Pozharsky, Dmitry Mikhailovich

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(15781642), military leader of the second national liberation army of 16111612.

Prince Dmitry Mikhailovich Pozharsky belonged to the Starodub princes, a relatively minor clan. He came to prominence as a military commander during the reign of Vasily Shuisky. While recovering from wounds sustained during service in the first national liberation army of 1611, Pozharsky was invited to lead the new militia, which was being organized by Kuzma Minin at Nizhny Novgorod. In March 1612 he led an army from Nizhny to Yaroslavl, where he remained for four months as head of a provisional government that made military and political preparations for the liberation of Moscow from the Poles. The capital was still besieged by Cossacks under Ivan Zarutsky, who supported the claim to the throne of tsarevich Ivan, the infant son of the Second False Dmitry and Marina Mniszech; others, including Prince Dmitry Trubetskoy, swore allegiance to a Third False Dmitry who had appeared in Pskov. Pozharsky himself, perhaps to neutralize the threat from the Swedes who had occupied Novgorod, seemed to favor the Swedish prince Charles Philip. Pozharsky left Yaroslavl only after Zarutsky and Trubetskoy had renounced their candidates for the throne. Following Zarutsky's flight from the encampments surrounding Moscow, Pozharsky and Trubetskoy liberated the capital in October 1612 and headed the provisional government, which convened the Assembly of the Land that elected Michael Romanov as tsar in January 1613. Pozharsky was made a boyar on the day of Michael's coronation, and he performed a number of relatively minor military and administrative roles during Michael's reign. Along with Minin, Pozharsky was subsequently regarded as a national hero and served as a patriotic inspiration in later wars.

See also: assembly of the land; cossacks; minin, kuzma; romanov, mikhail fyodorovich; time of troubles


Dunning, Chester L. (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. (2002). Pretenders and Popular Monarchism in Early Modern Russia: The False Tsars of the Time of Troubles, paperback ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Skrynnikov, Ruslan G. (1988). The Time of Troubles: Russia in Crisis, 16041618, ed. and tr. Hugh F. Graham. Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press.

Maureen Perrie