tsar ivan iv


The wedding of first Russian Tsar Ivan IV and Anastasia Romanovna took place on 03 February, 1547.

Anastasia was chosen by Ivan from a gathering of potential brides. Being the daughter of a minor, untitled noble (boyar) family Anastasia’s chances of becoming first Russian Tsaritsa were not high, however Tsar instantly fell for her beauty, charm and sweet temper.

They were to have 13 years of a happy marriage.

The ivory throne of Tsar Ivan IV of Russia
Ivan IV Vasilyevich (Russian: Ива́н Васи́льевич; 25 August 1530 – 28 March [O.S. 18 March] 1584), commonly known as Ivan the Terrible, was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547 and Tsar of All the Russias from 1547 until his death. His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state spanning almost one billion acres, approximately 4,046,856 km2 (1,562,500 sq mi). Ivan managed countless changes in the progression from a medieval state to an empire and emerging regional power, and became the first ruler to be crowned as Tsar of All the Russias.

Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan’s complex personality: he was described as intelligent and devout, yet given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental illness. In one such outburst he killed his groomed and chosen heir Ivan Ivanovich. This left the Tsardom to be passed to Ivan’s younger son, the weak and intellectually disabled Feodor Ivanovich. Ivan’s legacy is complex: he was an able diplomat, a patron of arts and trade, founder of Russia’s first Print Yard, a leader highly popular among the common people of Russia, but he is also remembered for his paranoia and arguably harsh treatment of the nobility.

Anastasia Romanovna, the first Romanov on the throne

Anastasia Romanovna Zakharyina-Yurieva, the first wife of the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible and the first Russian tsaritsa (Queen-consort)

Ivan IV (known as Ivan the Terrible or Ivan the Fearsome) was the First Tsar of Russia, who also Paved the Way for the Romanov Dynasty.

Ivan IV  (1530 – 1584)  was a controversial historical figure: a tyrant and a reformer, a monster and a strategist, a poet and a composer of considerable talent, he supported the arts, liked playing chess and had a sarcastic, wicked sense of humour.
He acquired vast amounts of land during his long reign, an era marked by the conquest of the khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia, created a centrally controlled Russian state, imposed by military dominance. 

The court intrigue and constant danger that Ivan was exposed to while growing up molded much of his ruthless and suspicious nature. His father, Grand Prince of Moscow Basil III, died when he was 3 years old. His mother, Elena Glinskaya, ruled as regent until her death in 1538, when Ivan was 8, and was wildly rumoured to be poisoned. During this time, the realm rapidly degenerated into chaos as rival noble  (boyar) families disputed the legitimacy of her rule. Evidence indicates that Ivan was a sensitive, intelligent boy, neglected and occasionally scorned by members of the nobility who looked after him after his parents’ death. The environment nurtured his hatred for the boyar class, whom he suspected of being involved in his mother’s death.

Ivan IV of Russia aka Ivan  the Terrible

On 16 January 1547, at age sixteen, Ivan IV of Rurik dynasty was crowned with Monomakh’s Cap at the Cathedral of the Dormition. He was the first to be crowned as “Tsar of All the Russias”. By being crowned Tsar (King), Ivan was sending a message to the world and to Russia: he was now the one and only supreme ruler of the country, and his will was not to be questioned. The new title symbolized an assumption of powers equivalent and parallel to those held by former Byzantine Emperor and the Tatar Khan, both known in Russian sources as Tsar.

Officially, Tsar Ivan IV had 7 wives, but it was his first marriage to Anastasia Romanovna Zakharyina-Yurieva (1530 –  1560) that influenced his character and his rule, and in the end led to the Romanov Dynasty taking the throne.

