Military Review

Prince Dmitry Pozharsky: from the kind of battalion commanders

The name of Dmitry Mikhailovich Pozharsky, one of the favorite heroes of the Russian people, attracts not only the good words of descendants, but also all sorts of attempts to create "black myths" about his activities. Unfortunately, in modern media and even in popular science literature, fans of groundless sensationalism have not yet been translated. Moreover, the introduction of the state holiday 4 of November, directly connected with the liberation of Moscow by Zemtsy Pozharsky and Minin, intensified the myth-makers. Then there is a legend that Russia did not notice or did not appreciate his service, from which follows the question: were the real merits great? That Dmitry Mikhailovich blame the lack of military talent. Something new in the same way ...

To understand the extent to which the Moscow government with young Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich valued the services of Prince Pozharsky, one must take a look at the first steps in his career, determine what he started with and who he became.

Dmitry Mikhailovich was born in 1578 year, and almost nothing is known about his childhood and youth. He belonged to a clan that was not particularly notable and wealthy, but also not seedy. Pozharsky were Ryurikovichi, came from the ancient family of Starodubsky princes. Moreover, they were the oldest branch of the Starodub prince's house; however, Dmitry Mikhailovich himself was descended from one of the younger tribes. He bore the generic nickname "Nema", inheriting it from his grandfather, Fyodor Ivanovich. Prince Dmitry will hand over this nickname to his sons, Peter and Ivan I. Apparently, in this branch of the branched family, silence was valued ...

In the 16th century, the Pozharsky family fell into decay, lost its ancient patrimonies. The younger branches of the Starodub princely house — the Paletskys, the Romodanovskys, the Tatevs, and the Khilkovs — bypassed the Pozharskys by service. Such "mischief" happened from their relative poverty, and even more from opal, imposed under Ivan IV. This fact was published by LM Savelov, a remarkable pre-revolutionary specialist in the field of genealogy.

In those days, the appointment of his representatives to the regiments and fortresses, governors to the cities, staying in the best court positions, as well as in the Boyar Duma, was an indicator of the high status of any aristocratic family. In order to get to the Duma, it was required to receive from the sovereign the rank of duma nobleman, okolnichy or boyar. During the XVI century, dozens of aristocratic families sought the "Duma" ranks, hundreds - voivodship.

But Pozharsky had nothing of that. They were assigned to services of a lower level — not the governor, but “heads” (middle officer rank), not governors, but townsmen (also of lower rank). If we translate the service achievements of relatives of Dmitry Mikhailovich into modern terms, then it turns out that his family gave Russia commanders-level commanders. Many of them died at different times for the fatherland. They did not come out either in the boyars, or in okolnichie, or even in the Duma nobles, despite the nobility. And when fate lifted one of them to a slightly higher level, for example, the governor’s, he was proud of such a service, although it could take place somewhere on the far outskirts of the country, in the Vyatka lands. The position of the family under the son of Ivan IV, Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich, did not improve at all.

A slightly more prominent position was taken by relatives of Dmitri Mikhailovich under Tsar Boris Fedorovich. Pozharsky plucked up courage and even began to enter into local litigation - with the princes Gvozdyovs and Lykovs. It was possible to return some of the patrimonial estates.

Like all nobles, or, in the words of that time, “service people of the fatherland,” Dmitry Mikhailovich from his youth until his death had to serve the great sovereign of Moscow. He began his service with small ranks just under Tsar Feodor Ivanovich (1584-1598). Then he was greeted by the next Russian sovereign, Boris Godunov (1598-1605). As it was said then, the young Pozharsky and his mother Maria were with the king "in the approximation". Maria Pozharskaya took a prominent place in the retinue of Princess Xenia - the daughter of Tsar Boris. Energetic mother promoted the promotion of her son. Then Pozharsky suffered a disgrace, a distance from the throne, and the transition to ordinary army services. All these peripetias in the fate of an insignificant and non-influential kind remained unobtrusive events for contemporaries. The Sovereign's court of that time included a huge amount of titled aristocracy, much higher than nobility and more influential than Pozharsky.

In the Time of Troubles, Prince Dmitry Mikhailovich entered with the rank of solicitor received under Boris Godunov, or perhaps the steward, inferior in importance after the boyar and okolnichy. If roughly translated into the language of modern military ranks, the steward was a cross between a colonel and a major general. Career for those times is good, better than most ancestors, but without much brilliance. He did not go to the Boyar Duma or the voivods, did not receive the governorship.

