Absolute Rulers of Russia

Absolute Rulers of
Chapter 21, Section 4
Essential Questions:
What steps did “Ivan the Terrible” take to
consolidate power for himself?
 How did Russia contrast with the rest of
Europe in the 1600s?
 What changes did Peter the Great bring to
Russia and how were they resisted?
The First Czar
Ivan the Terrible
– In 1533, Ivan the Terrible
becomes king of Russia
@ age 3! (Yes, three)
– Struggles for power with
– Seizes power @ age 16 and
crowns himself czar, also
spelled tsar, meaning
“caesar”. Marries Anastasia
Why So Terrible?
Ivan’s “Good Period” 1547-1560
Wins great victories
Expands Russia’s borders
Creates a code of laws
Rules justly
Ivan’s “Bad Period”
– In 1560 Ivan’s wife, Anastasia, dies. Ivan accuses the boyars of
poisoning her. Paranoia seizes Ivan and he becomes suspicious
of the boyars.
– Ivan abdicates in 1564, but is begged to return. He agrees as
long as he is given absolute power.
– Ivan uses the oprichniki (or personal guard) to persecute the
boyars, kill them, and seize their lands
Rise of the Romanovs
Heir to the throne?
– Ivan gets into an argument with his son (also named
Ivan); hits him on the head and kills him.
– Next in line to the throne is Feodor, who is mentally
and physically not fit to lead. He dies childless and
leaves no heir.
– Russia enters the “Time of Troubles”- constant
change of leadership
– Michael Romanov, grand-nephew of Ivan IV, is
chosen to be the next czar. Thus begins the rule of
the Romanov Dynasty.
Peter the Great Comes to Power
The Rise of Peter
– Peter the Great becomes
czar in 1696, begins to
reform Russia
Russia Contrasts with
– Cut off geographically from
– Culturally isolated, little
contact with western
– Religious differences widen
gap (Russian Orthodox vs.
Peter Rules Absolutely
Peter Visits the West
– In 1697, Peter (age 24) visits western Europe to
learn European ways; known as “the Grand Embassy”
Peter’s Goal
– Goal of westernization—using western Europe as a
model for change
Peter’s Reforms
– Brings Orthodox Church under state control
– Reduces power of great landowners
– Modernizes army by having European officers train
Peter Rules Absolutely (continued)
Westernizing Russia
– Introduces potatoes
– Starts Russia’s first newspaper
– Raises women’s status
– Adopts Western fashion
– Advances education
Peter Rules Absolutely (continued)
Establishing St. Petersburg
– Peter wants a seaport that will make travel to
West easier.
– Fights Sweden 21 years to win a port on
Baltic Sea
– In 1703, begins building new capital called
St. Petersburg- “the window on Europe”.
– Building city takes many years, many serfs die
in process.
– By the time of Peter’s death, Russia is force to
be reckoned with in Europe
“English Embankment,”
St. Petersburg, Russia
Palace Square, St. Petersburg
Church of the Savior on Spilt Blood,
St. Petersburg, Russia
Still the same old problems?
Today, Russia still suffers from an identity
– Is it an Eastern nation or a Western nation?
– Example: the Ukraine (a former Russian
Republic with a sizable Russian-speaking
– The country is on the verge of civil war
because those in the western part of the
country wish to improve western ties,
whereas those in the east wish to grow closer
to Russia