After death of the father in 1696 together with mother and sisters lived in situated near Moscow village Izmailovo, where she got home education. In 1708 on Peter's the Great order the family moved to Saint-Petersburg, and in 1710 Anna married Kurland duke Friedrich Wilgelm, who died in January, 1711 on the way from Saint-Petersburg to Kurland, where the young couple was heading after the wedding. In 1726 as the result of A.D. Menshikov's intrigues, who pretended on Kurland throne, Anna's marriage with earl Maurice Saxon was upset. After recall of Bestuzhev in 1727, Ernest Iohann Biron (1690-1772) became her favorite, from whom according to some data Anna had a son, which officially was considered to be born by Biron's wife.
After the death of Peter II Alexeyevich a merciless struggle for the throne inflamed between Anna Ivanovna and Elizabeth Petrovna. The Supreme secret council enthroned Anna Ivanovna, having made conditions: not to marry, not to appoint a successor to the throne, not to declare war, not to impose taxes, not to confer rank higher than colonel etc. Anna Ivanovna was compelled to accept them.
Anna Ivanovna had a difficult nature, was capricious, unforgiving and vindictive. The Petersburg court of her time represented a mix of old-Moscow orders with elements of new European culture, introduced to Russia by Peter's innovations. Not possessing abilities and turn for state activity, empress spent her time in idle court entertainments among men of motley, Liliputians, "God's fools", fortunetellers, dependant old women. She liked to act in the role of matchmaker, adored hunting, killing each year several hundred of animals. Especially known one was arranged in February 1740 - a clown wedding of prince M.Golitsyn-Kvasnik with Kalmyk woman A.Buzheninova in a specially built Ice house. Besides, Italian opera and ballet were popular with her court. On Anna Ivanovna's order the theatre for 1000 visitors was constructed, in 1737 the first ballet school was opened in Russia.
Internal and foreign policy of Anna Ivanovna's Russia continued the line of Peter the Great. After dissolution in 1730 of the Supreme secret council the value of the Senate was restored, and in 1731 the Cabinet, actually ruling the country, was created. Not trusting the former political top and guards, empress created new Izmailovsky and Horse regiments - staffed by foreigners and people of Southern Russia. Secret search chancellery, the supreme body of political investigation, was created in 1731-1762. The system of political search "word and deed" came into existence.
A number of major requirements of the nobility, which had been put forward during events of 1730 were satisfied. In 1731 a Peter's Decree (1714), regarding the inheritance order of immovable property was cancelled, Shlyakhetsky corps for the children of noblemen was founded, in 1732 salaries to Russian officers were twice increased, in 1736 a military service term of 25 years, after which noblemen might retire was fixed, to leave one of the sons for management of manor became possible too.The policy on enslaving of all categories of population continued: by decree of 1736 all the workers of industrial enterprises were declared property of their owners. Anna Ivanovna's reign is marked by the rise of Russian industry, first of all metallurgy, which took the first place in the world in production of cast-iron. From the second half of the 1730s gradual transfer of state enterprises to private hands started, that was made possible by the Berg-regulation (1739), which stimulated entrepreneurship.
Anna Ivanovna's reign is also known in the historiography and as the time of "Biron', which is usually understood as dominance of foreigners and toughening of police reprisals. In reality, occupying high posts at Anna Ivanovna's court E.I. Biron, B.K. Minikh, A.I. Osterman, brothers Levenvolde etc. participated in the struggle for political influence on empress alongside with Russian grandees not forming united "German party". The number of condemned in these years by Secret chancellery, on average, did not almost differ from similar parameters of previous and subsequent time, and there were almost no cases connected with anti-German sentiments. The most famous cases were against princes Dolgorukie, prince D.M. Golitsyn, and also case of boyar Artemy Petrovich Volynsky (1689-1740).
The actual head of the Russian foreign policy during Anna Ivanovna's reign was A.I. Osterman (1686-1747), who in 1726 signed a treaty of alliance with Austria, this treaty determined the character of foreign policy of the country for several decades to come. In 1733-1735 allies participated in the war for "the Polish inheritance", result of which was banishing of Stanislav Leshinsky and coming to the Polish throne of August III. During Russian-Turkish war of 1735-1739 Russian army twice (1736, 1738) went into Crimea and ruined it, Turkish fortresses Ochakov and Khotin were seized. But, unskillful actions of Minikh, who commanded the army and lost a lot of soldiers, compelled Russia to sign unprofitable for it Belgrad peace treaty, according to which Russia had to return to Turkey all seized lands.
By the spring of 1740 Anna Ivanovna's health had seriously deteriorated, she was very weak. Shortly before death on (6 (17). 10.1740) Anna Ivanovna proclaimed her little grandnephew Ivan Antonovich successor to the throne, Biron became his regent. Anna Ivanovna died on October 17 (28), 1740 in Saint-Petersburg. Anna Ivanovna was buried on January 15, 1741 in Petropavlovsk cathedral of Saint-Petersburg.