Russia -- Chronology

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Kiev & RUS’  Chronology


Master Chronology Russia


Never say Ivan IV did this or did that, always say they did this or they did that – Boyar +


Concentric circles, and the cabal-Mafia of Government Organization. Even Charlemagne used this system.


Rus'-pronounced "Roose"-was the medieval name for the lands of the East Slavs, ancestors of

the Ukrainians and Belorussiansas well as the Russians.-


From the beginnings of the Russian Church until 1448, its head,

who was first the Metropolitan of Kiev and later the Metropolitan of

Moscow, was ordained by the Patriarch of Constantinople. After 1437,

the year the Byzantine Church concluded its union, of short duration,

with the Church of Rome, the Russian Church broke away and became





8th -9th Century, Kiev was an outpost of the Khazar empire.

880 to the middle of the 12th century, Kievan Rus' period, declined before Mongols came.

9th Century global warming melts artic ocean ice, Greenland is actually green.

9th Century, late, Vikings, called Varangians, come down from the North to trade, in corporation called the Rus, Khallman, “Nomads of the Sea” name of a Scandinavian warrior trading company and as well as called a trade federation, made up of many ethnicities of the many river ports and distribution regions.

9th century Ryurik the Viking supposedly comes to Rus’
958 c.  Saint Vladimir Svyatoslavich the Great born. (d. 1015)

988 Prince Vladimir of Kiev begins conversion of Rus’ to Christianity. With Christianity comes architecture, and great construction.  Basilica, first was a courthouse for the rulers or government, then it became synonymous with the Church.

980s From the beginnings of the Russian Church until 1448, its head, who was first the Metropolitan of Kiev and later the Metropolitan of Moscow, was ordained by the Patriarch of Constantinople. After 1437, the year the Byzantine Church concluded its union, of short duration, with the Church of Rome, the Russian Church broke away and became independent.

980s Greek architects come with Byzantine Princess Anna to Kiev. They build, and some Rus’ learn under them.

980s First Churches were wooden structures. Vladimir first act, threw-out Perun, Volos idols, Kiev, First church dedicated to St. Basil, his patron.
890 Cathedral of the Dormition of the Virgin “Marble Church” (Desyatinnaya, f. 989, cruciform (not basilica), marbles and frescos), used as palace chapel. Sent for Greek artisans, no mention Yaroslav made similar call.



??? (emulation ‘contested’ of Justinian’s Hagia Sophia???


989 Novgorod,  Holy Sophia Cathedral, first cathedral ordered built by Vladimir I (Kiev) in 989 of oak; 13 “tops1’ (verkhi); burned 1045, Vladimir’s son, Iaroslav the Wise (Prince of Novgorod, then Kiev), commissioned masonry cathedral, 5 domes over cathedral; plus one dome over staircase tower, 5, then 7 aisles; originally 3 apse projections, outer galleries at N & S raised and vaulted; quadrant (half-barrel) vaults, quadrant vaults buttress central core, material: outer added galleries of rubble (uncut stone in mortar, made pink by, addition of crushed brick, on original apses: more ordered layers of Byzantine opus mixtum, Sophia Cathedral the seat of the Novgorod bishop, then archbishop (1165).

990 ― 1500 architecture of Novgorod and Pskov; architecture of Novgorod in the first period derived from Kiev, and is to be understood in its history as provincial variant of the Kievo ― Byzantine style (Hamilton 37)

991 Vladimir founds Cathedral of St. Sophia, imposes Christianity on Novgorod. St. Sophia originally had thirteen copulas, signifying Christ and his twelve apostles. (1045 destroyed by fire, but the ‘tops’ (vierkhi) were recorded in the chronicles). Like its wooden predecessor in Novgorod, this church had a picturesque pyramidal silhouette. This is a distinct Russian departure from Byzantine principles. Vladimir sends for Greek artists from Byzantine, a key development in Russian architecture.

989 Vladimir returns from conquering Kherson.

1036 ― 54 reign of Yaroslav ‘the Wise’ as grand prince of Kiev
1017, Chernigov, Cathedral of the Transfiguration, founded c. 1017 (No onion  copulas).

1103-1207, no fewer than 68 churches built, indicating great wealth of Novgorod, ‘Novgorod school,’ attribution of an artistic style.

1018 ― 37 Kiev, Cathedral of St. Sophia (emulation ‘contested’ of Justinian’s Hagia Sophia)

1045 ― 57 Novgorod Saint Sophia Cathedral; foundations, and structure, no interior decoration at this point.




wooden church destroyed by fire and chronicles say it was thirteen ‘tops;’ silhouette pyramid appearance, its predecessor from Novgorod, Russian departure from Byzantine principles, so it marked the beginning of native tradition in masonry construction; cross-plan, three bays of the nave to the north and south of the space beneath the central dome. The five-domed stone cathedral was built by Vladimir of Novgorod on behest of his father, Yaroslav the Wise, as a sign of gratitude to Novgorodians for their support of Yaroslav's struggle for Kiev. The oldest Church ?; Onion shaped domes or onion-like cupolas were a design for the cold weather, unique for Russia, too much snow collecting on roofs caused them to cave in. ?????



1054 ‘Great Schism’ of eastern and western Christianity
1108-1144 Novgorod Cathedral of St. Sophia was decorated with frescos and not expensive mosaics. It was damaged by fire during WWII, so hardly anything survived.

1113 ― 25 reign of Vladimir Monomakh as grand prince of Kiev
1015 The passion martyrs Boris and Gleb were killed in 1015 by Iaropolk

the Accursed.

1125 – 1152 no church building projects in Suzdal.

1147 the town of Moscow is first mentioned in a chronicle
1150s and 1180s Vladimir-Suzdal’ Church of the Intercession (or Protection: Pokrov), 4-piered, single-domed, 3 apse projections, ashlar (cut, dressed, squared) blocks of limestone  helmet-shaped original dome, band of blind arcading at half height and on apses  bas-relief sculptures in zakomary (gables), ,drum of dome: shingle-like carving, sawtooth frieze,  rounded door surrounds ,acanthus (palmetto) leaves; colonettes of blind arcade. facade sculpture: heads of humans, chimeras, lions, griffins, birds, bulls middle gable on N/W/S ,facades: King David,female heads; facing lions ,

Physiologus, popular medieval bestiary , sources of ornamentation?: Byzantium; German Romanesque,  door surrounds: repetitive leaf, vine and tree designs ,

possible influence from Armenia and Georgia , Iurii, son of Andrei Bogoliubskii of Vladimir, married Queen Tamara, of Georgia in 1185.

