Sample Paper on Impact of the Oprichnina on Russian society

Impact of the Oprichnina on Russian society

Outline

Opening sentence: Oprichnina was a state policy implemented by the Russian government to enhance national unity yet it served to divide the society

            Hook sentence: To ensure that Russia was not defeated by enemies at war, Tsar Ivan IV, the political leader in the 1560s, implemented Oprichnina, a state policy that was aimed at promoting national unity by fighting treason and the influence of the chosen council (Blank 551).            Thesis statement: The Oprichnina impacted the Russian society in relation to its effort to end treason, promote a central Russian state, and end the influence of the chosen council.

Topic sentence A: Oprichnina affected the political status of the Russian society positively by fighting treason.

Evidence from scholarly source:  The nation needed to be united against common enemies, and this was only possible by ensuring that the citizens remained loyal and patriotic to the country (Konstantin 560)

Topic sentence B: The state policy also affected the Russian society positively by enhancing national unity.

Evidence from scholarly source: The Russians learnt to respect the laws of the nation and they respected the administration that led to national unity (Ostrowski 562). They were all ruled by one government and had the same goals of fighting the national enemies.

Topic sentence C: The Oprichnina affected the social welfare of the Russian society negatively through the means that were used to end the influence of the chosen council.

Evidence from scholarly source: The brutality of the oprichniki contributed to the psychological torture that the society experienced Brandenberger 120).

Concluding sentence: The oprichniki had positive as well as negative impacts on the political, economic, and social welfare of the Russians.

The policy was harsh and it allowed the oprichniki to engage in inhuman acts but it was meant to enhance national unity and patriotism in the country. Although the negative impacts were experienced, the Russian society benefited more from the state policy.

The following references will be used to examine the impact of the Oprichnina on the Russian society;

Blank, Stephen. “Russian democracy: From the future to the past.”Demokratizatsiya 6 (1998):      550-577.

Brandenberger, David. National bolshevism: Stalinist mass culture and the formation of modern    Russian national identity, 1931-1956. Vol. 93. Harvard University Press, 2002.

Konstantin, Sheiko. Lomonosov’s bastards: Anatolii Fomenko, pseudo-history and Russia’s           search for a post-communist identity. University of Wollongong, 2004.

Ostrowski, Donald. “The facade of legitimacy: Exchange of power and authority in early modern             Russia.” Comparative studies in society and history 44.03 (2002): 534-563.

 

Impact of the Oprichnina on Russian society

Introduction

The political, economic, and social challenges that the Russian society faced in the 1560s led to the implementation of the Oprichnina, a national policy that Tsar Ivan thought would enhance stability in the society. The formulation and implementation of the Oprichnina was necessitated by the threat faced by the country as a result of war.  During the time, countries were aggressively expanding their territory and influence, and the best way to do this was by war.  The state policy was implemented with an aim of controlling the society and enhancing patriotism and unity among the Russians. It was easier for the enemies to defeat Russia at war when the citizens were not united against a common enemy. Tsar Ivan wanted to have a nation that was united against the enemies that attacked it because lack of national unity and treason affected the nation negatively. With the Russians united, it was possible to fight its enemies as well as protecting its territories. The actions of traitors caused the country to be defeated when the secrets of war were shared with the enemy. Prior to the implementation of the state policy, the nation was at war with the Lithuanians, Poles and, Swedes where it was defeated.  Many people died as a result of the war and a lot of property was destroyed, which threatened the economic growth and development of the nation (Blank, 563).  The territory of the nation was also threatened as defeat implied that the nation was weak. The other countries could take advantage of the situation and expand their territories, reducing the size of Russia and possibly relocating the Russians. It was thus important for the nation to define strategies to defeat the other countries at war.  As the political leader in the country, Tsar Ivan had to take measures to ensure that the people were safe and the economic growth and development was guaranteed. Russia’s defeat by the other countries at war was attributed to treason by disloyal citizens who shared the war tactics with the enemy countries. The Oprichnina policy was the most effective method of addressing issues such as treason and national unity of the people. The state policy used a secret police service that ensured patriotism of the Russians and obedience to the laws that were proposed by Ivan.  To ensure that the secret police service remained loyal to the country, they were rewarded greatly by land and other properties. This reduced their chances of defecting to the chosen council and they carried their duties effectively against the council. The police, who were referred to as oprichniki, had the power to execute the individuals or communities that were disloyal to the country. The state policy also allowed the police to confiscate property of the individuals, especially the wealthy aristocrats who did not abide to Ivan’s rules. Most of the targeted individuals were the wealthy aristocrats whose influence among the Russians threatened Ivan’s power. The Oprichnina also allowed the oprichniki to carry out mass repressions (Ostrowski 559). Any group of community that was against the law faced executions as the case of Novgorod where thousands were killed. The state policy changed the Russians way of life, their political aspirations, and the way they related with each other. There were positive as well as negative implications of the Oprichnina on the Russian society. The state policy installed fear among the people and this is what united them against treason thus enhancing the national unity needed to protect its territory. The inhumane observed among the oprichniki caused psychological torture among the Russians and this undermined their social development. This paper discusses the impacts of Oprichnina on the Russian society in relation to the reasons that led to its formation, that is, to end treason, to centralize the Russian state and close down the chosen council.

