Boris Godunov Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

Tsar of Russia

Boris Godunov

Birthday :


Died On :

April 23, 1605

Birth Place :

Vyazma, Smolensk Oblast, Russia

Zodiac Sign :

Boris Godunov was a Tsar of Russia born in 1551 and died in 1605. Even though he was alleged to have had a hand in killing Dimitry, one of Ivan IV’s sons, he was still crowned tsar. There was no obvious evidence associating him with the murder. His initial years as tsar were marked with great prosperity. He brought about not only educational reforms but also social reforms. This gained him great popularity.

Early Life and Education

Boris Godunov in full Boris Feodorovich Godunov was born in 1551 in Russia. He was the son of Feodor Ivanovich Godunov and his wife Stepanida Ivanovna. His family Godunov had settled in the 14th C in Muscovy. Irina Godunova was his sister. She later became the wife of the Tsar’s son Feodor Ivanovich.


Early Career

Godunov began his career while serving at Ivan IV the Terrible’s court. Ivan reigned from 1553 to 1584. He also played a role in the campaign of Serpeisk in 1570. Thereafter, in 1571, he became one of the personal guards of Ivan as well as his secret police.

When his sister was chosen to be the Tsar’s second son’s wife, he was promoted to the position of Boyar. In late 1581, he witnessed the Tsar as he murdered his firstborn son. His attempts to intervene were met with blows from the scepter of the Tsar.

Ivan IV during his final moments appointed a council that was to guide his son as when he succeeded Russia Feodor I. Godunov was one of those chosen.


Ascension to Power

On September 1, 1598, Godunov was crowned Tsar. He was accepted with open arms. In return, he reigned quite well in his initial years as tsar. Among his first reforms was in the education sector. According to him, Russia had to catch up with the west’s intellectual process. Additionally, he did put much of his effort into social reforms.

In his efforts to bring educational reforms, he even imported foreign teachers. No other tsar had done such before. On top of that, he went ahead and allowed the building of Lutheran churches in Russia. Also, he gave a free pass to English merchants to conduct their trading with the people of Russia.


Personal Life

In 1571 is when Godunov wedded Maria Grigorievna Skuratova-Belskaya. She was the daughter of the oprichniks’ head, Malyuta Skuratov-Belsky. He had his firstborn son in 1587. However, he died the following year. His daughter was born in 1582 and died in 1602. Her name was Xenia.



Boris Godunov died at the age of 54 in Moscow on April 23, 1605, after a long struggle with stroke. He was survived by his widow and Fedor II his son who took over the throne. Sadly, he ruled briefly before he was murdered along with his mother. Gudonov and his family were laid to rest in a mausoleum located close to the Assumption Cathedral in Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra.

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