Godunov, Boris Fyodorovich (1551?–1605), czar of Russia, 1598–1605. He extended Russian territory, improved foreign relations, furthered education, and encouraged foreign trade. His decrees strengthened feudalism in Russia. In 1589 he established the first patriarchate at Moscow, making the Russian Orthodox Church largely independent of the patriarch at Constantinople. Boris Godunov rose to influence at the court of Ivan IV (the Terrible). Ivan was succeeded by his feebleminded son Fyodor, Godunov's brother-in-law. While Fyodor's regent, Godunov vastly increased his own power. When Dmitri (Dimitri), a possible heir to the throne, died in 1591, Godunov was falsely rumored to have had him killed. To divert attention from this rumor, he set fire to Moscow and then gave generously to the victims. After Fyodor died in 1598, Godunov was elected to the throne by the national council. He died while preparing to battle a pretender to the throne.
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