1152-1158 Cathedral of the Transfiguration, Pereiaslavl-Zalesskii, Prince Iurii Dolgorukii.

1158-61; rebuilt 1185-89 Vladimir-Suzdal’ Cathedral of the Dormition (or Assumption) (Uspenskii sobor) Kliazma River, one dome, then 5 domes, helmet shaped, 3 aisles, then 5 aisles; 3 apses projections, dressed/cut limestone, facade ornamentation similar to Nerl’ church.

1190s Cathedral of St. Dmitrii, 11 90s (Demetrius of Salonika, 3rd-4th cc,) I dome, 4 piers, 3 apses surface bas-relief sculpture: beasts, real and mythical; King David; Alexander the Great; Vsevolod III Big Nest; St. Theodore Stratilates St. George Sts. Boris & Gleb upper register: 566 sculptured items -- 470 beasts and plants, 46 saints interior frescoes: apostles.

1198 The Church of the Savior at Nereditsa (until WWII) contained the earliest complete ensemble of wall paintings. Built by prince Novgorod, Yaroslav Vladimirovich, painting the following year.

1212 east slavs no longer in communication with Byzantiim they were cut-off – no communication, no longer trade Dnieper, and so in 13th  people pushed back and north, by increasing Mongol incursions and threats.

1229-34; 1470s Vladimir-Suzdal’ Iur’ev-Pol’skii (or Yuriev-Polsky), Cathedral of St. George, collapsed, reassembled in 1470s by Ermolin (from Moscow)  rich facade ornamentation (as in Vladimir Dmitrii Cathedral) rarity of sculpture in Russian lands, discouraged by Church.

1237 ― 40 Mongol invasion of Rus’
1243 the Mongols confirm Yaroslav Vsevolodovich as prince of Vladimir
1290s Suzdal, first icon school, flourished in the 14th century: famous icon of Saints Boris and Gleb and that of Archangel Michael on a silver background.

1299 Metropolitan Maksim, moves from Kiev to Vladimir. School merged into the Moscow school in the 15th century.  
l4th-l5th cc., Novgorod’s classic period,

1314 Birth of St. Sergius of Radonezh; Theodore was the son of Sergius' brother, Stephen. He later became the bishop of Rostov; Did Sergius rally the Russians under Dimitrii to give the Tartars their first major defeat in 1378?

1328 Prince Ivan Daniilovich of Moscow (Ivan I Kalita) becomes grand
prince of Vladimir. He wins right to implement Russian taxes, collection for Mongol-Tatars. Grand. Duke Ivan Danilovich of Moscow (1301-1341), called Kalita ("Moneybag"), was the actual founder of the Muscovite state. He spread his reign over a considerable part of the land between the Oka and Volga rivers. Rostov was an important city of the Volga.

1354 Moscow becomes the seat of the metropolitan. Peter dies on a visit to Moscow, and this is luck, as his successor is asked to stay the see. Part of the legitimacy of Moscow by collecting the ecclesiastical jurisdiction to Moscow.  
1360-61 B cf. Church of Theodore Stratilates (the Warrior, the General) ‘on the Brook’ (na ruch’iu, 1360-61; trefoil roof line. C. cf. Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Kozhevniki (Leather Workers’ District), 1406 trefoil roof line, wooden shingles on vaults and dome construction: uncut stone, mortar; bricks for accent lines D. cf. Pskov architecture; Trinity Cathedral; multi-sloped roofs atop rounded vaults Pskov ‘kremlin” called “Krom” (similar root: kreml’, probably meaning oaken stockade)  F. Church of the Dormition in Volotovo Field, Novgorod, 1352, Frescoes 1380s.

1378  Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Ilin (Elijah) Street, 1378 , frescoes by Feofan Grek (Theophanes the Greek):  Old Testament Trinity, Noah; Abel; Makarii,  stylite saints.  Finish Novgorod frescoes of the 14th c. Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Il’in (Elijah) Street, 1378 , frescoes by Feofan Grek (Theophanes the Greek) stylite saints, Abel; Makarii (4th-c. Egyptian desert father) Old Testament Trinity Church of the Dormition in Volotovo Field, 1352, frescoes 1380s (not extant).





1380 ―battle of Kulikovo: Grand Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich (Donskoi)
defeats Mamai
1385 Dynastic agreement of Krewo, Jagiello’s marriage (r. 1377-1434, married Queen Jadwiga): marked the beginning of Polanizaton of Lithuania.

1389 The Passing of Grand Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich (d. 1389)(r. twenty-seven years and six months), in The Nikonian Chronicle. He lived forty-years. He lived with his Princess Evdokia and her mother Grand Princes Anna. He had sons and daughters: Addressing the children,  key Chronicle sentences attributed to him: 'Trespassing the father's will will destroy the children's home and put an end to the mother's life.' […] Love your boyars, render them the honor they deserve according to the deeds of each, and do nothing without their counsel. Primogenture, as he gives Vasilii his Grand Principality. Theme to sons: to sons to serve the boyars, and kinsmen. (note: deathbed scene, Vasilii III in (r. 1505-’33) 1533 theme to boyars:  serve my sons, he said to the boyar/princes).

