By Runciman S
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Only a comprehensive examination of the political development of the Russian state in the second half of the sixteenth century will make it possible to give a well-grounded answer to the question of the nature of the repressive oprichnina regime and the significance of the terror with regard to the historical fortunes of the country. 37 Those books, issued in small print-runs, have long-since become bibliographic rarities. Meanwhile the volume of sources on the history of the terror has grown substantially and new studies of Ivan the Terrible have appeared.
The Tsar was able to rule the country guided by his paranoid aberrations because in Russia there were minimal restrictions on the power of the monarch, in contrast to the West, where there were restraints in the form of representative institutions, the Church and the municipalities. The nobility in Russia had no corporate voice; the power of the aristocracy proved to be sapped by the principle of compulsory service; public institutions and social classes were so primitive and underdeveloped that they played no appreciable role.
1 PSRL, vol. 8, p. 285. 2 PSRL, vol. 13, p. 76. 3 Pskovskie letopisi, vol.