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Ivan III (the Great)

Prince of the Duchy of Moscow; responsible for freeing Russia from the Mongols;took the title of tsar (Caesar).

Third Rome

Russian claim to be the successor of the Roman and Byzantine empires.

Ivan IV (the Terrible)

confirmed power of tsarist autocracy by attacking the authority of the boyars; continued policy of expansion; established contacts with western European commerce and culture.


peasant-adventurers with agricultural and military skills recruited to conquer and settle innewly seized lands in southern Russia and Siberia.

Time of Troubles

early 17th century period of boyar efforts to regain power and foreign invasion following the death without an heir of Ivan IV; ended with the selection of Michael Romanov as tsar in 1613.

Old Believers

conservative Russians who refused to accept the ecclesiastical reforms of Alexis Romanov; many were exiled to southern Russia or Siberia.

Peter I (the Great)

tsar from 1689 to 1725; continued growth of absolutism and conquest; sought to change selected aspects of the economy and culture through imitation of western European models.

Catherine the Great

German-born Russian tsarina; combined receptivity to selective Enlightenment ideas with strong centralizing policies; converted the nobility to a service aristocracy by granting them new power over the peasantry.


labor obligations of Russian peasants owed either to their landlords or to the state; part of the increased burdens placed on the peasantry during the 18th century.

Pugachev rebellion

unsuccessful peasant rising led by cossack Emelyan Pugachev during the 1770s; typical of peasant unrest during the 18th century and thereafter.

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