The Amur Tiger's natural habitat is confined to the Russian Far East.
duke of all the Russias". After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Moscow claimed succession to the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire. Ivan III married Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI, and made the Byzantine double-headed eagle his own, and eventually Russian, coat-of-arms.
Tsardom of Russia
In development of the Third Rome ideas, the Grand Duke Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) was officially crowned the first Tsar ("Caesar") of Russia in 1547. The Tsar promulgated a new code of laws (Sudebnik of 1550), established the first Russian feudal representative body (Zemsky Sobor) and introduced local self-management into the rural regions.
During his long reign, Ivan IV nearly doubled the already large Russian territory by annexing the three Tatar khanates (parts of disintegrated Golden Horde): Kazan and Astrakhan along the Volga River, and Sibirean Khanate in South Western Siberia. Thus by the end of the 16th century Russia was transformed into a multiethnic, multiconfessional and transcontinental state.
In contrast to these great achievements in the East, Ivan IV's policy in the West brought quite disastrous results. The Russian state was weakened by the long and unsuccessful Livonian War against the coalition of Poland, Lithuania, and Sweden for access to the Baltic coast and sea trade. At the same time Tatars of the Crimean Khanate, the only remaining successor to the Golden Horde, continued to invade Southern Russia in
a series of slave raids, and were even able to burn down Moscow in 1571.
The death of Ivan's sons marked the end of the ancient Rurikid Dynasty in 1598, and in combination with the famine of 1601–1603 led to the civil war, the rule of pretenders and foreign intervention during the Time of Troubles in the early 1600s. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth occupied parts of Russia, including Moscow. In 1612 the Poles were forced to retreat by the Russian volunteer corps, led by two national heroes, merchant Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky. A new dynasty, the Romanovs, acceded the throne in 1613 by the decision of Zemsky Sobor, and Russia started its gradual recovery from the crisis.
Russia continued its territorial growth through the 17th century, which was the age of Cossacks. Cossacks were warriors organized into military