Fyodor II

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(15891605), Tsar of Russia and son of Boris Godunov.

Fyodor Borisovich Godunov was born in 1589 and eventually became tsar. His father, Boris Godunov, was the regent of the mentally retarded Tsar Fyodor I. Fyodor Godunov's mother, Maria, was the daughter of Tsar Ivan IV's favorite, Malyuta Skuratov (the notorious boss of the oprichnina, the tsar's hand-picked military and administrative elite). Upon the death of the childless Tsar Fyodor I in 1598, Boris Godunov became tsar, and Fyodor Borisovich became heir to the throne. Contemporaries described young Fyodor as handsome, athletic, and kind. Like his older sister Ksenya, Fyodor was well educated and learned from his father the art of government as he grew up. Fyodor was also an avid student of cartography, and he is credited with drawing a small map of Moscow, included on a well-known Dutch map of Russia published in 1614.

In April 1605 Tsar Boris died, and Fyodor was proclaimed Tsar Fyodor II. Although well prepared to rule, the sixteen-year-old tsar was soon over-whelmed by the civil war his father had been fighting against supporters of someone claiming to be Dmitry of Uglich (the youngest son of Tsar IvanIV). Several of Fyodor's courtiers immediately began plotting to overthrow him, but it was the rebellion of the tsar's army on May 7, 1605, that sealed the fate of the Godunov dynasty. Tsar Fyodor II was toppled in a bloodless popular uprising in Moscow on June 1, 1605. Several days later he and his mother were strangled to death, and it was falsely reported that they had committed suicide. Almost no one mourned the death of Fyodor II; Moscow was too busy celebrating the arrival of Tsar Dmitry.

See also: dmitry of uglich; fyodor alexeyevich; godunov, boris fyodorovich; ivan iv; oprichnina


Dunning, Chester (2001). Russia's First Civil War: The Time of Troubles and the Founding of the Romanov Dynasty. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Skrynnikov, Ruslan (1985). "The Rebellion in Moscow and the Fall of the Godunov Dynasty." Soviet Studies in History 24:13754.

Chester Dunning