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 Vasili IV of Russia (Vasily Shuisky)



Deceased:   September 12 1612

Prince, boyar and voivode, subsequently the tsar Vasily IV Ioannovich

      

Vasily Ivanovich Shuisky was born in 1552 (exact date is unknown) into the family of the Shuiskys princes of Suzdal, which descended from Alexander Nevsky. 

From 1584 he was a boyar and the head of the Moscow court chamber. In 1587 he headed the opposition to Boris Godunov. As a result he fell into disgrace, but managed to regain the tsar’s favour and was forgiven. In May, 1591 he was entrusted to discover the cause of death of tsarevitch Dmitry Ivanovich who died in Uglich. The commission of inquiry headed by Shuisky declared that tsarevitch Dmitry passed away as a result of a disease; according to other data, his death was accidental.
Shuysky was crowned as tsar Vasily IV on June 1, 1606 by the Novgorod metropolitan Isidor. At the beginning of June Shuisky's government announced Boris Godunov the murderer of tsarevitch Dmitry. 

On March 12, 1610 the voivode Mikhail Vasilyevich Skopin-Shuisky, whom Vasily IV was obliged a victory over I. Bolotnikov's army and liberation of Moscow from the siege of the False Dmitry II, returned to Moscow. In consciousness of the people and many boyars (especially provincial ones) Mikhail Vasilyevich was, despite of his youth, the most suitable candidate for the throne. In a few days he suddenly died …

The rumor argued that he was poisoned by Yekaterina, Dmitry Shuisky's wife, Malyuta Skuratov's daughter. So Vasily Shuisky lost his probably strongest and most faithful supporter. Vasily Shuisky's weakness and his inability to solve predicaments led to his dethronement by boyars on July 27, 1610. He was forced to take monastic vows together with his wife. Since amidst the boyars there was no a single candidate for the throne, who could suit everybody or at least, the majority, boyars’ government was established. In September, 1610 Shuisky was delivered over to the Polish hetman Zholkevsky, who took him and his brothers Dmitry and Ivan to Smolensk, and later to Poland. In Warsaw the tsar and his brothers were introduced as captives to king Sigismund. The former tsar died on September 12, 1612, imprisoned in the Gostyninsky Castle, around 130 km away from Warsaw. A few days later his brother Dmitry also died. Ivan, the third brother, subsequently returned to Russia.


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