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ABOUT RUSSIA / HISTORY / MOSCOW STATE FORMATION

Moscow State Formation

Ivan III Reign.

When Vasily II the Dark died the Moscow throne went to his elder son Ivan Vasiliyevich (1462 - 1505), who was a co-ruler even when his father was still alive. It was Ivan III who finished a two-centuries long process of association of Russian Lands and completely overthrew the Golden Horde Yoke. Distinguished by great intellect and will-power, this prominent Moscow sovereign succeeded in gathering of the lands under the power of Moscow.

In the beginning of his reign Muscovy was surrounded by sovereign territories, the lands of The Great Novgorod, independent principalities of other Russian princes: Tver, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Ryazan. But by the end of XV century the Eastern Europe had undergone enormous political changes. The Moscow Land now had a border directly with Sweden and German Lands in Baltic, Lithuania and the remains of The Golden Horde in the south.

Ivan III laid the foundation for Russian autocracy. He considerably enlarged the State's territory, strengthened its political system, State machinery, raised greatly the international prestige of Moscow. This new international status was reflected in imposing court etiquette and in new state symbols.

In fact, Ivan III was the actual founder of Muscovy.

Culture of Muscovy

From the end of XIV century the development of Russian culture was characterized by significant rise. The fundamental matter of the cultural process in XV century was the task of liberation of the nation and strengthening of the single Russian Sate. Moscow became the true centre of All-Russian national culture. The role and value of Russian language strengthened in this period. New literary works contributing creation of the State appeared again and again. Interest to the history of Motherland grew also. In modern literature Russian culture of this period is called "Russian Renaissance".

In XV century practically all large cities of Northeast Russia were restoring and enlarging monastic schools. Old hand-written books were re-written and new once created. Literacy of various layers of population was growing, especially in cities.

The Moscow annals occupied a prominent place in the field of literature that time. In 1408 Moscow Mitropoly began to compile first All-Russian annalistic books, the very first one was The Trinity Chronicle. The first Moscow annalistic book that gave an ideological substantiation of historical importance of association of Russian Lands around Moscow was compiled in 1480.

The victory on Kulikovo Field called into being such outstanding literary works as "Skazaniye o Mamayevom Poboische' and a poetical narrative "Zadonschina' which was written down by Efrosin, the monk of Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in the end of XV century.

The Rise of Russian culture and art that involved all the Russian Lands associated by Moscow was due to restoration and development of cultural relations with the countries of Europe and the East. In this regard especially fruitful were cultural contacts with the nations of Bulgaria and Serbia; their culture had great influence on Russian literature and fine art. Russian hagiographical literature of that time represents a vivid example of such South-Slavic influence. The famous master of this genre, Epifaniy the Wise (died in 1422) complied biographies of Sergy Radonezhsky and Stefan Permsky.

A significant place in the Russian Medieval Literature is occupied by The Chronograph - a collection of moralizing and entertaining stories on the world history, prepared in 1442 by Serb Pakhomiy Logofet who lived in Russia since 30's of XV century up to his death in 1484. He was also an editor of some well-known in Russia biographical narrations that are close to oral national folk art tradition.

Expansion of political, economic and cultural contacts of Muscovy with other countries was reflected in such famous literary monument of that epoch as the travel notes of Afanasiy Nikitin, the Tver merchant, written in a literary genre of travellings. 'Khozhdeniye za Tri Morya' depicts the travels of Nikitin to Persia, India and other countries of the East between 1466 and 1472.Besides this genre, epical and satirical folklore was also widespread in Muscovy.

Russian architecture of XV century was characterized by the further development of the two main architectural schools: Novgorod and Moscow tradition. A characteristic example of the first one is represented by Vasily's Temple on Gorka (erected in Pskov in 1410). The Moscow Architectural School based on traditions of Vladimir and Novgorod-Pskovy architecture gradually became dominant. Unique monuments of early Moscow architecture are: the Assumption Cathedrals in Gorodok (Zvenigorod), temples of the Trinity-Sergiyev, Savvino-Storozhevsky and Andronikov Monasteries.

In Ivan III's reign a great importance was given to development of the Moscow architecture and in its turn it was directly connected with strengthening of the Grand Moscow Duke's power. A large-scale reconstruction of the Moscow Kremlin architecture was carried out in that period by Russian masters together with invited Italian architects. In 1479 Italian master Aristotel Fioravanti completed erection of the main temple of the Russian State - the Assumption Cathedral of the Kremlin.