1389 1425 — reign of Grand Prince Vasilii I
Death of St.Sergius, Sergius starts out as monk in forest, then becomes recognized spiritual leader. Blessing added strength to Dimitrii.  St. Sergius inspired Russian people and introduce a more disciplined and strictly enforced communal life in the monastery. St. Sergius (1314-1392), patron saint of Russia:

1408 Vasily Patrikeev (Vassian, after his tonsure) was in fact the great- grandson of Patriky Narimuntovich, the Lithuanian prince who entered the service of Vasily I in 1408. His grandmother Maria was Vasily II’s sister and Ivan III’s aunt (his mother Evdokia Vladimirovna Khovrin was not related to the grand princely family). After a distinguished career in the service of Ivan III, Vasily Patrikeev fell from favour in 1499 together with his father Ivan Yur’evich, his brother Ivan Mynin Patrikeev and his brother-in-law Semen Ivanovich Ryapolovsky. The reasons for his disgrace are not known; “treason” is mentioned by one source. It may be that all four were involved in the dynastic crisis of 1497—9. Ryapolovsky was executed, but the three Patrikeevs, thanks to the intervention of the senior clergy, were spared. Vasily/Vassian was sent to the monastery of St Kirill in Beloozcro; he was later allowed to move to the hermitage of Nil Sorsky, and eventually to the Simonov monastery in Moscow where he evidently lived until his trial in 1531.
That Vassian Patrikeev openly rebuked Vasily III may be questioned. Kurbsky was probably influenced by a description of the second marriage of Vasily III written by one Palsy of the Ferapontov monastery (Ghten(ya, 1847, No. 8), who states that Vassian, when consulted by Vasily III on the possibility of a divorce, protested against the illegality of such action and that as a result he was put on trial together with Maksim the Greek. Vassian was clearly not arrested in 1525 nor did befall from favour until 1531 when he was tried shortly after the second trial of Maksirn. Maksim was first put on trial in the beginning of 1525, some ten months before the tonsure of Solomonia. (J.L.I. Fennel History of the Grand Princes, foot 3, p.5-6 ).

1425 62 reign of Grand Prince Vasilii II
1437 Council of Florence begins
1437 Byzantine Church allies with Roman Latin Church to off-set Ottoman threats, Russian Church breaks-off relations and became independent.

1448 Russian bishops names Bishop lona of Ryazan’ as metropolitan

1451 Ahmad Khan #1 attempts at Moscow, unsuccessful.

1452 Vernadsky’s period of end of Mongol Yoke. Moscow gives descendant of Chinggis Khan the principality of Kasimov, in recognition of Moscow suzerainty.

1453 Constantinople falls to the Ottomans Russians cut of from Western knowledge and culture ( however, Constantinople had been in decline for some time).
1455 Ahmad Khan #2 attempts at Moscow, unsuccessful.

1458 Final break with Lithuania, separate break, separate Orthodox metropolitanate for Lithuanian state.

1461 Ahmad Khan #3 attempts at Moscow, unsuccessful.


1462—1505 — reign of Grand Prince Ivan III
1462 Oprichnina roots begin with Ivan III (1462-1505) with his policies of “gathering of the Russian Lands” around Moscow, kingly jurisdiction and private lands the issue. Roots of the thought of separating the body politic and the body personal gain notice here.

1472 Zoe (Sofiya) Paleologue becomes second wife of Ivan III.
1474 beginning, Ivan III sent agents to Venice to ascertain Italian architects: engineer Aristotle Fieravanti, prominent builders Marco Ruffo, Pietro Solario and Alevisio. Fieravanti built (lived in Russia 1475-1479) Cathedral of Assumption. Cathedrals of Annunciation, the Assumption, and the Archangel Michael became the centerpieces of the Kremlin. Coronations, weddings, and  tombs of the rulers of Russia. Stone palaces began to appear.

1475 Crimean Khan becomes vassal of the Ottoman Empire
1476 Holy Spirit Church of the Holy Trinity Lavra.

1478 Moscow annexes Novgorod
1480 ‘the stand on the Ugra’: Ivan III confronts Akhmat Khan. Traditional end of Mongol Yoke. Ivan III of Moscow publicly renounced his, and Russian, allegiance ot the Khan, and the Mongol-Tartars failed to challenge his actions seriously.  
1485 Moscow annexes Tver’
1486—1566 Baron Sigismund von Herberstein, the distinguished ambassador in the service of the emperor, twice visited Moscow (1517, 1527) on diplomatic missions. His Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii, a detailed and valuable description of Muscovy during the rule of Vasily III, appeared in Vienna in 1549. Not one of the known editions of his work, however, which could have been available to Kurbsky was printed in Milan. (J.L.I. Fennel, History of Grand Princes, foot 2, p.7).

1487 Russians establish Magmet- Amin’ as khan of Kazan’
1497 Law Code issued
1497—9 dynastic crisis.

1498 Ivan III crowns his grandson Dmitii as his co- ruler and heir
1499—1500 Semen Kurbsky’s main claim to fame, apart from his protest at Vasily’s divorce, was his leadership of the great expedition to the northern Ural district (Yugra).

1502 destruction of the Great Horde by the Crimean Tatars
1505—33 reign of Grand Prince Vasilii III
1510 Moscow annexes Pskov
1514 Moscow captures Smolensk
1521 Moscow annexes Ryazan’

1525 Safa-Girei becomes khan of Kazan’
1525 Vasilii III divorces Solomoniya Saburova
1525 ( November) Vasily had his first wife, Solomonia Yur’evna (née Saburov) tonsured, “because of the malady of her childlessness” (PSRL VIII, p. 271; XIII, p. 45). The chronicler of Pskov explains Vasily’s action by his fear of the chaos which would ensue should he die childless and be succeeded by one of his incompetent brothers. According to the Vologdo—Permsky Chronicle, Solomonia was tonsured in the Rozhdestvensky convent in Moscow and was then sent to the Pokrovsky convent in Suzdai’ (PSRL xxvI, p. 313). She died there in 1542. (J.L.I. Fenne History of Grand Princes, foot 1, p.4).

1525 First Court trial of Maksim the Greek who was born in Italy in about 1475. After spending ten years in the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos he was invited to Moscow by Vasily III in order to help with the translation of sacred books. He remained in Moscow for the rest of his life, interesting himself in such controversial questions as monastic landownership and the position of the Church vis-a-vis the State. He was put on trial (1525 and 1531) for his ecclesiastical views, which ran counter to those of the Josephian hierarchy, for “heretical” opinions and for treacherously conspiring with one Skinder, the sultan’s ambassador in Moscow. From 1525 to 1531 he was imprisoned in the Josephian monastery of Volokolamsk; after his second trial in I531 he was sent to the Tver’ Otroch’ monastery; in 1551 he was allowed to move to the Trinity monastery of St Sergy where he died in 1556. (J.L.I. Fenne History of Grand Princes, foot 2, p.76-7).

