Biography of Ivan the Terrible

John IV Vasilyevich is the Grand Duke of Moscow and All Russia, the first Russian Tsar. Carried out a reform to centralize Russia, streamlined the military system, expanded the state’s borders.

Childhood. The beginning of the reign

Ivan Vasilyevich Grozny was born on August 25, 1530 in the village of Kolomenskoye near Moscow. In 1533 his father, Grand Duke Vasily III, died. In 1538, the mother of Ivan Vasilyevich, the princess Elena Glinskaya, left her life. The childhood of the future tsar passed in the atmosphere of palace intrigues, a struggle for power, coups between the feuding boyar families of the Belskys and Shuyskys.

In 1547, a solemn ceremony was held for the reign of Grand Prince Ivan IV at the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. At that time, his title was translated as “emperor”, which put Grozny on par with the Holy Roman Emperor.

The affairs of domestic policy were assisted by the advisers of the Chosen Rada, including

Metropolitan Makarii, AF Adashev, AM Kurbsky, Protopop Sylvester.

Domestic policy

In 1549, Ivan Vasilyevich convened the first Zemsky Sobor, at which all sections of the population except serfs were present, and political, administrative, and economic issues were resolved. Since the end of the 40s the tsar has carried out a number of reforms: zemstvo, military, lip, sign.

In 1550, the “Code of Laws” of Ivan VI was adopted, in which peasant communities were given the right to self-government, the establishment of order, the imposition of taxes. In 1551 the tsar convened the Stoglav Cathedral, which resulted in the adoption of a collection of decisions on the church life – Stoglav. In 1555-1556 the system of “feeding” was abolished and the “Code of Service” was adopted, which allowed the formation of a new army structure.

In 1565 Ivan the Terrible, whose biography had already spoken for him as a great monarch, introduced a special form of government – oprichnina, aimed at strengthening the autocracy. In 1572 the oprichnina was dissolved.


In foreign policy, Ivan IV pursued a policy of expanding the territories in the east, mastering the shores of the Baltic Sea in the west and bringing to the end the struggle with the successors of the Golden Horde.

Grozny made meaningful military campaigns, as a result of which in 1547 – 1552, the Kazan Khanate was annexed to the Russian territories, in 1556 – the Astrakhan Khanate, the lands of the Urals and the Volga region. In 1555 – 1557, the Siberian Khan Yediger and the Great Nogai Horde became dependent on Ivan IV. In 1556, Russian troops destroyed the capital of the Golden Horde Saray-Batu.

In 1554 – 1557, the troops of Grozny won the war with Sweden, which began the Swedish King Gustav I. In 1558 – 1583, the troops of Grozny failed in the Livonian War. At the same time, Ivan VI with varying success waged wars with the Crimean Khanate.

Tsar Ivan the Terrible died on March 18, 1584 in Moscow. The great ruler was buried in the Archangel Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.

Interesting Facts
    Ivan the Terrible was one of the most educated personalities of his time, possessed theological erudition and phenomenal memory. He created numerous messages, some church works. Ivan VI actively developed trade and political ties with the Netherlands, Kabarda, England, the Kakhetian kingdom, the Bukhara Khanate. In 1569, the king, suspecting that Novgorod was going to move to Lithuania, personally organized a pogrom, known as the suppression of the Novgorod rebellion, during which all cities were plundered on the road from Moscow to Novgorod. A brief biography of Ivan the Terrible would be incomplete without mentioning his stern disposition. The Tsar often organized mass repressions and bloody massacres, for which he received the nickname “Terrible” among the people. In 1582, his son was killed by the king’s deaths.

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Biography of Ivan the Terrible