|Boris Fyodorovich Godunov was de facto regent of Russia from c. 1585 to 1598 and then the first non-Rurikid tsar from 1598 to 1605|
According to legend, Godunov’s family originated from the Tatar Prince Chet, who immigrated from the Golden Horde to Russia. Boris was the son of Fyodor Godunov, an average landowner. After his father’s death, he was brought up by his uncle Dmitry Godunov, who reached a high post at the court of Ivan the Terrible. Boris Godunov’s career of service began as an “oprichnik”- a member of the organization “Oprichnina,” established by Ivan the Terrible as a prototype police force but also as an instrument to expose, torture and murder his internal enemies.
Godunov married a daughter of the Tsar’s favorite, Malyuta Skuratov, which further strengthened his position. In 1580 Boris Godunov’s sister married the Tsar’s son Fyodor and after that Godunov received the aristocratic title of boyar.
The role of the entire family of Godunov gradually increased and by the end of the 1570s they obtained a footing at Ivan the Terrible’s court. Still, Boris Godunov himself was very cautious in his actions and preferred to stay in the background. Unexpectedly, the year of 1581 brought a series of changes to Godunov’s life: Ivan the Terrible had an argument with his son Ivan and hit him with a staff, which caused the death of the prince. Boris Godunov’s brother-in-law,yodor, became the heir to the throne.
Until 1584 Boris Godunov was not very close to Ivan the Terrible, though he did use his positions at court to favor of his family. According to some historians, Godunov, together with Bogdan Belsky, was a confidante to the Tsar during the last year of the Tsar’s life. Boris Godunov’s role in the death of Ivan the Terrible remains unclear. There were rumors that the ruler was suffocated or poisoned by Belsky and Godunov. The official version stated that the Tsar died from a long-term illness. But, the truth remains unknown. ...
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