Ivan the Terrible and Russian Feudalism in the Works of Hungarian and Russian Historians of the Soviet Era





Gyula Szvák, historiography, Ivan IV, feudalism, Ruslan Skrynnikov, József Perényi


In his book An Attempt at Microhistoriography (Rus. Опыт микроисториографии), Gyula Szvák, an outstanding Hungarian specialist in Russian history, republishes seven of his earlier articles and presents a previously unpublished eighth article on the Soviet historiography of the key issues of 16th-century Russian history. The articles consider Ivan Peresvetov’s works, reforms and oprichnina between the middle and second half of the sixteenth century; also, they compare the reigns and personalities of Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great. Additionally, the author explores the personal stories of his mentors, Russian historian Ruslan Skrynnikov and Hungarian József Perényi. The book reviewed presents a kind of panorama of two historiographic traditions of studying the Russian Middle Ages in the Soviet Union and Hungary before the collapse of the communist regime there. The author returns to the peculiarities of Russia’s historical development and comprehension of the concept of “Russian feudalism” and reflects on the fate of historians who were engaged in the study of mediaeval Russia under rigid ideological principles.

Author Biography

Charles J. Halperin

PhD, Independent Scholar, Bloomington, Indiana, USA.

ORCID 0000-0002-6667-0555



Halperin, C. J. (2012). Ruslan Skrynnikov on Ivan IV. In Boeck, B. J. et al. (Ed.). Dubitando. Essays in Culture and History in Honor of Donald Ostrowski. Bloomington, IN, Slavica Publ., pp. 193–207.

Matuszewski, D. C. (1972). Peresvetov: The Ottoman Example and the Muscovite State. PhD Diss. Washington, S. n. 308 p.

Philipp, W. (1935). Ivan Peresvetov und seine Schriften zur Erneuerung des Moskauer Reiches. Berlin, Ost-Europa-Verlag. 123 S.

Platt, K. M. F. (2011). Terror and Greatness. Ivan and Peter as Russian Myths. Ithaca, Cornell Univ. Press. XI, 294 p.

Szvák, G. (2003). Eshche raz ob istoriografii tsarstvovaniya Ivana Groznogo [Again on the Historiography of the Reign of Ivan the Terrible]. In Szvák, G. (Ed.). Moskovskaya Rus’: spetsifika razvitiya. Budapest, Magyar Ruszisztika Intézet, pp. 69–75.

Szvák, G. (2019). Opyt mikroistoriografii [An Attempt at Microhistoriography]. Moscow, Akvilon. 288 p.



How to Cite

Halperin, C. J. (2020). Ivan the Terrible and Russian Feudalism in the Works of Hungarian and Russian Historians of the Soviet Era. Quaestio Rossica, 8(5), 1795–1801. https://doi.org/10.15826/qr.2020.5.559



Controversiae et recensiones