During 115 years - lifetime of the Kazan Khanate, the rulers changes 14 times, though all in all there were 21 periods of reign. It happened so, because some khans occupied the throne for 2-3 times. Muhammad-Amin took the pledge not to struggle against Russia and to protect the interests of Russian people living in the Khanate. The citizens of Kazan had no right to choose a new khan without the permission of the Great Khan. Lots of Kazan grandees were dissatisfied with the situation, when Kazan depended on Moscow. In 1496 not without the help of conspirators the throne occupied Siberian khan Mamuk, but in a year he was “dismissed as incompetent” – he was no good as a governor, besides he abused his power and squandered public funds. With the consent of Ivan III, the throne occupied Abdul-Latif who was brought up in the Crimea. But as the time passed this khan began to follow anti-Muscovy politics; and in 1502 Ivan III gave order to exile him to the north of Russia.
Muhammad-Amin came to power for the second time. He didn’t want to be banished from Kazan again and thus he started a real war with Muscovy. In June 1505 people of Kazan attacked the envoy of the Great Prince and Russian merchants. Muhammad-Amin with his army set out against Moscow, besieged Nizhny Novgorod, and up to 1507 the general course of action was in his favour. Finally Muhammad-Amin signed a peace treaty with Vasily III “out of friendship”. 10 years of truce allowed Kazan to achieve great results in its development.
After Muhammad-Amin died in 1518 his throne passed to Shah-Ali, but the latter very soon was deposed. He was replaced by Sakhib-Girey, the son of Crimean khan.
He began his reign with extermination of Russian merchants living in Kazan and the envoy of the Great Prince; after that he moved with his army to Moscow and besieged it. Vasily III had to sign a treaty on terms of levy payment “according to regulations of ancient times”. 3 years later the throne passed to Sakhib-Girey’s nephew – Safa-Girey.
Safa-Girey 3 times organized campaigns against Muscovy; Ivan the Terrible in his turn 3 times sent his army to Kazan. Safa-Girey twice was dethroned, still each time he would return with the help of Nogaisky and Crimean armies. People of Kazan strongly disliked the way Safa-Girey reined, though they didn’t like provisional government of Muscovy protégés Dzhan-Ali and Shah-Ali either (by the way, the latter remained at the throne for about a month only).
In 1551 Ivan IV started preparations for decisive march against Kazan and gradually occupied adjoining territories. At the place where Sviyaga flows into Volga there was built a fortress Sviyazhsk; Crimean garrison left Kazan. A part of Kazan grandees decided to appease Ivan IV, thus they removed from the throne the regent Sujumbike – mother of Safa-Girey’s infant son Utyamish-Girey. Shah-Ali came to the throne again. Still Ivan IV didn’t give back the captured territories and it was clear he was going to put an end to the Kazan Khanate. In 1552 Shah-Ali left the throne and conveyed to Sviyazhsk large fortress cannons, harquebuses; also he spoiled the gun powder. People of Kazan invited to the throne the Prince of Astrakhan Yadigar.
At the end of August, 1552 a huge army headed by Ivan IV reached Kazan. This army consisted of 60 thousand of foot and cavalry, including tatar horsemen of Shah-Ali. It was twice as much as the army of Kazan.
Fierce battles lasted for about a month. The “Kazan history” says: “It was terrifying to see the bravery and courage of both armies: one side wanted to enter the city, the other won’t let them do it”.
The Russian army used cannons that fired from high movable towers. The cannon-balls ruined the inner part of the city. The horsemen of Yapancha, troops of Mari and Chuvash people were defeated. A spring was destroyed by explosion and the deposited were left without water.
Early in the morning on September, 2, the wall of the Kazan Kremlin was exploded – mine-layers of Ivan IV piled there tens of powder-barrels. The tsar’s army rushed into the breaches. Kazan people struggled doughtily: they threw from the walls huge logs, poured burning oil; thousands of arrows covered the sky. Shakirds headed by seid Kul Sharif were fighting like mad. But the forces were unequal.
Yadigar gave himself up. A small part of defenders managed to run Russian blockade.
The city was totally defeated. Its citizens were either killed or captured. Feudal lords of Kazan lost their power. Garrisons of Muscovy occupied main towns of the land.
The downfall of Kazan didn’t mean that people of Kazan stopped their resistance. During several next years they tried without success to restore the Kazan Khanate.