1526 Vasilii III marries Elena Glinskaya
1530 (August 25?, Moscow?) birth of Elena’s son, Ivan Vasil’evich
1532 (October) birth of Elena’s son, Yurii Vasil’evich
1532 Russian client Enalei becomes khan of Kazan’
1533: Vasilii III, his father died in 1533, Ivan three years-old. Leaves Mikhail Glinskii, and another kinsman, D. F. Belskii in charge of Ivan.

1533-84 — reign of Ivan IV
1534—5 Ivan’s allegations (alleged Letter to Kurbsky), which refer to the Russo-Lithuanian campaigns of 1534—5, do not appear to be entirely justified. In the autumn of 1534 the voevoda of Kiev, Andrzej Niemirowicz, burned Radogoshch, but was forced to withdraw from Starodub and Chernigov with heavy losses. In the following year a Lithuanian army under the command of Jerzy Radziwill, Andrzej Niemirowicz, the Polish Hetman Tarnowski and the fugitive Russian, Semen BeI’sky, again invaded the surrounds of Novgorod-Sevcrsky. Owing to the pusillanimity of the local commander, Prince Obnlensky Shchepin, who fled to Moscow with all his troops and weapons, Gomel’ surrendered without a struggle. But in Starodub the local voevoda, Prince Fedor Telcpnev-Obolensky, resisted manfully, and it was only after the fiercest of struggles that the Lithuanians succeeded in blowing up and occupying the town. During the battle for Starodub the voevoda was captured and 13,000 of the inhabitants were killed. (See Solov’ev, IIcinopu.s Poecuu (Moscow, 1855), vol. vi, ch. i, pp. 13—14.)  (J.L.I. Fennel).

1534-1547 feuding clans period: Power struggles- Glinskiis and Belskiis, Ivan’s relatives through his mother and the Shuiskiis, princes from Suzdal who dominated the Boyar Duma at the time of Vasilii’s death.

1534-8 regency of Elena Glinskaya 1535 Safa-Girei is restored as Khan Kazan’
1534: One year after Ivan’s fathers death: Ivan’s guardian, Glinskii, arrested by opposition boyars. “Vasilii III died, the regents arrested his younger brother, Iurii of Dmitrov, and left him to die in prison.

1536 death of Prince Yurii of Dimitrov

1537 death of Prince Andiei of Staritsa. Elena Glinskaia’s government goaded Andrew of Staritsa into a revolt, he was the last remaining brother of Vasilii III, and he also dies arrested and thrown in prison. 

1537 Ivan IV’s uncle, Prince Andrey of Staritsa, frightened by current rumours of impending arrest, fled to Novgorod, notwithstanding various assurances and admonitions of the Metropolitan Daniel and the senior clergy. His sister-in-law, Elena, dispatched her lover and favourite, Prince Telepnev-Obolensky, to Novgorod, where, according to the most probable of the two versions of the story, he succeeded in persuading Andrcy to return to Moscow. ‘ihere Andrey was perjurously arrested and thrown into prison where lie died in the same year. Prince Ivan Lvov, a distant cousin of Kurbsky, is not mentioned in the chronicles as a partisan of Andrey Staritsky (J.L.I. Fennel).

1538 death of Elena Glinskaya, Muscovite court lost all coherence.

1538-47 period of ‘boyar rule’ ( For what?, Succession void?)
1538 After the death of Elena in 1538 Vasily Vasil’evich and Ivan Vasil’evich Shuisky seized the power and released from prison Ivan Fedorovich Bel’sky and Prince Andrey Mikhailovich Shuisky (both imprisoned by Elena at the beginning of her regency). After Bel’sky’s release from prison a quarrel arose between the Shuiskys and the BeI’skys. I. F. Bel’sky was accordingly returned to prison and his supporters, notably the d’yak Mishurin, were removed from the scene by Vasily Shuisky. The latter, however, died shortly after Mishunin’s execution and the power was transferred to the hands of his brother, Ivan. In 1539 Ivan Shuisky eliminated a further supporter of the Bel’skys, Metropolitan Daniel, who was banished to the monastery of Volokolamsk, where, prior to his accession to the metropolitanate, he had been abbot, succeeding the monastery’s great founder, Joseph. (J.L.I. Fennel , 74-5).

1539 Gugy, mostly northern Russia policy, government instructed to select starsoty to assemble autonomous posses to battle brigandage, and report directly to officials in Moscow, not local provincial governors.

1540 Metropolitan loasaf (Metropolitan Daniel’s successor) succeeded in interceding for the release of I. F. Bel’sky from prison (see J.L.I. Fennel, Ivan/ Kurbsky correspondence, p. 75, n. 4). The power then passed from the Shuiskys to Bel’sky, who appears to have run the State together with the aid of the metropolitan and the approval of the young tsar. Towards the end of 1541 (when Ivan was a mere ii years old), Ivan Shuisky was temporarily removed from the scene, having been dcspatched to Vladimir to defend the eastern districts against the Tatars of Kazan.’ Of “the other boyars”, Prince Petr Mikhailovich Shchenyatev, was banished to Yaroslavi’ and Ivan Khabarov to Tver’. Alone Bel’sky was sent to the monastery of St Cyril at Beloozero, where 4 months later he was murdered. The coup d’etat took place on 3 January 1542 (see Tsarslvennaya Kniga, PSRL, XIII, pp. 439, 440). loasaf was saved from murder by Alcksey, abbot of the Trinity monastery, and by Prince Dimitry Paletsky. See Tsarstz’ennaya Kniga, J1SRL, xin, (see Tsarstvennaya Kniga, PSRL, xiii, p. 439). (J.L.I. Fennel ,foot, 1,2,3, p. 78).

