impact on the old ruling elite.  After Ivan, only some of the families continued in power.

An argument remains that today the overall political structure of Muscovy did not change after Ivan, so Ivan could never have changed it. This theory remains circumspect, a popular belief among some modern Russian historians, today. After Fedor died young, a series of pretenders, even some citing the usurpation of Tatar Prince, a fight to establish a new common line of rulers existed until the people in general became tired of interstrife and warfare amongst themselves and promoted Mikhail.

Ivan and the boyars established a new service class which was a direct result of local strongmen forcing their way into the Muscovite political system.

The shift is seen with the popular history period focusing on the negativity of Ivan’s reign, and now contrasting to a new school of thought with an approach to Ivan’s positiveness, in the historical-juridical school of thought era. [ What was it about and who were its agents?]

Caught in this paradox, Platonov struggled to fashion an image out of Ivan Vasilievich. Platonov admitted, The literature of this era, like the historical sources, fails to offer the historian much in the way of interpretation, nor does it provide him the purely objective facts he needs to create his own interpretation of the times.[118] Some modern historians have found ways to place interpretations into Platonov’s words.

Turing back to Platonov’s argument of why he said what he said, and others who say he said what they think he said may be due to a lack of acknowledgement to a key statement. Platonov stated there were not enough sources to make an explanation of the sixteenth century period of Rus’. In fact, for Platonov, there was never a definitive explanation for the time of Ivan or the controversial period of the Oprichnina. He stated there were not enough sources to reveal an explanation. There were no reasons due to the lack of records. The confusing key term confusing Russian historians, Platonov used, was an “image” of Ivan.” An image is not a reason, rationality or irrationality. It is only a piece of a whole, but not the whole. A reflection of what the sources reveal to us. Platonov used many different and contradictory sources for each particular subject.   Therefore, rationality doesn’t appear to be the correct term to use when explaining Platonov’s work in Ivan the Terrible. What appear to be at issue is the terms, “positive,” and “negative,” he duly describes in his thesis. These two words have been replaced by the terms rational and irrational. These terms were used to describe the “nature”  of physical properties of forces on bodies in the Universe in scientific scholarship before and during his time. A research into how it was transferred into the literature in Russia academia remains another topic, all by itself. By the use of these terms, we now have to deal with the concepts of rational forces in nature conducting human actions. This complex interlacing of terminology bears a difficult task into any investigation. How do we tie natural rational/irrational forces into human actions? It can be assumed that we all have a degree of rationality to our beings or we cannot function as such. If we were totally irrational, there would be no sense at all – how could we get out of bed or walk for that matter. It takes reason to get out of bed. Irrationality was correctly used by the scientist and astronomers to explain things in nature that were unexplainable, or in other cases’ God’s hand in the universe. It is hard to fit the correct use of these terms into a political leader of the Rus’ people in the sixteen century. However, that is exactly how modern Russian historiography has functioned in the twentieth and beginning twenty-first centuries. Man’s reason for doing something has no bearing on natural or non-natural forces of the Universe.

In modern western historiography we can sum up the reasons for the use of rationalism and irrationalism. Religious terms such as “good” and “evil”, or the Socratic philosophical terms of “good” or “bad” are vacant in modern academia. Often political leaders are defined by sanity or insanity, as is the case in Ivan’s modern historiography. Therefore, Russian historians have little choices but to rely upon these two astronomical opposites. Platonov’s use of the terms, “positive” and “negative,” closely resembles the philosophical terminology of the Socratic Method.

To Platonov, Ivan acted positively and negatively, and sometime, both.  These adjectives described a human synchronicity to Ivan Vasilievich.  Nature was not involved. Ivan may have had a reason, but it was not nature that gave it to him. However, irrationality has given historians an excuse to explain natural forces that do not make sense in human condition. Some claim Ivan was insane, for example.There irrationalism connect to nature of the human condition. If Ivan was insane, how could he have done what the chronicles, and other sources claimed? It can be argued that nature created Ivan as insane, but this is not the argument of the historians. Most have placed circumstances of his childhood, and various other possibly life changing moments such as his first wife’s death, which had affected his mental stability as a cause for temporary insanity or insanity. Insanity is used as a catch phrase for all things unexplainable. This was the same reasoning behind Aristotle’s use of irrational for the forces he could not explain on celestial bodies in the universe.

 Some historians have said nature created Ivan deformed. Yet, someone who is insane still cannot manage to function in life, as the sources claimed he functioned. Human’s make decisions, not nature? Nature happens, but we cannot discern it. It is observed as rational or irrational in the scientific texts of the great scientific thinkers during the Age of The Enlightenment and in Greek antiquity. Ivan had to think, which takes the natural aspect of chance out of any interpretation.

The Oprichnina has been seen by some historians as having no purpose, therefore, it was irrational. How does nature (or chance) create the Oprichnina? How does the unexplained create the Oprichnina? Doesn’t man do this? If we turn to philosophy we ask the question if man’s actions are irrational? If we place the term into context of the universe, as it was only used in Greek antiquity,  we can only describe irrationality as chance – there is no guiding/deciding  force – there is no reason. This describes the understanding of today’s contemporary argument of the universe under he auspices of intelligence design. Somehow Ivan Vasilievich was guided by an unseen force to do what he did.  In the Christian theological argument of the Age of Enlightenment, God sometimes was irrational – things happened by chance – Christian could not explain certain natural things happening in the universe. Neither could Aristotle, who used the word in his dissertation on the natural bodies in our heavens. Therefore, we are led to believe that Ivan acted by chance; there was no meaning we could determine. If we take this view, we leave Ivan with no agency. Therefore, he doesn’t exist. It would be absurd to contend he was a made up character in the sources, but this is how the term rational and irrationality became poorly used in Russian historiography ( and many other parts of the world, to say the lest). If Ivan was truly insane to the point of irrationality, and we know that the boyars ruled in tandem with the Tsar, we will understand he would have been isolated, controlled and not allowed to function as a leader. The Muscovite people during the period of Ivan Vasilievich accomplished things comparable to a Herculean task. This could not have happened with an irrational person. If we were forced to conclude Ivan was irrational, we would have to assume he didn’t rule, but others ruled in his place.

