Grand Prince of Muscovy (1462). He was responsible for extending the territories of Muscovite Russia, becoming independent of the Tartars, and subjecting the principalities of Livonia and Lithuania. Introducing a legal code in 1497, he claimed the title of “Ruler of all Russia”, reorganized and reduced the independence of the nobility, and built up a class of new, loyal, dependent officials. Influenced by contemporary Italy and Byzantium, he claimed leadership of the Eastern Orthodox Church. His authority subsequently declined as alcoholism, conspiracy, and succession problems diminished his effectiveness.