1542 Makarii becomes metropolitan.

1543 Ivan (Was it him or them?) as a result of the boyars’ behavior had Andrey Mikhailovich Shuisky killed at the end of 1543. This marked the end of the influence of the Shuiskys. 1545 ca. Heinrich Von Staden, born in Ahlen, Westphalia ( First hand accounts of the Oprichnina, in The Land and Government of Muscovy, not found and published in modern times until trans., I.I. Polosin, 1925, then published with research by Fritz Epstein in 1930, second edition, 1964.
1547 (January) Ivan’s coronation as tsar

1547 (February) Ivan’s marriage to Anastasiya Romanovna (Political reasons) Beginning of the famous Romanov dynasty.

1547 Vestibule, Ivan IV excommunicated after 4th marriage. Must stand in isle church.
1547 (June) fire devastates 1/3 and popular uprising against tile Glinskiis in Moscow
1547 Ivan sends for teachers, doctors and artists from Germany, he sends Saxon Slitte to gather them, they are stopped by the Livonians and, Hanseatic League and only  a few make it.

1547/8 Ivan heads an expedition against Kazan’
1549  February 27: (February) ‘Council of Reconciliation’ convenes Boyar Duma and a church council demanded that the great nobles stop oppressing the lesser nobles and peasants. Tsar publicly met with ecclesiastical and lay leaders many times to announce his government’s policies. Included sometimes many groups, sometimes only inner circle groups; over time this council evolved into an  ‘assembly of the land’ Out of these meetings came ‘the zemskii sobor.’ This was a support apparatus to carry out the Tzar’s policies - a means of mobilizing the support of its leading servitors ( pointed out by Kliuchevskii).

1549 (March) death of Khan Safa-Girei of Kazan’
1549/50 Ivan heads a second expedition against Kazan ( really?)
1550 new (‘Royal’) Law Code introduced called Sudebnik, Mainly, ‘a procedural manual for conducting investigations and trials.’
1550: mestnichestvo (precedence ranking), a set of regulations governing the relationships between military commanders in the field.  Free up competition on the field between cavalry, flanking and foot soldiers. Kazan’ plans and preparations.

1551 (January-February)  Council of a Hundred Chapters’ convenes (Stovglov, Put words into Ivan’s mouth), issues of landholding, the church lands, the monastery incomes.
1551 Ivan wants the bloodshed to stop. He calls for amnesty for accused. (Stoglazy Sobor) of 1551. At the first the tsar addressed the assembled hierarchy and nobility, accusing the boyars of the disorders during his minority, ordering them to settle peacefully all disputes and finally granting a general amnesty. Unfortunately no decrees issued by Ivan III concerning the confiscation or alienation of secular landed property have survived. There is, however, in certain reliable copies of the acta of the Stoglavy Sobor (1551) a reference to a decree of Ivan Ill forbidding service people in territories newly acquired by Moscow and the descendants of appanage princes to bestow landed property on monasteries (see A. S. Pavlov, 6 Poccuu (Odessa, 1871), ch. ii).
As for the illegal and “unbefitting” redistribution of patrimonies of which Ivan here accuses Sylvester, again there is no documentary evidence to show that Sylvester or his colleagues made free with landed property at the expense of the State. Indeed, in 1550, presumably at the instigation of the Izbrannaya Rada, there occurred the first large-scale ‘resettlement” (isporneshcheniye) of Muscovite service people (sluzhiliye lyudi, dooryane) on crown lands (and not confiscated patrimonies) adjacent to the capita]. The purpose of this resettlement was to provide approximately half the members of the central government and the Muscovite court (amongst whom were included the senior commanders of the army) with territories near the seat of administration and thus increase their efficiency and “readiness for service”, speed up mobilization in case of war and form reliable cadres of responsible administrators. The aim, in fact, was not to benefit boyars deprived of land by Ivan III, but to modernize and increase the efficiency of the administration—a step necessitated by the vast growth of territory during the past hundred years and the failure of the central government to keep pace with this growth. (See S. B. Veselovsky, (Moscow-Leningrad, 1947), pt. 1, ch. 15.)(J.L.I. Fennel ,foot, 5,6, p. 88-9).

1552 (October) conquest of Kazan’ Edigei, last Khan of Kazan, given Kasimov.
1552 presumably in order to urge Ivan to return to Moscow from Kazan’. The chronicles make no mention of the advice given to Ivan; they merely state that on 11 October 1552 Ivan “decided with Prince Vladimir Andreevich and with all the boyars to go to Moscow” (PSRL xin, pp. 222, 516). Ivan arrived at the end of October to Moscow. .)(J.L.I. Fennel ,HOI IV, foot, 2,3, p. 74,75). Kazan’ conquest gives back to the Russians the Volga River. Can this conquest be not Imperialism but self preservation, such as a boundary around the Russian to stave-off nomadic attacks that frequently happened?

1552 (October) birth of Tsarevich Dmitrii
1553 Russians become acquainted with mining ( for military purposes) when Lithuanian forces took Starodub with the help of mining.

1553 (March) Ivan’s illness and disputes about the succession. Ivan falls ill, and the source is a hand written note ten years later, written in the margins of the Chronicals.
1553 (June) -  death of Tsarevich Dmitrii
1553 The great Trinity monastery founded in the fourteenth century by St Sergy of Radonezh. The Frozen Sea was the name given by the Russians to what was later called the Barents Sea. According to the chronicle Ivan set off in May 1553
(PSRL xiii, p. 232)(J.L.I. Fennel ,HOI IV, foot, 1, p. 76).

1553/4 Richard Chancellor comes to Moscow from England by the White Sea route, opens direct commercial and diplomatic ties with England and Russia. White sea rout mostly frozen throughout the year, Norway waters treacherous. He goes to Moscow and established England and Russian most favored nation status.  
1554 Crimea Tartars attack Russia and invade their domain. Subsequent attacks follow in 1557 and 1558. This will lead to a Russia response in 1558 going deep into Crimea itself.

1554 (March) birth of Tsarevich Ivan
Prince Semen Rostovskii is accused of treason
1555/6 abolition of ‘feeding’ (kormlenie)
1555s apparent decentralization to increase effectiveness of central bureaucracy: extension of the system of the local judicial officials (gubnye starosty) to more areas of Muscovy, further refined and broadened elders’ judicial prerogatives and responsibilities.