The integrity for future Russian historiographers is to understand Platonov’s thesis, and to abide by it – thereby one will come to understand the contradictory narrative – and not fall short or be entrapped by its contradictory illusion.  Some Russian historians, such as Richard Hellie, a Professor of Russian history at Chicago University, have claimed that Platonov came from a rationalist background. This stereo-typecasting, of course, comes from the era of positive outlook in Russian schools of thought toward controversial leaders. The opposite of a rationalist background is the absurd irrationalism background, an extremely polemic description of a double negative.  Certainly the Age of Enlightenment established the Age of Reason signifying the use of the term.  However, the concept has been around since time began, and has been misplaced among its idiomatic criteria.

Hellie’s conclusions on the historiography of Platonov provide continuity problems in logic. He states his thesis in the introduction on page xviii.  “Sergei Platonov’s Ivan the Terrible should be read as part of this established and continuing tradition attributing rational causality and deliberate intent to Ivan’s measures and their consequences. For Platonov, the Oprichnina represented a state reform coldly calculated to demolish the economic and political might of the descendants of the appanage princes (the hereditary rulers of what often amounted to no more than huge estates) and the boyars (the chief counsellors and agents of the monarch).” Here, Hellie describes Ivan, in Platonov’s view as, the central authority’s power was deliberately diminished by the Tsar’s will and determination. First, “rational causality” was not a defined term by Hellie; and second, as pointed out, it is a general use term with broad applications, if not readily defined in a context of historicity.

We can see the lack clarity by his supporting evidence. In his following sentence he places confusion into the rulers authority, as too who were the agents ruling Moscow. Were Ivan and the boyars moving against their own interests to stay in power? Hellie’s support sentence states,   “both of these groups formed a potential opposition to the centralizing propensities exhibited by Moscow and its autocrat, Ivan IV.” ( xviii) How can Moscow move against itself? The general idea among the modern Russian historian today remains of Ivan could not rule alone, nor did he. There was no legal apparatus for Ivan to try any individual of the Boyar Duma. This included making decisions on his own to take away their property, order them to do this or that, and confiscating their authority. Collectively the Boyar Duma and the Tsar ruled Muscovy.

In Platonov’s Doctoral thesis, he explains the Oprichnina as an international crisis of managing the new incorporated lands to the east. He reiterates this in Ivan the Terrible. He states this addendum of importance after citing the Ivan’s ideas was to weaken the Russian aristocracy.  “Moreover, there has come to light an important and interesting aspect of the work carried on by the Muscovite government during the most dismal and darkest period of Ivan’s life, the years of his political reverses and domestic terror [ Oprichnina period, proper]. This was the concern of the government to strengthen the southern border of the state and to settle the “Wild Field.” Under pressure from many sides [i.e. military threats, local strongmen], Ivan’s government initiated a series of coordinated efforts aimed at defending its southern frontier and, as always, showed broad initiative, business-like energy and the ability to coordinate the efforts of the administration with the assistance rendered by local.”[119] Alas, notice that it is not Ivan the ‘autocrat’ who initiated decision during the Oprichnina, but textually the expressive is a “government initiated.” This shows Ivan was not in a position to be an autocrat. Therefore, there would be no reason to weaken the Muscovite ruling authority by using this expressive. This is another example that there never can be a decisive explanation of who Platonov believed ruled during Ivan’s reign. Platonov is not consistent, here. It is understandable that historians have placed a defining view into his words, by not accepting something’s he had said.

(((((new three paragraph sub-subject)

There was a political crisis which emerge roughly the same time Ivan tried to abdicate permanently ( he tried but was forced back) is directly linked by and too the efforts to force the co-rulers out of their traditional positions of power. An agreement to one main point of the Oprichnina is surprisingly supported by Hellie. “Still a further result of the Oprichnina was the extermination of many princes and boyars, fated to be included among Ivan’s “enemies,” Hellie proclaims in agreement with Platonov. [120] Hellie supports his topic sentence with a support of some commoners replacing the traditional patriarchal families in Muscovite authority. “Their already quite limited influence now further diminished. Such collective power as they had exerted institutionally as nearly exclusive counsellors of the ruler was undermined as well by the elevation of a few lowly-born state secretaries (diaki) to the rank of counsellor state secretaries (dumnye diaki). The withering of the power of the princes and boyars may have been counterbalanced by a slight rise of that of the cavalry archers of the middle service class (see my [R. Hellie]  Enserfment and Military Change in Muscovy for greater detail).[121]

If Ivan purposely attempted to abdicate by creating the Oprichnina, then how do we explain the rise of some commoners to the positions of power around the centers of Moscow? Why would Ivan care? If he was too attempt an abdication he would no longer make decisions. What would be the point to abdicate if one still held the responsibility to make decisions, and to manage the realm?

One explanation was an internal crisis, a depletion of expertise of group managers in the new and outlying towns Muscovy conquered. The traditional ruling body of Muscovy was quite small. The rulers, it can be said could all manage to fit into a small room, including the tsar himself. With an absence of a large administration, which it was very small considering the vast land Muscovy now covered along the Mid-Volga, there were scant traditional ruling families to oversee a new vast person of this unofficial emerging empire. In effect this was political chaos.  With these realities in mind, something or someone needed to solve the issue of land management or the efforts of the eastern and southern conquests would fall into the hands of the very rogue groups which were planning to retake them and/or place their people into positions of power. To Platonov, this was a real issue for the Muscovite central authority. So, what to do?

