Ivan Ivanovich of Russia (March 28, 1554 – November 19,1581) of the House of Rurik, was a Tsarevich (heir apparent) of Russia. He was the son of Czar Ivan IV the Terrible, who killed him in a fit of rage.
Ivan IV Vasilyevich (August 25, 1530 – March 28, 1584), commonly known in English as Ivan the Terrible, was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547 and the first Moscow ruler who declared himself tsar of all Russia from 1547 to 1584.
Ivan was the first Moscow ruler born after its independence. The son of Vasili III, the Rurikid ruler of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, he was appointed grand prince when he was three years old after his father’s death. A group of reformers known as the “Chosen Council” united around the young Ivan, declaring him Czar of All Rus’ in 1547 at the age of 16 and establishing the Czardom of Russia with Moscow as the predominant state.
Ivan was the second son of Czar Ivan IV the Terrible by his first wife Anastasia Romanovna Zakharyina-Yurieva (1530 – August 7, 1560).
Anastasia was the second daughter of the boyar Roman Yurievich Zakharyin-Yuriev and Uliana Ivanovna. Roman Yurievich served as Okolnichy under the reign of Grand Prince Vasily III. The house of Zakharyin-Yuriev was a minor branch of a noble house, that had already been at court, so it’s possible that Ivan met Anastasia before the bride show, though no records of that exist.
One of her uncles had been one of Ivan’s guardians during the regency of his mother Grand Princess Elena Glinskaya, who held all the real power. Anastasia’s father was descended from boyar Feodor nicknamed “Koshka” (“Cat”), the fourth son of boyar Andrei Kobyla. The origins of her mother Uliana Ivanovna are unknown.
Anastasia Romanovna Zakharyina-Yurieva was also the first Russian Czarina. She was the mother of Feodor I, the last lineal Rurikid Czar of Russia and the great-aunt of Michael I of Russia, the first Tsar of the Romanov dynasty. Her parents were Boyar Roman Yurievich Zakharyin, Okolnichi, who died on February 16, 1543, who gave his name to the Romanov dynasty of Russian monarchs, and Uliana Ivanovna, who died in 1579.
Ivan Ivanovich’s brother was Feodor. The young Ivan accompanied his father during the Massacre of Novgorod at the age of 15. For five weeks, he and his father would watch the Oprichniks with enthusiasm and retire to church for prayer. At age 27, Ivan was at least as well read as his father, and in his free time, wrote a biography on Antony of Siya. Ivan is reputed to have once saved his father from an assassination attempt. A Livonian prisoner named Bykovski raised a sword against the Czar, only to be rapidly stabbed by the Tsarevich.
In 1566, it was suggested that the 12-year-old Ivan marry Virginia Eriksdotter, daughter of King Eric XIV of Sweden, but this did not come about. At the age of seventeen, Ivan was betrothed to Eudoxia Saburova, who had previously been proposed as a bride for Czar Ivan. Indeed, she had been one of twelve women paraded before the Tsar in a bride-show for him to make a choice.
The Czar had rejected Eudoxia as a bride for himself but she was later married to the Czar’s son. The Czar wanted his daughter-in-law to produce an heir very quickly, and this did not happen, so the Czar banished her to a convent and got his son another bride. This second wife was Praskovia Solova, who quickly met with the same fate as her predecessor, and was also put away into a convent. The Czar then got his son a third wife, Yelena Sheremeteva, who was found to be pregnant in October 1581. That child was presumably miscarried around the time when Ivan died by his father’s hand in November 1581.
Ivan Ivanovich is believed to have been killed by his father, Ivan the Terrible.
Ivan Ivanovich’s relationship with his father began to deteriorate during the later stages of the Livonian War. Angry with his father for his military failures, Ivan demanded to be given command of some troops to liberate besieged Pskov.
Their relationship further deteriorated when on November 15, 1581, the Czar, after seeing his pregnant daughter-in-law wearing unconventionally light clothing, physically assaulted her. Hearing her screams, the Tsarevich rushed to his wife’s defense, angrily shouting, “You sent my first wife to a convent for no reason, you did the same with my second, and now you strike the third, causing the death of the son she holds in her womb.”
Yelena subsequently suffered a miscarriage. The Tsarevich confronted his father on the matter, only to have the topic changed to his insubordination regarding Pskov. The elder Ivan accused his son of inciting rebellion, which the younger Ivan denied, but vehemently stuck to the view that Pskov should be liberated.
Angered, Ivan’s father struck him on the head with his sceptre. Boris Godunov, who was present at the scene, tried to intervene but received blows himself. The younger Ivan fell, barely conscious and with a bleeding wound on his temple. The elder Ivan immediately threw himself at his son, kissing his face and trying to stop the bleeding, whilst repeatedly crying, “May I be damned! I’ve killed my son! I’ve killed my son!”
The younger Ivan briefly regained consciousness and was reputed to have said “I die as a devoted son and most humble servant”. For the next few days, the elder Ivan prayed incessantly for a miracle, but to no avail, and the Tsarevich died on November 19, 1581.
Ivan’s death had grave consequences for Russia, since it left no competent heir to the throne. After the Czar’s death in 1584, his unprepared son Feodor I succeeded him with Godunov as de facto ruler. After Feodor’s death, Russia entered a period of political uncertainty known as the Time of Troubles.