On December 3, 1564, Ivan IV departed Moscow on pilgrimage. While such journeys were routine for the throne, Ivan neglected to set the usual arrangements for rule in his absence. Moreover, an unusually large personal guard, a significant number of boyars, and the treasury accompanied him.
After a month of silence, Ivan finally issued two letters from his fortifications at Aleksandrova Sloboda on January 3. The first addressed the elite of the city and accused them of embezzlement and treason. Further accusations concerned the clergy and their protection of denounced boyars. In conclusion, Ivan announced his abdication. The second letter addressed the population of Moscow and claimed “he had no anger against” its citizenry. Divided between Sloboda and Moscow, the boyar court was unable to rule in absence of Ivan and feared the wrath of the Muscovite citizenry. A boyar envoy departed for Aleksandrova Sloboda to beg Ivan to return to the throne.
Ivan IV agreed to return on condition that he may persecute treason outside legal limitations. To pursue his investigations, Ivan decreed the creation of the oprichnina.
The oprichnina consisted of a separate territory within the borders of Russia. This region included many of the financial centers of the state, including salt regions and prominent merchant towns. Ivan held exclusive power over the oprichnina territory. The Boyar Council ruled the zemshchina, the second division of the state. Until 1568, the oprichnina relied upon many administrative institutions under zemshchina jurisdiction. Only when conflict between the zemshchina and oprichnina reached its peak did Ivan create independent institutions within the oprichnina.
Ivan also stipulated the creation of a personal guard known as the oprichniki. The noble oprichniki Aleksei Basmanov and Afanasy Viazemsky oversaw recruitment. Nobles and townsmen free of relations to the zemshchina or its administration were eligible for Ivan’s new guard. Henri Troyat has emphasized the lowly origin of the oprichnina recruits. However, historian V.B. Kobrin has contested that a shift to the lower classes constituted a late development in the oprichnina era. Many early oprichniki had close ties to the princely and boyar clans of Russia.
Territorial divisions under the oprichnina led to mass resettlement. When the property of zemshchina nobles fell within oprichnina territory, oprichniki seized their lands and forced the owners onto zemshchina land. The oprichnina territory included primarily service estates. S.B. Veselovskii and A.A. Zimin have argued that this division left heredity landownership largely unaffected. However, Platonov and other scholars have posited that resettlement aimed to undermine the power of the landed nobility. Pavlov has cited the relocation of zemshchina servicemen from oprichnina territories onto heredity estates as a critical blow to the power of the princely class. The division of hereditary estates diminished the influence of the princely elites in their native provinces.
The oprichniki enjoyed social and economic privileges under the oprichnina. While zemshchina boyars lost both heredity and service land, the oprichniki retained heredity holdings that fell in zemshchina land. Moreover, Ivan granted the oprichnina the spoils of a heavy tax levied upon the zemshchina nobles. The rising oprichniki owed their allegiance to Ivan, not heredity or local bonds.(From Wikipedia)
Battle vs. the Bow Street Runners (by Octavius232)Edit
The battle begins when the Oprichniks walk into a fancy building to see 5 Bow Street Runners one of them shouts "Hey!" and points his gun at one. The Oprichnik points back. The Bow Street Runner shoots him. The Oprichniks run up stairs and hide in a room. The Bow Street Runners follow. One knocks on the door and the Oprichniks slam it open and open fire hitting one. A Bow Street Runner hits an Oprichnik in the stomach with his Truncheon. He cries out and stabs him with his Dagger. The Oprichniks run out and one runs into the Man Trap. The Bow Street Runners catchup with them and one shoots one with a Pocket Pistol. An Oprichnik corners a Bow Street Runner and stabs him in above the groin area. He collapses and dies. A Bow Street Runner runs up to him and starts beating him with a Truncheon. The two Oprichniks run into a balcony. One Oprichnik throws a Bow Street Runner off the balcony killing him. But the other shoots one of the Oprichnik with his Blunderbuss. The other Oprichnik punches him in the gut and runs. He hides behind a door. The Bow Street Runner catches up. The Oprichnik comes out with his Chekan Warpick but misses the Bow Street Runner. The Oprichnik continues to run. The Bow Street Runner aims at him with his Blunderbuss. He shoots him in the back. He screams and falls down. The Bow Street Runner makes sure hes dead the Bow Street Runner beats him with the Truncheon to be sure.
Winner:Bow Street Runners