Feodor was born in 1661, the son of Aleksei
Mikhailovich and his first wife, Maria Miloslavskaia. His ill health and weak
physical constitution impared his ability to rule, but he was, nevertheless,
able to continue the reforming internal and external political and military
policies of his father. He was unusually well educated, having learned both
Latin and Polish. And he made educational progress a matter of government
policy. He was pious and supported the important role of religion in Muscovite
cultural life, insuring that his new educational institutions would be
superintended by the church. His reign, thus, served as an effective bridge to
that of his half-brother Peter I. Among the leading
courtiers who served Fedor was Prince Valilii Golitsyn, who became even more
powerful during the short reign of Fedor's sister, Sophia. The Romanov family
is shown on this chart.
Fedor married twice. His first wife was Agaf'ia Grushetskaia, who died in
childbirth in 1681. He then married Marfa Apraksina, but they had no children
as he died only a few months later.
Summary of the reign:
Muscovite foreign policy during Fedor's reign was focused mainly toward
the south and southwest, on retention of the Ukrainian territories gained at
the Truce of Andrusovo in 1667. The six-way struggle for control of the steppe
between the Don and Dniester continued between the Ottoman Turks, their Crimean
Tatar vassals, Poland, Muscovy, and the Right Bank and Left Bank Cossack hosts,
with the main prize being Kiev.
The principal internal political event was the burning of the books containing
the mestnichestvo registers in 1682. In obtaining agreement of the old
boyar families to abolish the Code of Precedence Fedor attained a goal that had
been sought unsuccessfully by his predecessors since the time of Ivan IV. This
was a critical step toward effective military reform and an important precursor
toward Peter's creation of a new hierarchal system with the Table of Ranks. He
also vetoed a boyar scheme to increase their power by turning the office of
governor into a permanent position.
Fedor continued the bitter struggle against the Old Believers and approved
various measures for reform of church affairs.
On his death in 1682 the power struggle between the Miloslavskii and Naryshkin
families and their supporters