Ivan The Terrible
In 1547, Ivan IV was crowned tsar of Muscovy. That same year, he married Anastasia Romanovna ,He married several more times after her death in 1560, but this first marriage seems to have been the happiest.
The first tsar of all Russia, Ivan the Terrible, or Ivan IV, had a complex personality. Intelligent yet prone to outbreaks of uncontrollable rage, Ivan's tragic background contributed to his infamous behavior.
Between 1552 and 1556, he greatly expanded Russian territory. At the same time, he abolished the distinction between hereditary boyar property, and land granted temporarily by the Czar for services rendered.
Ivan’s endless wars and demonic purges left much of central Russia depopulated. It was increasingly difficult for landed Boyars to squeeze a living for themselves out of the few peasants left on their landholdings. Since they demanded more and more from the Peasants, the peasants flew the coop, moving into territories Ivan had recently conquered.
Ivan ruled with a deep-seated paranoia and ruthlessness; it's said that he gouged out the eyes of the architects who built St. Basil's so that a cathedral of such beauty could never again be created.
When Ivan the Terrible died in 1584, Russia was left in a state of almost total political and economic ruin.
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