The state policy affected the political status of the country positively through controlling treason that had threatened national progress in the past. During the time, war between the country and its neighbors was common due to the need by the nations to expand their territories and influence. It was therefore important for Russia to be in a position to protect its territories by ensuring that internal political atmosphere was stable. It could have been easier for the nation to be attacked when there were internal conflicts because of political instability. It is thus clear that the policy helped prevent the county from external attacks because of political stability. The result of war was psychological torture due to loss of lives and destruction of property.  This hindered the progress of the nation as people could not carry on with their economic activities in a warring country but the ability of Ivan to restore political stability though Oprichnina proved efficient in protecting the country. Even after losing people and having a lot of property destroyed by the war, Russia did not secure any territories and this was a big loss to the country. Although none of its territories was taken by the other countries after defeat, it was necessary to prevent such an occurrence in future. The country had the military superiority needed to win such battles but it failed because the people were not united for a common cause. Treason was among the factors that were attributed to the defeat of the country during these wars thus any attempt to control it was seen as a positive move to enhance the social and political welfare of the society. Oprichnina policy ensured that the people who were not patriotic to the nation were persecuted through public executions or they could have their properties confiscated.  The Oprichnina controlled treason through brutal means such as public executions but it was for the purpose of ensuring economic, social, and political stability in the country. The citizens who were patriotic and observed the country’s laws fully were not threatened by the activities of the oprichniki. Although their methods of operation were inhuman, the secret police contributed to political stability in the nation and prevented the torture that the citizens would have faced in the event that they were attacked by the enemies (Ostrowski 550). The brutal means through which the oprichniki implemented their activities was a desperate move by the administration to ensure that the people became loyal and patriotic to the nation. The absence of traitors in the nation ensured that the secrets about war were secured thus reducing the probability of an attack by the enemies. The result of Oprichnina policy was political stability as Tsar ruled without any fear of treason and this promoted other aspects of human lives such as social and economic welfare. Having contained the war, the country was able to enhance the social welfare of the people by fighting poverty that had stricken the society after years of war. The economic welfare was enhanced by the fact that the Russians could engage in their economic activities without being distracted by war.

Oprichnina affected the Russian society positively by enhancing national unity. One of the primary reasons for the implementation of the policy was to promote togetherness and unity among the Russians to fight the nation’s enemies more effectively. The boyar aristocrats threatened the unity of the nation by opposing the method of administration that Tsar imposed on the Russians. This was a threat to national unity as it divided the people. To be able to live harmoniously in the country, national unity was needed and it was also a way of protecting its territories.  The aristocrats had very strong influence on the people thus, it was feared that they would overturn the law and as a result, this would lead to internal conflicts between the societies. One of the major reasons that lead to a nation’s defeat during war is the lack of unity to rise against a common enemy (Konstantin 132). Internal conflicts characterize the lack of unity among the citizens and this is what Oprichnina was against. The state policy promoted national unity by sensitizing the communities about the dangers of rising against their own nation. Although the methods used by the oprichniki in their administration were brutal, they communicated to the people about the need to obey the country’s laws. The Russian learnt to respect the monarchy and the need for patriotism with time and this promoted national unity. They were influenced by the Oprichnina policy to believe that betraying one’s country was unacceptable and this is what made them united. The Oprichnina made the people realize that lack of unity and patriotism was a threat to their safety. In one incident, Tsar led the oprichniki in an operation that saw thousands of Novgorod people killed as they were suspected of being disloyal to the nation. The action was inhuman but it sent the intended message to the people that they ought to stay united and patriotic to the nation because the stands that were held by individuals reflected the community’s perspective.

