Russian Interaction with Foreign Lands

Muscovite Period

Another work-in-progress
Updated 6 October 2007

15th Century:

    "Side by side with the taxpaying urban posad in most towns were priviledged properties called 'white places' (i.e. untaxed), which competed with the trade of the posad. They could be enclaves of... the tsar's artisans, Europeans or Tatars..." [Freeze, p 35]

    It was in the reign of Ivan III that Muscovy rejected the Tatar yoke. In 1480 Ivan refused to pay the customary tribute to the grand Khan Ahmed. All through the autumn the Russian and Tatar hosts confronted each other on opposite sides of the Ugra, till the 11th of November, when Ahmed retired into the steppe. In the following year the grand khan, while preparing a second expedition against Moscow, was suddenly attacked, routed and slain by Ivan, the khan of the Nogay Horde, whereupon the Golden Horde suddenly fell to pieces. In 1487 Ivan reduced the khanate of Kazan (one of the offshoots of the Horde) to the condition of a vassal-state, though in his later years it broke away from his suzerainty. With the other Muslim powers, the khan of the Crimean Khanate and the sultans of Ottoman Empire, Ivan's relations were pacific and even amicable. The Crimean khan, Meñli I Giray, helped him against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and facilitated the opening of diplomatic intercourse between Moscow and Istanbul, where the first Russian embassy appeared in 1495. [Wikipedia]

    In Nordic affairs, Ivan III concluded an offensive alliance with Hans of Denmark and maintained a regular correspondence with Emperor Maximilian I, who called him a "brother". He built a strong citadel in Ingria (named Ivangorod after himself), which proved of great consequence to Russians in the war with Sweden, which had been preceded by Ivan's detention of the Hanseatic merchants trading in Novgorod.[Wikipedia]
    The further extension of the Muscovite dominion was facilitated by the death of Casimir IV in 1492, when Poland and Lithuania once more parted company. The throne of Lithuania was now occupied by Casimir's son Alexander, a weak and lethargic prince so incapable of defending his possessions against the persistent attacks of the Muscovites that he attempted to save them by a matrimonial compact, and wedded Helena, Ivan's daughter. But the clear determination of Ivan to appropriate as much of Lithuania as possible at last compelled Alexander in 1499 to take up arms against his father-in-law. The Lithuanians were routed at Vedrosha (July 14, 1500), and in 1503 Alexander was glad to purchase peace by ceding to Ivan Chernigov, Starodub, Novgorod-Seversky and sixteen other towns.[Wikipedia]
    He married Sophia Paleologue, a niece of Constantine XI, the last Eastern Roman Emperor. Together with her brothers, she had been taken to Rome after conquest of Morea by Mehmed II. In Rome, her Greek name Zoe was changed to Sophia. In 1469, Pope Paul II offered to marry her to the Russian monarch in order to unite the Orthodox and Catholic churches. They were married at the Dormition Cathedral on November 12, 1472. The cardinal Johannes Bessarion, sent by the Pope to Moscow, however, did not succeed in his mission to convert Russia to Catholicism. Over the years, Sophia started to wield great influence on her aged husband. It is thought that she was the first to introduce the Kremlin to grand Byzantine ceremonies and meticulous etiquette. The idea of Moscow as the Third Rome evidently pleased her. [Wikipedia]

    1480 AD Livonian Order fails to capture Pskov. [Jelisavcic]

    1480 AD Incident on the Ugra, Ivan III and Khan Ahmed face each other across river but both refuse battle. Tver sends troops to support Ivan. [Jelisavcic]

    1483 AD Being now nearly surrounded by Moscow, Mikhail Borisovich signs treaty with Casimir IV and agrees to marriage. But, having helped Ivan take Novgorod it is now too late for Mikhail. [Jelisavcic]

    1484 AD Ivan III conducts another campaign against Kazan. [Jelisavcic]

    1484 AD Ivan sends his Tatar troops to aid Mengli Girei against Great Horde after the Horde under Murtaza (Ahmed's son) invades Crimea. Mengli sends Murtaza as prisoner to Istanbul, then Mengli defeated and goes temporarily to Istanbul. [Jelisavcic]

    1484 AD Under increasing pressure Great Horde migrates west to Donets River, continues much fighting with Crimean Tatars and Moscow. [Jelisavcic]

    1485 AD Ivan III attacks Tver in winter 1484-5. Casimir does not send help. Mikhail is forced to swear allegance to Moscow. This causes his boyars and serving princes to go to Moscow. Then Ivan comes again in September. Mikhail flees to Lithuania and the citizens open the gates to Ivan. [Jelisavcic]