 As part of the Oprichnina, Ivan ( or whoever were the rulers?) took most of the towns in central Moscovy and some key trade towns to the north. In the southern areas and to the east,  Ivan ( or whoever were the rulers?)  divided up the land and gave it to princes and boyars to manage. This section was called the Zemshchina. Platonov noted during this time local instability of management of peoples to the eastern and southern boarder towns, many the new conquered territories. Local strongmen threatened to usurp these towns as they were at some distance from Moscow, who was unable to control these local strongmen. This could explain the moving of key traditional leaders and families away from Moscow and to these newly conquered areas – to manage these unstable towns. An this is what happened, Platonov concludes. This issue of Platonov clearly interjects doubt to an irrational act by Ivan, and too no intent of the ruling body of Muscovy just to get up and leave. Without making a concerted effort to control local strongmen and defend the Muscovy territory, all would be lost eventually. However, as a co-ruling body with Ivan unable to secure legal measures to destroy the boyar’s and prince’s landholding, how was it accomplished?

Zemshchina  problems: A government split into two – Who Let it Happen?

 A question arises too as to why and how would a co-ruling body suddenly allow themselves to give up their power? The astute author had an explanation. Platonov tells us that some influential and traditional families remained in his service, thus keeping their power. Other boyar clans, princes and influential’s were moved from their traditional homes to the borderlands, east and southeast of Moscow. Many of these families can be seen ruling and still influential after Ivan and Fedor had passed away in history. Platonov describes this but makes no apparent interpretation. We can surmise that they were unhappy with their current location and position, or a dispirited need arose to return. Other reasons factor in as well. Many reason could exist as the areas around Moscow became vacant of managers and people, and or they were extremely unhappy with segregation of the Oprichnina – which possible evidence survives in on zemskie sobor account. This would explain the reason for their return to their traditional locations and traditional power. This is of great concern us because how does Ivan ( or the co-ruling body  in charge during the Oprichnina  get the boyars and princes to leave their homes and move far away to inhospitable surroundings and not make a fuss?

One possible explanation was a unified understanding that this needed to be done or the Muscovite authority would lose all that they gained in the east. The dispute over direction of the military is Platonov’s key factor.  It is also considerable to ask if everyone was in agreement, and if not, then could this explain the role of the Oprichniki and the use of force to punish those who opposed these drastic measures?

Another section)

Oprichniki—Why A Legitimate Army?

One thing we must consider is the role of the Oprichniki. Not only were they used to suppress Ivan’s domestic enemies, they were a full regimented army that fought in the Livonian wars. The Zemshchina army took matters of the southern defenses, including the rescue battles of Moscow, in which the Oprichniki fled from the Crimean forces in the early 1570s, before they were abolished in 1572. Platonov’s understanding of the monumental fight between his he Muscovite authority and Ivan over a military issue would be the key factor in the inspiration of the Oprichnina. It was Ivan and his vision of turning the entire Muscovite forces toward the west to gain access to the Baltic Sea wich conflicted with his “chosen council” and the boyars who saw an urgent need to protect the southern boarders from real threats by the Crimean forces and rumors of Ottoman backing. To Platonov, this was a real conflict of direction for Muscovy and personal fight of wills for Ivan’s vision and his opposition in the Muscovite authority. There is no in-depth study of this dilemma, I’d seen, except from Platonov. Hellie glosses over this point, but makes it apparent in his introduction this was the dispute in the Muscovite authority which loosened Ivan’s pathological paranoia to the breaking point of desperation, in which Ivan then decided to form the Oprichniki and split the lands, in Platonov’s text. Hellie explains “the Oprichnina may be found in Platonov’s portrayal of the times of Ivan the Terrible. He accounted for this strange institution in part as Ivan’s reaction to the usurpation of his rightful authority by the “chosen council” (izbrannaia rada). Platonov did not think that the “chosen council” was a regular institution, but rather a private circle of Ivan’s well-wishers.[122] In text, the “chosen council” were not only intimate friends of Ivan, but were his mentors as well as personal confiders during the time from his younger years until right before the dismantled this circle. It was the definite fight over this key military issue that Platonov believes ended Ivan’s actions to get along with his co-rulers, the boyars. Not only were his envisioned enemies many boyars and princes, now his personal friends and former mentors were now voting against him and agreeing with his enemies to unify and turn the Muscovite resources to support, defend and to ultimately defeat the southern Tatar and Turkish threats. To Platonov, Ivan’s first wife’s death and his own illness had been reasons for a mental deterioration to paranoia, but it was this ultimate battle of wills and an important juncture of a military decision on what and where to focus the Muscovite army that the Oprichnina was created in Ivan’s mind. This would not be categorized under an irrational mind-invention, a term used to describe the decisions to abdicate with demands to continue rule offered to the citizens of Moscow during this crucial first abdication. This was a battle of wills of Muscovy. As complicated as will see, the Oprichnina was not a wholly irrational senseless endeavor of an over-crazed and an erotomaniac-sadist.

Princes in Revolt and not Unified, Ivan Ivanovich (1496-1534).

Ivan Ivanovich was the Grand Prince of Raizan from 1500 and an active opponent of the centralizing policies of the Grand Prince of Moscow. As a part of the gathering of lands program marriage was an important tool to consolidate relationships between towns. Ivan Ivanovich appears to have found his mother’s elegance opposed to his clansmen’s allegiance frustrating to a point of rebellion.

