The First Romanovs

Apr 03, 2015


The first Romanov tsar began as a weak compromise candidate in favour of the powerful boyars. Nevertheless Romanovs became one of the longest surviving European dynasties – 304 years.

“Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Holding Council With the Boyars in His Royal Chamber” by Andrey Ryabushkin in about 1883

After the Poles and Swedes were driven out of Moscow a brief chance had come for the Russian nobility to peacefully settle the question of who was to be sovereign.

In 1613 the Zemsky Sobor (the parliament of boyars, merchants, warriors and priests) came together. They looked for a compromise candidate who would be at least distantly related to Ivan the Terrible.

A suitable young man was found in Moscow – Patriarch Filaret’s 16-year-old son Mikhail Romanov. He was a distant relative to Ivan the Terrible’s wife Anastasia Romanova. As a young person, and therefore politically weak, he seemed like a good candidate to everyone.

Romanov dynasty
The Boyars expected Mikhail I to ensure peace and stability. That he did surprisingly well.

Tsar Alexey I regained the Ukrainian and Polish territories and Fyodor III and Sophia Alexeyevna were intellectuals who promoted Russian culture.

The rest of the 17th century was characterized by relative political and religious seclusion from the rest of the world that helped form a unique Russian mentality. This period is sometimes referred to as the true Golden Age of Russia.

Mikhail I