    1486 AD Ivan sends army under Nur Devlet against Great Horde. [Jelisavcic]

    1487 AD Under pressure from Ottoman sultan Great Horde attacks Lithuania instead of Crimea or Moscow. Horde spends 2.5 years campaigning in Poland and Lithuania thus weakening Poles versus Ottomans but also weakening itself versus Crimea and Moscow. [Jelisavcic]

    1487 AD With Mehemmed Amin's mother now married to Mengli Girei, his ally, Ivan now settles on Mehemmed as his candidate for Kazan throne, sends 4 armies who depose Ali and instal Mehemmed again. Ivan agrees for Mehemmed to marry daughter of Nogai chieftan, Musa. [Jelisavcic]

    1490 AD Great Horde still fighting in Poland after being ejected from Podolia, Ivan sends Kasimov Tatars against them with no contact. Sultan Bayazid trying to get all Tatars into mutual alliance. [Jelisavcic]

    1491 AD Poles defeat Great Horde at Zaslavl as Mengli and Ivan applaud from the sidelines. But then Great Horde masses north of Crimea for invasion with aid from Nogai Horde. Ivan sends army south and also sends Kazan Tatars south to aid Crimeans. This forces Great Horde to disperse. [Jelisavcic]

    1492 AD Combined attack on Astrakhan by Siberian Tatar Ivak, his brother, Mamuk, Khan of the Uzbeks, and his brother in law, Musa andYamgurchu of the Nogais, but they fail to take fortress. They continue to pressure Kazan. [Jelisavcic]

    1492 AD With Great Horde impotent, Mengli Girei builds Crimean fortress at Tyaginka, on Dnieper as base for raids into Podolia, Ivan concerned as he has designs on lower Dnieper for himself. [Jelisavcic]

    1492 AD Death of Casimir IV, Moscow- Lithuania again in conflict. [Jelisavcic]

    1493 AD Mengli begins Crimean campaigns into Lithuania-Poland from Tyaginka. Lithuanians counter attack and destroy that fort. Mengli leads next campaign in person into Podolia and rebuilds Tyaginka . [Jelisavcic]

    1494 AD Ivan III begins campaign against Lithuania - Ivan closes Novgorod to trade with Hanse. [Jelisavcic]

    1495 AD Alexander, Grand Duke of Lithuania, marries Ivan's daughter Elena. [Jelisavcic]

    1495-96 AD Mamuk, Khan of Siberia takes over in Kazan with help from Nogais, Mehemmed flees to Moscow, then population ejects Mamuk. [Jelisavcic]

    1496-1502 AD Abd- al- Latif, Mehemmed's brother, installed by Ivan as new Khan of Kazan, Mehemmed receives lands around Serpukhov, thus Mengli and Nur Sultan were kept happy. [Jelisavcic]

    1496 AD War between Moscow and Sweden. Swedes capture Ivangorod... [Jelisavcic]

    1497 AD Polish-Lithuanian campaign against Ottomans in Modavia. King Stephen victorious against Poles, Ivan and Mengli force Lithuanians out of campaign. Alexander of Lithuania attacks Tyaginka instead but Tatars win. [Jelisavcic]

    1498 AD Nogai and Siberian Tatars again plotting to take Kazan and replace Abd-al-Latif.. Ottomans invade Poland to aid Stephen and Mengli. [Jelisavcic]

    1499 AD Ivan sends riverine army to defend Kazan from Siberians and Nogai. He also agrees with Mengli on division of the steppe Ukraine. [Jelisavcic]

16th Century:
    1500 AD Ivan again defending Kazan from Nogai despite being also heavily engaged in war in Lithuania, Battle of Vedrosha River. [Jelisavcic]

    1500 AD Crimean Tatars reach Lvov and Lublin in July. Great Horde again moves west to Don and Medveditsa Riveras under Sheykh and Seyyed, sons of Ahmad Khan, They are planning to help Lithuanians. Mengli Gerei withdraws from Lithuania to guard Crimea from them. Then they shift to attack Moscow. Mengli warns Ivan and Ivan sends army south. Crimeans invade Lithuania again and reach Brest and into Poland across Vistula. [Jelisavcic]

    1501 AD Treaty of Wenden unites Livonian Order and Lithuanians against Ivan III. Alexander now king of Poland plans to get Nogai to attack Kazan while Great Horde and Lithuanians attack Seversk. Ivan on defensive, but defeats Livonians at Helmed.[Jelisavcic]

