In the future, during the XVI century. more and more names of Cossack atamans are revealed from documents. Among them are Susar Fedorov, Fedor Pavlov, Andrei Shadra, Lyapun, Mikhail Cherkashenin, Nikita Mamin, Ivan Kishkin and others. Their role and importance in stories Russian state and the Cossacks were different. The Cossacks participated in all the wars that the country waged, be it the capture of Kazan or Astrakhan, the Livonian war, and most importantly, continued to defend the south-eastern borders of the state from the Turks and other eastern militant neighbors of the Moscow kingdom.
Among the Cossack chieftains I would very much like to mention one person. This is Yermak. Ermak Timofeevich was not the official ataman of the Don army. But it was he who powerfully entered the history of the country by the beginning of the conquest and development of Siberia. And the history associated with it reflects in a surprising way the very essence of the existence of the Cossacks, especially in the context of its interaction with the Russian state.
V. Surikov Conquest of Siberia by Yermak. Xnumx
Ermak Timofeevich was ataman of free Cossacks, and not only free, but also “thieves”. Turning from the Don to the Volga, they robbed, attacking merchant caravans all over the place. They were persecuted for this, and they fled to the Perm lands to the industrialists the Stroganovs. At the same time, the authorities had no opportunity to reach them and punish them. Perhaps the authorities did not want to do this, being content with the fact that now the Cossacks are busy and willy-nilly serve the interests of the state on this far outskirts, which are in dire need of an influx of people.
Interestingly, at first Yermak and his comrades defended the Stroganovs' possessions from the raids of restless neighbors, and the industrialists themselves paid for it, and not the state. Then, again on the Stroganov funds, a military campaign was organized for the Ural-stone in possession of the Siberian Tatar horde. The Cossacks conquered the neighboring state solely on their own, but from the depths of the centuries we did not even hear that they were trying to organize any “Cossack power” there.
It is known that Ataman Yermak spoke on behalf of the Russian state, on behalf of the tsar, to whom he “struck” Siberia, begging for forgiveness and asking him to take huge and fertile lands under his high arm. This episode of Russian and Cossack history is interesting by the very fact of the transition from ordinary “thieves'” cases to solving large state tasks.
The difficult “rebellious” attack was in many ways a turning point for Russia and the Cossacks of the 17th century. We can say that for almost half a century the Cossacks, in our case the Don, served faithfully and swornly on serving the Moscow sovereign. Incidentally, the Cossacks associated with Russia were already not only Don. Seniority is established with 1574, i.e. the beginning, if not of existence, of the so-called “official” history of the Orenburg Cossacks, from the 1577 of the city of Tereksky Cossacks, from the 1582 of the city of Siberia and Semirechensky Cossacks, and from 1591 of the glorious Uralian Cossacks.
There is a small problem here, because the seniority and the real time of the formation of the troops and the highest assertion as one sometimes do not coincide much. But this concerns the official side of the question. Well, for example, as the Terek (Grebensky) Cossacks said, they have their own history since 1577, and the official Terek army is registered only in 1860. But for us in this case, what the Cossacks, led by their leaders, are important already in the XVI century. turned out to be in the Orenburg steppes, and in Siberia, and in the Caucasus, and in the Urals. And they all had their own chieftains like Andrei Shadra, who is considered the founder of the Terek Cossacks, or Matthew Mescheryak - the founder of the Yaitsky (Ural Cossacks) and others. The acts of many of these people are also worthy of description, but because of the time frame we are forced to limit ourselves to a certain circle of people who may have left the most important mark on the history of the Cossacks.
So, in the courtyard of the XVII century. What do we know about this time about the Cossacks? Well, of course, it is the Troubles of the beginning of the century, the Azov seat and Razinschina. In these events, the Cossacks showed themselves as bright as ever. It was here, in many respects, that the atamans showed that they cost as military leaders and as a whole, as leaders of such a turbulent, but exclusively our native Slavic, Russian phenomenon as Cossacks.
According to some authoritative historians, such as S. M. Solovyov, Smoot was largely due to the fact that the Cossacks' anti-state aspirations were extremely strong in this historical period. Here, of course, you can bet. And other no less reputable historians have a different opinion on this matter. But also S.M. Solovyov did not draw conclusions from scratch. In particular, the fact of the very tense relations between the Cossacks and the "unnatural" Russian Tsar Boris Godunov is well known.
Cossacks were people of deep tradition, well, actually, like the Russian people themselves, who gave birth to this estate. Former rulers, despite all the “costs” of their leadership of the country, much was forgiven, because they had such an important property as "sacredness". Medieval people were purely religious, and the power received "from God" was a serious argument for them. Moscow princes of the Kalita tribe possessed this sacredness. Moreover, it is possible to recall that Ivan the Terrible, from 1547, began to be "magnified" also by the king. And if it was possible to convince foreigners to name it with some efforts and special techniques, then with their population everything went much easier. In the churches they prayed for the king, and this was enough for many.
Boris Fedorovich Godunov didn’t have this sacral nature. For contemporaries, he was not a "real" sovereign. There was no "God's blessing" on it. Moreover, the “train” of rumors about the participation in the murder of the true heir to the throne, Tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich, followed him. In general, the Cossacks did not really complain about Godunov, and he, in turn, answered them the same.
