Feodor II

Born: 1589
Died: 1605

Feodor II was the son of Boris Godunov. An intelligent and cultivated youth, he became tsar at the age of sixteen, during one of the most difficult periods in Russian history. He ruled the country for a total of fifty days. When Muscovites were kissing the cross and taking their oath to the new tsar, Grishka Otrepiev was already moving towards the capital with his army.

False Dmitry I – as Grishka Otrepiev was known, to distinguish himself from a second pretender, False Dmitry II – sent a proclamation to Moscow, promising to reward those who recognised him as the rightful tsar and to kill those who did not. The people of Moscow were thrown into confusion, with many believing that he was indeed Tsarevich Dmitry, the son of Ivan the Terrible. A mob broke into the Kremlin, ransacked the palace and arrested Boris Godunov’s widow and children.

On 3 June 1605, the royal family was overthrown in a plot of boyars led by Basil Shuisky and Basil Mosalsky. Hired assassins murdered Patriarch Job and strangled Feodor Godunov and his mother. Their bodies were shown to the people, who were told that they had taken poison.

Several days later, Boris Godunov’s coffin was removed from the Archangel Cathedral and reburied at the more humble Barsonofiev Monastery near the Lubyanka. The people were told that he too had taken poison. The bodies of his widow and son, who were said to have committed suicide, were buried alongside him without a funeral service.

Although Boris Godunov’s daughter Xenia survived, she was forced to become the concubine of False Dmitry I. When he tired of her, she entered a nunnery under the name of Olga. The seven-year reign of the Godunov dynasty had come to an end.

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