But in the troubled years, he became one of the most prominent figures of the Moscow state. Under Vasily Shuisky (1606-1610's). Pozharsky finally became a voivod. According to modern concepts - went to the generals. He is actively engaged in military operations, protecting the capital from Polish-Lithuanian gangs and Russian rebels. Under Kolomna (1608 g.) Dmitry Mikhailovich carries out at night a rapid attack on the camp of the enemy troops. The enemy is scattering, leaving the army treasury in panic. Dmitry Mikhailovich shows himself as an experienced and decisive military leader, he earned a promotion by honest military work.

It was then, in the midst of the Troubles, in the most obvious way the military talent of Pozharsky manifests itself. Starting from Kolomna success, let us trace the main facts in his combat career.

A year later, the prince defeated a rebel detachment Salkov in a fierce battle. Ivan Egorovich Zabelin, a remarkable pre-revolutionary historian, reports that Pozharsky was awarded new lands for his services to the throne, and in the chartered charter, among other things, it was said: "... he stood firmly and courageously and much service and dorodosti showed hunger and everything impoverishment ... endured a lot of time, but didn’t encroach on the thieves' charm and unrest on anything, stood firmly and firmly in his mind, without any shagging ... "

In 1610, being in a voivodship in Zaraisk, Dmitry Mikhailovich repulsed a violent crowd of traitors who wanted to surrender the city to one of the False Dmitriy. Having locked themselves in a powerful stone Kremlin and not allowing the element of betrayal there, Pozharsky persevered, and then forced the rebels to obedience.

The Russian military aristocracy, having decided to rule the country independently, gave Tsar Vasily Shuisky to the Poles, and then invited the interventionists themselves to Moscow. It was a terrible, intolerable humiliation for Russia. Ukrainian Cossacks were called to the southern cities to help the new government. Pozharsky and Prokopy Lyapunov, a noble Ryazan, rose up against them. Together they cleared the Ryazan region from the Cossacks and rushed to the capital.

Pozharsky ripened there first.

In March, an uprising broke out in Moscow 1611: Muscovites could not tolerate violence, robbery and insults from the Polish garrison. The battle for the great city was notable for its unusual bitterness: the Poles stormed the Russian barricades, and their defenders shot at the crowds of invaders with guns and cannons. Bearing huge losses, the Poles decided to ignite Moscow, just not to lose it. A terrible fire destroyed most of the Russian capital. The last stronghold of resistance was Ostrozhek (wooden fortification), built by order of Pozharsky near the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin on Sretenka. The Poles could neither take Ostrozhek, nor set up a fire around him: Pozharsky’s men shot back and counterattacked. But in the end their commander fell barely alive "from great wounds," and then the whole uprising collapsed.

Soon the regiments of the First Zemsky militia arrived in Moscow, gathered from different cities of the Moscow State. More than a year they stood on the ruins of the capital, fighting the invaders. Dmitry Mikhailovich could not participate in this struggle: he was not allowed to get seriously wounded.

Autumn 1611 of the year was the worst in Russian stories. The state has disappeared, gone. He was represented by a gang of traitors who sat down in the Kremlin and tried to rule the country with the help of foreign soldiers. Thieves Cossacks burned cities and villages, robbed, killed. The Swedes seized the entire Russian North in Novgorod the Great. The troops of the Polish king stood near Smolensk and sent help to the Moscow garrison. Of the last forces, a small Zemstvo army was standing on the ashes of the capital, and the chiefs managed to quarrel with that one.

One more step in this direction, and Russia would disappear, collapse into the abyss, it would never be revived. But it happened otherwise.

There were still rich cities that were not occupied by the Poles and did not want to submit to the new government. In particular, Kazan and Nizhny Novgorod. The local townspeople, merchants and artisans, had enough faith in God's help, enough will and energy to make a new attempt to liberate the country. The second Zemsky militia began to gather Nizhny Novgorod, led by merchant Kuzma Minin. In search of replenishment, the Zemstvo passed from Nizhny through Balakhna, Yuryevets, Kineshma and Kostroma to Yaroslavl. In Yaroslavl, the militia stood for four months, accumulating money and pulling up troops. If a small detachment emerged from the Lower, then a real army was formed in Yaroslavl. There was also a “provisional government” - the Council of the Land, and with it orders (medieval ministries), the Mint ... In fact, Yaroslavl became the Russian capital for a time.

Prince Dmitry Pozharsky: from the kind of battalion commanders

The documents of the Land Council began with the words: “By decree of the Moscow State, the boyars and the governor, and the steward and governor Prince Dmitry Mikhailovich Pozharsky and his comrades ...” Russia did not have a sovereign then, but one of its functions, namely the role of commander-in-chief, Prince Pozharsky himself. He was persuaded to lead the assertive Nizhny Novgorod and Smolensk nobles, who were at the core of the Zemstvo army, to lead the new militia. Pozharsky had not yet recovered from his wounds, he was afraid of new adultery, however, after long negotiations, he assumed command of the militia. The prince brought them to Yaroslavl, creating a disciplined fighting force from a motley crowd. He was preparing to deliver a decisive blow.

