The death of the Tsarevich Dmitry. The unsolved case of the XVI century

Monument to tsarevitch Dmitry in Uglich Kremlin. © /

Alexey Vasin


Tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich, the youngest son of Ivan the terrible, did not even live up to 9 years. However, his short life and mysterious death seriously affected the destiny of the Russian state. Great Confusion that questioned the very possibility of the existence of Russia as a unified, independent power, from beginning to end is associated with the name of Tsarevich Dmitry.


Strictly speaking, the youngest son of Ivan the terrible wore the title of “Prince” only conditionally and right to the throne had not.

His mother, Maria Nagaya, was, according to various versions of historians, or sixth, or seventh wife of the king. The Church did not recognize the marriage laws, and therefore a child born 19 October 1582, was not regarded as a legitimate heir to the throne.

Dmitry Ivanovich was the full namesake of his older brother — the firstborn of Ivan the terrible. First Dmitry Ivanovich died, without having lived and year. The circumstances of his death are uncertain — during a trip his father on a pilgrimage to the baby either died from diseases or were drowned in the accident.

The second Dmitri Ivanovich father went through when he died, Ivan the terrible, his youngest son was about a year and a half.

Who ascended the throne Fedor commanded to send his stepmother and brother in Uglich, proclaiming him a Prince.

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Big ambitions of the clan Naked

Tsarevich Dmitry was the last Prince in Russia, this right was severely limited. Managing Uglich was carried out by deacon Michael Budagovskiyappointed by the king.

The relationship between the environment Fyodor Ivanovich Naked and was, to put it mildly, strained.

Sending the Dowager Queen and the Prince at a traffic light, they were given to understand — no claims to the throne on their part will not be tolerated. The truth was on the side of the opponents Naked, because, as has been said, Dmitri was considered illegitimate.

Clan Naga, starting with the Queen, was extremely mortified at this state of Affairs, hoping to occupy high state posts.

But the hope they had survived. Fedor did not differ good health and could not produce an heir. And that meant mark, for all its illegitimacy, is the only direct heir to the throne.

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“He finds pleasure to see his throat cut, the flowing of his blood”

Information about the Dmitry contradictory. Russian historians for reasons which will be discussed below, was drawn the image of a sort of angel, endowed with exceptionally good qualities.

Foreigners wrote is somewhat different. The Englishman Giles Fletcher, who wrote a book about his journey to Russia, said: “the Younger brother of the king, a child of six or seven (as stated before), is contained in a remote place from Moscow, under the supervision of the mother and the relatives out of the house Naked, but (as heard) his life is in danger from the attacks of those who spread their views to the possession of the throne in the case of a childless death of the king. The nurse tasted before him some food (as I heard), died. Russians confirm that he is definitely the son of Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich, the fact that in his early years in it begin to show all the qualities of a father. He (they say) is fun to watch, as the killing of sheep and all livestock, to see his throat cut, the flowing of his blood (while children are usually afraid of it), and stick to beat geese and chickens until then, until they gave up the Ghost”.

In addition to the cruelty of Dmitry, which he reminded his contemporaries of his father and older brother Ivan, there is still POPs up the theme of a possible assassination attempt on the Prince. This is extremely important in connection with the events that happened afterwards.

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The fatal may 15

May 15, 1591, Tsarevich Dmitry, was found dead in the courtyard of the Palace. Fatal wound the boy received in the neck.

Deceased mother Maria Nagaya and her family, announced that the Prince was stabbed to death by the people clerk Michael Bethovenskogo on orders from Moscow. Over Uglich sounded the alarm bell. An angry mob killed alleged killers — Joseph Volokhov, Nikita Kachalov and Bethovenskogo Daniel, son of deacon. Following this, dealt with by Michael Budagovska, trying to calm the crowd.

From the standpoint of the Imperial authorities in Uglich there was a riot. Brother-in-law Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich , Boris Godunov, who was at that time the de facto head of the government, were immediately sent to Uglich Commission of inquiry. The head of The Commission was appointed the boyar shuiski.

The investigation of the death of Tsarevich Dmitry is unique in that our time has preserved the materials of the investigation. Questioned were about 150 people — almost all who were involved in the events of may 15.

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The investigation established

The investigation revealed the following. The Prince has long suffered bouts of “black infirmity” — epilepsy. The last seizure occurred on 12 may, three days before death. Then Dmitry was relieved, and on may 15, after attending mass, the mother allowed him to walk in the courtyard.

The Prince was the nurse Vasilisa Volokhova, nurse Arina Tuchkova, postelnicu Maria Kolobova and four peers Dmitry, sons of the nurse and postelnicu Petrushka Kolobov, It Ivan and Grisha Kozlovsky. The boys played “the hits” — this ancient Russian game more reminiscent of the so-called “knives” in which he played so far. In General terms, the essence of the game is throwing a pointed metal object (knife or rod) into the ground in a certain way.

In the hand of Dmitry was either a knife or svaika (pointed quadrangular nail). At this moment the Prince fell victim to another attack of epilepsy. During the attack the boy inadvertently stuck the tip of his throat, and that was the cause of death.

The final conclusion of the Commission of inquiry — Tsarevich Dmitry was killed in the accident. Consecrated the Cathedral, led by Patriarch job approved the results of the investigation.

