The author sums up certain results of research carried on by Soviet historians over many years into the history of the formation of a unified Russian State at the turn of the 16th century. The article is based on the appraisal, given by V. I. Lenin in a number of his works, of the social, economic and political system of the Russian State in the 16th-17th centuries.
In special historical literature, the author says, the attempt to examine the problem of formation of a centralized Russian State was made by M. N. Pokrovsky, who pointed out that the unification of Russia was proceeding in conditions when the country was dominated by the feudal countryside and the town served as a strongpoint of the princely rule. The leading social forces in the unification process were big secular and ecclesiastical feudal lords. Contradicting his own theses, M. N. Pokrovsky asserted that trade capital played a determinative part in Russian history. Shortly before his death he renounced his views about the role of trade capital in the Middle Ages and singled out two periods in the development of the Russian State - the "medieval-type" feudal state which existed at the turn of the 16th century and "bureaucratic monarchy," the transition to which took place in the 17th century under the impact of the growth of trade capital. M. N. Pokrovsky was not in a position to understand the progressive character of the unification process and the significance of the Russian people's struggle against external enemies.
A new stage in the development of Soviet historiography which began in mid-1930's was connected with the efforts to overcome the errors committed by M. N. Pokrovsky and his pupils. These were the conditions in which a new conception of the formation of a centralized Russian State was taking shape, being elaborated by S. V. Bakhrushin and particularly by K. V. Bazilevich. It was premised on the thesis about the similarity of the process of the emergence of centralized s ... Read more