Godunov, Boris

Godunov, Boris

▪ tsar of Russia
born c. 1551
died April 13 [April 23, New Style], 1605, Moscow, Russia
 Russian statesman who was chief adviser to Tsar Fyodor I (reigned 1584–98) and was himself elected tsar of Muscovy (reigning 1598–1605) after the extinction of the Rurik dynasty. His reign inaugurated the devastating Time of Troubles (Troubles, Time of) (1598–1613) in the Russian lands.

      A member of the noble Tatar family Saburov-Godunov that had migrated to Muscovy in the 14th century, Boris Godunov began his career of service in the court of Ivan IV the Terrible (reigned 1533–84). After gaining Ivan's favour by marrying the daughter of a close associate of the tsar (1571), Godunov gave his sister Irina to be the bride of the tsarevich Fyodor (1580), was promoted to the rank of boyar (1580), and in 1584 was named by Ivan to be one of the guardians for the dim-witted Fyodor, who shortly afterward ascended the throne. A group of boyars who regarded Godunov as a usurper conspired to undermine his authority, but Godunov banished his opponents and became the virtual ruler of Russia.

      Having complete control over Muscovy's foreign affairs, Godunov conducted successful military actions, promoted foreign trade, built numerous defensive towns and fortresses, recolonized Western Siberia, which had been slipping from Moscow's control, and arranged for the head of the Muscovite Church to be raised from the level of metropolitan to patriarch (1589). Domestically, Godunov promoted the interests of the service gentry.

      When Fyodor died leaving no heirs (1598), a zemsky sobor (assembly of the land), dominated by the clergy and the service gentry, elected Boris Godunov successor to the throne (Feb. 17, 1598). Tsar Boris, proving himself to be an intelligent and capable ruler, undertook a series of benevolent policies, reforming the judicial system, sending students to be educated in western Europe, allowing Lutheran churches to be built in Russia, and, in order to gain power on the Baltic Sea, entering into negotiations for the acquisition of Livonia.

      In an effort to reduce the power of the boyar families that opposed him, however, Boris banished the members of the Romanov family; he also instituted an extensive spy system and ruthlessly persecuted those whom he suspected of treason. These measures, however, only increased the boyars' animosity toward him, and, when his efforts to alleviate the suffering caused by famine (1601–03) and accompanying epidemics proved ineffective, popular dissatisfaction also mounted. Thus, when a pretender claiming to be Prince Dmitry (i.e., Tsar Fyodor's younger half brother who had actually died in 1591) led an army of Cossacks and Polish adventurers into southern Russia (October 1604), he gained substantial support. The Tsar's army impeded the false Dmitry's advance toward Moscow; but with Boris' sudden death, resistance broke down, and the country lapsed into a period of chaos characterized by swift and violent changes of regime, civil wars, foreign intervention, and social disorder (the Time of Troubles) that did not end until after Michael Romanov, son of Fyodor Nikitich Romanov, was elected tsar in 1613.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Godúnov, Borís (Fiódorovich) — ( 1551–23 abr. 1605, Moscú, Rusia). Zar de Rusia (1598–1605). Después de servir en la corte de Iván IV, fue nombrado tutor del limitado hijo de Iván, Fiódor I. A partir de 1584 fue su principal consejero, convirtiéndose en el verdadero gobernante …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Godunov, Boris (Fyodorovich) — born с 1551 died April 23, 1605, Moscow, Russia Tsar of Russia (1598–1605). After serving in the court of Ivan IV, he was named guardian to Ivan s dim witted son Fyodor I and became the virtual ruler of Russia as Fyodor s chief adviser from 1584 …   Universalium

  • Godunov, Boris Fëdorovič — ► (1551 1605) Zar de Rusia en 1598 1605. Noble de origen tártaro. Se ganó las simpatías del clero emancipando la Iglesia de Constantinopla y creando el patriarcado de Moscú. En 1591 apartó a Demetrio, hermano del zar, que solo contaba nueve años… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Godunov,Boris Fyodorovich — Go·du·nov (go͝odʹn ôf , gŏdʹ , gə do͞o nôfʹ), Boris Fyodorovich. 1551? 1605. Czar of Russia (1598 1605) who became regent for Fyodor I (1557 1598) on the death of Ivan IV (1584) and was chosen czar on Fyodor s death. His reign was marked by the… …   Universalium

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  • Boris Godunov — This article is about the Russian tsar. For other uses, see Boris Godunov (disambiguation). Boris Godunov Regent of Russia (de facto) Tsar of All Russia Regent of Russia (de facto) …   Wikipedia

  • Boris Fyodorovich Godunov — noun czar of Russia (1551 1605) • Syn: ↑Godunov, ↑Boris Godunov • Instance Hypernyms: ↑czar, ↑tsar, ↑tzar …   Useful english dictionary

  • Boris Godunov — noun czar of Russia (1551 1605) • Syn: ↑Godunov, ↑Boris Fyodorovich Godunov • Instance Hypernyms: ↑czar, ↑tsar, ↑tzar …   Useful english dictionary

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