Ganya was born in the Russian Consortium, the son of Andrei and Sofie Ivanov and the older brother of Susan. When Ganya was still an adolescent, his mother was discovered by the Psi Corps to be a rogue telepath. She elected to take the sleepers rather than join the Corps. In 2246, suffering severe depression as a result of the drugs, Sofie committed suicide. 
Ganya enlisted (or was drafted) into Earthforce when the Earth-Minbari War broke out the same year as his mother's death. After training as a fighter pilot, he was assigned to the EAS Lexington. Before shipping out, Ivanov met with his sister, who had come to see him off. While they both knew their father would be opposed to it, she explained she intended on joining Earthforce as soon as she was able. She also gave him one of her earrings, one that she had lost years before and he had found, calling it "lucky." 
While on patrol, Ivanov was killed in a Minbari ambush by a flyer from the Minbari war cruiser Black Star in 2247. His death left a greater void in the family, causing his father to succumb to severe grief. 
Susan would wear just the one remaining earring for the rest of her life in honor of her brother.