    1502 AD Great Horde, now much depleted, moves west to Dnieper north of Kyiv but refuses Ottoman order to cross. Mengli Gerei chases Horde and destroys much of it on 6 June. Ivan has Tatar Khans of Kazan and Kasimov with their armies supporting his around Smolensk. In July Mengli sends his sons, Feti and Burnash, with 90,000 troops to support Ivan, but instead they raid far west into Polish Galicia and Volhynia. Their excuse was that area around Smolensk was too wooded. Their raid did force Alexander to shift troops from Smolensk west to Lutsk. But Master von Plettenberg saves Livonia in battle of Lake Smolina. [Jelisavcic]

    1504 AD Mengli Girei sends letter to Ivan III informing that Sultan Bayazid II has assigned 1000 men from Kaffa and Mangup to repair fortifications. [Jelisavcic]

    Vasili III Ivanovich was the son of Ivan III Vasiliyevich and Sophia Paleologue. He continued the policies of his father Ivan III and spent most of his reign consolidating Ivan's gains. He took advantage of the difficult position of Sigismund of Poland to capture Smolensk, the great eastern fortress of Lithuania (1512), chiefly through the aid of the rebel Lithuanian, Prince Mikhail Hlinski, who provided him with artillery and engineers. The loss of Smolensk was an important injury inflicted by Muscovy on Lithuania in the course of the Russo-Lithuanian Wars and only the exigencies of Sigismund compelled him to acquiesce in its surrender (1522). [Wikipedia]

    Equally successful were Vasili's actions against the Crimean Khanate. Although in 1519 he was obliged to buy off the khan of the Crimea, Mehmed I Giray, under the very walls of Moscow, towards the end of his reign he established Russian influence on the Volga. In 1531-32 he placed the pretender Cangali khan on the throne of Kazan. [Wikipedia]
    Vasili's greatest problem was the lack of an heir. In 1526, despite much opposition from the clergy, he divorced his barren wife, Solomonida Saburova, and married Princess Elena Glinskaya, the daughter of a Serbian princess. [Wikipedia]

    1506 AD Vasilii launches first campaign against Kazan but is defeated. [Jelisavcic]

    1508 AD Muhammed returns Russian prisoners and signs peace treaty. [Jelisavcic]

    1512 AD Vasilii III sends boyar Alekseyev to Sultan Selim I. Alekseyev returns with Prince Kemalbi of Mangup. [Jelisavcic]

    1512 AD Mengli Gerei switches sides to alliance with Lithuania - due to Vasilii's stingy payments and Muscovite annexation of Severia. This destroys cornerstone of Ivan III's strategic policy and begins continual war between Crimea and Moscow lasting to 1780's. [Jelisavcic]

    1512 AD War between Moscow and Lithuania resumes. [Jelisavcic]

    1514 AD Vasilii captures Smolensk. [Jelisavcic]

    1515 AD Crimean Tatars raid Moscow. Moscow begins major fortification program along southern border - Zasechnaya Cherta. Organizes 'shore duty' along Oka. [Jelisavcic]

    1517 AD Vasilii aquires Ryazan. [Jelisavcic]

    1519-21 AD Mehemmed Amin dies at Kazan, Vasilii sends Shah Ali, Mehemmed's brother, as new Khan of Kazan. Crimeans now interveen against Moscow, send Khan's brother, Sahib to rule Kazan. [Jelisavcic]

    1521 AD Mehemmed Girei, Khan of Crimea, launches major campaign against Moscow, they reach suburbs with Lithuanian and Cossack help. Moscow annexes Riazan accusing them of aiding Tatars. [Jelisavcic]

    1531-33 AD Jan Ali, Khan of Kazan, protegee of Moscow, he was Khan of Kasimov and brother of Shah Ali. [Jelisavcic]

    Ivan IV Vasilyevich "the Terrible" saw the conquest of Tartary and Siberia and subsequent transformation of Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state. During his reign the first printing press was introduced to Russia (although the first Russian printers Ivan Fedorov and Pyotr Mstislavets had to flee from Moscow to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania). In 1547 Hans Schlitte, the agent of Ivan, employed handicraftsmen in Germany for work in Russia. However all these handicraftsmen were arrested in Lübeck at the request of Poland and Livonia. The German merchant companies ignored the new port built by Ivan on the river Narva in 1550 and continued to deliver goods in the Baltic ports owned by Livonia. Russia remained largely isolated from sea trade. [Wikipedia]

