Early Russian History. Key Issues. Гончарова Л.Ю. - 32 стр.



of this Boris began to persecute the Romanov family' But this only crystallized the
opposition, which began to gather around the so-called Pseudo-Dimitry.
When Boris Gudonov died in 1605 many boyars who had been loyal to Boris
now would rather switch than fight and consequently went over to the forces of
Dimitry. So Dimitry-Otrepov was able to install himself in the Kremlin with his
Polish retinues. His success was due to three important factors:
- the weakness of the Moscow government;
- the neutrality of the upper classes; and
- the enthusiasm of the underprivileged and oppressed who looked upon
Dimitry as a savior and easily believed the propaganda about him being the real son
of Ivan IV and hence the true tsar.
The connivance of the Polish government and the assistance of the Polish
nobles certainly helped his assumption of power as well, although it was not the
determining factor at this time. The small nucleus of Polish knights in Dimitry's army
soon lost its identity when numerous Russian forces and peasants joined Dimitry's
army as it advanced on the capital in 1604. So the dominant factor was not Polish but
Russian. Yet once he was established in Moscow the Poles in his retinue began to
make trouble. Many foreign mercenaries demanded their pound of flesh. Jesuits and
Polish clericals in his following schemed for a re-union of the eastern and western
Fatal Mistakes
The Russians, both high and low, soon began to resent the foreigners whom
Dimitry appointed to high office. Dimitry's Roman Catholicism and his obvious
indifference to orthodox ritual troubled the Russians and made them suspicious. A
kind of conservative reaction set in. A series of disputes developed over petty titles
and etiquette always involving Poles versus Russians. Then in March 1606 Dimitry
and Marina Muiszek were married in a public ceremony within the Kremlin. A large
Polish delegation, including many Roman Catholic friars came to the wedding. A
massive popular disturbance, instigated by the boyars, led to the murder of Dimitry
and hundreds of Poles and Lithuanians. A boyar by the name of Vasili Shuisky now
takes the reigns of government in his hands and calls himself tsar. He is offered
support by Charles IX of Sweden against a group of dissident Cossacks who refuse to
accept his claim to the throne.
Again Dimitry
But Shuisky refused to accept the offer, probably because he feared that the
Swedes also had designs on Russia. In any case, a so-called Second Pretender pops
up in Poland in 1607. The Poles under King Sigismund now give more direct aid to
the Russian pretender, primarily because Sigismund resents the massacre of the Poles
during the wedding of the first pretender in May 1606. The Poles are also incensed at
the indignities which the Russians repeatedly heaped on the Polish ambassadors in
Russia. This Second Pretender was largely dependent on Polish troops and two Polish