Pozharsky was almost forcibly made the head of the last handful of fighters for Russia. He was famous as a skilled voivode, but more than that - as a straightforward and honest person, not inclined to treason and acquisitiveness. For such a leader, people were ready to go. He was trusted when there was no one to trust. Other commanders, albeit more notable, unwillingly gave way to Dmitry Mikhailovich ...

In July, 1612, the vanguard of the Second Zemstvo Militia arrived in Moscow. By 20 August tightened the main forces. From the west to the city, a powerful corps of Hetman Hodkiewicz was moving in a hurry. A clash with him was to decide the fate of the Russian capital.

What did Prince Pozharsky see when he was back in Moscow? Black fires, sooty churches, rare stone chambers stained with ashes. Here and there businesslike Muscovites chopped down new "mansions." The fighters of the First Zemstvo Militia dug their own dugouts, occupied the surviving houses, lived hungry. And only the walls of the White City, China Town and the Kremlin, although crippled by artillery fire, stately towered over the chaos of ruins ...

Pozharsky had quite a bit of well-armed, truly efficient noble cavalry and a servant of the Tatar cavalry. The bulk of the troops were peschimi collected from the pine forest. As an experienced voivod, the prince knew that the Russian infantry of the time "in the field" rarely showed resilience. But in defense, few could break it. Give the top ten Russian archers not only a stone wall, but at least a few carts with baggage luggage, and they will keep an enemy hundred. At the same time, deprived of shelter, they can retreat before the small forces of the enemy. And Dmitry Mikhailovich decided to build wooden shelters as strongholds, and also to dig up moats. He planned to combine defensive tactics of infantry with active, offensive cavalry actions. This tactic brought him success in a stubborn three-day battle.

August 22 Pozharsky cavalry attacked the Poles at the Novodevichy Monastery. The Poles brought large forces into battle, and the Russian cavalry retreated, but caught on Ostrozhek at the Arbat gates. Here Chodkiewicz threw reserves into the offensive. Nevertheless, the hetman failed to knock the Zemstvo from his position. The Polish garrison of the Kremlin threw in forays. They were repulsed with great damage to the invaders. Poles made desperate attacks on the front. The stubborn confrontation with Hodkevich’s hardened soldiers forced the Zemstvo to flinch, the outcome of the battle became unclear. But the sudden blow of the First Zemsky militia units, who came to the aid of their comrades, decided the matter: the Poles retreated.

On the night of 22 on 23 August, the Poles, with the help of a Russian traitor, captured Ostrozhek in Zamoskvorechye. The Cossacks who defended him from the First Militia failed to fight back ...

Day hetman preparing a new strike. Pozharsky was clear: the second attempt to break through would be made by Zamoskvorechye. He sent several detachments to the aid of the First Militia, which held positions there.

In the morning of August 24, Dmitry Mikhailovich, anticipating the advance of the Poles, attacked himself. Gradually, the Poles pushed the attacking units, but failed to break through the defenses of the main forces. The regiments of the First Militia resisted the interventionists' pressure more closely. After a long struggle, they surrendered a key Ostrozhek, left other defensive lines, and Khodkevich’s task actually turned out to be solved: he made his way to the center, to the Kremlin. But the garrison of the Ostrozhka suddenly counterattacked and knocked the Poles out of their wooden fortress. Other retreating groups returned to battle ...

The fighting at the time stopped. The troops of both sides suffered terrible losses and were deadly tired. Pozharsky considered this moment ideal for seizing the initiative. He sent a detachment of several hundred soldiers led by Minin over the Moscow River. The unexpected attack of the Russians who had just barely held on ages took the interventionists by surprise. Soon their morale was broken, and a turn in the battle came. Khodkevich's soldiers retreated, losing their ranks, turning into unorganized crowds. Part of the train hetman had to leave on the battlefield. The next day, the general withdrawal of the enemy corps from Moscow began.

The center of the city the occupants kept for several more months. In November, the militia stormed China-town. Soon the Polish garrison surrendered to the mercy of the winners ... Then passed the peak of the Great Troubles. Russian ship began to gradually go with the reefs.

