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False Identity and Multiple Identities in Russian History: The Mongol Empire and Ivan the Terrible

Charles Halperin

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Abstract


Anatolii Fomenko, the “New Chronology,”
and Russian History*
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The ludicrous reconstruction of Russian history by the Moscow mathematicians Anatolii Fomenko and Gleb Nosovskii, called the “New Chronology,” has elicited a heated response in Russia from professional historians and other scholars. Fomenko and Nosovskii’s methodology purports to be good natural science (mathematics and astronomy), but it is actually bad humanities (history and linguistics) research. Because its conclusions are worthless, the support engendered by the New Chronology among the Russian public requires explanation and sheds light on the current status of historiography and historical memory in Russia. In addition, more study is needed of the New  Chronology’s relationship to Marxism, nationalism, and  Eurasianism, its attitude toward religion and possible anti-Semitism.

Who Was Not Ivan the Terrible,
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Who Ivan the Terrible Was Not
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The New Chronology’s contention that “Ivan IV” is really a composite of four rulers is science fi ction, but legitimate scholars have also proposed that Ivan had multiple identities to resolve contradictions and shed more light upon Ivan’s reign. However, newer attempts to attribute multiple names to Ivan and to ascribe literary alter egos to him are as unconvincing as earlier theories that Ivan’s reign was divided into “good” and “bad” phases or the more recent contention that Ivan’s writings are seventeenth-century apocrypha. There was one and only one Ivan the Terrible, and one is more than enough.




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