After that the Faceted Chamber, Ivan Lestvichnik's Temple, the Grand Guke's Palace, the Arkhangelsk Cathedral and also the Kremlin walls and towers were constructed in the Kremlin. Along with Fioravanti, other Italian architectures like Anton Fryazin, Marko, Pietro Solari, Aleviz Fryazin and Ateviz Novy participated in this project. On the whole, Italian masters, artisans, craftsmen, artists considerably affected formation of Russian culture of that time. But no less skillful were the works of native Russian masters. Pskov architects, for instance, erected the Grand-Ducal Annunciation House Church in the Kremlin in 1489.

This was also the period of the highest development of Russian church painting. In the end of XIV and in the beginning of XV century in Novgorod, Moscow, Serpukhovo and Nizhni Novgorod worked Pheophan Greek (1340?-1405), the great artist who came from Byzantium. He painted the Saviour Temple in Ilin Street in Novgorod, together with Simeon Cherny he painted the Moscow Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God (1395) and the Arkhangelsk Cathedral (1399).

The great Russian artist who lived also in that period was Andrey Rublev (1369 or 1370-1430). He participated in painting of the old Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin (1405), together with Pheophan Greek and master Prokhor from Gorodets he painted The Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir (1408), The Trinity Cathedral - in Troitsko-Sergiyev Monastery and The Saviour Cathedral of Andronikov Monastery (1420's). A masterpiece of the world painting art - "The Trinity" icon was also executed by him.

In the end of XV century a huge contribution to development of Russian painting was made by outstanding icon painter Dionisy (1440-1503). Together with his sons Pheodosiy and Vladimir and his other apprentices he created frescos of The Assumption Cathedral of the Kremlin, paintings of temples of Pafnutyevo-Borovsky, Iosifo-Volokolamsky and Pherapontov Monasteries. A well-known icon 'Spas v Silakh' is also among his great works.

The Foreign Policy of Ivan III. Overthrow of the Golden Horde Rule.

In the second half of XV century the Golden Horde represented a number of independent states. The largest of them were: the Siberian, Kazan, Crimean and Astrakhan Khanates. Ivan III maintained friendly relations with the Crimean Horde, where the Girey Dynasty ruled.

Moscow and the Crimea had a common enemy - the Khan of the Big Horde. A weak Golden Horde Khan Ahmet in an alliance with Lithuania, on his turn, tried to influence Russia, but because of impossibility to organize a joint campaign he was limited to attacks on Muscovy borders. In 1472 he made a raid into the Russian lands and reached the Oka River, but he did not dare to head to Moscow. Ivan III carried out more and more independent from the Horde policy.

In 1476 he ceased to render tribute. In response Akhmet mustered a big army and moved to Moscow. In September, 1480 Russian and Mongolian armies concentrated at the Ugra - a confluent of the Oka River.

In October Akhmet twice tried to cross the Ugra, but was throw back both times by Moscow voevodes. Lithuania could not render Akhmet the promised assistance (Kazimir IV was busy repulsing an attack of the Crimean Khan Meng-li-Girey). Early winter and lack of provision forced Akhmet to change his mind. Morally defeated, the Horde Army turned back. "Standing on the Ugra" finished in a bloodless victory of Muscovy. The Golden Horde Yoke was overthrew once and for all.

Akhmet's defeat meant dissolution of the Golden Horde (1502). As a result of war against the Kazan Khanate in 1487 Moscow troops seized Kazan. The Kazan throne was given to Moscow protege Mukhammed-Emin.

Consolidation of The Moscow Princedom in Reign of Vasily I

Vasily I (1389-1425), an elder son of Dmitry Donskoy, inherited the throne by the last will of his father, who blessed him to rein, thus, nullifying the right of The Golden Horde to nominate Great Dukes of Russia. Vasily Dmitrievich, in his turn, kept to the same independent policy.

In the middle of 1392 Vasily I went to Tokhtamysh, The Golden Horde Khan, and obtained the right to reign in Nizhni Novgorod, Gorodets, Murom and Tarsu. Very few princes of Northeast Russia who preserved independence were forced to recognize leadership of Vasily I. Some of them became voevodes and governors of The Grand Duke. Such powerful princes as The Obolensky, Starodubsky, Belozersky kept control over their ancient demesnes and at the same time served Vasily I and in this way gained new lands.

In the early 90's Moscow even tried to limit independence of Veliky Novgorod. In 1391 Metropolitan Kiprian sent to Novgorod demanded to cancel authorities of an archbishop and transfer power to a metropolitan. Novgorod people refused to fulfil this requirement and in 1393 Vasily I levied war against Veliky Novgorod. Moscow troops managed to seize Torzhok, Volokolamsk and Vologda.

Soon Novgorod was compelled to conclude a treaty. It had to accept terms of the Grand Duke of Moscow. But in 1395 Novgorod people again refused to obey the power of metropolitan. Vasily I succeeded in temporal amicable joining of The Dvina Land - the richest "colony" of Novgorod.