Inspection of potential brides

Two weeks after his coronation, Ivan married his first wife Anastasia Romanovna, a member of the Romanov family, who became the first Russian tsaritsa (Queen-consort). She was the daughter of nobleman (Boyar) Roman Yurievich Zakharyin-Yuriev (okolnichi of Ivan’s father,  Basil III), who died on 16 February 1543, who gave his name to the Romanov Dynasty of Russian monarchs, and his wife Uliana Ivanovna, who died in 1579.

Anastasia Romanovna was brought to the Kremlin for Ivan’s inspection along with as many as 1500 other potential brides  in accordance with old custom of Byzantine Emperors - nobles from across Russia brought their eligible daughters  and Ivan himself selected Anastasia as his preferred companion. 

Anastasia was described by chronicles as a beauty of small stature, with  fine and soft features, dark eyes and  rich chestnut hair. She had a kind and mild persona, was pious and honest in character. Despite her many good  qualities many noble families didn’t approve the marriage as they considered Anastasia to be beneath the Tsar and not equal to other, far more noble lines.

Anastasia with her newborn son  Ivan and his christening.

The marriage lasted 13 years and proved to be affectionate and successful, the only such marriage for Ivan. Anastasia gave birth to six children (Anna, Maria, Dmitry, Ivan, Eudoxia, and Feodor) before she died in 1560.

 As a wife she had a calming and moderating influence on Ivan’s mercurial nature and his volatile character, was supportive of him and was among few people Ivan really trusted or listened to. 

Jerome Horsey, an agent for the Russia Company  and later envoy for Queen Elizabeth I of England, recorded in his memoirs that:
he [Ivan IV] being young and riotous, she [Anastasia] ruled him with admirable affability and wisdom”.

Many boyars resented Anastasia’s influence on her husband. 

Funeral of tsaritsa Anastasia

In the summer of 1560, Anastasia fell ill to a lingering illness and died. It could be due to numerous pregnancies and births weakining her health, but Ivan IV thought that his wife was poisoned by boyars.

Upon her death, Ivan IV suffered an emotional collapse and went into a deep depression, his behavior became more erratic and out of control. He banged his head on the floor in full view of the court and smashed his furniture. He tried to tear his hair out  and  rip his clothes. At the funeral, following the coffin of his wife, Ivan was crying uncontrollably and could barely walk. Several of his courtiers had to hold him by the hands to support him. One Metropolitan, himself in tears, dared to remind Tsar of the hardness of a Christian. But it was in vain.
Angry and depressed, with his old cruelty resurfacing, Ivan raged against the boyars. Although he had no actual evidence against the boyars of poisoning Anastasia, he had a number of them tortured and executed.

Statue of  Anastasia Romanovna

Renowned Russian historian and writer, Nikolay Karamzin, wrote in his  History of the Russian State about Anastasia’s funeral:

“Never common grief professed more touchingly and stronger. Not only the court but all of Moscow came to bury their first, dearest Queen. When the body  was carried to the Ascension Convent, the people did not give way either  to clergy or nobles, crowding the streets round the coffin. All wept inconsolably and all the poor, beggars were calling Anastasia their mother. They wanted to  deal alms among  the poor as it was common in such cases: they did not take it, devoid of all joy in this day of sadness”.    
As Karamzin put it :
“Nobody knew  what Anastasia took with her to the grave!
Here is the end of happy days of Ivan and Russia: for he had lost not only spouse, but  virtue”.

Over the next 24 years, Ivan IV earned  the moniker by which he’s now best known -  the nickname “Grozny,” which roughly translates as “formidable or sparking terror or fear”.  It was during this period that Ivan displaced and destroyed the major boyar families in the region and  created the Oprichniki, the first official secret Russian police force.

Ivan IV’s personal life became chaotic, all other six marriages proved to be unstable and most of them turned out to be disastrous, several of the wives not lived long enough to enjoy royal years. By coincidence or by design, most of them met their end when still young, sometimes very shortly after the wedding bells and coronation. Ivan IV often openly compared his subsequent spouses with his first wife Anastasia and death of his other wives never caused him much grief unlike the death of Anastasia. None of the wives had such a soothing and positive influence on tempestuous Tsar.