The Russian society was negatively affected by the Oprichnina because it aimed at closing down the chosen council. The chosen council threatened the national unity of the Russians because it was opposed to some of the policies that Tsar implemented. The council was very influential to the society and the only way to contain the situation was by reducing the power of the council. The motive was right but the means used by the oprichniki to end the power of the chosen council had a negative impact on the society. The people lived in fear and suspicion and this affected the way they socialized with each other (Brandenberger 53). The fact that Oprichnina brought about national unity in the country does not imply that the people united willingly. The unity came by default as they all feared the wrath of oprichniki.  To end the influence of the chosen council, the oprichniki implemented the state policy to the letter. Majority of the chosen council comprised of the boyars who were against the way Tsar ruled the country. Their influence was so intense that it threatened to divide the nation between the group that supported the government and the anti-government group. This would give the nation’s enemies a chance to expand their territories by attacking the divided nation. The Oprichnina was thus implemented with a provision targeting the chosen council that allowed the oprichniki to confiscate their wealth. The society lived in psychological torture that negatively affected their social welfare. The effort of the administration to prove to the society that the chosen council was weak instilled far among the citizens due to the brutality of the oprichniki. People were always suspicious of one another and they could not express their political views openly as they feared the public executions that faced such individuals. The fear became even more intense after mass execution at Novgorod as majority of the people executed were innocent. The psychological torture that the society experienced was worsened by the fact that the chosen council could not rise against the inhuman actions by the government. To ensure that the influence of the chosen council was insignificant, Tsar selected a team of secret service police comprising of very few boyars. This ensured that their influence on implementing the Oprichnina was minimal (Blank, 560). The torture that the Russian society faced affected all aspects of life among the citizens. They could not interact freely due to mistrust and this affected their social development. Their political development was hindered by the fact that no one could raise an opinion contrary to the government action. A political environment based on dictatorship does not develop because of lack of opposition.

Conclusively, it is evident that the Oprichnina had both positive and negative impacts on the Russian society. The policy is mainly viewed from a negative perspective due to the brutality of the oprichniki. They carried out public executions of people who were against the law and this made the citizens live in fear.  The positive perspective of the Oprichnina is mainly shaped by the fact that it united the citizens against a common enemy. The state policy is viewed from a negative perspective. However, by analyzing the policy more deeply, one realizes that it was actually meant to promote the political, economical, and social welfare of the society. The policy enhanced national unity by centralizing the Russian state and it promoted political stability by controlling treason. It was not possible for the country to experience external attacks due to national unity that was promoted by the Oprichnina. The negative aspect of the state policy is mainly linked to the brutality of the oprichniki as it affected the trust and social welfare of the Russian society.  The state policy reduced the power of the chosen council and this was important in enhancing national unity. The influence of the Chosen Council on Russian society threatened national unity. Although the policy was implemented in brutal methods, its aim was to promote patriotism and enhance national unity.

 

Works Cited

Blank, Stephen. “Russian democracy: From the future to the past.”Demokratizatsiya 6 (1998):      550-577.

Brandenberger, David. National bolshevism: Stalinist mass culture and the formation of modern    Russian national identity, 1931-1956. Vol. 93. Harvard University Press, 2002.

Konstantin, Sheiko. Lomonosov’s bastards: Anatolii Fomenko, pseudo-history and Russia’s           search for a post-communist identity. University of Wollongong, 2004.

Ostrowski, Donald. “The facade of legitimacy: Exchange of power and authority in early modern             Russia.” Comparative studies in society and history 44.03 (2002): 534-563.