During the early years of his rule in Raizan, Ivan Ivanovich was dominated by his mother, Agrippina Vasil’evna, who was fully submissive to the Grand Prince of Moscow. In later years, however, Ivan Ivanovich and some of his boiars attempted to achive the complete independence of Raizan from Moscow. When the military forces of the Khan of the Crimea, led by the Crimean Prince Bogatyr, invaded the lands of the Principality of Raizan in 1516, Ivan Ivanovich and some of his boairs used this occasion to throw off the rule of his mother. In 1520 Grand Prince Vasilii III summoned Ivan Ivanovich to Moscow and kept him under guard. When the army of Crimean Khan, Muhammad-Girei, advanced upon Moscow in 1521, Ivan Ivanovich took advantage of the ensuing turmoil to escape from Moscow. But he was unsuccessful in his attempts to return to his region of Pereiaslavl-Raizan. He then fled to Lithuania, where the Lithuanian Grand Prince Sigismund I gave him the small town of Stoklishka in the Township of Kovno as his estate for life. During the final years of his life, Ivan Ivanovich attempted to form an alliance with the Khanate of Crimea and simultanioulsy to use the support of Grand Prince Sigismund to continue his struggle against the Muscovite state.[123]

Like Kurbskii, the destination to flee was Lithuania which welcomed news and insights to political matters of the Muscovite government, and fugitives who oft would swear allegiance to the destruction of the office of the grand prince of Moscow found the regional Lithuanian authority accommodating. Fleeing to Lithuania meant not despising one’s native lands, but realizing an active force in Moscow was ending the traditions of regional autonomy.

The gathering of lands programs inadvertently weakened the financial and political power of these autonomous principalities. When Ivan III set out to annex Novgorod and the immediate region surrounding the traditional second largest Kieven Rus’ city, Novgorod fought for its autonomy. A myth has arisen in Post-Soviet historiography on Ivan Vasilievich that the principalities assumed they were a part of Moscow’s jurisdiction.  The gathering of lands program did not end with the death of Ivan III or Ivan’s father, but continued under Ivan Vasilievich. During Ivan’s reign Raizan was annexed, and forced to submit to the Grand Prince of Moscow. The weakening of the boyars should not be seen as a far off intangible concept, but a continuing program of consolidating the Grand Prince’s authority over a wide area which included the new program begun under Ivan that we understand in today’s terminology as imperialism.

Imperialism is not used lightly here. We understand states annex towns and local regions either through law or force consistently. However, the Muscovite central authority under Ivan Vasilievich began to look toward grand schemes of vast areas to the north and northwest, and to the furthest reaches of the east, and to the immediate south and to some extent the south-east. Rus’ figures, be it generals, princes, or even active military men, who fled to Lithuania understood this was a safe heaven.

1570, Novgorod, the story of the Livonian War

“[T]he notion that Ivan caused 5,000 of the 6,000 inhabited households of Novgorod to become deceased must be abandoned. Novgorod quickly decreased in population because of the effects of the Livonian war [ this doesn’t mean the people of Novgorod did not blame Ivan for “all of their problems,” it does – Ivan’s decision to turn the military toward the west was adopted by Platonov, and Keenan, who supported Platonov’s textual use of the source for this, ironically was Kurbskii’s]. Yet there is no doubt that the massacre of 1570 claimed a great many victims and furthered the impoverishment of the region.[124]

Livonia and the loss of the gained lands

In 1577, Ivan heads out to battle Bathory’s forces and leaves the Muscovy to the management of others.

England/ German Doctors and an Escape Plan. ( Foreigners)

The issue of Ivan surrounding himself with foreigners’ prescribed a further psychoanalyst profile for a chosen group of historians to attempt to link a possible acute pathology to his insanity.  We first saw this methodology in the scientific- literary school of thought by Moscow Slavophiles, then later with the post-Soviet historians.  However, Platonov’s scientific-method precluded him from commenting on this allegation, an allegation of Ivan surrounding himself with foreigners because he hated his own people. In the sources allegedly, Ivan was fearful of the very Muscovite people he persecuted. They would come a kill him, he believed, these sources claimed. To solve this dilemma, the sources say, he planned an escape to England and surrounded himself with foreigners. Some of these sources are the same sources that complain Ivan surrounded himself with Tatars.

Platonov’s heavy use Ivan Timofeev as a source further suggest the lack of textual material for this period. This may explain some of his restrictions on commenting on this claims in this particular racist source. Platonov points out Timofeev “more clearly than other contemporaries put forth the idea that by the end of his life Ivan sympathized with foreigners and had succumbed to their influence. As Timofeev put it, “Ivan began to love those who had come to him from neighboring countries.” Some of these he made his intimate advisors, “ privy to his intimate thoughts”; to others he trusted his health, because of their “wisdom of doctoring.”[125] To address the medical conditions in Muscovy at this time, as a result of the Livonian war a blockade was in place for a Muscovite connection to the west for supplies. This included medical doctors and westerners in General. In the sources we are told the Muscovite central authority sent emissaries to collect westerns to being their expertise to Muscovy, luring them with high-paying jobs. However many embassies were halted by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Some doctors made it through, and this is why they are noted in Ivan’s court, but this brings up a question. In Muscovy during the sixteenth century there were no institutions of higher learning, and medical practices were primitive as a result. The need of Muscovite central authority to send emissaries to the west to collect willing medical experts is not an irrational explanation of “Ivan fearing his own countrymen.”

In Moscow and the West, Platonov covered themes of Muscovy’s foreign involvement with the west. Most of the foreigners that appeared in Muscovy during Ivan’s reign were Englishmen seeking trade and the few medical technicians that the central authority had requested. First, as mentioned were the German mining technicians who provided the skill to bury through tunnels in which was a key ploy to enter Kazan to conquer it. Inters in Europe’s technology was known to Muscovy. Ivan was interested in physicians, as the 1969 autopsy preformed on Ivan’s body would attest too – a need for medical assistance due to possible chronic pain during the later parts of his life.