18 years after Anastasia’s death  Ivan IV wrote in a letter to Prince  Kurbsky, his  former close friend and then a leading political opponent, who had defected to Lithuania (Kurbsky was  believed by some historians to be aware of the plot to kill Anastasia.):
Why did you  separate me with my wife? If you hadn’t taken my young wife from me, there would have been no bloody victims”.

Out of six children of Ivan IV and Anastasia all their three daughters died in infancy, their eldest son and heir, Dmitry, died due to accident (he drowned) in 1553.
Their son Ivan was killed in 1581 by Ivan IV himself in a  fit of rage after Ivan IV  beat his pregnant daughter-in-law, causing a miscarriage.

In 1584 Ivan IV  died of an apparent stroke. He willed the kingdom to his youngest son from Anastasia, Feodor, who died childless and whose rule spiraled Russia into difficult Time of Troubles, leading to the establishment of the Romanov Dynasty.

Michael I of Russia, grandnephew of Anastasia Romanovna and first Tsar of House of Romanov

Anastasia’s brother Nikita Romanovich was the father of Feodor, the first to take the surname Romanov. In other words, Feodor Romanov was the first cousin of the last Rurik Tsar, Feodor I. This connection facilitated the election of Feodor Romanov’s son Mikhail Romanov, the first Tsar of House of Romanov, to the throne in 1613 after the Time of Troubles.

House of Romanov ruled over Russia from 1613 until the abdication of  the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II  in 1917. 

Anastasia Romanovna was buried in  Ascension Convent in Kremlin, which was destroyed by Bolsheviks in 1929. However, her remains along with remains of other grand princesses, tsarinas and noble ladies from the Muscovite royal court were moved to the Cathedral of the Archangel in Kremlin.

Examination of the bone remains of Anastasia in the late 20th century by archaeologists and forensics experts have been able to provide evidence that could actually sustain her husband’s claim. The extremely  high levels of mercury found in her hair, fabrics and dust indicate that she indeed may have been poisoned.

Anastasia Romanovna  and her role in Ivan IV’s life left a notable mark not only on history, but also in arts.

Ivan IV and Anastasia  in the movie by  Eisenstein

The acclaimed two-part historical epic film about Ivan IV of Russia (1944,1958) written and directed by the filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, featured Anastasia, her love and support for her husband, her death through poison and Ivan´s gradual slide into madness as a result of her death.

Ivan IV and Anastasia in the ballet “Ivan the Terrible”

The famous ballet to music by Sergei Prokofiev called Ivan the Terrible with choreography by Yuri Grigorovich premiered in 1975 at the Bolshoi Theatre, had several revivals and remains one of the most popular and beloved dramatic ballets about historical figures. The ballet’s plot includes Anastasia’s role in Ivan IV’s life and the effect her death had on him.

Scientists say that an average human uses less than 10 % of their memory. Surprising, isn’t it? However, lots of people struggle to memorize historic dates, chemistry cycles or physics formulae. Is that about you? If so, I presume you’re interested in making your life easier by using the following memory tricks.


People tend to memorize the information which made a deep impression on them. Indeed, it was really easy to memorize that Henry VIII had six wives or that Russian tsar Ivan IV killed his own son. So one key to memorizing is to:
💎 Concentrate on the topic. 15 minutes of deep concentration will bring a far more productive outcome rather than years of mess in thoughts
💎 Imagine what you’re reading in detail
💎 Try to draw what you’re learning. It’s much easier to memorize a picture rather than text


It goes without saying that to remember something, you need to revise it from time to time. No one can escape forgetting info. But how you revise can affect the speed of memorizing. Here are some smart ways of revising:
💎 We memorize 90% of things we say ourselves. So when you need to remember how kidney works/reasons for the Cold War, find someone to listen to you. Group studying is really helpful
💎 In case you are alone, read things aloud. It involves both visual and auditory memory
💎 It’s much easier to memorize something while practicing. So instead of learning formulae by heart like poems, try solving tasks. Similarly, try finding topical tests for history or biology
💎 Use flash-cards or apps like quizlet. I once learned a series of maths formulae (about 15) by hanging them all around my room. I didn’t even open my textbook!