In 1397 he granted Dvina merchants privileges to trade in Ustyug, Vologda and Kostroma. And when The Dvina Land passed under the protection of Moscow, Vasily I broke the agreement with Novgorod and occupied Volokolamsk, Torzhok, Vologda and Bezhetsky again. In 1398, in response, Verkhny Novgorod moved troops to Orlets, the centre of The Dvina Land. After a month of the siege the city fell; the Dvina boyards were savagely punished; the people of Dvina were laid under huge contribution. Vasily I and Novgorod concluded a new peace treaty.

By the end of XIV century the lands in the Vychega River Basin were also joined to Moscow. These territories were populated by Komi People ("Great Perm").

On the whole the process of territorial development of the Moscow Princedom in reign of Vasily I obtained a character and value of all-national association of lands.

Changes in the System of Public Management.

Creation of State machinery began right after association of the basic lands of Northeast Russia around Moscow in middle 50's of XV century. The new system was based on other principles than those that were applied in the time of predecessors of Vasily the Dark. The first change was made in the territorial-and-administrative structure of the state. Instead of destroyed independent principalities the new ones were formed, though not on the clannish basis (descendants of Kalita) but on the family one - all of them belonged to the children of Vasily II.

Still, the basic territory of the Moscow Princedom remained under the Grand Duke's control. The main feature of this period was transition of independent principalities to the system of uyezds. Initially they appeared within Moscow lands, but by the middle of the century their number was considerably increased due to newly joined territories.

The power in uyezds concentrated in hands of deputies who, as a rule, were boyards of the Grand Duke. As new lands were joined to Moscow, the power of deputies spread over apanage territories (Galich, Uglich, Mozhaisk etc.).

Rights and privileges of deputies were long before regulated by special letters of privilege, which may be traced back in history to Russkaya Pravda. But no such documents came to us from the time of Vasily II's reign.

Creation of local administration outstripped changes in the government. The head of the Moscow Great Princedom was Vasily II. He was distinguished neither for resoluteness, nor for will, he did not possess military leader's talents either. Being blinded in 1446 Vasily II hardly might actively participate even in major actions. The real power in the time of his reign belonged first to his guardians, then to his boyards-advisers when he came of age.

The role of boyards increased considerably. The boyards managed The Grand Duke's Court as a military-and-administrative corporation. All of them descended from noble, devoted to the Grand Duke old Moscow boyard families. Usually representatives of particular noble family were appointed for particular court posts for the whole life.

In the middle of 40's of XV century The Grand Duke's Court was divided into the Palace, that remained a mere economic-and-administrative organization providing needs of the Grand Duke and his family, and The Court - the military-and-administrative corporation that became the core of the Moscow Princedom armed forces.

The State missions were fulfilled by boyards and noblemen (boyards' children) alongside with descendants of formerly independent Russian princes (of Suzdal, Rostov, Yaroslavl and other cities).

Certain changes were realized in judicial system. The essence of them was in reduction of judicial privileges of land owners and transmission of important cases to deputies. A new monetary reform was carried out in the middle of the century. The Grand Duke's Mint began emission of a new national coin. Coins minted during the feudal war by Galitsia princes were accepted as a model. Though new coins weighed a little more.

All these measures promoted further strengthening of power of the Grand Duke of Moscow.

The Feudal War in the second quarter of XV Century.

February, 25, 1425 The Grand Duke Vasily I Dmitriyevich died. According to his last will that was made up in 1423 Vasily, his ten-year-old son, became the heir; Princess Sofia Vitovtovna, her father Vitovt, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, and also Princes Andrey and Peter Dmitriyevichi became regents. The rights of Vasily II (1425-1462) were immediately contested by his elder uncle, the Galitsia Prince Yury Dmitriyevich. Yury, a talented commander who made successful raids deep into Tatar's lands, controlled cities Galitch, Avenigorod, Ruza, Vyatka, was guided by the testament of Dmitry Donskoy who set the other order of succession: to the eldest in the kin, not from a father to a son. Yury Dmitriyevich, possessed rich, economically developed lands and had strong political influence over vast regions of Northeast Russia. Besides, Vasily II took the throne without The Golden Horde Khan's approval - all that made a claim of The Prince Yury weighty.

The Moscow Government started military operation against Yury, but he avoided actions, instead he decided to prepare more carefully and enlist the support of The Horde. Metropolitan Foty, one of the key figures of Vasily II's Government, longed to avoid bloodshed and achieved an armistice. Under the agreement concluded in the middle of 1425 Prince Yury promised not to seek the Grand Duke's throne, but in fact the decision was to be made by the Horde's leaders. A visit to the Horde in the autumn of 1431 of both, Yury Dmitriyevich and Vasily Vasiliyevich brought success to the latter.

