Raised those of Russia faithful,
What Pozharsky prince with a merchant Minin,
Here are two falcons, here are two clear,
Here are two pigeons, here are two true,
They rose suddenly, let go.
Get rid of army, army last.
From a folk song.
400 years ago, on May 21, 1616, Kuzma Minin passed away. The Russian hero, who, along with Prince Dmitry Pozharsky, led the popular resistance to the invasion of the interventionists and the betrayal of the Moscow "elite" ("seven-boyars"), who invited the Polish prince to the Russian throne. Minin became one of the most famous national heroes of the Russian people. The sacred names of Minin and Pozharsky forever entered historical the memory of the Russian superethnos, becoming symbols of popular resistance to national traitors and external invaders. The victory was bought at a high price, but it allowed to preserve Russian statehood and eventually return all the lands that remained under the rule of the enemy. In the most difficult moments of our history, the names of Minin and Pozharsky are a sacred example for us and inspire us to fight, as was the case during the difficult years of World War II. When German-European hordes stood under the walls of Moscow and Leningrad, on November 7, 1941, the whole power heard on the Red Square the words of the Soviet leader Stalin, addressed to the people and heroic defenders of the socialist Fatherland: “May the courageous image of our great ancestors inspire you in this war - "Alexander Nevsky, Dmitry Donskoy, Kuzma Minin, Dmitry Pozharsky, Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Kutuzov."
On the premises of the Troubles
Distemper in Russia has traditionally been caused by two leading reasons. First, these are the treacherous actions of a part of the “elite” that put its personal, narrow-group interests above national interests. At first the traitors were able to exterminate the ruling dynasty of Rurikovich, and then the Godunovs who took their place, who also participated in this fight. Secondly, these are active subversive actions of the West - then in the person of Catholic Rome, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Sweden. The West supported the actions of traitors and impostors, and then, when the defenses of Russia were undermined, moved to an open invasion in order to eliminate Russian statehood, civilization and the “Russian question” as a whole.
Under Ivan the Terrible, who died in 1584, Russia practically restored the empire within the boundaries of the Scythian period. Statehood, autocracy was strengthened, which was accompanied by a merciless struggle with the decaying "elite" - princes and boyars, who did not see further their inheritances and patrimonies. Only a single Russian empire could count on the preservation of its independence, in the conditions of existence in the ring of enemies, cultural and economic growth. It is clear that the historically progressive process of growth of the power of the Russian state and the superethnos of the Rus provoked fierce resistance from the enemies of uniting and strengthening Russia. And there were a lot of them: powerful Rome, the then “command post” of Western civilization, which directed the actions of the powerful Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which seized the vast West Russian lands; Polish tycoons who want to maintain domination over Western Russia and dream of robbing the Russian lands; the Crimean khans, supported by the mighty Porte and dreaming to recapture Astrakhan, Kazan and again turn Russia into a tributary; Sweden, which fought for supremacy in the Baltic States and other West European adventurers. The Jesuit Order, in fact, the Vatican secret service, was actively rushing into the Russian lands in order to extend the authority of the Pope of Rome.
As a result, the national independence of the Russian state was affirmed in constant combat with external enemies. Russia had major national tasks: the return of vast West Russian lands, which came under the rule of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; return of the exit to the Baltic and Russian (Black) seas; the elimination of the Crimean parasitic public education; continuation of the movement to the east, the development of Siberia. So, a particularly stubborn struggle broke out for access to the Baltic Sea. The Livonian War, launched by Ivan the Terrible in 1558, the Russian state had to wage against a powerful coalition of countries - Livonia, Denmark, Sweden and Poland. Their forces were staffed mainly by the Germanic and other mercenaries. De facto, Russia opposed the forces of the West. The war was fought under the conditions of a most cruel and stubborn struggle inside the country — with boyar conspiracies and betrayals that were aimed at weakening the autocracy and restoring the orders of the period of feudal fragmentation. At the same time, Moscow had to keep the Southern front - against the Crimean horde, supported by the forces of Turkey.
The beginning of the Troubles
The Livonian war, which lasted more than twenty years, the constant raids of the Crimean khans dealt a strong blow to the economy of Russia. However, the Russian state has withstood these tests. The problem was that, apparently, Ivan the Terrible was poisoned and his posterity, the healthy heirs, was tormented. After the death of Ivan IV the Terrible, the royal throne passed to his painful son Fyodor, who was not able to govern such a huge state. All the threads of management passed to the relatives of the king and the boyars. Boyar Boris Godunov was especially distinguished, whose sister (Xenia) was married to Tsar Fedor. In fact, Godunov was the sovereign ruler of Russia. He, of course, stood out among the leaders of the boyars with his lust for power, intelligence and state abilities, and already under Grozny was one of his closest associates.
