Elena Vasilyevna Glinskaya
- Born: Abt 1480
- Marriage: Vasili III
- Died: 4 Apr 1538 about age 58
Elena Vasilyevna Glinskaya was the second wife of Grand Prince Vasili III and regent of Russia for 5 years (1533-38).
Elena was a daughter of Prince Vasili Lvovich Glinsky by Princess Anna of Serbia. It is to her powerful uncle, Prince Mikhail Glinsky, that the family owned its distinction. In 1526, Vasili III resolved to divorce his barren wife, Solomoniya Saburova, and marry Elena.
Despite strong opposition from the Russian Orthodox Church, the divorce was effected, and Elena gave birth to Ivan IV (future Ivan the Terrible) in 1530 and Yuri Vasilyevich (future prince of Uglich) in 1532. On his deathbed, Vasili III transferred his powers to Elena Glinskaya until his oldest son Ivan was mature enough to rule the country. The chronicles of those times do not provide any more or less precise information on Elena's legal status after Vasili's death. All that is known is that it could be defined as regency and that the boyars had to report to her. That is why the time between Vasili's death and her own demise in 1538 is called the reign of Elena.
Elena Glinskaya challenged the claims of her brothers-in-law, Yury of Dmitrov and Andrey of Staritsa. The struggle ended with their incarceration in 1534 and 1537, correspondingly. Elena's reign is also known for conflicts inside the government, caused by Elena's close association with a handsome young boyar named Ivan Feodorovich Ovchina-Telepnev-Obolensky and Metropolitan Daniel. In 1535, Elena conducted a currency reform, which resulted in introduction of a unified monetary system in the state. In foreign affairs, Glinskaya succeeded in signing an armistice with Lithuania in 1536, simultaneously neutralizing Sweden. Some historians believe that she was poisoned by the Shuiskys, who usurped the power after her death.
Elena married Vasili III, son of Ivan III 'the Great' Vasilevich Grand Prince of Moscow and Zoe Palaiologina Grand Duchess of Moscow. (Vasili III was born on 25 Mar 1479 and died on 3 Dec 1533 in Moscow, Russia.)