Prince Yury, who was given the Dimitrov independent principality, did not resign a claim and on his return from the Horde began military preparations. The confrontation grew into a war that broke out in the spring of 1433. Yury Dmitriyevich and his two elder sons, Vasily Kosoy and Dmitry Shemyaka campaigned against Moscow. In the battle on the Klyazma River (April, 25) the Grand Duke Vasily II was defeated and fled to Tver and then to Kostroma with all his family. Yury Dmitrievich entered Moscow. Yury, accoring to the tradition, granted Vasily II the Kolomna independent principality. But Moscow boyards and servicemen did not recognize Yury, they considered him to be only a rebellious prince, they went to Kolomna, to their master. Galitsia people were also displeased. Soon, Yury Dmitriyevich soberly considered the political conditions, gave the throne back to the nephew and concluded a treaty where he acknowledged Vasily's leadership.

However the war was continued by Yury's sons, who in September 1433 beat Moscow troops near Galich. Vasily II mustered large army and headed against the Galitsia princes. A decisive battle took place in the Rostov Land on March 20, 1434. Vasily II was defeated again. Yury re-entered Moscow.

The following actions of Yury Dmitriyevich testified his intention to consolidate Russia and keep struggle against the Horde. Prince Yury died suddenly on June 5, 1434. The political situation became aggravated again. According to the principles Yury Dmitriyevich stood for during all his life, the Grand Duke throne now belonged to Vasily II, he was the eldest in a new generation of the family. But Vasily Kosoy proclaimed himself the successor as the eldest son of Yury. However other Yury's sons took Vasily II's side and before long Vasily Kosoy left Moscow. In May, 1436 the army of Vasily II destroyed the Galitsia prince retinue in Rostov Land.Vasily Kosoy was taken prisoner and blinded. Dmitry Shemyaka and Vasily II concluded a treaty: the Galitsia prince recognized Vasily as 'his elder brother'; and all lands of Vasily Kosoy (Zvenigorod, Dmitrov) passed to Vasily II. It was obvious, that this compromise was temporal and the struggle would inevitably start again in the nearest future. This relationship worsened even more when in 1440 the younger brother of Shemyaka, Dmitry Krasny, died and Vasily II appropriated the biggest part of his lands as well (Bezhetsky Verkh) and seriously reduced privileges of Dmitry Shemyaka.

Considerable changes happened in the Horde influenced a course of the struggle for autocracy in Russia. Ulu-Mukhammed Khan was defeated by one of Tokhtamysh's sons and in 1436 - 1437 settled in the Middle Volga Region. He used the internal war of Russian princes and seized Nizhni Novgorod, made devastating raids deep into Russian lands. In the summer of 1445 in a battle near Suzdal sons of Ulu-Mukhammed smashed Russian army and took Vasily II prisoner. Moscow passed to Shemyaka.

Shortly after Vasily II was released for a big ransom. Having learned about Vasily II's return escorted by the Horde troops, Shemyaka fled to Uglich. Military defeat, a hard burden of the huge ransom, violence of the Tatars who came to collect it, obscure fate of Russia - all that caused strong opposition. Many Moscow boyards, merchants and clergymen supported Shemyaka. A conspiracy against Vasily II was arranged. In February, 1446 Vasily II came to Troitse-Sergiev Monastery to pray, Shemyaka seize him, took to Moscow and blinded. Later Vasily II was nicknamed Vasily Temny (Dark).

Position of Grand Duke Dmitry Yuriyevich was rather difficult. His savage punishment of Vasily II evoked indignation and pushed many of his supporters away. Shemyaka tried to regain authority. He enlisted the support of the church by giving charters to several monasteries. He also contracted an alliance with Novgorod. Fragility of the new Grand Duke's position forced him to enter into negotiations with Vasily The Dark. The latter sworn not to seek the throne. In September, 1446 Vasily II was released to the Vologda independent principality that was granted by Dmitry.

Vologda became a place of concentration of supporters of Vasily II's return. Trifon, Father Superior of Kirillo-Belozersk Monastery gave Vasily an absolution from the oath. Efficient aid to Vasily The Dark was rendered by the Tver Prince Boris Aleksandrovich. In the beginning of 1447 Vasily II's army beat Dmitry Shemyaka's troops near Uglich; and on February 17 Vasily II was triumphantly back to Moscow.

The Galitsia Prince still tried to continue the struggle, but its outcome was already predetermined. Defeated near Galich and then near Ustyug Shemyaka lost his chance to regain the throne. He died in 1453 in Novgorod under rather mysterious circumstances. The feudal war ended with his death.

