The energetic and far-sighted Ivan III, also called the Great, was Grand Duke from 1462 to 1505 and from 1478 he used the title Tsar of Russia, autocrat of all Russians.
He finished the large number of small states, subjugated the remaining Russian principalities and conquered lands to the north, west and south of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.
By the end of the 15th century Ivan III stabilized the Grand Duchy of Moscow, freed finally the country from the dominion of the Golden Horde1, brought it to an Eastern European superpower and opened the gateway to Europe. His 43-year reign marked the beginning of the Moscow autocracy.
He was the first Grand Duke who attracted to Moscow by generous offers foreign experts, mainly merchants, craftsmen, miners and military specialists from Germany. So once again Germans were in Russia.
Some of them remained for ever in Moscow, in the centre of power and formed in the north-east of Moscow, the "German suburb" (Nemezkaja sloboda), where they were assimilated and became loyal servants of the Russian czars.
In Russians eyes they had an strange appear encouraging an hidden xenophobia in the country that was caused by the Orthodox believers. Foreigners at that time were considered as non-believers with whom orthodox devotees only had contact under strict security measures.
Contacts with the West helped Muscovites to recover the technological behind and rearm with a modern weapons technology.
With the help of these experts not only the Russian army was modernize, but these people were also used in military campaigns against the Tartars.
With flourishing of the Livonian hanseatic cities (Riga, Reval, Dorpat) the German-Russian trade in Novgorod sharply declined in the 15th century. So the German Kontor Peterhof of the Hanseatic League2, founded in 1200, lost more and more his important and in 1494 during the conquest of Novgorod it was closed and destroyed by the Moscow's Grand Prince Ivan III.
Between 1462 and 1533 Moscow State increased its territory six times.
1 Goldene Horde = name for Mongolian and Turkish warriors who invade under Batu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan Eastern Europe; also name of the Mongolian Empire or khanate, which Batu Khan found on the banks of the Volga River the 1251.. The Golden Horde ruled the actual Southern-Russia until the end of the 15th Century.
2 Hanseatic League = alliance of trading cities and their guilds that established and maintained trade monopoly along the coast of Northern Europe, from the Baltic to the North Sea and inland, during the Late Middle Ages and Early modern period (c. 13th–17th centuries).