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Ruslan G. Skrynnikov

Ruslan Grigor'evitch Skrynnikov unfolds the drama of terror under Ivan the Terrible and his oprichnina. He uses new kinds of evidence paying close attention to primary sources. The conflicts between Ivan and the gentry, the crushing of Novgorod autonomy, the ways in which Ivan interpreted his authority and sought to create an alternative base of power in a loyal body of henchmen-followers known as the oprichnina, the alienation of different groups in society from the government, the impoverishment and weakening of whole regions leading to the Time of Troubles are among the themes that Skrynnikov develops. The details of Ivan’s confrontations with those he perceived as opponents, the forms of execution he inflicted on his enemies, the atmosphere of peril and suspicion that he created justify the description of his reign as one of terror, relevant of course to later periods of history with obvious echoes of the Stalinist period.