History of the Tsars of Russia

The title of Tsar was first bestowed on Ivan IV, who would become known as Ivan the Terrible. Ivan, who was preceded by Ivan III between the years 1462 to 1505 (also known as Ivan the Great) and Vasili III between the years 1505 to 1533, started his reign as a good leader and made noteworthy changes. But as the years progressed and his mental stability started to diminish, his spells of paranoia and aggression sent the Tsardom of Russia into panic. Of course, the title of Tsar would only worsen the fate of the impoverished, and in years to come the Tsars of Russia would either rule the land with greatness or complete chaos.

Before the title of Tsar was adopted, the word autocrat was synonymous with the term of “ultimate ruler”. With Ivan IV being given the title of Tsar, it meant that he was the only ruler of the country, as emperor meant in Rome and Khan in the Mongolian culture. Of course, the Tsars of Russia did have advisers and subordinates that assisted them, but the final decisions were made by the Tsars. During the “Time of Trouble” in the region, the following rulers held the Tsar title: Ivan IV, Feodor, the last descendent of the Riurik Dynasty, (1584 to 1598), Boris Godunov (1598 to 1605), Feodor II (1605), The False Dmitri (1605 to 1606) and Vasily IV Shuysky (1606 to 1610). Between the years of 1610 to 1613, the throne to Russia was vacant, and during this time the people of Russia were in turmoil, with the rise of many pretenders (such as the False Dmitri III in 1611) trying to get to the throne and searching for stability and order.

Mikhail Romanov, Ivan the Terrible’s grandnephew, was elected as Tsar in 1613, starting the era of the Romanov Dynasty that would last until 1917. Some of the tsars and tsaritsas during the rule of the Romanov’s included Mikhail (1613-1645), Alexei (1645-1676), Feodor III (1676-1682), Ivan V (1682-1696), Peter I The Great (1682-1725), Catherine I (1725-1727), Peter II (1727-1730), Anna (1730-1740), Ivan VI (1740-1741), Elizabeth (1741-1762), Peter III (1762) and Catherine II The Great (1762- 1796), Paul I (1976-1801) and Aleksandr (1801-1825). The Romanov Dynasty finally came to an end with Nicholas II, after the outbreak of World War I, when in July 1918, Nicholas II, his wife and children were murdered.

The Tsars of Russia brought success, progress and stability to Russia, but some brought failure, disappointment and cruelty. Legendary rulers such as Catherine II The Great, Aleksandr I and Peter I The Great will always be remembered for their loyalty and passion for Russia and its people, whereas Ivan the Terrible, even though he was mentally unstable, will always bring a chill to the spine and taste of fear and repulsion.


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