The Livonian War can also be called the Revolt of Western Europe against the Empire. It coincides perfectly with the Reformation, that time in history (16th/early 17th cc) when everything begins to change.
In W. Europe, “Lutheranism” was chosen as a banner for reform and rebellion. But to the Empire, Lutheranism was exactly the same as the Heresy of the Judaizers, as embodied by the story of Elena of Moldavia.
Please see previous posts about Shakepseare’s play Henry VIII.
Ivan the Terrible chose Elena and the new ‘religion’ over Zoe and the old Empire.
Destruction of Zoë Palaiologina’s grave – Kremlin, Moscow 1929
Who was behind the new ‘religion’? The Romanov. They started it. They pushed it. They wanted to crush the Empire once and for all. And then they rewrote the history books.
But, meanwhile, having defeated the rebels in Kazan, the Empire continued to fight back. A punitive force marched West to begin the Livonian War. A series battles for survival.
Where exactly in Europe was Livonia? Simple. At this time, the entire land mass of Europe was called Livonia. It was not a small Slavic enclave to the East of the continent as portrayed today. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and …Sweden
It was the Mother of all Wars.
To the Empire, at their centre of power in Veliky Novgorod, the “Reformation in Livonia” was the rebellion of dependant territories against their rightful rulers. But, as the rulers engaged in their fight back, the Oprichnina began in Moscow.
“In 1564 the oprichnina was established. “The boyar V.M. YURIEV-ZAHARYIN became one of the main initiators of the oprichnina and it was the Zakharyins around whom the RULING CIRCLE OF THE OPRICHNINA had grouped. “
“The first wave of persecutions targeted primarily the princely clans of Russia, notably the influential families of Suzdal’. Ivan executed, exiled, or tortured prominent members of the boyar clans on questionable accusations of conspiracy. 1566 saw the oprichnina extended to eight central districts. Of the 12,000 nobles there, 570 became oprichniks, and the rest were expelled. They had to make their way to the zemschina in mid-winter; peasants who helped them were executed.”
…gives details of many of the battles.
But it fails to mention the true causes.