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Dmitry, False

DMITRY, FALSE

(d. 1606), Tsar of Russia (16051606), also known as Pretender Dmitry.

Dmitry of Uglich, Tsar Ivan IV's youngest son (born in 1582), supposedly died by accidentally cutting his own throat in 1591; however, many people believed that Boris Godunov had the boy murdered to clear a path to the throne for himself. In 1603 a man appeared in Poland-Lithuania claiming to be Dmitry, "miraculously" rescued from Godunov's assassins. With the help of self-serving Polish lords, the Pretender Dmitry assembled an army and invaded Russia in 1604, intending to topple the "usurper" Tsar Boris. The Godunov regime launched a propaganda campaign against "False Dmitry," identifying him as a runaway monk named Grigory Otrepev. Nevertheless, "Dmitry's" invasion was welcomed by many Russians; and, after Tsar Boris's sudden death in April 1605, "Dmitry" triumphantly entered Moscow as the new tsar. This mysterious young man, who truly believed that he was Dmitry of Uglich, was the only tsar ever raised to the throne by means of a military campaign and popular uprisings.

Tsar Dmitry was extremely well educated for a tsar and ruled wisely for about a year. Contrary to the conclusions of many historians, he was loved by most of his subjects and never faced a popular rebellion. His enemies circulated rumors that he was a lewd and bloodthirsty impostor who intended to convert the Russian people to Catholicism, but Tsar Dmitry remained secure on his throne. In May 1606, he married the Polish princess Marina Mniszech. During the wedding festivities in Moscow, Dmitry's enemies (led by Prince Vasily Shuisky) incited a riot by claiming that the Polish wedding guests were trying to murder the tsar. During the riot, about two hundred men entered the Kremlin and killed Tsar Dmitry. His body was then dragged to Red Square, where he was denounced as an impostor. Shuisky seized power and proclaimed himself tsar, but Tsar Dmitry's adherents circulated rumors that he was still alive and stirred up a powerful rebellion against the usurper. The civil war fought in the name of Tsar Dmitry lasted many years and nearly destroyed Russia.

See also: dmitry of uglich; godunov, boris fyodorovich; ivan iv; mniszech, marina; otrepev, grigory; shuisky, vasily ivanovich; time of troubles

bibliography

Barbour, Philip. (1966). Dimitry Called the Pretender: Tsar and Great Prince of All Russia, 16051606. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Dunning, Chester. (2001). Russia's First Civil War: The Time of Troubles and the Founding of the Romanov Dynasty. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Perrie, Maureen. (1995). Pretenders and Popular Monarchism in Early Modern Russia: The False Tsars of the Time of Troubles. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Chester Dunning

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"Dmitry, False." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Dmitry, False." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dmitry-false

Otrepev, Grigory

OTREPEV, GRIGORY

(c. 15801606), Russian monk who supposedly became the false Tsar Dmitry.

Yuri Bogdanovich Otrepev, the son of an infantry officer, became the monk Grigory as a teenager and eventually entered the prestigious Miracles Monastery in the Moscow Kremlin. There he became a deacon, and his intelligence and good handwriting soon brought him to the attention of Patriarch Job (head of the Russian Orthodox Church), who employed Grigory as a secretary.

In 1602 a group of monks, including Grigory and the future Tsar Dmitry, fled to Poland-Lithuania. Their departure greatly upset Tsar Boris Godunov and Patriarch Job. When one of the runaways identified himself as Dmitry of Uglich (the youngest son of Tsar Ivan IV who supposedly died as a child), the Godunov regime launched a propaganda campaign identifying "False Dmitry" as Grigory Otrepev. Stories were fabricated that Grigory had become a sorcerer and tool of Satan or that he had committed crimes while in the service of the Romanov family (opponents of Tsar Boris). Although no credible witnesses ever came forward to verify that Grigory and "False Dmitry" were the same person, Tsar Dmitry's enemies never tired of claiming that he was really Otrepev.

The sensational image of the evil, debauched, and bloodthirsty monk Grigory pretending to be Tsar Dmitry continues to haunt modern scholarship. Many historians have accepted at face value the most lurid propaganda manufactured by Dmitry's enemies, but careful study of the evidence reveals that it is impossible to merge the biographies of Grigory and "False Dmitry." Grigory Otrepev was last seen by an English merchant shortly after the assassination of Tsar Dmitry in 1606; then he disappeared.

See also: dmitry, false; godunov, boris fyodor ovich; time of troubles

bibliography

Dunning, Chester. (2001). Russia's First Civil War: The Time of Troubles and the Founding of the Romanov Dynasty. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Perrie, Maureen. (1995). Pretenders and Popular Monarchism in Early Modern Russia: The False Tsars of the Time of Troubles. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Chester Dunning

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Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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"Otrepev, Grigory." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Otrepev, Grigory." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/otrepev-grigory

"Otrepev, Grigory." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/otrepev-grigory