The Hansiaic League and Livonia blocked an attempt by Hans Schlitte, “ who recruited all varieties of specialists for Russia throughout Central Europe.” Schlitte had invited more than twenty members of the medical profession. Those recruited were unable to make it through.  A few foreigners found a way not blocked by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This rout was through the Northern Dvina and Kholmogory. Among the name recorded were Robert Jacob and Arnold Lenzei. Robert Jacob was an English physician whom Queen Elizabeth sent to Russia in 1581 at Ivan’s special request. It is alleged Elizabeth understood Ivan created a state of his own – his own property. However, it the government of Muscovy was a continual co-ruelrship, the boyars and princes would have had a say and influence in these foreign matters. Post-historians are quick not too address this issue. This could be explained by a process of placing an “irrational” explanation upon another “irrational” explanation. When the Muscovite central authority understood Central Europe’s importance in technology by the 1550s, would they have not made their own contacts to leaders and asked for the same assistance as Ivan had? This paradox represented a discontinuance of a logical assessment and just placed“irrationality on top of “irrationality.” Why would the boyars who were “allegedly persecuted” remain silent in the international scene?  Why did the co-rulers not issue statements to the Queen of England of a madman in their midst, and ask for a commitment not to assist him? They surly had connections to d’iaks that could take care of the matters legally. Platonov surely had understood this dilemma, and concluded Ivan’s move to autocracy and the recognition it received in the international diplomacy department, remained an issue of logical assessment. The need for medical knowledge in Russia was thoroughly understood. Arnold Lenzei who also showed up in Muscovy was a Belgian doctor. He was asked to give an account of his knowledge by assisting in translation into contemporary Slavonic of his medical expertise. This represented a Muscovite need for medical knowledge. Timofeev connected these circumstances with Ivan distancing himself from his Muscovy people.

One chronicle-section Platonov cites without further addressing the origin, does in fact place an unfavorable foreign person who entered Ivan’s life. Elisaeus, a Cambridge graduate appeared, allegedly, in Ivan’s court in 1570. This meant he could not have been in Muscovy at the beginning of the oprichnina period. Yet, the chronicle connected Bomen had been sent to Ivan be his enemies, the Lithuanians and Livonians, saying they “sent him a foreigner, a fierce sorcerer named Elisaeus, who was close to and favored by the Tsar and caused the Tsar to fear him…He led the Tsar away from the faith at last and cause him to become vicious toward the Russian people and to love foreigners.”[126]  Another chronicle Platonov cited stated Bomel really robbed Ivan of his senses.  The Tsar, in the words of the chronicle, “ went off on campaigns and wars and made his own land desolate; and because of this unbeliever (Bomel) Ivan’s mind became frenzied and he intended to destroy the land, if the Lord had not ended his life.”[127] In another of Platonov’s selection of source material related, Bomen was also the poison maker for Ivan and played a prominent role in for Ivan before the Tsar put him to death for suspicion of treason – a reason Ivan had allegedly executed many of his favorites. Since these were from the official chronicles, allegedly controlled by the Muscovite government (meaning Ivan had control?), these insertions “sank deeply into the memory of the Russian people,”[128] Platnonv said. To Platonov these were the same sources he was suspicious of that claimed Ivan at the age of thirteen removed ensconced co-ruling figures from the Kremlin’s powerbase, and became an autocrat at the age of thirteen. Platonov’s silence of an alleged plot of an escape rout to England stemmed from  - one suspicious source related to another until a cacophony of tales resulted into a flowing myth.

Escape England and Elizabeth:

Platonov did not want to address Ivan’s alleged plan to provide himself with an escape plan to England, in case he was infer of insurrection, or a murder plot or a wide variety of coups (yes, there are more than one type of coup). Joseph L. Wieczynski adds a note for what a source happen to say on this. “Ivan seems first to have considered the idea of seeking refuge in England in 1567, when he sent a secret message through Anthony Jenkisnson to Queen Elizabeth, asking that each pledge asylum to the other in the event of a great domestic crisis. Elizabeth assured Ivan that “if any mischance might happen in his estate… we do assure him, he shall be friendly received into our dominions.” Karmazin later affirmed that the idea of a flight to England was suggested to Ivan and promoted by Bomel, but there is no evidence for this contention. Indeed, Bomel first met the Tsar two years after Elizabeth’s offer of sanctuary in England. Ivan’s reason for considering emigration apparently was his fear that the oprichnina would create too many enemies for him to destroy.”[129]

PART XV Bereft Narrative of Platonov

The book opens with Ivan’s Upbringing.  Ivan’s father and grandfather are laying the foundation for a justification of absolutism, spirit of national unity, and national consciousness.  Unfortunate circumstances begin after Ivan is born.  His father Vasily dies when Ivan is three years old.  The boyars do not appreciate Ivan's mother's foreign heritage. The main clans, the Belskys, (clan of Vasily), the Glinskys ( Clan of Vasily's second wife), and Shuiskys preeminent in the Duma play the major role.  Animosities arise, self interest for advancement and finally revolution breaks out. Bodies begin to fall in the Kremlin. Ivan’s mother suspiciously dies when he is seven years old but Ivan never becomes the target. Shuiskys rise to power and are accused in the death of Ivan’s mother.

Ivan at age thirteen seeks revenge and orders leading member Prince Andrei Mikhailovich Shuisky imprisoned. He is then executed.  Ivan understands his autocratic power. The Glinsky Clans takes power and the violence continues. Ivan matures and grows physically strong. He begins to torture animals, turns vicious, attempts to rob and kill people and spends time in idle amusement.

Metropolitan Macarius enters Ivan’s life. He installs virtue and turns Ivan away from negative influences. He schools Ivan in political and literary knowledge. He installs nationalistic ideas and a theory of ecumenical Orthodox state under an autocrat monarch who would become the "Tsar of Orthodoxy." In autumn of 1546 Ivan announces he wished to be married and be crowned tsar.

Ivan is crowned the first Tsar in 1547 and marries Anastasiya Romanovna beginning Ivan’s First Period. Ivan heads his first military expedition against Kazan.  Riots and fires break out in Moscow. The Glinsky clan is blamed and they fall from power. Ivan returns and decides to take control.  He forms the “chosen council.” The core of the group is a priest named Silvester, and a middle class servitor named Adashev, Macarius and later arriving Andrei Mikhailovich Kurbsky.