    Ivan formed new trading connections, opening up the White Sea and the port of Arkhangelsk to the Muscovy Company of English merchants. [Wikipedia]
    In 1552 he defeated the Kazan Khanate, whose armies had repeatedly devastated the Northeast of Russia, and annexed its territory. In 1556, he annexed the Astrakhan Khanate and destroyed the largest slave market on the river Volga. These conquests complicated the migration of the aggressive nomadic hordes from Asia to Europe through the Volga. [Wikipedia]
    Although Khan Devlet I Giray of Crimea repeatedly devastated Moscow region and even set Moscow on fire in 1571, the Czar supported Yermak's conquest of Tatar Siberia, adopting a policy of empire-building, which led him to launch a victorious war of seaward expansion to the west, only to find himself fighting the Swedes, Lithuanians, Poles, and the Livonian Teutonic Knights. For twenty-four years the Livonian War dragged on, damaging the Russian economy and military and failing to gain any territory for Russia. In the 1560s the combination of drought and famine, Polish-Lithuanian raids, Tatar attacks, and the sea-trading blockade carried out by the Swedes, Poles and the Hanseatic League devastated Russia. The price of grain increased by a factor of ten. Epidemics of the plague killed 10,000 in Novgorod. In 1570 the plague killed 600-1000 in Moscow daily. Ivan's closest advisor, Prince Andrei Kurbsky, defected to the Lithuanians, headed the Lithuanian troops and devastated the Russian region of Velikiye Luki. This treachery deeply hurt Ivan. [Wikipedia]

    1533-84 AD Ivan IV Vasil'yevich, Tsar of all Russias (his mother, Elena Glinskaya regent until 1538, then Vasilii Shuiskii regent for a year, then Ivan Bel'skii). [Jelisavcic]

    1534 AD Sakhib Girei tries to capture Kazan and Astrakhan but he is murdered. [Jelisavcic]

    1538 AD Kazan Tatars raid Muscovy. [Jelisavcic]

    1540 AD Safa Girei leads Kazan troops against Muscovy, then Sakhib Girei brings Crimean Tatars and Turkish troops north along Don. [Jelisavcic]

    1541 AD 31 July the Crimean army with Turkish artillery reaches Oka. Large Muscovite army defends river line to Tatars retire. [Jelisavcic]

    1548 AD Ivan IV first campaign against Kazan, many troops lost to river ice thaw.[Jelisavcic]

    1549-51 AD Safa Girei dies, Utemish (regent) in Kazan. [Jelisavcic]

    1550 AD In Feb Ivan's army reaches Kazan. In March reports that Sakhib Girei is advancing from Crimea force Ivan to move troops to Kolomna and Riazan.[Jelisavcic]

    Moscow conquered the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan in the 1550s. [Freeze, p 28]

    1551-52 AD Shah Ali (3rd time), Khan of Kazan, sent by Ivan when Kazan leaders want peace and throw out the Crimean rulers. He releases 60,000 Russians held prisoner. People revolt against Shah Ali. [Jelisavcic]

    1552 AD Yedigar Muhammed, Khan of Kazan. [Jelisavcic]

    1552 AD Ivan IV conquest of Kazan. [Jelisavcic]

    1553 AD Revolt in Kazan, Ivan sends several armies to crush it. Nogai Tatars ask him to depose Khan of Astrakhan. [Jelisavcic]

    1554 AD Ivan IV sends Russian army down Volga by boat to Astrakhan to depose Yamgurchei and instal Derbysh as Tsar of Astrakhan, Yamgurchei counterattacks with Crimean and other Nogai help, Derbysh flees and Russians take control. [Jelisavcic]

    1554 AD Ivan mounts first attack directly toward Crimea and Muscovite army reaches Perekop. Khan Devlet Girei counterattacks with large army to Tula. Devlet ambushes Ivan Sheremetev. [Jelisavcic]

    1556 AD Ivan sends recon parties to Crimea while he goes with main army to Tula, Ivan forstalls Devlet, who retires again to Crimea. Russian recon raids Ochakov on Black Sea, Prince Vishnevetsky builds Cossack fortress on Khortitsa Island. [Jelisavcic]

    1558 AD Vishevetsky raids Perekop from base on Khortitsa Island. [Jelisavcic]

    1558 AD Devlet Girei launches major offensive against Moscow with 100,000 Tatars including Greater and Lesser Nogai under his son, Mahmet Girei. They attack Tula, Riazan, and Kashira, but are blocked from Moscow - Vishevetsky again raids Perekop. [Jelisavcic]

    1558 AD Ivan begins Livonian War in northwest. [Jelisavcic]

    1559 AD Devlet Girei starts large offensive with Great Nogai allies, Russians block central route while Vishevetsky shifts his attack east to Donetz toward Kerch and blocks Crimean advance toward Kazan and Nogai move westward. At same time Adashev sails down Dniper to raid Ochakov and then sails to Crimea where he captures Turkish ships and frees many Russian prisoners. [Jelisavcic]

    1560 AD Tatar raids and Russian counter attacks through much of the year, while main Russian army is at war in Livonia. [Jelisavcic]

