Did the Russian State... Part XI by Nils Johann (Their Great Heists)
I have not been able to find any specifics on the Russian tax-codes of the period, but the sheer logic of the Oprichnina gives the impression that there were similar principles for allowances to monarchs in Russia, as in England, and other 'emerging bureaucratic states' throughout Europe, and maybe further east as well? As the Monarch was the one responsible for foreign policy, he could levy tariffs or tolls on foreign trade and some industries, like mining, and further, in connection with minting or arms-manufacture. Besides this, the Monarch would rely on his personal domain-land to keep the Crown outfitted.
The Livonian Wars (1558–1583) were in part a result of Ivan's will to expand his sphere of influence, to gain foothold on the Baltic shore, thus avoiding the restrictions put on Russian trade by the powers controlling the Baltic ports. This crashed with the strategic ambition of several powerful neighbors holding a stake in the disintegrating fragmented Baltic territories. The Oldenburg, Vaasa and Jagellionians, with the Habsburg, the Dutch, and the Hansa meddling in the background, wanted 'a piece of the pie'. Tension between opposing forces is a given in power-games. Crummey does overestimate Ivan's role in what was to happen. In Crummey there is a blindness being cultivated towards, that the other actors in similar manner had aggressive ambition, almost as if Crummey postulates, that Ivan could have chosen peace? Statements like that, again make me reach for my Machiavelli:
“The Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only put off to the advantage of others.”
Leaders at times, just must lead, but the lack of proper sources does not stop Crummey from painting a grim picture. In his work the method to the madness of the Oprichnina is to be found in Ivan's sick paranoid mind. Crummey makes it easy for himself when he states, that since the conspiracies against Ivan are so poorly documented, they probably were figments of his imagination.
"The image of Ivan as a paranoiac lashing out blindly and none too effectively is well drawn by Crummey. Undoubtedly the greed, bitter internecine rivalries and self-importance of the Boyars were injurious to the efficient functioning of the administration and contributed significantly to Russia's failures in the Livonian War."
Henry and Cromwell had two advantages when they started to plunder The Church. When the land of The Church had been appropriated, it was sold to the loyal segment of The Nobility, firming them in their resolve against The Church, and implicating them in the new order. Their payments then filled the King's 'war-chest'. Henry succeeded, and was ready to subdue the whole of Britain. The other advantage was that Scotland is not The Steppe. It is not a 'never-ending' expanse. It still can make one wonder, if Ivan was not inspired by Henry's success. We know there was direct contact between England and Russia from about 1540.