During this period, the struggle inside the ruling elite became active again. The princes and the boyars naturally decided that now was a favorable moment to take advantage of the weakness of the new tsar and take revenge, restore their former power, regain their lost political and economic power in Grozny. For this, the death of Tsarevich Dmitry was used. Dmitry is the son of Grozny from the last wife, Maria Nagaya, and Fedor is from Anastasia Romanova. When Fyodor occupied the royal throne, Nude and a two-year-old prince left for the city of Uglich, where he was brought up. 15 May 1591, a nine-year-old Dmitry, was found dead in the courtyard, with a knife in his throat. The commission of inquiry appointed by Godunov concluded that he was killed in an accident. In the compiled act it was indicated that while playing with his peers, the prince himself came across a knife in a fit of epilepsy. Is it really so, according to the preserved historical documents, it is difficult to establish. According to the chroniclers, Dmitri died at the hands of hired killers sent by Godunov. They were immediately torn to pieces by the inhabitants of Uglich.
The death of Tsarevich Dmitry, who was the main challenger in the struggle for the throne, was used by the enemies of Godunov in the confrontation with him. Rumors about the deliberate murder of a young prince spread through towns and villages. In 1597, King Fedor died, leaving no heir. In the midst of the boyars-princely nobility, a fierce struggle began for the royal throne, the winner in which Boris Godunov went out, relying on the support of the nobility. On his election as king, a contemporary wrote: “The great fears seized the boyars and courtiers. They constantly expressed a desire to elect Fyodor Nikitich Romanov as the tsar. ” Godunov “cleared out” obvious opponents, but most of them only lurked. Thus, Godunov won up in the elite fight for power, but his opponents continued their activities.
In the meantime, life of ordinary people has deteriorated sharply. During the years of the Godunov rule, by the end of the 16th century, the curb duties of the peasants grew almost threefold, and the best of their land and land were expropriated by the landowners. The serfdom of the peasants intensified: now both the boyars and noblemen could dispose of them arbitrarily. The peasants complained that the landlords "beat them and robbed their property and repaired all sorts of violence." They did not have the right to leave their master after the abolition of St. George’s Day.
The flight of peasants, small townspeople and serfs to the outskirts of the Russian state — to the Volga region, to the Don, Yaik (Urals) and the Terek, in Zaporizhia, to the North and to Siberia is intensifying. Active people fled from the arbitrariness of the boyars and landowners on the outskirts, which increased the possibility of beginning civil confrontation. Free people - Cossacks, engaged in various crafts, trade and raided the neighboring states and tribes. They lived in self-governing communities, founding their settlements (villages, settlements, hamlets) and became a serious military force that worried not only the Crimea, Turkey and Poland, but also Moscow. Free Cossacks worried Moscow government. However, at the same time, the government of Godunov was forced to resort to the help of the Cossacks in repelling the raids of the Crimean Tatars, paying them for this sovereign's salary "for service", providing them with "fiery potion" and bread. The Cossacks became a shield (and, if necessary, the sword) of the Russian state in the fight against the Crimea and Turkey. Part of the Cossacks, although they entered the service in the garrisons of the Ukrainian cities (the so-called southern frontier cities; from the word "outskirts", "Ukraine-Ukraine"), but retained their autonomy.
By the beginning of the 17th century, the situation of the working people had further deteriorated due to the succession of natural disasters and crop failures, which in the conditions of Russia led to famine. In 1601, the crops were flooded with heavy rain. The following year was equally severe. In the 1603 year, now from a severe drought, the crops were also destroyed. The country was struck by a terrible famine and the plague that accompanied it. People ate everything that could somehow satisfy their hunger - quinoa, tree bark, grass ... There were cases of cannibalism. According to contemporaries, only in Moscow 127 perished from hunger thousands of people. To save themselves from starvation, peasants and townspeople left their homes. Crowds of people filled the roads, rushing to the Don and the Volga or to major cities.
