“How should we organize our service”: on the changes of military organization in the mid-16th century

Mikhail Mihajlovich Bentsianov

Abstract


The author considers the correspondence between oprichnina terror and the unsolved issues in military service between the 1550s and 1560s. The analysis references a vast number of records, i. e. court records (1550s), desyatni, Boyar books (1555–1556), cadastres, Novgorod order books, and private acts. The author studies the functional potential of the social reforms of the Select Council (Izbrannaya rada). This approach enables the author to sketch a gradual increase in problems for the Muscovite government and its attempts to solve them. The inefficient mobilization of the service class, resulting from the earlier Boyar rule, caused the service class’s poor combat readiness and lack of property. The reforms that were carried out to resolve the situation were limited and worked slowly; thus, constraint and repression were crucial for the policy of the oprichnina years, which continued the policy of the 1550s, radicalizing it.

Keywords


Ivan the Terrible; oprichnina; repressions; tsar’s court; estate system; taxes; desyatni.

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2014.2.043

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