The evolution of Russian absolutism brought a new era of social and cultural expectations that drastically altered the life and society of Russia until the twentieth century. The impact the evolution of absolutism had on Russian life cannot be understated nor can it be overlooked. Therefore, it is important for us to look at three key defining eras during which absolutism was strongest in Russia: the Mongols, Ivan IV, and Peter the Great. These three rulers helped to shape much of what would be defined as the Russian absolutism that would shape the future of the Russian Empire.
While it would be easy to begin our exploration of Russian absolutism with the reign of Ivan the Terrible, ...view middle of the document...
While this may appear to be lenient regulations for a conquering state, the Mongols largely retained their power of the Russians by allowing the Slavic princes to compete for “Grand Prince”, this was chosen by the prince who could pay the most for the title. By including this seemingly insignificant factor to their own rule the Mongols allowed for Russian attentions to be upon the
title of “Grand Prince” rather than overthrowing the foreign invaders. Because of this distraction, the Mongols were allowed to retain their absolutist, severe rule over the Russian people.
It can now be said that the Russian government became absolutist from the influence felt by the Mongols. With the disregard for Mongol control, the Russian people began to set up their own form of ruling. However, because they were rarely exposed to western culture as a result of the iron ruling of the Mongols, the Russian people were left to model their own government off of what they had been exposed to for two hundred years. Due to their marked isolation to most of western society and politics during the Mongol Yoke, the Russian government reflected the absolutism of the Mongols.
However, it wasn’t until 1533 with the reign of Ivan the Terrible that Russia once more began to truly reflect the absolutist ideals of their Mongol counterpart. In the past, the Grand Dukes would rely on the Boyars and his own set of advisors
that he relied heavily upon for advice and counsel. Once Ivan inherited the throne he was much too young and was advocated for by his mother and several Boyars as his regent. Ivan’s mother died when he was eight and until he was sixteen remained under control of the Boyars who, he claims, abused Ivan or ignored him. The Boyars would dress him up in robes for court events to give the illusion of stability in the Russian monarchy and then would be clothed in rags once more.
In 1543, Ivan finally took matters into his own hands and called a meeting of the boyars where he stripped them of their title as a result of the abuse he faced at their hands. Publicly, Ivan punished Prince Andrew Shuiksy with execution to solidify the power of the Russian monarchy. In addition, Ivan proclaimed himself the Tsar (an alteration of Caesar). As a result of these actions it is possible to see Ivan’s involvement into Russia’s evolution into absolutism.
Ivan also had control of all land belonging to the nobility assuming that the nobles would serve to retain their land. This went along with Ivan’s decision to forbid peasants from moving from nobleman to nobleman so as to encourage economic stimulation. Because of this many of the peasants, and even the aristocracy felt resentment towards Ivan for taking away many expected freedoms previously enjoyed with other monarchs. This defined Ivan’s rule as an especially absolutist state because he refused to accept the advice of others because he believed he was chosen divinely by God. In fact, this belief...