Despite the poor harvest, the country had enough grain stocks to prevent hunger. They were in the bins of the rich. But the boyars, landowners and large merchants did not care about the suffering of the people, they sought personal enrichment and sold bread at fabulous prices. In a short time, the price of bread has increased tenfold. So, before 1601, the 4 centner of rye cost 9 — 15 kopecks, and during the famine a quarter (centner) of rye cost more than three rubles. In addition, the landowners and boyars, in order not to feed the hungry people, often themselves drove their peasants from their lands, without issuing to them, however, holiday letters. And also driven slaves to reduce the number of mouths in the economy. It is clear that this led not only to hunger and the mass movement of the population, but also to a sharp increase in crime. People were knocked down, robbed merchants, merchants. Often, they created quite large detachments that attacked estates, boyar estates. Armed detachments of starving peasants and serfs (among them were battle serfs — military servants of the masters, with combat experience) acted under Moscow itself, creating a serious threat to the state itself. Especially large was the uprising of the Cotton Kosolapa.
Fearing rebellion, the king ordered to give out bread from state stocks in Moscow for free. However, clerks (officials), in charge of distribution, engaged in bribery and cheated in every way, enriched by the sufferings of the people. In addition, the boyars hostile to Godunov took advantage of the moment and tried to direct the people's anger against the tsar, began to spread rumors that God had sent the famine as punishment to Boris, who had killed Prince Dmitry in order to seize the royal throne. Such rumors were widely spread among the illiterate population. Thus, the measures taken by Godunov practically did not alleviate the situation of the common people and even caused new problems.
Government troops brutally suppressed the uprising. However, the situation was getting out of control. Some cities began to refuse to submit to the government. Among the rebel cities were such important centers of the south of the country as Chernihiv, Putivl and Kromy. A wave of uprisings swept across the Don region, the Volga region. Cossacks, who were organized military forces, began to join the rebel peasants, serfs, and the urban poor. The uprising was widespread in the Seversk Ukraine, in the southwestern part of the country, bordering the Rzeczpospolita.
It is clear that the Roman throne and its tools - Polish magnates and pans, thirsting for new seizures and revenues, vigilantly followed the events in the Russian state. They were waiting for the moment when Russia-Russia will weaken and it will be possible to rob her, dismember and spread Catholicism with impunity. The Polish gentry were especially interested in Smolensk and Chernihiv-Seversk land, which were already part of the Commonwealth. Similar plans regarding Russia were built by the ruling circles of Sweden, who had long dawned on the northwestern and northern lands of their eastern neighbor.
At that time of troubles, Kuzma Minin was already a middle-aged man. His full name is Kuzma Minich (Minin's son) Zakharyev-Sukhoruk. His date of birth is unknown. It is believed that Minin was born between 1562 and 1568 in the year in the small Volga city of Balakhna, in a family of salt miners. There is no information about his early years. Minin lived in the lower trading tenements of Nizhny Novgorod and was a poor man. He was engaged in petty trade - he sold meat and fish. Like his future combat Ally (Pozharsky), he was a staunch patriot, the spokesman of the Russian national character and the troubles of the Fatherland he took with all his heart, for which the townspeople respected Kuzma, believed him.
K. Makovsky. Minin's Call
Imposture as a phenomenon of Russian history appeared, apparently, because of two main reasons. First, the people wanted to see a kind and “real” king who would solve the accumulated problems. And the rumors about the involvement of Godunov in the death of Dmitry made him into the eyes of ordinary people "unreal" king. Secondly, it was a sabotage of Western opponents of Russian civilization. The masters of the West decided to use their henchmen disguised as a “legitimate” power to turn Russia into their periphery. Impostors, posing as sons and grandsons of Ivan the Terrible, promised to satisfy the people's aspirations with words, in fact they acted as clever demagogues who pursued alien interests and their personal ones.
A person of Russian origin who went down in history under the name of False Dmitriy appeared for the first time in the Kiev-Pechersk Monastery in 1602. There he “discovered” his “royal name” to the monks. Those expelled the impostor. Similarly, Prince Konstantin Ostrozhsky, the Kiev voivod, did the same when the guest declared his “royal origin.” Then he appeared in Bratchina - the estate of Prince Adam Vishnevetsky, one of the largest Polish magnates. Here the fugitive from the Russian state announced that he had miraculously escaped the younger son of Ivan the Terrible - Tsarevich Dmitry. Adam Vishnevetsky delivered the “prince” to his brother - the Kremenets headman, Prince Konstantin, the largest tycoon of Poland. And that - to his father-in-law of the Sandomierz voivode Yuri Mnishek. Polish king Sigismund III began to convince the royal origin of the Moscow fugitive. The papal nuncio in Krakow Rangoni immediately sent to Rome the appropriate dispatch.