Consolidation of authority of the Grand Duke of Moscow to a great extent depended on successes of the struggle against political separatism of both, former allies of Vasily II and his former opponents. A punitive expedition against Mozhaisk Prince Ivan Andreyevich was undertaken in the summer of 1445. The Serpukhov Prince Vasily Yaroslavovich was suddenly seized and confined in 1456. His land, as well as Mozhaisk, passed into the hands of the Grand Duke.

In 1460 Pskov appealed to the Grand Duke Vasily II for protection against the Livonian Order. Yury, a son of Vasily The Dark was sent to Pskov. He signed an armistice with the Order.By the end of the reign of Vasily II his lands immeasurably exceeded the territories of other Russian princes who had lost their sovereignty by this moment and was forced to obey him. There was only one independent principality in the structure of the Moscow Princedom - Vereysko-Belozersky, still its prince wholly recognized leadership of the Grand Duke of Moscow.

Strengthening of Political System in Reign of Ivan III.

Association of Russian lands around of Moscow represented a new stage in development of Russian State system. The Territory of the Moscow State increased significantly and demanded a centralized executive system. Trying to glorify the power of the Grand Duke, the government of Ivan III began to form a multistage system of servicemen. Boyards swore allegiance to the Grand Duke. They supported their oaths by special documents.

The Moscow Sovereign acquired a rights to impose disgrace on boyards, dismissing them from public service, confiscating their ancestral lands or, on the contrary, granting them with new ones. Functions of public administration underwent gradual complication what predetermined separation of the palace management. In the middle of XV century "The Treasury" (subsequently The State Court Yard) was allocated. And in 1467 the posts of the state clerks and their deputies were designated. These people carried out clerical work in this new establishment, which was engaged not only in finance, but also in foreign and internal affairs.

The Boyards Duma - the centralized state structure was formed in the end of XV century. Besides the boyards of the Moscow Duke former apanage princes were also in its structure. The Duma considered crucial political matters and was a legislative body at the same time.

To centralize and unify the order of judicial and administrative activity in 1497 the new code of laws (The Ivan's III Law Code) was assembled. It set unified standards of taxation and the order of investigation and trial. The Code was directed, first of all, on protection of life and property of feudal land owners, and the state as a whole.

It is typical, that one of it's items (# 57) restricted the right of peasants to leave their feudal lord and move to other lands to the certain period of time: one week before to St. George's Day (November, 26) - one week after it with obligatory payment for the time that they had lived on the lands of their former lord (the total sum was about 1 rouble). The code also limited villeinage in cities, thus raising the number of tax bearers among urban population.

The rise of authority of the Grand Duke of Moscow was contributed by Ivan III's second marriage (he married Sofia, a niece of the last Byzantian Emperor Konstantin Paleolog). Ivan III was also greatly supported by the Pope. The Pontiff thought that a treaty could promote unification of Catholicism and Orthodoxy. But this plan met strong resistance of Russian clergy.

November, 1, 1472 Sofia Paleolog and Ivan III married in Moscow following Orthodox ceremony. After that new magnificent ceremonials were introduced at the Moscow Court. The Byzantian two-headed eagle was accepted as a new State Emblem. Monomah's Crown also became a special attribute of the sovereign's power.

The Last Will of Ivan III.

Initially, Ivan III proclaimed his first wife's son, Ivan the Young, his successor and co-ruler. But in 1490 he died, leaving a 6-year-old son Dmitry. As a result there were two pretenders to the throne - Dmitry and 10-year-old Vasily, a son of Ivan III and Sofia Paleolog.

Afterwards, this situation was called the Dynastic Crisis: Ivan III proclaimed now his son now his grand-son the successor according to the development of the court intrigues until in the spring of 1502 Dmitry Ivanovich together with his mother were imprisoned. Vasily Ivanovich was finally proclaimed the successor of the Grand Duke of Moscow.

In the last will Ivan III summed up his more than 40-years reign. He handed down to Vasily more than 60 cities while all his other sons altogether got 30 cities. Younger brothers of Vasily had no right to mint own coin, try criminal cases; escheated lands also passed to Vasily. The brothers swore to obey Vasily in everything, and in case of his death submit to his elder son - their nephew.

Autocephaly of the Russian Orthodox Church in the middle of XV century

The Moscow Metropolitan Greek Foty, who stood for monocracy of the Grand Duke of Moscow, died in 1431. After his death the Razan Bishop Ion was consecrated metropolitan by the Russian Church Leaders in response to the wishes of Vasily II. However the Constantinople Patriarch did not approve his candidature since long before his arrival to Constantinople the Patriarch had appointed to the same position the Smolensk Bishop Gerasim. In the autumn of 1433 Gerasim returned from Constantinople to Smolensk, which belonged to the Great Lithuanian Princedom. He refused to go to Moscow saying that Russian princes levied internal war for the Grand Duke's throne.

