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Boris Godunov
Birth: 1551
Death: Apr. 23, 1605

Russian Czar. He was the de facto regent of Russia from about 1585 to 1598 and czar of Russia from 1598 until his death in 1605. He was probably the most noted member of an ancient, now extinct Russian family of Tartar origin. His career began in the court of Russian Czar Ivan the Terrible and is mentioned in 1570 for taking an active part in the Serpeisk campaign as an archer of the guard. The following year he became a member of Ivan's personal guard and secret police, or oprichnik. He increased his position a court by marrying the daughter of oprichnik's chief, Makyuta Skuratov-Belskiy. In 1580 Ivan chose his sister Irina Godunova, to become the wife of his second son and eventual heir, Feodor Ivanovich and on that occasion he was promoted to the rank of boyar, or noble. In November 1581 he was present at the scene of Ivan's murder of his oldest son, Crown Prince Ivan Czarevich. He tried to intervene but was struck by Ivan's scepter, who quickly repented and Czarevich died four days later before Godunov was able to summon help. On Ivan's deathbed, he appointed a council, which included Godunov, to guide his son Feodor, who was feeble in both mind and body and lacked the capacity to effectively rule the country on his own. When Feodor was crowned as Czar Feodor I, Godunov was given honor and wealth as a member of the regency council, in which he held the second place during the life of Feodor's uncle, Nikita Romanovich. Upon Nikita's death in 1586 he was left without any serious opposition for the regency. A group of nobles, along with Dionysius II, the ecclesiastical leader of Moscow, conspired to break his powers by divorcing Feodor from his childless wife, which did not succeed and the conspirators were banished or sent to monasteries, leaving him supreme uncontested ruler in Russia to deal with other foreign heads of state as their equal. His overall policy was generally conciliatory and prudent and in 1595 he recovered from Sweden some land lost during the previous reign. He also encouraged English merchants to trade with Russia by exempting them from paying duties on their goods. He built towns and fortresses along the northeastern and southeastern borders of Russia in order to control the Tartar and Finnic tribes and colonized the Siberia region with new settlements, including Tobolsk. His most important domestic reform was the 1597 decree forbidding the peasants to go from one landowner to another. While the object of the decree was to secure revenue, it would eventually lead to the institution of serfdom in its most oppressive form. Also during this time, the Russian Orthodox Church received its own patriarchate which placed it on equal footing with the Eastern Orthodox churches, freeing it from the influence of the Patriarch of Constantinople. When Feodor died on January 7, 1598 without any heirs, Godunov seized the throne and he was unanimously elected by the national assembly on February 21, 1598 and was then crowned as Czar on September 1, 1598. His reign was prosperous and he ruled well and sought to bring about educational and social reforms. Recognizing the need for Russia to catch up with the intellectual progress of the West, he was the first czar to import foreign teachers on a large scale and to send young Russians abroad to be educated. He was also the first czar to allow the establishment of Lutheran churches in Russia. He died after a lengthy illness and a stroke in Moscow at the age of 54. His only surviving son, Feodor II succeeded him as czar but he and his wife were murdered in Moscow two months later by enemies of the Godunovs. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Maria Grigorievna Skuratova-Belskaya Godunov (____ - 1605)*
 
 Children:
  Xenia Borisovna Godunova (1582 - 1622)*
  Fyodor Borisovich Godunov (1589 - 1605)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Trinity-Sergius Monastery
Moscow Oblast, Russia
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 1508
Boris Godunov
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
Boris Godunov
Added by: CTM
 
Boris Godunov
Added by: James V. Rutherford
 
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Dear Boris Godunov you did great things for the Russian people in your short time as Tsar.
- Die-Hard Monarchist
 Added: Oct. 9, 2015

- Tom Cummings
 Added: Nov. 28, 2013
May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Apr. 24, 2013
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