Ivan IV the terrible

In 1547 Ivan IV the Terrible assumed the title of the tsar. During Ivan IV's reign domestic reforms were enacted. At that time the central bodies of the state power were set up. Local government was reformed too. A new law code was published, Kazan was captured and Astrakhan was joined to the Russian state. To extend the territories on the Baltic coast, to obtain easier access to Western Europe Ivan IV started a war against Livonia. The war that continued for 25 years was lost. Defeated by his opponents Ivan IV was forced to make peace in 1582-83. At home the tsar was engaged in warfare against his own subjects. He divided the country into two parts. One part was administrated by the boyars, the other one was ruled by the tsar personally. It was his private domain, his "oprichnina". Relying on his army of the "oprichnina" Ivan began to uproot disobedience and treason. To give landlords more power over the peasants he introduced a law, temporarily repealing the peasants right to change masters. In 1597 this law was made permanent. The rise of absolute monarchy in Russia went hand in hand with the consolidation of serfdom.