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The Orthodox Nationalist: Tsar Boris Godunov and the Oligarchy – TON 120518

ton 120518

Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson presents a lecture on the good Tsar Boris Godlunov (1551-1605) and his courageous battle against usury and the oligarchy.

Tsar Boris Godunov has always been a mysterious figure to western eyes. Pushkin wrote a play based on his life and he became well known to the west. Even more, Modest Mussorgsky wrote an opera based on it.

American historians, benighted as ever, struggle to grasp the very confusing events that took place after the death of Tsar Theodore Ivanovich in 1598, the third son of Ivan IV. Theodore was the last ruler directly descended from Ruirik (or Rurik) and Russia had not known any other royal line since the middle ages. The warfare both ideologically and politically that broke out because of this helped define the Russian political mind. These events clearly explicate the difference between the royalist mind on the one hand, and that of oligarchy or commercial-based republicanism on the other.

The Famine of 1601-1603 was the worst in Russian history and eventually broke Boris, both mentally and spiritually. Caused by the 1600 Huaynaputina eruption in Peru, the alteration in the world's weather patterns killed at least two million Russians. Boris distinguished himself in the battle against usury and profiteering that the food shortages caused. He sold much of the wealth of the Kremlin to buy food from abroad, but it was never enough.

Rumors that he murdered the youngest son of Ivan IV wouldn't die, despite even his opponents admitting its falsity.

As a member of Ivan's Oprichniki, aimed exclusively at the private armies of the wealthy, Boris loathed oligarchy. The elites in Moscow knew this and engaged in every conceivable foul play to keep him from being selected ruler, which he was by the acclimation of the Moscow citizenry and the saintly Patriarch Job. Despite breaking under the strain of the famine, noble intrigue, assassination attempts and foreign invasion, Boris was an excellent man and an excellent ruler at a pivotal time in Russia's past.

Presented by Matt Johnson

The Orthodox Nationalist: Tsar Boris Godunov and the Oligarchy – TON 120518


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