Ivan the Terrible
Ivan IV, also called Ivan the Terrible, was the Grand Prince of Russia in the 16th century from the years 1533-1584. During his long reign as Russia’s premiere leader, he transformed Russia from a feudal state to an empire. His success in this transition of government and in the expansion of the Russian political control of neighboring lands resulted in his becoming the first czar in 1547. Ivan the Terrible increased the power and position of Russia politically and militarily in the international arena by defeating those that got in his way and creating trade and political partnerships with those who supported his aims. He defeated the Kazan Khanate that had regularly beaten Russian armies prior to this point and took control of the Northeast Russia. Ivan IV’s early reign was full of such successes but the later years were less so as his expansive efforts ground to a halt because of the resistance of his neighbors and enemies. Ivan IV is historically believed to have had a difficult personality. He was prone to angry rages, one of which might have led to the death of his heir, his oldest son Ivan Ivanovich. For these reasons, in Russian he was nicknamed Ivan Groznyi, which translates roughly into the English version, Ivan the Terrible.
Overall, Ivan the Terrible’s impact on Russian history cannot be understated. The consequences of his reign continue to be noted in the Russian political structure, social history and ideology, and economic traditions. He transitioned Russia to a more centralized form of government that was supported by centralized local governments. This structure allowed for empiric pursuits and simultaneously supported the local culture and communities, thus engendering more loyalty and cooperation. Economically, he increased international and domestic trade for the broadening of Russia’s economic power.