At the beginning of the XVII century. Atamans, who led the Cossacks through the Russian Troubles, there were several. These are Andrey Korela, Ivan Cherchensky (or Smaga Chertensky), Feofilakt Mezhakov. Of course there were much more of them, which is worth only the textbook Ivan Martynovich Zarutsky, but these Cossack leaders were in the thick of things, they made very important decisions that often influenced the course of events throughout the country. As for Zarutsky, it must be said that he was a consistent supporter of Lzhedmitriev, he had no official status before his rapid rise under Lzhedmitry II, and in the history of the country and the Cossacks remained a very ambiguous figure.
If we talk about the aforementioned Cossack atamans, then, in spite of all the contradictions in the relations between the authorities and society during the Time of Troubles, they followed, in general, a completely legitimate political line at that very difficult time.
Cossacks, as well as the rest of the population of the country, lost some of their bearings at the beginning of the century. It was quite natural, since the circumstances greatly contributed to this. Suppression of the dynasty, the hungry years, the unfavorable natural conditions of the end of the century, the consequences of the tension of all the forces of the country during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the defeat in the Livonian war, which lasted for many years and took a lot of resources, difficult relations of the Cossacks with Godunov, who wanted to "rein in" the Cossacks and bring they were more under the Moscow authorities, all of which, in aggregate, led the Cossacks to play their game, using all the weaknesses, mistakes and miscalculations of state power.
Andrei Karela, who was ataman on Don, having heard that the real son of Ivan the Terrible had appeared, didn’t believe the rumors just like that. Cossacks were excited and wanted to know the truth. As a result, an entire embassy was sent to Krakow, which led Korela. In Poland, the Cossacks "made sure" that the man, who was called Dmitry Ivanovich, the legal heir to the Moscow throne, miraculously escaped from the murderers of Godunov - and that is "He." From this moment on, the support of the Don Cossacks for us (descendants) of the adventure begins, and for our contemporaries, for the acquisition of legal rights by Tsarevich Dmitry. In fact, Andrei Karela secured the victory for the False Dmitry, first holding down the Godunov rati under Kromy, and then in June 1605, manifesting himself in the capture of Moscow. It is known that the "legitimate sovereign" rewarded Andrei Korela very generously. But later, for some reason, he disappears from the political sky, to the point that there is some indirect information that he almost died in the very march on Moscow.
In times of Russian Troubles, you can see the Cossacks everywhere. In the ranks of the False Dmitry I, in the camp "Tushino thief" False Dmitry II of, in the units of the anti-government rebel Ivan Bolotnikov, nobility and Cossack militias Lyapunov Zarutsky, we see Cossacks besieging Russian shrine of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, then they join the army of Minin and Pozharsky, who saved the country and as the pinnacle of their exploits, a source of pride of all subsequent generations of Cossacks, Zemsky Sobor in January 1613, where the Cossacks themselves believe (that, in general, not far from the truth), they put Mikhail Fedorovich on the Russian throne Romanov, that is, gave birth to a new dynasty.
In general, without going into detail in the history of the Russian Troubles at the beginning of the XVII century, it should be noted that the Cossacks acted as a force with independent political will, and most importantly, the Cossacks used the problems of the Russian state for their own purposes. But what is important is that, again, voluntarily or involuntarily, the Cossacks acted as a force supporting the Russian state building in the most crucial period, at a time when, according to the testimony of many contemporaries of the events, and even more historians, the country stood on the verge of losing national sovereignty and decay .
As for Smaga Chersensky and Theophil Mezhakov, the following should be said about them. In the absence of Andrei Korela on Don, Cherchensky atamanized with great care in relation to various actors. “Convinced,” like all Russian society, of the truth of the imaginary Dmitry Ivanovich and also supporting him, then after his death began to bend his line. Neither the False Dmitry II, nor the Polish claims to the Russian throne, Smaha Chershensky did not support. Moreover, after Mikhail Romanov was elected to the kingdom, the ataman severely bent the pro-Moscow line, for example, Moscow did not want to quarrel with Turkey, and the ataman kept the Cossacks away from zipun campaigns to the Turkish coast.
But in 1616, he could not restrain himself. Long-time enemies of the Don Cossacks Azov Turks captured and executed one of the Cossack atamans. In a fit of revenge, the Cossacks, led by Smaga Chershenski, attacked Turkish Anatolia. They notably "scooped" coastal cities, took large booty and freed many Russian prisoners. With that, the Cossacks returned to the Don. The chieftain himself Cherchensky, most likely, died in the same 1616.
Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov (1613-1645) - "Cossack Tsar" ...
And another interesting role in the events of the Troubles Ataman Mezhakova. As mentioned earlier, the Cossacks believed that it was they who contributed to the Romanov dynasty on the Russian throne. The fact is that the candidacy of Michael was only one of many. Passions seethed with serious. Different social groups pursued their own interests. It is known that the Romanovs were not very high-born representatives of the Russian boyars. Know just in many ways was against Michael. And in one of the tense moments, it was Mezhakov who supported his candidacy. Behind him was a real power - the Cossacks, who, unlike many others, did not run around the country to solve their property and other problems. And the names of this Cossack support led to the accession of the Romanovs. In June 1613, Mr. Mikhail Fedorovich was married to the kingdom.