Ivan and the council take charge of government affairs. February 27, 1549 Ivan delivers to his boyars a special speech to stop stealing and injuring deti boiarskie and peasants. Ivan threatens them under pain of punishment. In 1551 Ivan and “chosen council” form a new Code of Law and charters. Ivan delivers a passionate speech asking for forgiveness of his sins. Ivan's administrative innovations seek to allow balance and justices to prevail. These reforms are both religious and secular.

In 1552, Ivan returns to Kasan and conquers it. The Tatar presence is relinquished and Kurbsky lavishes praise on all who took part. It is an astounding success for Ivan and people look to him more as a great leader. This ends Ivan’s first period.

The Period of Transition sees the birth of Dimitry, Ivan’s first son. He returns from Kazan to Moscow accompanied by only a small escort. The trip was not of his choosing.   Ivan says he felt "like a captive" and feared for his life. This brings upon a depression, and leads Ivan to a grave illness in March 1553.

Dynastic struggles begin with boyars refusing to follow Ivan's commands to swear allegiance to his infant son Dimitry. Among the people who do not swear is his own "chosen council." Many boyars and the council instead support Prince Vladimir Andreevich Staritsky. Ivan now understands his closest friends are against him. While this information shocked Ivan, he could do nothing about it.

 Ivan recovers. Tragedy strikes again and Dimitry drowns. The dynastic revelation breaks out into the open in 1554 boyar revolt. The Tsarita's relatives the Zakharins are accused by the boyars and the council of plotting a takeover. An issue of pure-blood lineage enters the boyar argument. Ivan doesn’t understand why they are attacking his wife’s heritage.  Ivan is unaware of this revolt. Yet, Ivan now knows he is "dependant" and "oppressed" by the "chosen council." The “chosen council” now allies with the boyars and they both take control of managing military campaigns. This ends the period of transition.

In Ivan’s Final Period Ivan wants to turn the military toward the west and open up trade opportunities with Europe. This is denied to him. The boyars and council plan an eastern campaign.  Ivan refuses to take part in it although he is begged over and over. Instead Ivan eats and drinks with his friends.

The annexation of Astrakhan provides the boyars and chosen council with a stunning success. Their power grows in the eyes of the people. The boyars and the “chosen council” decide to make Livonia a principality. Sigismund Augustus's support of Livonia and rumors of Ottoman support for Crimea’s plan to invade Russia brings Ivan back into the picture. Ivan leads the campaign into Livonia with stunning victories in 1558-59. Ivan’s power grows in the eyes of the people. Ivan, now a successful commander, is no longer in need of his former betrayers.

Personal tragedy strikes and Anastasiya dies suspiciously. Ivan links her death to Silvester's and Adashev's "poisonous hatred." Finally Ivan chooses to end the "chosen council" once and for all. Ivan becomes suspicious of everyone around and begins persecutions. He starts by executing Adashev's family. He tonsures Silverster. Kurbsky says Ivan "reverted back to his habits of his youth." Ivan then begins repressing the boyars.  In April 1564, Kurbsky in fear for his life, defects to Lithuania. Ivan free from all his previous relationships and now feeling persecuted decides his next move.

He secretly leaves Moscow in December of 1564 and takes with him selected people. They are told to bring everything they need to live with them.  One month later from Aleksandrovskaia Sloboda he sends a message back to Moscow threatening to abdicate. Only following fervent petitions by the people of Moscow, does he agree to return under certain conditions. The people agree he can punish the ones to whom he disfavors and who cause "treason." He can confiscate lands and divide a portion for himself and create a special court.

Ivan sets up a special court to liberate himself from traditional Muscovite rule. He moves selected boyars, deti boiarskie, and the best courtiers to his portion of the land called the Oprichnina. The best lands and cities are placed into Ivan's portion. He takes control of trade and very large sum of money from the treasury.  The rest of the lands he places under the name, zemshchina. These lands are toward the outlaying regions.   Then he orders certain boyars accompanied by servitors to run the zemshchina.

From June-28-July 2, 1566 a zemskie sobor11 was summoned by Ivan. In this assembly of the land, the gosti, boyars and clergy decide whether to accept Lithuania's peace offer. It is not Ivan who makes the decision. The assembly rejected the armistice. The war continues. 

Ivan creates his own army called the Oprichniki, they due his bidding.12 They abuse, persecute and kill with impunity anyone Ivan points out. His objective is to sort out his slaves in every province, which he accomplishes.13 Large patrimonies become divided into small allotments of service tenure estates for his Oprichniki. Political terror continues year after year.

In 1569, Crimea with Ottoman blessing looked to take revenge on Orthodoxy for conquering Islamic cities of Kazan and Astrakhan. The campaign is unsuccessful but they turn their attention toward Moscow. In 1570, Ivan is on campaign in Novgorod. Several weeks he spends torturing and killing people. Oprichniki sack Pskov. Then disaster strikes in 1571. A Muscovite traitor shows the Crimean Khan a secrete way around guarded southern borders. Crimea attacks Moscow and only the Kremlin is saved by the boyars.  The Oprichniki and Ivan flee and do not fight the Crimean forces. Ivan loses control of his army. They persecute the peasants. Ivan’s army becomes ineffective. Ivan abolishes the Oprichniki, but keeps his court. This begins part two of the Oprichnina, or post-Oprichnina.

Wars in the north continue.  King Stefan Bathory takes back all the lands Ivan had conquered in the west.  People left homeless in many central cities after the attacks flee to the outlying regions. Ivan accepts peace and authors treaties with Swedish King John and Bathory. 1575 Ivan temporarily renounces the throne and places Simeon Bekbulatovich on it. Ivan comes back. He helps with issues of settling and fortifying the southern lands, and planning a southern chain of fortifications along the wild field. Ivan does his princely duty and leaves his remaining son Fedor Ivanovich (r. 1593-1594) as heir to the throne.  Political terror and Tartar raids continue, leading to depopulation of the central districts of the state.  Drought, attacks and military failure in the west brings Muscovy to a domestic crisis of extraordinary magnitude.  Ivan accomplishes his goals of weakening the aristocracy, helping with settling the boarders and becoming an autocrat.14 This ends Ivan’s final period.  