    1561 AD Devlet Gerei warns Ivan that Ottoman Sultan Suleiman plans to dig canal between Don and Volga and fortify it to unite all Tatars as far as Kazan into Muslim war against Russia. Devlet secretly does not like this idea as it would put Crimea further under Ottoman control.[Jelisavcic]

    1562 AD Crimean-Polish coordinated offensive plans fall through, but each attacks Muscovy independently. Devlet Gerei attacks Mtsensk. [Jelisavcic]

    1563 AD Muscovites capture Polotsk. [Jelisavcic]

    1564 AD With main Muscovite forces engaged in west, Devlet Gerei attacks and burns Riazan.[Jelisavcic]

    1566-70 AD Complex campaigns and shifts of sides between Crimean Tatars, Muscovites and Poles. [Jelisavcic]

    1569 AD Ottoman Sultan Selim mounts his planned offensive to Volga River via Kaffa in Crimea and then Azov fortress on Don. He begins dig of canal between Don and Volga supported by 50,000 Crimean Tatars hot weather forces curtailment of the dig. Turks fail to reach and take Astrakhan. [Jelisavcic]

    1569 AD Ivan IV campaign against Novgorod, also burns Tver and Torshk and Beshetskovo Verkh. [Jelisavcic]

    1571 AD Devlet Girei finally penetrates Oka 'shore' defense line with 120,000 Tatars. Tatars burn Moscow and take 150,000 prisoners. Nogai support this and also attack Kazan.[Jelisavcic]

    1572 AD Devlet Girei repeats huge campaign against Moscow but this time is decisively defeated in great battle of Molodi near Moscow. Revolt in Kazan requires large Russian army to suppress. [Jelisavcic]

    1573-84 AD Yearly campaigns by and against Crimean Tatars versus Moscow. [Jelisavcic]

    1575 AD War between Muscovy and Sweden begins in Estonia. [Jelisavcic]

    1575-86 AD Stephan Batory elected King of Poland, prepares for war with Moscow.[Jelisavcic]

    1578 AD Russians defeated by Swedes at Wenden. [Jelisavcic]

    1579 AD Russians loose Polotsk and Velikie Luki. [Jelisavcic]

    1581 AD Nogai conduct large scale attacks on right bank of Volga and into Russia proper - Stephan Batory besieges Pskov. [Jelisavcic]

    1586 AD Islam Girei leads 30,000 Crimean Tatars plus others against Moscow. [Jelisavcic]

    1588-1608 AD Gazi (Kazi) Girei II, Khan of Crimea, He is most concerned about power of Nogai so stops campaigns against Moscow to conduct war against Nogais. In most important battle on Don in 1588 the Nogai are defeated. [Jelisavcic]

    1591 AD Gazi Girei attacks Moscow region in summer 1590 - during winter 90-91 plans major new offensive campaign. Deceives Russians into believing he will attack Lithuania. By June Russian scout patrols report huge Tatar invasion. Boris Gudunov (in name of Tsar Feodor) orders mobilization and deployment of the Gulai gorod at Kolomenskoye. 4 July major battle and Russian artillery drives Tatars off. [Jelisavcic]

    1592 AD Another large Tatar campaign, to Riazan, Tula and Kashir. Boris orders expansion of the frontier fortified lines and fortresses. [Jelisavcic]

    1593 AD First Cossack attack on Azov fortress, Lesser Nogai and Kaziev Tatars mobilized against Cossacks - Sultan warns Boris about Russian fort on Terek and expanding influence in Georgia and Caucasus, also demands return of Kazan and Astrakhan. [Jelisavcic]

    1596-1606 AD Feti Girei leading 15,000 or more Tatars in continual raids in Poland - booty and prisoners so lucrative attacks on Muscovy not worth while. [Jelisavcic]

    1596 AD Dosmahmet leads Azov Tatar raid on Riazan. [Jelisavcic]

    Boris Feodorovich Godunov was the most famous member of an ancient Russian family of Tatar origin, which migrated from the Horde to Kostroma in the early 14th century. Godunov's career of service began at the court of Ivan the Terrible. He is mentioned in 1570 as taking part in the Serpeisk campaign as one of the archers of the guard. On his deathbed Ivan appointed a council consisting of Godunov, Feodor Nikitich Romanov, and Vasili Shuiski along with others, to guide his son and successor; for Feodor was feeble both in mind and in health.[Wikipedia]