Gerasim was accused of treachery and perished in Smolensk in 1435. Ion went to Constantinople for the second time. But he was late again - the Patriarchate had appointed Greek Isidor, an outstanding religious figure and highly educated person, even before Ion reached the city. In April, 1437 the new Metropolitan Isidor arrived to Moscow.

Assignment of Isidor had the aim to provide acceptance of planned Orthodox-Catholic Union by the Russian Church. That time Byzantium was in mortal danger from the Ottoman Empire. Trying to save the remains of the State, the Byzantian Emperor entered into negotiations with the Pope. He wanted to receive powerful backing from European States against the Turks and raised a question of association of the churches. The Pope Eugene IV, in his turn, willingly responded to the offer of Byzantium, expecting to strengthen prestige of papal authority by the Union.

Metropolitan Isidor took active participation in the conclusion of the Union that was signed in Florence in 1439. The Papal Curia and the Constantinople Patriarchate signed the act of acceptance of catholic doctrines by the Orthodox Church and recognition of the Pope as the head of the Church with reservation of orthodox ceremonies in public worship.

On his way from Florence to Moscow Isidor dispatched the vicarial messages informing about the Union to the Polish, Lithuanian and Russian Lands. However tolerant attitude towards the Union Isidor met only in Kiev and Smolensk. In the spring of 1441 the Metropolitan arrived to Moscow with a letter from the Pope to Vasily the Dark. But the Grand Duke refused to recognize the act of association of the churches and proclaimed Isidor a heretic. The latter was arrested and cloistered in the Chudov Monastery. From there the Metropolitan fled first to Tver, then to Lithuania and, at last, to Rome.

Exile of consecrated by Constantinople metropolitan and denial of the Church Union of 1439 had significant consequences. On the one hand, the belief that the Greeks betrayed orthodox confession for the sake of their lucrative impulse was growing among Russian clergy, and on the other hand, the person of the Grand Duke became more and more associated with the image of the true protector of the belief.

In 1448 a council of clergy leaders in Moscow appointed Ion, the protege of Vasily II, to the post of the metropolitan without any sanction of the Constantinople Patriarch. This act marked the end of dependence of the Russian Church from Byzantium (autocephaly). At the same time, from this moment, the Moscow Metropolia became directly dependent from the Grand Duke's power.

Social and Economic Development of Russia in XV century.

In XV century boyards completely lost the right to choose their lord by themselves. Now they were obliged to serve not apanage princes, but the Grand Duke of Moscow and swore allegiance to him. The number of boyards of Muscovy grew in the process of expansion of its territory.

XV century was a period of active development of landownership. The process of distribution and legal implementation of the systems of landed property started in the second half of XV century. Expansion of landlord class promoted strengthening of centralized Muscovy.

The first elements of legal enslaving of peasants appeared in the second half of XV century. The earliest princely official documents forbidding departure of peasants from their owners are dated the middle of XV century, however, at that time they had rather fragmentary character.

The first nation-wide legal act limiting freedom of peasants was the Code of Laws 1497 according to which peasants might leave their boyard or landowner only once a year. It was the first overt step towards establishment of serfdom in Russia. Obvious attempts to restrict freedom of peasants were also represented in the policy of financial enslavement. Having obtained a credit from the landowner or feudal lord a peasant could not abandon him until he repaid, and most often it took him many years and decades. The most insolvent debtors were named 'enslaved people' (for the first time they were mentioned in the end of XV century).

The Russian economy was intensively developing in XV century. Changes affected handicraft industry, building and agriculture. The basis of progress in agriculture was formed by transition to three-field system. Application of organic fertilizers became also a vital component of agricultural works.

Increase of labour productivity in agriculture resulted in increase of urban population and that , in its turn, promoted further development of craft and trade. No new technologies appeared in Russia in XV century except for fire-arms manufacture. Still, both quantitative and qualitative development of handicraft industry went on, specialization deepened, the number of craft outskirts and towns increased.

The Church and Heresies in the second half of XV century.

By the end of XV century the situation of the Russian Orthodox Church became rather complicated. After the collapse of Constantinople in 1453 the Russian Church finally became absolutely independent and now nothing could influence its relations with the temporal power from the outside. The most far-seeing hierarches of the Orthodox Church aspired to strengthen the power of the Grand Duke and centralize the State - the stronghold of autocracy.

At the same time the authority of the church inside the country was strongly shaken because of aggravation of social contradictions. More often the protest of lower classes of the society was expressed in a religious form. So-called heretics appeared in the largest Russian cities in XV century. Their activity was especially dangerous for the church.

