Encyclopedia > Boyar

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A Boyar was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Russian aristocracy, second only to the ruling princes.

Boyars wielded considerable power: they received extensive grants of land and, as members of the Boyars' Duma (council), were the major legislators of medieval Russia.

Tsar Ivan the Terrible severely restricted their powers during the 16th century and the Boyars' Duma was finally abolished by tsar Peter the Great in 1711 in his extensive reforms of government and administration.

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