    As regent and tsar, his policy was generally pacific, but prudent. In 1595 he recovered from Sweden the towns lost during the former reign. Five years previously he had defeated a Tatar raid upon Moscow. Towards Turkey he maintained an independent attitude, supporting an anti-Turkish faction in the Crimea, and furnishing the emperor (Holy Roman?) with subsidies in his war against the sultan. [Wikipedia]
    It was during his government that the Russian Orthodox Church received its patriarchate, which placed it on an equal footing with the ancient Eastern churches and emancipated it from the influence of the Patriarch of Constantinople. This reform was meant to please the ruling monarch, as Feodor took extraordinary interest in church affairs.[Wikipedia]
    Godunov encouraged English merchants to trade with Russia by exempting them from tolls. [Wikipedia]
    He saw the need for Russia to catch up to the intellectual progress of the West and was the first tsar to import foreign teachers on a great scale, the first to send young Russians abroad to be educated, the first to allow Lutheran churches to be built in Russia. Having won the Russo–Swedish War (1590–1595), he felt the necessity of a Baltic seaboard, and attempted to obtain Livonia by diplomatic means. He cultivated friendly relations with the Scandinavians, in order to intermarry if possible with foreign royal houses, so as to increase the dignity of his own dynasty. [Wikipedia]

    1598 AD Tatar campaign to Oka. Boris leads army in person, but assigns command of major units to his Tatar Tsarevichi - Arslan Kaybulich, Uraz-Mahmet, and Mahmet Kul. - Boris starts new fortified line south of Oka, through Mtsensk, Novosil and Orel plus Belgorod, Oskol and Tsarev-Borisov. [Jelisavcic]

17th Century:
    1605 AD Lzhyedimitrii I, proclaimed Tsar. [Jelisavcic]

    False Dimitriy I was one of three impostors who claimed during the Time of Troubles to be the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible, tsarevitch Dmitriy Ivanovich, who had supposedly escaped a 1591 assassination attempt. This would-be Dmitriy appeared in history circa 1600, when he impressed Patriarch Job of Moscow with his learning and assurance. Tsar Boris, however, ordered him to be seized and examined, whereupon he fled to Prince Constantine Ostrogsky at Ostrog (modern Ostroh), and subsequently entered the service of another Lithuanian family, Wisniowiecki's. Princes Adam and Michał Wiśniowiecki, accepted him for what he purported to be, because it gave them an opportunity to get involved in the affairs of Russia.[Wikipedia]

    There were rumours that Dmitriy was an illegitimate son of a previous Polish king, Stefan Batory, who had reigned from 1575 to 1586. According to a later tale, False Dmitriy blurted out his identity when his master had slapped him in anger. Dmitriy himself claimed that his mother, the widow of Tsar Ivan, had anticipated Godunov's assassination attempt and had given him into the care of a doctor who hid with him in Russian monasteries. After the doctor died, he had fled to Poland where he worked as a teacher for a brief time before coming to the service of Wisniowiecki.[Wikipedia]
    Regardless of whether they believed the tale of Dmitriy, Adam Wiśniowiecki, Roman Różyński, Jan Sapieha and several other Polish noblemen decided to support him against Boris Godunov. In March 1604, Dmitriy visited the royal court of Sigismund III Vasa in Kraków. The king provisionally supported him, but did not promise any direct aid to help him in his way to the throne of Russia. To attract the support of powerful Jesuits, Dmitriy publicly converted to Roman Catholicism on 17 April 1604 and convinced the papal nuncio Rangoni to back up his claim. At that time he also met Marina Mniszech, a Polish Catholic noblewoman, who was a daughter of Jerzy Mniszech. He asked for her hand and was promised it in return for giving Mniszech family Pskov, Novgorod, Smolensk and Novhorod-Siverskyi. [Wikipedia]
    Dmitriy attracted a number of followers, formed a small army, and gained the support of Commonwealth magnates who gave him approximately 3500 soldiers from their private armies. With them he rode to Russia on June 1604. Enemies of Godunov, including the southern Cossacks, joined his forces on his way to Moscow. Dmitriy's forces fought two engagements with reluctant Russian soldiers; they won the first, capturing Chernigov (modern Chernihiv), Putivl (Putyvl), Sevsk, and Kursk but badly lost the second and nearly disintegrated. Dmitriy's cause was only saved when the news of the death of Tsar Boris reached the troops. The sudden death of Tsar Boris (April 13, 1605) removed the last barrier to the pretender's further progress. Russian troops began to defect to Dmitriy's side, and on June 1 boyars in Moscow imprisoned the newly-crowned tsar, Feodor II, and his mother and later killed them. On 20 June the impostor made his triumphal entry into Moscow, and on 21 July he was crowned tsar by a new patriarch of his own choosing, the Greek Ignatius. [Wikipedia]
    The new tsar proceeded to introduce a whole series of political and economical reforms. He did his best to relieve the burdens of the peasantry; he formed the project of a grand alliance between the emperor, the pope, the Republic of Venice, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Tsardom of Russia against the Turks; he displayed an amazing toleration in religious matters; and far from being, as was expected, the tool of Poland and the pope, he maintained from the first a dignified and independent attitude, for example by supporting the rokosz of Zebrzydowski against Sigismund. [Wikipedia]
    Eventually, the boyars, headed by Prince Vasily Shuisky, began to plot against him. They gained popular support, especially as Dmitriy was guarded by Commonwealth forces, who still garrisoned Moscow and often engaged in various criminal acts and angered the local population.[Wikipedia]
    On May 8, 1606, Dmitriy married Marina Mniszech in Moscow. Usually when a Russian Tsar married a woman of another faith, she first converted to Orthodox Christianity. It is believed that Dmitriy had made a concession to his Polish supporters to convert Russia to Catholicism after gaining the throne. For this reason, Marina did not convert to the Orthodox faith. This angered the Russian Orthodox Church, the boyars, and the population alike and increased the support of his enemies.[Wikipedia]
    On the morning of May 17, 1606, about two weeks after the marriage, conspirators stormed the Kremlin. Dmitriy tried to flee through a window but broke his leg in the fall. One of the plotters shot him dead on the spot. The body was put on display and then cremated, the ashes reportedly shot from a cannon towards Poland. [Wikipedia]

