The Livonian War 1552—1582 in the soviet historiography
The soviet conception of the Livonian war (1558—82) was formed in 1940—50s. Its main features stipulated for the special attitude of Stalin’s regime to the epoch of Ivan the Terrible were interpretation of the events in the light of class struggle theory and exaggeration of the results and significance of the war. The research work was mainly directed to the creation of an orderly scheme which could explain everything. This prevented from a profound analysis of different kind of evidence. Descriptive and selective approach to the facts and sources prevailed. The main task was to inscribe the Livonian war into the marxist–leninist scheme of Russian history with „great–power“ theory in its foundation.
The study of some specific aspects of history of the Livonian war in next years had an effect of a higher quality of investigations. Though the essence of the conception was not criticized the results of new researches, however, frequently conflicted with logic of the official scheme. Situation has changed only after democratization of society in late 1980s. Disintegration of the USSR in 1991 put an end to the soviet period in the historiography of the Livonian war.
Soviet history inherited not the best features of Russian historiography and couldn’t exceed the bounds of the basic „great–power“ idea in its interpretation of events. Political and ideological conditions were a serious obstacle in the development of alternative trends (which were present) and made the study of political history of Middle Ages in general a marginal field.