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Article

Семантика опричного дворца и смысл опричнины: к вопросу о системе доказательств в исторической реконструкции

The aim of the presented article is to consider the conditions in which intuitive conjectures in historical constructions transform into a scientific hypothesis. In order to prove it, the author takes into account the procedure of identifying verbal texts which underlie the descriptions found in the historical source, and which explicitly reveal the meaning of the retrospective information. The methodological basis of the study is the hermeneutic approach. One of the unique sources was taken as an example: the only preserved description of the Oprichny Palace, left by the German oprichnik Heinrich Staden. A. L. Yurganov connected a number of details of this description (the square form of the palace, the three gates facing north, south and east, the absence of the western gate, the fact that only the Grand Duke could enter through the eastern gate, etc.) with the City of God described by the prophet Ezekiel. However, Yurganov tried to comprehend the details of the Staden’s description through the Revelation of John the Theologian in order to emphasize the connection of the Palace with the eschatological expectations of the 16th century. Yurganov simply did not notice a number of other details (the coincidence of dimensions, the topography of the Palace, the dates of the creation of the Palace and the designation of the oprichnina, the connection of the Palace with other buildings that appeared in Moscow at the same time, etc.). All of this raised serious doubts about the accuracy of the proposed interpretation of Staden’s description of the Oprichny Palace, if not discredited Yurganov’s idea. These details receive correct interpretation when we turn to the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel and to the Third Book of Enoch. They are also the additional sources on which the article is based. A systematic analysis of the details of the Oprichny Palace makes it possible to assume with full justification that the oprichnina was a preparation for the End of the World, which was expected in 7077 (1569). Ivan the Terrible assumed the functions of the Savior, believing that he was the Messiah himself. The burning of the Oprichny Palace by the Crimean Khan Devlet Giray in 1572 was a sign for Ivan IV that God did not accept this claim. Oprichnina was abolished and the very word oprichnina was prohibited. Thus, a systematic appeal to the correct sources makes it possible to transform a clever assumption into a scientific hypothesis.