    1607 AD Crimean Tatars renew campaigns against Moscow now that Ottoman war in Poland has ended. Poland signs treaty with Great Nogai and Crimean Tatars against Moscow from south as he invades western Russia - Tsar Vasilii Shuiski busy with Bolotnikov rebellion. [Jelisavcic]

    1609 AD Battle on Zhabni river near Kalyhazin. Polish detachment defeats troops of M. Skopin-Shuiskii. [Jelisavcic]

    1609 AD Crimean Tatar campaign to Orlov in coordination with Polish army offensive. In June 40- 80,000 Tatars cross Oka at Serpukhov. [Jelisavcic]

    1610 AD Vasilii Shuiski deposed, Tatar attacks coincide with Polish siege of Kremlin, but they also oppose the 2nd False Dmitri's forces - Nogai attack Riazan. [Jelisavcic]

    Vasili IV of Russia was Tsar of Russia between 1606 and 1610 after the murder of false Dmitrii I. Only the popularity of his heroic cousin, Prince Mikhail Skopin-Shuisky, who led his armies, and soldiers from Sweden, whose assistance he purchased by the cession of Russian territory, kept him for a time on his unstable throne. In 1610 he was deposed by his former adherents Princes Vorotynsky and Mstislavsky, made a monk, and finally transported to Warsaw by the Polish hetman Stanislaus Zolkiewski . He died a prisoner in the castle of Gostynin, near Warsaw, in 1612. [Wikipedia]

    Władysław IV of Poland (1595 – 1648) was the son of Sigismund III Vasa and his wife, Anna of Austria (also known as Anna Habsburg). In 1610 the teenaged Władysław was elected Tsar of Russia, but did not assume the Muscovite throne due to his father's opposition; he used the title of Grand Duke of Muscovy until 1634. His election was part of an unsuccessful plan by Zygmunt to conquer all of Russia and convert its population to Catholicism. The throne during this time was instead held by Michael Romanov. [Wikipedia]

    1611 AD Crimean and Nogai Tatars continue to take advantage of Russian preoccupation with war against Poles at Moscow - They collect every moveable valuable they can out of south central Russia. [Jelisavcic]

    1612-15 AD Ottoman Sultan changes policy and renews war against Poland, this diverts Crimean Tatars from Russia and back into Poland, But Nogai continue to raid Muscovy on into following years as well. [Jelisavcic]

    Mikhail Feodorovich Romanov was the first Russian tsar of the house of Romanov. His reign marked the end of the Time of Troubles. The first task of the new tsar was to clear the land of the robbers infesting it. Sweden and Poland were then dealt with respectively by the peace of Stolbovo (February 17, 1617) and the Truce of Deulino (December 1, 1618). The most important result of the Truce of Deulino was the return from exile of the tsar's father, who henceforth took over the government till his death in October 1633, Michael occupying quite a subordinate position. Michael's failure to wed his daughter Irene with Prince Waldemar of Denmark, in consequence of the refusal of the latter to accept Orthodoxy, so deeply afflicted him as to contribute to bringing about his death on July 12, 1645. [Wikipedia]

