The author discusses the problem of objective evaluation of the personality and living of the first Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible. It is shown that domestic and foreign historiography and public opinion have fallen under the impression of Ivan IV as a sample tyrant and a mediocre governor. Having retired his wise counselors and assistants, he destroyed all the good deeds and led Russia to the deepest crisis. According to the author, this assessment of Ivan the Terrible, on the one hand, is one-sided and does not take into account the specific conditions in which he had to act. On the other hand, it is being created and subsequently developed in the conditions of acute political struggle; it is politicized and ideologized. Meanwhile, the author argues that a comprehensive approach to domestic and foreign policies of Ivan IV and his "government" suggests that hypercritical view on the living of the first Russian tsar seriously distorts the historical reality.
Keywords: Russian history, XVI century, Ivan the Terrible, oprichnina, social structure, statecraft, Karamzin scheme.
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