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Russia was at first victorious and succeeded in destroying the Livonian knights, but their ally Lithuania became an integral part of Poland in 1569.
The war dragged on; while the Swedes supported Poland against Russia, the Crimean Tatars attacked Astrakhan and even made an extensive incursion into Russia in 1571; they burned Moscow, leaving only the Kremlin standing.
He was to become the penultimate representative of the Rurik dynasty.
On December 4, 1533, immediately after his father’s death, the three-year-old Ivan was proclaimed grand prince of Moscow.
Ivan’s government soon embarked on a wide program of reforms and of the reorganization of both central and local administration.
Church councils summoned in 15 strengthened and systematized the church’s affairs, affirming its Orthodoxy and canonizing a large number of Russian saints.
Under its terms Russia lost all its gains in Livonia, and an armistice with Sweden in 1583 compelled Russia to give up towns on the Gulf of Finland.
Ivan lived exclusively in this entourage and withdrew from the day-to-day management of Russia’s administrative apparatus (now called the trampled with impunity on everyone beyond Ivan’s immediate circle.
Since nearly all the documents relating to this epoch were destroyed in one of Moscow’s periodic fires, historians tend to give differing explanations for Ivan’s actions during this part of his reign.