1555 English Captain, Richard Chancellor, in search of new trade rout, reached Northern Dvina, at the mouth of the White Sea in 1553, and then goes to Moscow to establish England as most favored nation status in trading in 1555.

1556   - zemstvo reform; Code on Service’
1556 ???????????????? Is this the correct date?
Ivan summoned what was probably the first general council of the realm (Zemsky Sobor), composed of representatives of different social ranks, including merchants and lower nobility.

1556  annexation of Astrakhan’ Derbysh-Alei learned of the ‘wet feet,’ fled to Khan of Crimea, ( Policy of gathering the eastern lands), inaugurating Russia’s eastward expansion.

Now control of the middle Volga region, with a chain of fortresses. Energetic colonization begins.

1557 (May) birth of Tsarovich Fedor
1558 - 83 Livonian War
1558 (January) Russia sends troops into Livonia, many Russians do not support the war.

1558 Russian invasion of Livonia. Weakened but rapacious neighbors, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and soon Poland-Lithuania as counter-measures’.
1559 Livonia becomes a protectorate of Lithuatna

1559, Dispute among the boyars if Crimea was more a threat than Livonia- what to do about the war? Disorder in the government. Many people cried to the boyars that a protracted war against Livonia was not in their interests.
1560 Events leading up to a decision by Ivan to abdicate the throne ― the compromise is the Oprichnina,  will begin a lengthy process in his mind. Many loyal aristocrats and some boyars switch allegiance to the Lithuanian/Poland/Livonian side creating circles of suspicions, distrust, concern, political and military crises.

1560s Ivan IV simultaneously underwent a change of political direction and a serious personal crisis. Destroys his two main advisors, Adashev and Sylvester, Assigned Aleksie Adashev and his brother, Daniil, to command posts in the army in Livonia, then later confiscated their estates and disgraced them.

1560 (August) death of Tsaritsa Anastasiva (When the Tsarina died in 1560 Ivan suspected poison). Ivan has an abrupt change in female relationships from now on.
1560  dismissal and trial of Adashev and Sil’vester, both were condemned. In January, Aleksey Adashev was still active in Moscow, he received an embassy from Lithuania in that month; in February his brother daniil was sent to Livonia; and in May, he himself, was sent as the Great Regiment to Livonia. After the capture of Fellin, he was appointed one of the governors of the town. Kurbsky letter, Sil’vester had been driven out. In the Ivan rebuttal letter, Ivan says Sil’vester’s departure was voluntary.
1561 (August) Ivan’s second marriage, to Mariya Temryukovna, a Circassian princess from the northern Caucasus who father had recently entered the tsar’s service. She according to one historian, Staden, may have suggested some of the policies, like the oprichniki to Ivan personally.  

1561 Livonian Order disbanded, territories secularized, Gothard Kettler becomes hereditary Duke  of Courland and vassal of the Polish King.

1562 — Russia goes to war with Lithuania
1563 — Ivan Petrovich Shuiskii had a long and distinguished military career beginning with the Polotsk campaign of 1563. Ivan IV raised him to the rank of

boiar in 1571 (Zimin, "Sostav boiarskoi dumy," p. 76). In 1573 he took part in the capture of Weissenstein. He became a national hero when he commanded the Russian troops that successfully held Pskov against the Polish attack of 1581.

As a reward for his exploits he was granted all of the revenues of the Pskov

district beginning in 1585. His triumph was short-lived. In 1586 one of his servitors denounced him for treason, and Boris Godunov had him exiled to Beloozero where he was murdered in the following year (RBS).

1563 (February) — Russians capture Polotsk
1563 (summer) — trial of the Staritskiis
1563 (December) — death of Metropolitan Makarii
1563/64 purge of Adashevs, execution courtiers, Prince M.P. Repnin killed; N.V. Sheremetev, ancient distinguished non-titled clans, possibly the scapegoat for defeat on the Ulla. Ivan moved against his cousin and potential rival, Vladimir Andreevich of Staritsa. Ivan/boyars removing it strongest leader form the scene, scattering its servants and dividing its lands, prepared the cadet branch of the dynasty for destruction.

1564 Moscow seven-year truce with Sweden, strengthening Moscow’s hand in dealing with Poland. 

1564 (January) — Russians are defeated by Lithuanians on River Ula
1564 (April) — Prince Andrei Kurbskii flees to Lithuania, enters Polish service. Why he fled is a matter of dispute. “ Letters (possibly fake) is where we get the phrase “ I’m answerable to God alone”  Keeman claims these letters were written well after both men were gone. 30 April 1564 Prince Andrey Mikhailovich Kurbsky, a boyar and leading general of the tsar of Muscovy, deserted to the Polish-Lithuanian forces in Livonia. From the town of Wolmar he wrote the first of his five letters to the tsar, Ivan IV. King Augustus Sigismund, his master.  The ensuing correspondence between Kurbsky and Ivan IV has long been recognized as one of the most important historical documents of sixteenth-century Russia. ( This is suspect)
1564 (July) — Ivan’s first letter to Kurbskii:

1564 (December) — Ivan’s departure from Moscow for Aleksandrova Sloboda, takes wife, children, entourage, furniture, possession, courtiers, treasurer and men.  

1564 December 21, [Ivan Vasi'evich] celebrated in the Trinity -St. Sergei,and from the Trinity - St. Sergei,  he went to Sloboda. At that time Afanasii, Metropolitan of all Russia,was in Moscow, as were Pimin, Archbishop of Novgorod the Great and Pskov, Nikandr, Archbishop of Rostov and Iaroslavl’, and other bishops and archmandrites and abbots, and the boyars and okolnichi and the  chancellery staff of the Tsar.