A new upsurge of heretical movement took place in the end of XV century in Novgorod. That was due to the activity of Skariy, Jew who came from Lithuania in 1471. His doctrine was similar to Judaism. This heresy was widely spread among lower Novgorod clergy. The most irreconcilable persecutors of heretics were the Archbishop of Novgorod Gennady and an outstanding church figure, the Hegumen and founder of the Iosifo-Volokolamsky Monastery Joseph Volotsky (Ivan Sanin). The latter gave his name to a religious movement - 'the Josephians'.

The Moscow circle of heretics was formed of clerks and merchants headed by Ivan Kuritsyn, Ivan III's person in attendance and a Duma clerk. The heretics stood for strengthening of the Grand Duke's power and restriction of church landownership. They declared that every man could address God without mediation of church. The church council of 1490 condemned and cursed heretics. Supporters of heresy were deported from Moscow; heretics in Novgorod of were strictly punished.

There was no full unity in attitude towards heretics among church circles. Opposition to the Josephians was headed by Nil Sorsky, the elder of the Kirillo-Belozersk Monastery. The opposition disputed such intolerant attitude towards heretics, instead, they suggested polemizing. According to them, the true service of the church should be executed through an ascetic way of life, non- acquisition of mundane riches and possession. Ivan III was declined to support 'the non- acquisitors' for some time.

But at the Church Council of 1503 militant Josephians showed stubborn resistance in the question on refusal of the church from landed property. The next year council sentenced heretics to the death penalty. The Kuritsin's society in Moscow was destroyed. It was the very first steps of development of an alliance of the temporal power with the most orthodox part of clergy led by Joseph Volotsky who proclaimed priority of the Church over the State and principles of Orthodoxy being the basement of autocracy.

International Situation of Muscovy in XV century

After the triumph on Kulikovo Field the lands of Northeast Russia in the end of XIV century gained an opportunity to form their own independent foreign policy under the aegis of Moscow.

As the Golden Horde dominion over Russia weakened and the Golden Horde itself fell apart into several khanates the Moscow Rulers mustered Russian Lands more and more actively.

Besides, the increase of power of Muscovy allowed them to carry out more active policy both in Russian-Horde and Russian-Lithuanian relations. The struggle of Moscow against the Livonian Order for the outlet to the Baltic Sea became more important in the second half of XV century.

In XV century the international authority of the Moscow State rose sharply. This was also promoted by significant changes, which occurred as a result of the Ottoman Empire expansion into Europe. After the fall of Constantinople under attacks of the Turks and dissolution of Byzantium, Moscow became the leader of the Orthodox world. This formed the basis of "Moscow - the Third Rome" conception.

Relations of Moscow with The Great Lithuanian Princedom and The Golden Horde

In the end of XIV and in the beginning of XV century the pressure from The Great Lithuanian Princedom upon Russian Lands increased considerably. Since 1392 the Grand Duke Vitovt, a cousin of Vladislav Yagailo, the King of Poland, ruled in the Great Lithuanian Princedom. In 1390 he gave his daughter Sofia in marriage to Vasily Dmitriyevich. The vast territories of Western Russia were under the power of Vitovt at that time: Kiev, Novgorod-Seversky, Polotsk, Vitebsk, Smolensk.

The Grand Duke Vitovt entered into an alliance with Khan Tokhtamysh, having promised him military assistance against a mighty Central Asian ruler Timur (Tamerlan). In 1395 Timur smashed Tokhtamysh and subjugated the Golden Horde. Khan Tokhtamysh fled to Lithuania. This campaign of Timur touched as well a part of Russian territories - chasing the Golden Horde Khan the conqueror came to the southern borders of the Ryazan Princedom.

Vasily I, wishing to prevent a new devastating attack on Russia, set out with an army to Kolomna. But Timur just plundered a part of the Ryazan Lands, took a boundary city of Elets, and turned the horde back to the steppe. In 1396 Vasily Dmitriyevich and Vitovt signed a treaty against the Horde. The next year the Lithuanian armies beat the Horde. But the next campaign of the Duke Vitovt in 1399 finished in the defeat of joint Russian-Lithuanian army. In the battle on the river Vorskla they were crushed by Emir Edigei, who managed to retain for a while a part of the Golden Horde territories under his power after the death of Timur (1405).

In the beginning of XV century Russian-Lithuanian relations worsened abruptly. It was provoked by the capture of the Smolensk Princedom in 1404 by Lithuania and the yearning of the Grand Duke Vitovt to distribute his power over Pskov, Novgorod and the cities of the upper Oka. There occurred a number of armed conflicts in the years of 1406 - 1408 between Moscow and Vilno. As a result, a peace treaty was concluded in 1408. It set the Eastern border of the Lithuanian Princedom along the Ugra River.

