What Were the Accomplishments of Ivan the Terrible?

Ivan the Terrible's list of, not always positive, accomplishments include expanding the Russian empire, consolidating power for himself and the serfs' lords, and establishing the construction of Saint Basil's Cathedral. Russia's first crowned czar, his legacy influenced the reigns of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great.

In 1547, Ivan the Terrible received the crown as the first czar of Russia, thus creating a link between the Roman emperors of old and himself –"czar" comes from the Latin word "caesar". Although he left much of the country's interior farmland in ruins, Ivan expanded Russia's geographical dominion by adding the Urals, Siberia and parts of the Volga region to his empire.

One of Ivan's accomplishments was undoubtedly his radical centralization of power, although this resulted in the persecution of many people, especially the poorer populations. He established a police force called the Opriknichi to keep Russia's nobles in line. These nobles lost a great deal of their power under Ivan's autocratic reign. In addition, Ivan set a tight control on the serf population, solidifying his power even more.

Despite his many problems, Ivan was a force behind the construction of Saint Basil's Cathedral, which is still one of the world's most famous and beautiful churches. The cathedral commemorates the capture of Kazan in 1552.