The news of the "Tsarevich" Dmitry quickly spread and reached Moscow. In response, Moscow announced that under the guise of a self-styled prince a young Galich nobleman Yury Bogdanovich Otrepyev was hiding, having received the name of Gregory after being tonsured to the monastery. He was in the service of Nikita Romanovs. When the conspirators of the Romanovs were exposed, Yuri (in monasticism — Gregory) Otrepiev cut his monastic vows.
In the West, they quickly realized the benefits they could extract from the “prince”. Rome planned to extend its spiritual power to the Moscow "heretics", and Polish magnates drew on the rich Russian lands. Therefore, the impostor received support at the highest level. The Vishnevetsky and Mniszhek wanted to correct their money affairs during the war, and in March 5 1604, Gregory was received by King Sigismund III and the Roman ambassador. Soon the False Dmitry, at their insistence, converted to Catholicism, performing secretly from all the necessary rites. He writes a loyal message to Pope Clement VIII, asking for help to fight for the Moscow throne, slavishly assuring the pope of his submission, in full readiness to diligently serve God and Rome. The court of inquisitors of the Catholic Church, who met in Rome, approved the message of the “prince” and advised the pope to respond favorably to him. 22 May 1604, Clement VIII sent his letter to the "beloved son and noble signor." In it, the pope blessed the impostor for feats and wished him complete success in business. Thus, Grishka Otrepiev received the support of the most powerful force in the West - the papal throne. And the Commonwealth, where the Catholic Church was the leading force, was an obedient tool in the hands of the conceptual center of Western civilization. In addition, the Pans dreamed of war, a great plundering of the Russian lands.
And the most ardent support for the impostor was provided by Mr. Yuri Mniszek, an ambitious and mercenary man, who saw in the impostor his chance to elevate his kin. In the house of the tycoon, Gregory became interested in the daughter of Sandomierz governor Marina. Marina and her father agreed to the Falsdmitry’s official proposal to marry him only after the “prince” gave the magnate’s family a promissory note promising to pay a huge sum of money - one hundred thousand zlotys to the future father-in-law. Also, the impostor vowed to endow Marina with extensive land in the Russian state. Soon, he promised Yuri Mnishek to give "for all time" the lands of Smolensk and Seversky principalities. False Dmitry I issued promissory notes also to the Polish king and pope. As a result, King Sigismund III allowed the nobility to join the impostors. The invasion army began to take shape.
Otrepiev and the Polish gentry understood that the deterioration of the socio-economic situation of the Russian state and popular uprisings would contribute to the invasion. However, the external invasion still seemed an adventure, Russia was too strong. There were few mercenaries and adventurers, nobody wanted to allocate money for a full-fledged army. In the Polish Sejm did not support the war. Sigismund was not very popular, it was hampered by the peace treaty concluded with 22, with Moscow. Part of the magnates advocated its observance. The situation was complicated in the Western Russian regions (modern Ukraine and Belarus), which were mercilessly exploited by the Polish panami, where unrest and rebellion constantly flared up. The war was advancing with Sweden, to the throne of which claimed Sigismund III. But the main thing - the Polish elite was afraid of the power of Russia. It was necessary to cause a civil war that would get the support of large sections in Russia itself. Therefore, the impostor turned for help to the Cossacks and the Don Cossacks, dissatisfied with the policies of Tsar Boris. The false Dmitry did not stint promises.
The emergence of the "real" king shook the Russian state and especially its outskirts. On the Don reacted positively to the appearance of the "prince". In recent years, thousands of runaway peasants and lackeys who have experienced great oppression by the government of Godunov have gathered here. Donets sent to the impostors messengers. They said that the Don Army would take part in the war with Godunov, the offender of the “legal prince”. The impostor immediately sent his standard to the Don - a red banner with a black eagle. In other areas and cities, the impostor distributed “lovely letters” and letters, addressing them to boyars, okolnichi, nobles, merchants and black people. He urged them to kiss him on the cross, “to postpone from the traitor Boris Godunov,” promising that no one would be executed for his former service, that the boyars would grant old patrimonies, noblemen and command people to show mercy, will give relief in duties and taxes. Thus, the impostor (and the forces behind him) achieved victory not so much weaponshow much with the help of "information weapons" - "royal" of their promises.
To be continued ...