After the liberation of Moscow and the sovereign Mikhail Fedorovich (1613-1645), the first in the Romanov dynasty, ascended to the throne, Pozharsky received the highest “duma” rank of boyar (1613), as well as large land holdings. For him, a man completely unnoticeable in the ranks of the brilliant Moscow aristocracy, the boyar office was an unattainable dream. It can be said that during the struggle with the Troubles of the colonels, he jumped into the marshals ...

Dmitry Mikhailovich was honored as a “big hero”, a commander, “skilled in braneh”. He still participated in hostilities, executed important administrative tasks. In 1615, Pozharsky defeated the forts of brilliant fighters of the famous Polish adventurer Lisovsky in Orlov. Having under the command of 600 a man against 2000, Pozharsky rejected the enemy, captured 30 captives, banners and tubers. In the autumn of 1618, Pozharsky, ill, barely alive from old wounds, sits as a siege commander in Kaluga, worries Poles with forays and eventually forces the enemy to retreat from the city.

And even in the Smolensk war of 1632-1634, the prince, exhausted by the "black disease" (serious illness), being in the sixth dozen, still performed voivod services ...

At his expense, the Kazan Cathedral was built on Red Square, destroyed during the Soviet era and rebuilt in the 90s of the 20th century. The prince sacrificed a lot for the needs of the temples, in particular, he bought with his own money and gave dear service books to the priests.

He died in the 1642 year, in the halo of great glory, until the end of his debt to his fatherland. “We don’t need especially keen eyes to see what exactly Pozharsky’s motives have always been fulfilled with. Not for personal goals, he stood and not for the goals of any party he served; He stood for the common Zemstvo and served him purely, directly and honestly. It was these ordinary his affairs and actions that gave his personality an extraordinary significance for that time, which was well understood in Nizhny and in the same place indicated by the desire to find a governor who would not appear “in treason”, who would not fall on all sides depending on where it is more profitable for honor or self-interest, as the great majority of the then princes, boyars and governor did. ” So writes about the Russian governor I.E. Zabelin. And this estimate is perhaps the closest to the truth of fact.

Prince Dmitry Pozharsky, in addition to tactical talent, belonged to another, much more rare and urgently needed only in exceptional circumstances. It is not needed for normal combat operations, but it flares up as a bright star during the years of civil wars, uprisings, all kinds of unrest. This unique talent is to become the soul of the army, opposing the rebels, always and steadily show steadfastness and self-sacrifice in order to restore the common home. If a significant part of the people sees value in the established order, it is such leaders who lead it to victory. If the old structure of society is supported by a small number of people, such leaders allow their regiments to give the final battle of the revolution and lay down their heads on the battlefield with honor. Always and at all times they are a stronghold of faith, morality, debt to the sovereign and the fatherland.

Russia spawned many commanders with similar talent. So, with extraordinary courage and dedication, the contemporaries of DM Mikhailovich Lykov, a contemporary of DMPozharsky, opposed the thieves' Cossacks. A whole constellation of such military leaders appeared during the civil war. The most famous among them are General of Infantry Alexander Pavlovich Kutepov, the true leader of the volunteer movement, as well as Lieutenant-General Vladimir Oskarovich Kappel, the hope of the white armies of Siberia. Major-General Mikhail Gordeevich Drozdovsky and Lieutenant-General Sergey Leonidovich Markov also showed a firm will and sacrificial service to Russia. All four gave their lives for the white work.

Dmitry Mikhailovich Pozharsky fully possessed the abilities of a leader to restore order. In the memory of descendants, he remained above all as the commander of the Zemstvo militia, who in the 1612 year had beaten Moscow from the Polish-Lithuanian interventionists. His other victories remained in oblivion. Moreover, the nineteenth-century historian Nikolai Ivanovich Kostomarov showed Pozharsky as a brave patriot who at the decisive hour raised the banner of the struggle for the fatherland, but deprived of outstanding abilities of a military leader, a dozen commander. Over time, this assessment was left because of the inconsistency of reality, and, I think, this article contains enough facts that directly contradict it. The truth is that Pozharsky showed himself to be an excellent tactician at different times, just his star rose in the very 1612 year, in fierce battles for Moscow.

Two centuries later, after the fiery strip of Russian Troubles, a monument to Minin and Pozharsky appeared on Red Square. The great Nizhniy Novgorod man shows Dmitry Mikhailovich: “Look, the country is on fire, no one will save it, we will not save it!” Two noble people are ready to stand up for their homeland, accept for it deprivations and wounds, and if they have to, they will die.

States and nations are born, enter the age of maturity, decrepit and die. While society is rich in such people, it is far from old age.
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  1. Octavian avgust
    Octavian avgust 4 December 2012 13: 33
    A great man - he served his homeland all his life. Such people are not many about all we all know.