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Weapon against Godunov

As punishment for the rebellion of Naga Maria was tonsured a nun under the name of Martha, her brothers were sent into exile, the most active participants of the rebellion of the citizens were executed or exiled to Siberia.

But this was only the beginning of the story. In 1598 without leaving an heir, passed away Tsar Feodor Ioannovich. The Rurik dynasty terminated. The Zemsky Sobor to elect a new Tsar Boris Godunov.

For opponents of a new monarch “Uglich affair” becomes a great tool to generate in people distrust Godunov. One of the main attackers is shuiski. The former head of the investigation of the death of Tsarevich Dmitry, himself, wants to take the throne, so intriguing struggling against Godunov.

And then there appears on the scene , the false Dmitry I, allegedly, miraculously escaped from the murderers of the Prince. Many believe, and as a result, in 1605, after the death of Boris Godunov and the massacre of his son Theodore, the pretender takes the throne. Shuiski once again changes his testimony and recognize false Dmitry legitimate Prince.

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Holy against the impostor

But in 1606 Vasily Shuysky to become the head of a new conspiracy, in which the false Dimitri is killed, and the ambitious Lord finally sits on the throne.

However, before shuiski problem “miraculously escaped” the Prince, now in the form of the false Dmitry II.

The king realizes that the story of Prince need to complete, and so that the masses believe that he is dead.

The Prince was buried in Florida, where few people could see his grave. Shuiski decides to rebury him in Moscow, and not just as a deceased member of the Royal family, and as a Martyr.

It was an elegant solution in the presence of the revered relics of St. the myth of the “miraculous escape” will use much more difficult.

By order of the king in Uglich sent a special Commission headed by Metropolitan Filaret , the father of Mikhail Romanov, the future founder of a new Royal dynasty.

At the opening of the tomb the relics of the Prince were discovered incorrupt, and emitting perfume. In the hand of a dead Prince clutched a handful of nuts — according to the version of the murder, the criminals were caught in a child when he played with nuts.

The relics were solemnly reburied in the Archangel Cathedral of the Kremlin. Coming to the tomb of the Prince began to claim miraculous healings, and in the same year he was canonized.

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What you don’t want to believe

Here historians go over the edge, because the righteous Tsarevich Dimitri Uglitskiy, Uglich and Moscow and all Russia the Wonderworker, and is today revered Russian Saint. However, for the sake of historical truth it is necessary to mention that I thought about the canonization of the Prince’s contemporaries.

The political meaning was clear, and lay on the surface — shuiski struggled trying to alienate the supporters of false Dmitry II. Our time has come and very bad assumptions as to how exactly the remains of Dmitry proved incorruptible. It was claimed that Metropolitan Filaret bought one of the archers son, who at the age fits the age of the death of Dmitry, and ordered to kill him. The child’s body was presented as incorruptible relics. In this horrible version do not want to believe, but times were very harsh. A little later, under the reign of Mikhail Romanov, a 3-year-old son “miraculously escaped Tsarevich Dmitry” publicly hanged, so that before the murder of children in that era, few stayed.

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Boris sentenced

So, the final version of Basil Shuisky was Tsarevich Dmitry was killed by supporters of Boris Godunov on his personal orders. To rehabilitate Godunov, the Tsar had no reasons — first, he was his political opponent, and secondly, to canonize was only possible murder victim, but not a patient with epilepsy, who died as a result of the seizure.

The canonization of the Prince Dmitry Shuisky is not saved: he was deposed and ended up in a Polish prison.

However, the version that the youngest son of Ivan the terrible was killed by henchmen of Boris Godunov, remained under the Romanov dynasty. First, the Romanovs, too, quarrel with Godunov, and secondly, the version of fault of Tsar Boris was doing his “illegitimate” monarch, instigator of the Troubles, which ended the reign of “Harajuku Romanov”.

More than two centuries Godunov unconditionally was considered as the murderer of Tsarevich Dmitry. He “sentenced” the talent of Alexander Pushkin”s tragedy “Boris Godunov”.

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But was it murder?

However, in the 1820-ies became available discovered archive materials “Uglich case.” Russian historian Mikhail Pogodin questioned the version of the murder of the Prince. The materials of the investigation quite logically argued that the accident happened.

Noteworthy that investigators in Uglich has sent Boris Godunov, demanding a thorough investigation. It turns out that Godunov was absolutely sure that no evidence against him will not be found. Meanwhile, he had no way of knowing exactly how events unfolded in Florida and what witnesses saw. It turns out that Godunov was interested in objective investigation, knowing that it will confirm his innocence.

Moreover, in 1591 Tsarevich Dmitry was not the only hindrance to Godunov”s way to the throne. Still existed reasonably hope that Fedor will be born heir. In may 1592 the Queen Irina gave birth to a girl, and no one can guarantee that this is the last child of the Imperial couple.

We must not forget that Tsarevich Dmitry was illegitimate from the point of view of the Church. With such a Godunov competitor could compete for the throne and no assassins.

For lack of evidence

Supporters of the versions of the murder, there is another serious argument — modern doctors believe that the child is under the attack of epilepsy dropped the knife could not inflict a mortal wound. But it is the answer — the wound could occur as a result of improper assistance or frightened boys to babysit, triggering a fatal move.

The massacre committed against suspects in the murder, was deprived of the consequence of their testimony, which could become critical in this case.

As a result, both versions of the death of Tsarevich Dmitry can’t be rejected completely.

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