I have carefully reconstructed Platonov’s narrative to the best of my ability in a short amount of space.  At first, his full narrative covered thrity-some-odd pages. I felt it was too long, therefore I shortened it to the main points. Problems exsisted because,  In each “moment” Platonov goes back in time and forward in time to the present and explain reasons behind government policies, character’s origins,  and illustrated social geographies. My concern was to carefully provide in the reconstruction my author’s illustrations of who was in control of the government and at which time for our main character’s era. This was of course the main objective of my author’s narrative – to show the Tsar’s struggles to emancipate himself form traditional rule.

I have left out in the narrative many irrational observations by Platonov attributed to the period of the Oprichnina. This was due to space. Part on my argument was to illustrate “some” historians have attributed Platonov to a continuing tradition of rationalizing Ivan Vasilievich. They possible have overlooked the complexities of this work and missed the irrationalism the author included.  Platonov’s own statements in his own introduction – as to his statements to reassess Ivan and not make him as positive as the trend had developed during the late eighteenth century onward. Here are a few examples from Ivan’s Final Period of Platonov’s reassessment on the rationality of Ivan the Terrible.  Ivan was hunting human beings, p.111: this showed irrationality; confiscations of charters and deeds of the lesser people – not the prime target, p. 110: this was irrational, in part led to a civil war during the period. The stability of the population earlier achieved by the government was now lost through the fault of that government, p. 111: In this case, the period in question is attributed to Ivan’s actions, and this showed irrationality by “all classes that were affected by the Oprichnina.” Here, again, Platonov shows “everyone” was affected by the Oprichnina and questions its purpose. “Not content with victimizing the boyars and common people, Ivan lightly and readily exterminated members of the clergy”, p. 112. In another case, Platonov says that “Ivan vented his wrath upon people of all walks of life and put them to death in great numbers,” p.112. “ The result of this insane and generally unnecessary terror was the complete derangement of the domestic life of Muscovy,” p. 113: Here the sum of all parts of the assessment of the Oprichnina, is a very strong word –“insane” – by placing this word into context, we know by association who was primarily responsible for the Oprichnina. This is one of the rare placements of my author’s emotional feelings in the text. This did not come from a source.  This statement could have been his heartfelt moment. 

To Platonov, he wrote during a time of the Soviet watchfulness. The Oprichnina was part of the political terror which came to be known later as ‘the reign of terror’. This is only one of two places Platonov links ‘a very irrational Ivan’ to his mostly positive view. Later in the text, Platonov links this reign of terror to “insanity,” and we know that Ivan was in control at this point. This implied Ivan was insane; although Platonov refutes making any type of claim of this sort in direct reference to Ivan. This is a veiled or cryptic response to the author’s personal opinion pertaining only to Oprichnina proper. Ivan returns from “abnormality,” Platonov’s preferred term, after he abolishes the Oprchniki, and continues to govern in full control of his proper senses.


[1] J.L.I. Fenne History of Grand Princes, foot 1, p.4. Vologdo—Permsky Chronicle (PSRL VIII, p. 271; XIII, p. 45.

[2] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974),xi.

[3] Richard Hellie, in Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski, vol. 28 (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1982), pp. 112-113.

[4] Richard Hellie, in Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski, vol. 28 (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1982), 114.

[5] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xii.

[6] Richard Hellie in Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski, vol. 28 (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1982), 114.

[7] Richard Hellie in Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski, vol. 28 (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1982), 116.

[8] Richard Hellie in Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski, vol. 28 (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1982), 115.

[9] Hugh F. Graham in Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed. Joseph L. Wieczynski, vol., 40 (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1982), pp. 63-66.

[10] Richard Hellie in Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski, vol. 28 (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1982), 115.

[11] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xii-xiii.

[12] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 16.

[13] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, pp. 16, 17.

[14] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xv.

[15] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 17.

[16] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xiii.

[17] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), ix.

[18] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 10.

[19] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xv.

[20] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 4.

[21] Richard Wortman, "Muscovite Political Folkways" and the Problem of Russian Political Culture in  Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 1987), 192.

[22] Richard Wortman, "Muscovite Political Folkways" and the Problem of Russian Political Culture in  Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 1987), pp. 191-197.

[23] Richard Wortman, "Muscovite Political Folkways" and the Problem of Russian Political Culture in  Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 1987), 192.

[24] Richard Wortman, "Muscovite Political Folkways" and the Problem of Russian Political Culture in  Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 1987), 192.

[25] Richard Hellie, "Edward Keenan's Scholarly Ways" in  Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 1987), 181.

[26] Richard Hellie, "Edward Keenan's Scholarly Ways" in  Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 1987), 184.

[27] Richard Wortman, "Muscovite Political Folkways" and the Problem of Russian Political Culture in  Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 1987), 195.

[28] Richard Wortman, "Muscovite Political Folkways" and the Problem of Russian Political Culture in  Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 1987), 195.

[29] Richard Hellie, "Edward Keenan's Scholarly Ways" in  Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 1987), 186.

[30] Richard Hellie, "Edward Keenan's Scholarly Ways" in  Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 1987), 186.

[31] S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 9.

[32] S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 10.

[33] S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 8.

[34] S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 10.

[35] S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 10

[36] S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), pp. 7-8.

[37] S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), pp. 8-9.

[38] S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 9.

[39] S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 10.

[40] Baron Bodissey, "Restoring the Demos", in Gates of Vienna, August 04, 2007 [available online], 2007

[41] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xxxi.

[42] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xxxi.

[43] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xxii.

[44] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xxxii.

[45] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xxxii.

[46] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xxxi.