One of the main reasons that stopped advance of Vitovt on Russian Lands was the war of the Poland Kingdom and the Great Lithuanian Princedom against the Teutonic Order, which began in 1409. A decisive battle took place on July 15, 1410 near Grunwald Settlement at the border of Poland and the Order. Lithuanian-Russian (Smolensk regiments were in the structure) and the Polish Armies under command of Yagailo and Vitovt defeated the knights. The Grunwald Victory put an end to the Teutonic Order aggression in the territory of Poland and Lithuania.

Later on, a common for Vasily I and Vitovt threat from the Horde resulted in establishment of allied relations between them. At the same time, having abandoned attempts to obtain new Russian territories, Vitovt tried to set free the Russian lands that formed a part of his princedom from dependence of the Moscow Metropolitan and established the Kiev Metropolia.

In the autumn of 1408 Edigei suddenly intruded into the lands of Northeast Russia. The Grand Duke Vasily I had no time to muster armies and left Moscow for Kostroma. Almost during the whole December Edigei besieged the capital of the Princedom. He also sent troops and plundered Rostov, Dmitrov, Pereyaslavl, Serpukhov, Vereya and other cities. Distempers that began in the Horde itself forced Edigei to raise the siege from Moscow; but he forced the city to pay of a huge ransom. After the invasion of Edigei the Horde Yoke gained strength again. But, Vasily I went to the Horde only three years later, in 1412, on the occasion of the accession of a new Khan, the son of Tokhtamys. While the Horde was gradually decaying, being torn apart by internal political conflicts, The Northeast Russia, under the power of the Moscow Duke, gained economic and political influence.

Strengthening of the Moscow Princedom was substantially contributed by its internal stability, absence of princely civil strifes right up to the year of 1425.

Annexation of Novgorod's Lands to Moscow

The major problem that Ivan III faced in the process of association of Russian lands was annexation of vast territories of Veliky Novgorod. The Great Lithuanian Princedom also laid claims to those territories. The Novgorod nobility, being under constant pressure of two opposing mighty powers - Moscow and Lithuania, understood that independence of Novgorod might be preserved only by entering into an alliance with one of them. The Moscow party was basically made up by ordinary Novgorod people who saw in the Grand Duke of Moscow first of all an orthodox sovereign. The Lithuanian party was supported by absolute majority of boyards and "best people" who aspired to preserve their traditional privileges.

In 1471 Novgorod authorities concluded a treaty with Lithuania. Kazimir IV Yagailovich, the King of Poland and Lithuania, guaranteed protection from Moscow and promised to send his deputy to Novgorod. The initiator of this treaty was a widow of the head of Novgorod and the actual leader of local nobility Marpha Boretskaya. In May, 1471, having learned about this treaty, Ivan III made the decision to campaign against the independent city.

The war with Novgorod was represented as a campaign for orthodox religion, against turncoats. The Moscow army was led by Prince Daniel Holmsky. Kazimir IV did not dare to levy war against Moscow and the promised assistance was not rendered. Avant-guard of the Moscow army burnt the city of Rusu and crushed advanced Novgorod troops near Ilmen Lake. A decisive battle took place on July 14, 1471 at the bank of the Shelon River. The Moscow troops utterly defeated the Novgorod home guard.

The way to Novgorod laid open. The Novgorod authorities understood hopelessness of their position and surrendered at discretion. The Grand Duke of Moscow forgave the apostates and obliged them to pay huge redemption - 15,5 thousand roubles (note that the price of several country homesteads of that time was 2 - 3 roubles at the most). Since then Novgorod became a patrimony of Ivan III.

The Novgorod authorities broke off any diplomatic relations with Lithuania. Distempers however went on. Then on November 23, 1475 Ivan III came to Novgorod with a big retinue, playing a role of a fair judge protecting the offended. Some Novgorod boyards were arrested. In 1477 Novgorod ambassadors recognized Ivan III their sovereign what meant unconditional submission of Novgorod to the power of Moscow.

The Grand Duke demanded a direct control of Novgorod and liquidation of its independence. First, Novgorod people refused to submit. But in January of 1478 Ivan III besieged the city, and soon its inhabitants had to capitulate. The Veche Bell was removed from Veliky Novgorod to Moscow, the local authorities were liquidated and from that moment on the city was governed by Moscow deputies. In 1484 - 1499 the lands of the Novgorod boyards were confiscated and land owners themselves were resettled in the central regions of Muscovy. The Novgorod Republic ceased to exist.

Pskov still preserved self-management, but it was also under a tight control of the Grand Duke of Moscow.

Moscow State
Russian State in XVI century
Distempered Time
Restoration after "Distemper"


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