    1615 AD Crimean Tatars return from Poland and renew campaigns against Moscow. [Jelisavcic]

    1620 AD Ottoman Sultan leads army personally into Moldavia and Poland, Belgorod Tatars participate but Khan Dzhantsibek Girei stays home. [Jelisavcic]

    1620 AD Don Cossacks begin series of naval attacks on Crimea as well as Azov and Kaziev Tatars. [Jelisavcic]

    1621 AD Sultan Osman orders decisive offensive against Poland, Crimean and Nogai Tatars supply 100,000 troops. Poles and Cossacks win great victory at Khotin for which Osman blames the Tatars. [Jelisavcic]

    1622 AD Crimean Tatars take out their disappointment over Khotin on Moscow with border raids. [Jelisavcic]

    1623 AD Mukhammed immediately launches largest Tatar campaign of the decade against Moscow, Cossacks countering with attacks on Azov. [Jelisavcic]

    1625 AD Mukhammed switches into campaign against Poland with 60,000 troops in December but they lose too many horses to winter weather. [Jelisavcic]

    1625 AD Cossacks naval campaigns reach Trebizond on Turkish coast, then they attack Azov again. [Jelisavcic]

    1627-29 AD Multi- sided campaigns among Crimeans, Cossacks, Turks, Nogai, Muscovites. Civil war in Crimea in which Khan besieged in Bakhchisarai by 30,000 Tatars. Zaporozhie Cossacks aiding Khan in battle on Alma River, they drive opposing Tatars into Kaffa and besiege it. [Jelisavcic]

    1632 AD Crimean Tatars renew lucrative attacks into Muscovy. [Jelisavcic]

    1632 AD Kalmyk Mongols arrive on lower Volga and begin constant war against Nogai - Muscovy, after initial concerns, soon pleased with new ally. [Jelisavcic]

    1633 AD Poles offer subsidy to Crimean Tatars for attacks on Moscow, Khan only too glad to agree, despite Ottoman objections. Russians attempt pre-emptive attacks from Astrakhan into Kuban and Taman regions. [Jelisavcic]

    1634 AD Don and Zaporozhie Cossacks conduct naval attacks on Black Sea and capture Azov. They ambush Nogai who are themselves attacking Russian territories.But Kalmyks drive Nogai west across Volga and occupy all steppe east of river. This puts more Nogai into action in central and western Ukraine. [Jelisavcic]

    1635-37 AD Dzahtsibek Girei dies and is replaced by Imaiet Girei who refuses to support Ottoman sultan's war to capture Georgia and keeps troops home also from attacking Moscow.[Jelisavcic]

    1637 AD With Turks busy against Venice and Persia (Georgia too) the Don Cossacks capture Azov after siege. This time they want to keep it or give it to Moscow. Sultan orders Crimeans to attack Moscow in retaliation, which they do gladly. [Jelisavcic]

    1641 AD In January 40,000 Tatars suddenly appear at Azov but are reluctant to engage in formal sieges. Sultan Ibraham brings large Ottoman army of 40- 50000 men and 100 siege guns plus large navy - total of 250,000. Cossacks number 5000 but hold out until September when Ottomans raise the siege. Cossacks lost 3000 out of 5000. Ottomans lost 15,000 troops, 7000 Tatars and 3000 sailors. [Jelisavcic]

    1641 AD Bekhddehr Girei refuses to stay at Azov and returns to defend Crimea from Cossack attacks at Perekop - then dies and is succeeded by his nephew, Mahmet Girei.[Jelisavcic]

    1642 AD Russian Duma and Zemski Sobor decide against incurring expense of defending Azov with war against Poland coming - they order Cossacks to leave city after destroying fortifications. Ottomans return with large army and rebuild even stronger fortifications from which to attack Cossacks along Don. [Jelisavcic]

    1642 AD Fighting between Nogai and Kalmyks around Astrakhan. [Jelisavcic]

    1644-54 AD Islam Girei III, Khan of Crimea, He immediately launches attacks against both Muscovy and Poland. [Jelisavcic]

    1644 AD Kalmyks push west of Volga to Terek River. [Jelisavcic]

    1645 AD After suffering major naval loss against Venice, Ottoman sultan orders Tatars to round up thousands of slaves for new galleys - As Tatars mobilize Russians learn of this and prepare stronger defense against winter campaigns (best time for Tatars to capture people). The raid nets only 6300 prisoners, however, due to extreme cold. [Jelisavcic]

    1648 AD Boghdan Khmelnitski begins Cossack uprising against Poland. Tatars join as allies and together they defeat Polish army at Zolte Wode and Korsun, Potocki is captured. Then at Pylavo another Polish army is destroyed. With Tatars taking prisoners and loot at will in Poland, Moscow is spared for several years. [Jelisavcic]

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