Ivan IV the Terrible

Ivan IV, the son of Vasily III, acceded to the throne, when he was only 3. When he was 16, he was crowned (1547). This made him superior to the rest of Russian gentry and equal to the West-European rulers. Ivan IV inherited the Monomakh Cap and other symbols of superior power. From that time on the Great Duke of Moscow was called Tzar.

Despite his despotic nature, Ivan the Terrible in fact strengthened the Russian state. Under his reign the new system of court proceedings was introduced, the first governing bodies were established and the Assembly of the Land (Zemsky Sobor), a representative body, was set up.

Moscow tzardom was expanded after the conquest of Kazan (1552) and Astrakhan (1556) khanates. In 1585 Russian armies led by Yermak forced Kuchum, a Siberian khan, to accept Moscow’s superiority. Moscovite Rus became the centralized state and was named Russia.