[47] Pavlov, Andrei & Maureen Perrie, Ivan the Terrible: Profiles in Power (Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited, 2003), 23.

[48] Edward Keenan, The Tsar’s Two Bodies, (1975, unpublished draft of public lecture, class material), p. 15.

[49] Edward Keenan, The Tsar’s Two Bodies, (1975, unpublished draft of public lecture, class material), p. 15.

[50] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), x.

[51] Richard Hellie, “What Happened?” How did he get away with it? Ivan Groznyi’s Paranoia and the Problem of Institutional Restraints’, in Richard Hellie, ed, Ivan the Terrible: A Quartercentenary Celebration of his Death ( Russian Hisory/Histoire Russe, vol. 14, 1987), pp. 199, 209., in Andrei Pavlov and Maureen Perrir, Ivan The Terrible, Profiles in Power (Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2003), p.3

[52] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), pp. 126-7.

[53] Pavlov, Andrei & Maureen Perrie, Ivan the Terrible: Profiles in Power (Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited, 2003), 3.

[54] Pavlov, Andrei & Maureen Perrie, Ivan the Terrible: Profiles in Power (Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited, 2003), 3.

[55] Edward Keenan, see note for The Tsar’s Two Bodies, (1975, unpublished draft of public lecture, class material), p. 2. Platonov in text refers to himself as a painter of portraits. Keenan’s observation: “…portraits painted... that of Platonov-the most sparing of speculation-is still the best.”

[56] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xiv.

[57] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 2.

[58] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 2.

[59] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 3.

[60] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 3.

[61]    M.M. Gromyko in Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed. Joseph L. Wieczynski, vol., ? (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1982), 66.

[62] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 71.

[63] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 115.

[64] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xv.

[65] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xx.

[66] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xviii.

[67] Pavlov, Andrei & Maureen Perrie, Ivan the Terrible: Profiles in Power (Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited, 2003), 177.

[68] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 97.

[69] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 98.

[70] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 97, 98.

[71] Pavlov, Andrei & Maureen Perrie, Ivan the Terrible: Profiles in Power (Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited, 2003), 177.

[72] George Henry Bolsover, Ivan the Terrible in Russian Historiography, in: “Transactions of the Royal Historical Society”, 5th Ser., 7, 1957, S. 84-85.

[73] Basil Dmytryshyn, ed., Medieval Russia: A Source Book, 850-1700, 3rd ed., Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1991, Section 53, “Russian Conquest and Exploitation of Siberia,”  342.

[74] Y. I. Koretskii, "Zemskii sobor 1575 g. I postavlenie Simeona Bekbulatovicha 'velikim kniazem vseia Rusi'," Istoricheskii arkhiv, 1959; No.2, pp. 148-56; M. N. Tikhomirov, "Soslovno-predstavitel'nye uchrezhdeniia (zemskie sobory) v Rossii v XVI v.," Voprosy istorii, 1958, No.5, pp. 3-23, esp. pp. 15-17.

[75] See Encyclopedia Wieczynski, vol. 28, pp.. 114-115.

[76] S. F. Platonov, Times of Troubles: A Historical Study of the Internal Crisis and Social Struggle in Sixteenth- and  Seventeenth- Century Muscovy, trans., John T. Alexander (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1970), pp. 6-33.

[77] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xv.

[78] Jack Kollman, February 28, 2007, Class discussion ( Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, 2007)

[79] Zimin,Oprichnina, p. 167.

[80] Edward Keenan, The Tsar’s Two Bodies, (1975, unpublished draft of public lecture, class material), p. 6.

[81] Edward Keenan, The Tsar’s Two Bodies, (1975, unpublished draft of public lecture, class material), p. 6.

[82] Ivan the Terrible, 113.

[83] Pavlov, Andrei & Maureen Perrie, Ivan the Terrible: Profiles in Power (Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited, 2003), 123.

[84] Ivan the Terrible, 112.

[85] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xiv.

[86] S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 2.

[87] Edward Keenan, see note for The Tsar’s Two Bodies, (1975, unpublished draft of public lecture, class material), pp. 10-12.

[88] Trubetzkoy, N. S.,  The Legacy of Genghis Khan and Other Essays on Russia’s Identity, ed. Anatoly Liberman, trans. Kenneth Brostrom (  Ann Arbor : Michigan Slavic Publications, 1991), 27.

[89] J.L.I. Fennel, See Solov’ev, IIcinopu.s Poecuu (Moscow, 1855), vol. vi, ch. i, pp. 13—14.

[90] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 145.

[91] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), 49.

[92] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xxxiv.

[93] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xxvii.

[94] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 8.

[95] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 6.

[96] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 10

[97] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 10

[98] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 18.

[99] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 18.

[100] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 114.

[101] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 114.

[102] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 51.

[103] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 114.

[104] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 114.

[105] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 115.

[106] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 116.

[107] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 70.

[108] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 71.

[109] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 71.

[110] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 68.

[111] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 68.

[112] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 70.

[113] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 72.

[114] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 72.

[115] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, pp.72-73.

[116] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 73.

[117] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 77.

[118] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 4.

[119] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, 15.

[120] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xxx.

[121] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xxx.

[122] Richard Hellie, in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), xviii.

[123] Bibliography: D.Ilovaiskii, Istoriia Raizanskogo kniazhestva (Moscow, 1858. A.L. Mongait, Razainskaia zemlia (Moscow, 1961).L.V. Cherepnin, Obrazovanie Russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva v XIV-XV vv. ( Moscow, 1960), in Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski, vol. 15 (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1982), 64.

[124] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), Platonov’s notes, 152.

[125] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), Platonov’s notes, 131.

[126] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), Platonov’s notes, pp. 130-131.

[127] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), Platonov’s notes, 131.

[128] Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), Platonov’s notes, 131.

[129] Joseph L. Wieczynski  in Platonov, S. F., Ivan the Terrible, trans. & ed., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974) ch. v., foot., 23, 154.


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