1565  January 3, the Tsar and Grand Prince sent a list from Sloboda with

Konstantin Dmitreev's son, Polivanov, [check this] and his friends, to his

spiritual father, Afanasii Metropolitan of all Russia, and in the list were

written the treacheries of the boyars, of the military commanders, and of all

the chancellery staff which had committed treason and damages to his rule during his minority after (the death of] his father, of blessed memory, the great" Sovereign, Tsar, and Grand Prince Vasilii Ivanovich of all Russia. (Aleksandro-Nevskaia Letopis' Diahanna Lynch, trans.)Military commanders held great estates, and votchiny, and they were taking the sovereign’s income away, collecting great riches. Accusations by Ivan that they didn’t care for Christianity, or cared to fight the Crimiens, Lithuanians or Germans: Issues Muslims, Latins againt Orthodoxy. Some d’iaki read a decree that Ivan supposedly left because of their sins, and didn’t want to rule any longer ― this was read to all the people. Popele lamented, “ who will save us from the foreigners?” This was Ivan’s plan to garner sentiment from the common people. “When wolves see a sheep without a shepherd, and the wolves seize the sheep, who 'will defend us from them?” . (Aleksandro-Nevskaia Letopis' Diahanna Lynch, trans.) The people asked Ivan back: Was this a ploy from Ivan to get the people to understand the future ‘ reign of terror?’: Could Ivan be so smart to have calculated this entire plan methodically? Even the merchants sided with Ivan’s sentiments. Atanasii, Metropolitan of all Russia is asked to petition Ivan to come back: Is this when Ivan formulates demands for his return to power, part of his grand scheme? Final outcome, “a Sovereign: and for those who are traitors and evildoers to him, the Sovereign, and to his rule, let his Sovereign will be their life and punishment.” (4)

1565 January 5th, Commoners, merchants, boyars, clergy arrive in Sloboda to have an audience with the former tsar Ivan IV. Ivan takes some boyars and sends others back to rule Moscow, he thus splits up Russia in what is called Oprichnina ( from Oprich literate word ‘separate’ or ‘divide’). Ivan makes his own court and possessions.

1565 (January 3) Ivan pronounces in epistle to Metropolitan Athanasius, head of the church that he left Moscow out of anger at the boyars and chancery officials and the leaders of the church. Since his childhood, he alleged, the boyars had not fought to defend their country and had oppressed the rest of the population. The Church had angered him by interceding for those who had fallen into his disfavour. Since he culd not tolerate and more of their treasonous deeds, the tsar intended to abdicate the throne and go where “ God Directed him.’ (Crummy 161-2)

1565 (January 4?) Within hours the royal administration and the church appealed to the metropolitan to intercede with Ivan and, within hours, a delegation set out for Aleksandrova Sloboda bearing petitions begging the tsar to remain on the throne and deal with traitors as he wished. (Crummy 162) In effort for the tsar to rationalize and solve the solution he created for himself an oprichnina’ a separate administration and court to do his bidding.

1565—72 — oprichnina
1565 note the main chronicle breaks-off after the creation of the widow’s portion. This is why we do not know much about the intentions of Ivan on the Oprichnina. Scholars are deeply divided to why.

1565 (February) — Ivan returns to Moscow, issues decree on oprichnina
1565 — exile of princes to Kazan’
1565 New wave of execution rocked Moscow. Style, if Ivan accused one of treason, the entire family gets executed, also sometimes the retainers. Target: Exalted lineage, including A.B. Suzdal prince and leader of the army that conquered Kazan. Uprooted 200 nobles, and banished them to a Kazan region. Many distinguished military men.

1566 (June) — the first Assembly of the Land’ convenes
1566 (June) zemskii sober was summoned for the purpose of the latest Poland peace offer, but turned into meeting of the estates, very significant in its history. Still was this a rubber stamp meeting? 374 men attended members of the church, Boyar Council and representatives of the royal bureaucracy. Provided a focal point of opposition to the Oprichnina.

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 (Zimin,Oprichnina,p. 167). (next zemskii sobor is in 1584)

1566 (July) — Filipp Kolychev becomes metropolitan
1567  Boris Godunov entered the service ranks in the oprichnina in 1567 or. At the latest, 1570-71 (Kobrin, p. 34). He was raised to the office of kravchii (taster) by 1578/79, became a boiar in 1580, and was honored with the post of koniushii (master of the horse) at the accession of Fedor in 1584 (RK, p. 292; Zimin, "Sostav boiarskoi dumy," p. 78; DRV, XX, 60). Boris was elected tsar

by a zemskii sobor and reigned until 1605. Became effective ruler quickly.

1567/8 — investigation of treason charges against LP. Fedorov and others
1568 — Metropolitan Filipp is removed from office

1569 Failed Ottoman attempt to take Astrakhan’ with alliance of the Crimean Tartar.  Tartar was a generic usage for some nomadic steppe tribes who incorporated Islam into their system of government. Zemshchina & Oprichnina forces combined. Tsar leading the Oprichnina (supposedly) retreated past Moscow, and went to  the Oprichnina capital Aleksandrova Sloboda, then to Yaroslavl’. Zemshchina forces went to the defense of Moscow, and the Khan didn’t want to wage a pitched battle.
1569 — ‘Lublin Union’ of Poland and Lithuania. The Union of Lublin transformed the dual monarchy of Poland — Lithuania into a unitary kingdom. Sigismund II or Sigismund Agustus, of Poland proceeded to seize large Russian territories from Lithuania and incorporate them into his own kingdom.
1569 (September) — death of Tsaritsa Mariya Temryukovna
1569 (October) — Prince Vladimir Staritskii is executed ( He signed as head of
zemshchnina to protect them against Ivan’s oprichniki.
1569/70 — Ivan’s punitive expedition against Novgorod
1570 Famine crop failures, Plague note suffering (((GET DATES)))

1570-1 plague, policy of no mobility, Moscow hit hard, starvation & death

1570 (July 25) — Oprichniki, public executions in Moscow. 300 led, prepped [the future cite of red square] with torture instruments.

1570 Oprichnina devoured its own people, Ivan turns against many of them. This creates instability, the Kyrm Khan takes notice and understand now is the time to act.

