His son and successor, Theodore (Feodor), was a weak man of saintly character, very ill fitted to consolidate his father's work and maintain order among the ambitious, turbulent nobles; but he had the good fortune to have an energetic brother-in-law, with no pretensions to sanctity, called Boris Godunov, who was able, with the tsar's moral support, to keep his fellow-boyars in order.
The change was very dexterously effected by Godunov, with the formal assent of the Eastern Orthodox Church as a whole, and one of his adherents was placed on the patriarchal throne.
Having thus gained the support of a large majority of the landed proprietors and the ecclesiastics, Boris Godunov increased his influence to such an extent that on the Boris death of Tsar Feodor without male issue in 1598 he Godunov, was elected his successor by a Great National Assembly.
Under the influence of the great nobles who had unsuccessfully opposed the election of Godunov, the general discontent took the form of hostility to him as a usurper, and rumours were heard that the late tsar's younger brother Dimitri (Demetrius), supposed The to be dead, was still alive and in hiding.
In reality the younger son of Ivan the Terrible had been strangled before his brother's death - by orders, it was said, of Godunov - and the mysterious individual who was impersonating him was an impostor; but he was regarded as the rightful heir by a large section of the population, and immediately after Boris's death in 1605 he made his triumphal entry into Moscow.
The Uspensky cathedral was erected in 1585; close beside it are the graves of Tsar Boris Godunov (died in 1605) and his family.
On the death of the childless tsar, he was the popular candidate for the vacant throne; but he acquiesced in the election of Boris Godunov, and shared the disgrace of his too-powerful family three years later, when Boris compelled both him and his wife, Xenia Chestovaya, to take monastic vows under the names of Philaret and Martha respectively.
BORIS FEDOROVICH GODUNOV, tsar of Muscovy (c. 1551-1605), the most famous member of an ancient, now extinct, Russian family of Tatar origin, which migrated from the Horde to Muscovy in the 14th century.
Henceforth Godunov was omnipotent.
Godunov encouraged English merchants to trade with Russia by exempting them from tolls.
See Platon Vasilievich Pavlov, On the Historical Significance of the Reign of Boris Godunov (Rus.) (Moscow, 1850); Sergyei Mikhailivich Solovev, History of Russia (Rus.) (2nd ed., vols.