Ivan the Terrible (ePub)
A Military History
Ivan was also the first Russian ruler to invade Europe, and his Campaigns against the Livonian Confederation were initially very successful. In 1558, Russian soldiers occupied Dorpat and Narva, and laid siege to Reval, creating vital trade routes over the Baltic Sea. At the Battle of Ergema the Russians defeated the knights of the Livonian Order, fuelling Ivan's dreams of a Russian Empire.
However, as Erik XIV of Sweden recaptured Reval, and the Poles joined forces with the Lithuannians, the war began to turn against Ivan. In 1571, an army of 120,000 Crimean Tatars crossed the River Ugra, crushed the Russian defences, and burned Moscow to the ground. As Ivan became increasingly paranoid and violent, he carried out a number of terrible massacres. It is thought that more than forty thousand were killed when the Russians sacked the town of Novgorod in 1570, and many were tortured and murdered in front of Ivan and his son. Ivan the Terrible describes the organisation and equipment of the tsar's army and the forces of his enemies, the Poles, Lithuanians, Tatars and Livonian Knights. The narrative examines all of Russia's military campaigns in Eastern Europe and Western Siberia during the period of 1533 to 1584. This is the first specialist study of Ivan the Terrible's military strategy to be published in English.
This is an excellent and much needed study of the importance and influence of warfare on Ivan and Muscovy during this reign. The style is very readable. The author provides an unusual amount of detailed information about the armies including their strengths and commanders, the campaigns and battles, the diplomatic activities and grand political strategies. His own evaluations are clearly presented and cogently expressed. The bibliography and notes indicate a broad reading and assembling of information from many sources, Russian, Polish, German and English.Xenophon Group International (xenophon-mil.org) Review by John Sloan
Epilogue - One of the best aspects of this book is that the author analyses and comments on policies and events throughout. But in this epilogue he goes even further. He evaluates Ivan's military policy under three topics: results of his Eastern Policy, results of his Western Policy, and results of his military policy for his own country (in other words the impact internal to Russia). He judges the Eastern policy was successful, Kazan and Astrakhan along with a huge, valuable territory were added to the domain and the threat from these Tatar khanates was ended. Policy toward Crimea also was successful, despite setbacks such as the burning of Moscow, and the fortified frontier was moved significantly to the south. The evaluations of Ivan's Western policy by later historians have been more controversial. Dr. Filjushkin presents some of these alternate arguments and provides his own assessment of the gains and losses for all the participants. The Livonian Order of course disappeared. Poland and Sweden were big winners. Denmark lost out. The Holy Roman Empire lost its eastern appendage. The author settles with the view that Muscovy at least gained diplomatic experience as well as more significant military skills. Ivan's military policies at least prepared the way for his successors, in particular Peter I.
16th January 1547
Ivan IV oversaw numerous changes in the transition of Russia from a mere local medieval nation state to a small empire and emerging regional power, becoming the first Tsar of a new more powerful nation, acknowledged as "Tsar of All Russia" from 1547.