1571 (May) — Moscow is burned by the Crimean Tatars. Ivan sees that oprichnina are not well fit for fighting foreign armies.  Khan Davlet-Geray could not take the Kremlin, but took 100,000 Russians as slaves and enormous booty. Was this the emphasis to put an end to Astrakhan for good, and not seen as imperialism, but a safeguard of the surrounding boarders of Russian territory. Note, China built the great wall to keep out the northern nomadic tribes that endlessly for centuries descended on Chinese cities and devastated them.
1571 (October—November) — Ivan’s third marriage, to Marfa Sobakina
1572 — Ivan’s fourth marriage, to Anna Koltovskaya
1572 Crimea Tartars attack Russia and are repelled.

1572 (August) — Crimean Tatars are defeated at battle of Molodi
1572, Devlet-Girey, tartar steppe-warrior-leader this time met both the oprichnina and the zemshchina army. Prince D. I. Khvorostinin, defeated the invaders in a series of fierce battles at Molodi. These were the Tartar remnants. This battle united the army and allowed Ivan to liquidate the oprichnina.

1572 (autumn) — semi- abolition of oprichnina (actually many policies were not fully abolished until after Ivan’s death). Ivan  retained his personal court, and private property, which meant it was not totally abolished.
1572—3 — interregnum in Poland-Lithuania after death of Sigismund II
1574—6 — second interregnum in Poland-Lithuania after flight of Henri of


1575 Crummy: oprichnina revival seemed eminent, more purges.

1575 poss.  Zemskii sobor V. I. Koretskii and'M. N. Tikhomirov have suggested that sobors also met in 1575 and 1580 respectively (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).

1575/6 — Simeon Bekbulatovich is given the title of ‘Grand Prince of All Rus”

1576 — Stephen Bathory becomes King of Poland-Lithuania. Hungarian prince of Transylvania, Bathory takes over after Henry of Valois leaves the country to take over the French throne of his deceased brother in 1574. Poland becomes united under Bathory.
1577 — Ivan heads Russian campaign in Livonia ( probably not lead)
1577 — Ivan’s second letter to Kurbskii (Supposedly)
1578 — Poland’s offensive in southern Livonia

1579 — Poles recapture Polotsk
1580 — Ivan’s seventh marriage, to Mariya Nagaya
1581–83 The conquest of Siberia by the Cossack Yermak

1581/82 Andrei Ivanovich Shuiskii commanded an expedition against the

Swedes and raised the siege of Oreshek. At the time of Fedor's coronation in

1584 he became a boiar and subsequently commanded forces on the southern

and Swedish frontiers. He was a victim of Godunov's struggle for power with the

Shuiskii family; he was arrested in 1587 and exiled to Kargopol' where he died


1581 — introduction of ‘forbidden years’, restricting peasants’ freedom of

1581 — successful Russian defense of Pskov against Bathory
1581 (November) — death of Tsarevich Ivan
1581—4 — Ermak’s Siberian expedition

1582 compilation of ‘Memorial List’ of Ivan’s Victims
1582 (January) peace of Yam Zapol’skii between Russia and Poland
1582 (October) birth of Tsarevich Dmitrii
1583  — pace of Plyusa between Russia and Sweden
1584 (March) Ivan’s death
1584—98 reign of Fedor Ivanovich
1589 Russian Patriarchate, the most constant factors had been the continued Presence of the Greek clergy, and the implicit Presence in all liturgical and ecclesiastical vents of the Greek heritage of the Russian Church. This affected architecture and artistic expression in Muscovy.

1591 death of Tsarevich Dmitrii ( end of dynastic line)
1598 1605 reign of Boris Godunov
13 ‘Time of Troubles’ a national crisis. Began as a dynastic crisis.  “Myth of the state”, see Platonov’s Argument with Kliuchevskii.

1605 May 19, Vasilii Shuiskii ascended to the Russian Throne.” First thing he did was to make a public declaration in the cathedral Church of the Holy Virgin: “ I kiss the cross before the whole world that I will not take no action against anyone without the approval of the assembly: and that if the father is guilty,I will take noaction against the son: and if the son is guilty. No action against the father” One only needs to remember the Sinodik of Tsar Ivan, with its request to remember  the soul of so-and-so, killed “along with his mother, and his wife, and his sons and his daughters,” for it to become entirely clear what the new tsar is promising the people (Yanov The Origins of Autocracy: Ivan The Terrible In Russian History 275) Nikita Kliuchevskii at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956. Secret speech: “the Crowning  of Prince Vasilli marked an epoch in our political history. On the ascending throne, he limited his power and officially set forth the conditions of this limitation in a document distributed to all the regions, on which he kissed the cross on being crowned.” ( Plantonov, in outlines of the History of the Rebellions in the Muscovite State of the Sixteenth Century and Seventeenth Centuries, inserted a subsection entitled “ The Cross Kissing Document is Not a Limitation.”) (Yanov TOOA 277):




1649 Vlozhenie, serfdom could be fully established in Muscovite state. Serfs described as tillers of the soil. Vlozhenie, in essence means, ‘once a serf always a serf.’


1893 Discovery of the Heinrich Van Staden Documents.




J.L.I. Fennel

The term dvoryanzn implied in the sixteenth century a member of the new class of minor nobility (as opposed to the boyars, the hereditary aristocracy), the “Service People” (sluzhil(ye yudi), who acquired position and property by virtue alone of their service either in the armed forces or in the government. (78)


In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the term d’yak or “scribe” signified merely a personal servant who, by virtue of his ability to read and write, assisted his master in any matters connected with correspondence or finance. With the formation of Prikazy (ministries) and the centralization of the administration in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, however, the dyaki assumed a far more important role in society, becoming not only members of the various ministries, but even secretaries, ministers and Privy Councillors of the grand prince. (74-5 foot 3)

The ‘Ibrannaya Rada” or Chosen Council (the name given by Kurbsky in his History to Sylvester and his associates) on the tsar in matters of governmental policy” (87)

Prince A.M. Kurbsky’s Historuy of Ivan IV, trasn., J.L.I. Fennel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965).



The Russian mile is the equivalent of seven versts, or just under seven and a half kilometres.

Elaborate history, but be careful what sources these are. ( Originally Published 1908 ) BE CAREFUL

( version March 27th, 2007)






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