What good and bad did Ivan the Terrible do?

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May 16, 2018


He set up a political structure that continued for some time which was good. Economically things were bad when he started and got worse. Indulged in war to varying success. Family life was bad.


Later in life Ivan was prone to rages and he killed his only son that would have been a reasonable successor. This turned out to be pretty bad.

The successor government was run by Boris Godunov who attempted create a legitimate dynasty but was ultimately unsuccessful. The "Time of the Troubles" followed and things got really bad. The Romanov family was eventually able to create a stable government.

When Ivan was crowned he was an named Tsar or Emperor over a large area which expanded during his reign. Russia began to expand into and colonize Siberia during this time. This was probably good.

Ivan fought a long (24 year) unsuccessful war against the Poles, Lithuanians and their allies attempting to get a port on the Baltic.
He was more successful against the Turks and the tribes to the south.

The Russian economy was in debt when Ivan was crowned. Ivan created new taxes and new people to collect them to pay for his wars. Russia was still in debt afterward. This created continuing difficulty. This was bad.

Ivan fought the Russian nobility and created the Tsar as absolute Monarch over all Russians. He also created a bureaucracy of government that was able to administrate the large empire. This was probably good.


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