I think it goes without saying that Ivan the Terrible was a complicated man. On the one hand, he was intelligent, devout and strong-willed. On the other, he was prone to paranoia, rages, and bouts of mental instability. While he certainly accomplished a lot, his achievements are overshadowed in the popular imagination by his atrocities, at least in the West.

That being said, his reign started out very well. While Ivan seems to have been troubled, mercurial and volatile from a young age, his worse tendencies are generally agreed to have been kept in check by his first wife, Anastasia Romanovna, whom by all accounts he deeply loved. So the first thirteen years of his rule were excellent for the Tsardom of Russia.

Then the tsarina died and everything went to hell. Her 1560 death deeply hurt her husband, caused him to have a severe emotional collapse, and probably had adverse effects on his personality and mental health. Ivan blamed the boyars for Anastasia's death, saying she had been poisoned by them. Modern forensics suggest that she probably really was poisoned.

You've probably already figured out what my question is: what if Anastasia didn't get poisoned?
 
The obvious result will be that The Time of Troubles won't happen, and the dynasty will probably stay Rurikovich for a very long time. And in the very long term, Russian Empire might not become Uni Soviet because of Nicholas II making bad decisions during his reign at World War I. But once again, that's very long term.
 
The more minor thing is that the "westernization" of Russia happens much more gradually than OTL without backlash of anti-anything Western.

Though all of this goes to analysis of "atl Ivan V reign" (as the unfortunate accident/murder does not happen TTL).
 
I think it goes without saying that Ivan the Terrible was a complicated man. On the one hand, he was intelligent, devout and strong-willed. On the other, he was prone to paranoia, rages, and bouts of mental instability. While he certainly accomplished a lot, his achievements are overshadowed in the popular imagination by his atrocities, at least in the West.

That being said, his reign started out very well. While Ivan seems to have been troubled, mercurial and volatile from a young age, his worse tendencies are generally agreed to have been kept in check by his first wife, Anastasia Romanovna, whom by all accounts he deeply loved. So the first thirteen years of his rule were excellent for the Tsardom of Russia.

Then the tsarina died and everything went to hell. Her 1560 death deeply hurt her husband, caused him to have a severe emotional collapse, and probably had adverse effects on his personality and mental health. Ivan blamed the boyars for Anastasia's death, saying she had been poisoned by them. Modern forensics suggest that she probably really was poisoned.

You've probably already figured out what my question is: what if Anastasia didn't get poisoned?

Well, as I understand, this more or less boils to the optimistic scenario of Ivan being a reasonably “good ruler” (habits of hunting people down with the dogs and other similar entertainments could be shrugged off as byproducts of a difficult childhood, rather genocidal practices, like those demonstrated in Kazan as necessary roughness, mass resettlements to the conquered areas as dealing with the last vestiges of feudalism; we are just assuming an absence of the massive executions, practices of Oprichnina, sack of Novgorod, cruelties in Livonia, etc.).

One thing which definitely could go better was westernization of the army. At least until things went South, Ivan had at least 4 - 5,000 mostly German mercenaries on a permanent basis. A lot had been written about how progressive was introduction of the Streltsy but, due to ...er..
progressive linear tactics introduced too early and combined with really lousy even by the contemporary standards firearms, their value in the field battles was close to zero unless they had time to set up the prefabricated fooden field fortifications: absence of the pikes made them extremely vulnerable to any cavalry (Polish or Tatar) and a minimal drilling prevented any maneuvering ability or even ability defend themselves by effective firing. So, with enough time for analyzing their limitations and fixing them based upon the available Western experience (from the mercenaries), Tsardom may get 10 - 15,000 of a reasonably good field infantry. The same goes for modernization of artillery: there were plenty of barrels but the calibers were not unified, carriages were below the Western standards and artillery usage on a battlefield was quite problematic. The same goes for the siegecraft: Tsardom already lagged behind the West in its ability to take the cities (OTOH, fortifications built during that period were still good)

Cavalry was more problematic because creating reitar-like regiments would require money and purchase of the horses in the West.

Probably Ivan could do what later had been done by Fedor III: order to burn all “razryad” books eliminating military appointments by precedent and related endless quarrels during the war time.

Then, especially after conquering the leftovers of the GH, we can see “Easternization” of the Muscovite warfare with a heavier reliance upon the Tatar irregulars and feudal militia. Small wonder that in the field they were regularly defeated by the Poles who had a better heavy cavalry (and Russian infantry and artillery were not good enough to compensate for this problem).

Lesser ...er... “administrative activity” associated with the practices of Oprichnina and execution of the “subjects” (all the way to the peasants) of the “traitors” would prevent a complete destruction of the Russian agriculture, which later contributed to the factors triggering ToT (of course, Ivan could not prevent few years of a bad weather which happened years after his death but with a more robust economy they may not be as disastrous as in OTL).

It is an open question how Ivan the Good would handle an issue of the general lagging behind the West in technology: unless there is a significant shift in a general mentality, most of the things Western are taboo and familiarity with the foreign achievements are dangerous to the Orthodox souls.
 
Well, as I understand, this more or less boils to the optimistic scenario of Ivan being a reasonably “good ruler” (habits of hunting people down with the dogs and other similar entertainments could be shrugged off as byproducts of a difficult childhood,

I'm very much getting Ramsay Snow vibes here....
 
Oprichnina would still likely happen - Ivan IV was a fan of Ottoman administrative system and would likely want to copy it. What it would actually look like is a question to anyone.
 
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