Coronation of the Two Romanov Children, Ivan V and Peter I, 1682.
Ivan and Peter were the sons of Tsar Alexei of Russia. Ivan and Peter became co-regents when their elder brother, Tsar Feodor III, died at just age twenty. Ivan’s reign was only formal, since he had serious physical and mental disabilities. Ivan had a close relationship with his half-brother, Peter. Initially, Ivan did not want to be Tsar, but was eventually persuaded. The brothers were crowned in the Cathedral of the Dormition as “dvoetsarstvenniki” (double tsars).
During the last decade of his life, Ivan was completely overshadowed by the more energetic Peter. At the age of 27, he was described by foreign ambassadors as senile, paralytic, and almost blind. He died two years later, leaving Peter as the sole Tsar of Russia. Peter later became known as Peter the Great. Peter transformed the Tsardom of Russia to the Russian Empire and Russia became a major European power during his reign. He led a cultural revolution that replaced the traditionalist and medieval social and political system with a modern, scientific, Europe-oriented, and rationalist system. The new capital of the Empire, St. Petersburg, was named after his honor.