Our memory works by means of association. It would be extremely difficult to memorize something without having any primary knowledge about it. Why not using this quality of memory?
💎 Compose a funny poem
💎 Use abbreviations. I don’t know why, but “pmet” helped me to memorize the sequence of meiosis stages; DEKA (10 in Greek) stands for fat soluble vitamins D, K, E and A
💎 Think about the topic in order to build more connections between the things you already know and the subject you’re trying to memorize


And of course, our memory is tightly connected with our health condition. So you should consider:
💎 Doing sports. Getting some exercise is also really helpful after hours of mental work because it speeds up blood circulation. As a result, more blood flows into the brain making it work much better
💎 Healthy diet. Walnuts in particular help brains work
💎 Staring a vitamin/glycine/omega 3 course

I hope these tips will be helpful for you guys. Please don’t be irritated by my mistakes (I would be very grateful if someone corrected them)

“I will not see the destruction of the Christian converts who are loyal to me, and to my last breath I will fight for the Orthodox faith.” -Ivan IV Vasilyevich

January 16, 1547- Ivan IV is crowned the first Tsar of All the Russias, a reflection of his commanding and authoritarian policies. Better known as Ivan the Terrible, he would transform Russia from a backward, medieval nation to an empire spanning one billion acres. He threw back and conquered the Tartar and Mongol hordes that had plagued Russia for three centuries. Despite Ivan’s effective policies, his line died with him due to his rage-induced murder of his heir, Ivan Ivanovich. The problems that plagued Russia during his reign would explode after his death, leading to the Time of Troubles.

Picture- Tsar Ivan IV, Viktor Vasnetsov, 1897

Some Facts about Tatarstan

• The Republic of Tatarstan is a federal subject of Russia located in the Volga Federal District. Its capital is the city of Kazan.

• According to the Constitution of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Tatar and the Russian languages have equal rights throughout the republic.

• Two religions are the mostly spread: Islam and Orthodox Christianity.

• As of the 2010 Census, the population of Tatarstan was 3,786,488.

• Tatarstan is one of the most economically developed regions of Russia. 

• While Tatarstan has traditionally been known for its wealth in natural resources, the region is also highly developed in automotive and other industrial sectors and is quickly becoming a haven for high tech development.

• In 2000, the historical and cultural area of the Kazan Kremlin was included into the list of World UNESCO heritage. Tatar national holiday Sabantuy presenting a live folk tradition is also nominated into this list.

• The present territory of Tatarstan was inhabited by the Volga Bulgars whom the Kazan Tatars descend from. Bulgars settled on the Volga river in the 7th century AD and converted to Islam in 922 during the missionary work of ibn Fadlan.

• At the end of 1230s, Volga Bulgaria was conquered by the Mongols. The region received independence again in 1430s with the forming of Kazan Khanate state with capital in Kazan city. Kazan Khanate was conquered by the army of the Russian Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible in 1550s. Kazan city was taken in 1552.

• A lot of Tatars were converted to Christianity and Orthodox churches and cathedrals were built in Kazan during the conquest. Almost all mosques of the city and the whole region were destroyed. The Russian government forbade the construction of mosques, a prohibition that was not lifted until the 18th century by Catherine the Great.

• During the Soviet period, the famine deaths of 2 million Tatars in Tatar ASSR and in Volga-Ural region in 1921-1922 was catastrophic as half of Volga Tatar population died. The Soviets settled ethnic Russians after the famine in Tatar ASSR and in Volga-Ural region causing the Tatar share of the population to decline to less than 50%.