Elena Glinskaya, Consort of Moscow Regent
Elena Glinskaya (1510 – 1538) was the second wife of Grand Prince Vasili III and regent of Russia for 5 years (1533–38). Elena was a mother of Ivan the Terrible.
Vasili III’s first wife was Solomonia Saburova, but their marriage did not result in children, so Vasili divorced her despite strong opposition from the Russian Orthodox Church, and sent her to the monastery.
Vasili married young princess Elena Glinskaya in 1526. She was a daughter of Prince Vasili Lvovich Glinsky and Princess Anna of Serbia. Vasili chose Elena “because of the beauty of her face and her young age”, he was so much in love, that even broke the ancient tradition and shaved the beard.
After 4 years of marriage, Elena gave birth to Ivan (Ivan the Terrible), and 2 years later to Yuri (future prince of Uglich).
On his deathbed, Vasili III transferred his powers to Elena Glinskaya until his oldest son Ivan was mature enough to rule the country.
Elena carried out a currency reform, which introduced a unified monetary system in the state.
She managed to unearth several boyar’s plots that aimed at her deposition and held the throne for 5 years. She had a new defense wall constructed around Moscow (the foundation of Kitay-gorod), invited settlers from Lithuania.
In 1536 she signed a peace treaty with Lithuania and in 1537 with Sweden.
Elena died in 1538 at the age of 30. Some historians believe that she was poisoned by the Shuiskys. She was buried in the Kremlin, in the Ascension Convent.