Marina Mniszech

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Marina Mniszech
Maryna Mniszchówna of Poland.gif
Tsaritsa of All Russia
Tenure 1605–1606
Coronation 8 May 1606
Spouse False Dmitri I
False Dmitri II
Ivan Zarutsky
Issue Ivan Dmitriyevich
Full name
Marina Yurievna Mniszech
House Herb Mniszech.PNG Family of Mniszchowie
Impostor House of Rurik
Father Jerzy Mniszech
Mother Jadwiga Tarło-Mniszech
Born 1588
Laszki Murowane,[1] Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, now in Sambir Raion, Ukraine
Died December 24, 1614(1614-12-24) (age 26)
Kolomna Kremlin, Tsardom of Russia

Marina Mniszech (Polish: Maryna[2] Mniszchówna or Maryna Mniszech; Russian: Марина Мнишек (Marina Mnishek); also known as "Marinka the witch" in Russian folklore;[3] c. 1588 – 24 December 1614), was a Polish noblewoman, a Russian Tsarina and a prominent warlord during Russia's Time of Troubles.

Biography[edit]

Mniszech was a daughter of Polish Voivode Jerzy Mniszech - one of the organizers of the Dimitriads, which were insigated by the appearance of a man who claimed to be Ivan the Terrible's son. Marina Mniszech's marriage to the impostor False Dmitri I provided an opportunity for the Polish-Lithuanian magnates to control their protégé. Mniszech met False Dmitri I around 1604 or 1605, at the court of one of the Commonwealth magnates, and agreed to marry him. In return for her hand Dmitri promised her Pskov and Novgorod, and her father Smolensk and Severia. After Dmitri captured Moscow in June 1605, in November he sent a diplomatic mission to Poland, asking for Marina's hand and proposing a military alliance to defeat the Ottomans.

Coronation of Maryna Mniszech in Moscow by Tommaso Dolabella.

The first wedding ceremony, performed in November 1605 by bishop of Kraków cardinal Bernard Maciejowski was held per procura in Kraków, at the Montelupi complex (Pod Jaszczurami and Firlejowska), and was attended by the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa himself, as well as hundreds of high ranking szlachta members and foreign guests. Dmitri was represented by Muscovy envoy, Afanasy Vlasiev. Afterwards, Marina went with her father and a retinue of approximately 4,000 to Moscow. In the beginning of May 1606, Marina entered Moscow in a triumphant parade, and on 8 May was crowned in Uspensky Sobor when Patriarch Ignatius confirmed their marriage and put the Rurikids crown on her head. It is unknown whether Marina converted from Catholicism to Orthodoxy. She wore a Polish wedding dress, and Dmitri wore the armor of Polish hussar.

Marina and her father Jerzy Mniszech in exile at Yaroslavl, by Klodt von Urgenburg.

However, Marina did not reign long. On the morning of 17 May 1606, about two weeks after the marriage, conspirators opposed to Dmitri and his policy of close cooperation with Poland stormed the Kremlin. Dmitri tried to flee through a window but broke his leg in the fall. One of the plotters shot him dead on the spot. At first the body was put on display, then cremated and the ashes were shot from a cannon towards Poland. Dmitri's reign had lasted a mere ten months. Vasili Shuisky, whom Dmitri earlier pardoned for conspiring against him, took his place as Tsar. This coup d'etat caused thousands of deaths, including many from the Polish entourage. Mariana and Jerzy Mniszech were imprisoned. However, the story of the False Dmitri was just beginning.

Marina Mniszech in coronation robes, 1606.

After the death of False Dmitri I, Marina Mniszech was spared her life - after she had rejected her royal title - and sent back to Poland in July 1608. However, her father Jerzy Mniszech didn't give up on his plan to became father-in-law of the Tsar. Exiled to Yaroslavl, he searched for a way to regain his favours. With his help, Marina turned up in Tushino, where she would secretly marry another impostor False Dmitri II after "recognizing" her miraculously "salvaged" husband in him. Polish hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski wrote in his memoirs that the only two things False Dmitris I and II had in common was that they were both human and usurpers. This marriage would soon share the same fate as her previous one.

Escape of Marina Mniszech and Tsarevich Ivan by Leon Wyczółkowski.

After the death of False Dmitri II in December 11, 1610, Marina Mniszech found herself a protector in the person of ataman Ivan Zarutsky, who would try to support the nomination of her son Ivan (born in January 1611) for the Russian throne. His henchmen called Marina Mniszech's son "Ivan Dmitriyevich" (literally Ivan, son of Dmitri), however, Patriarch Hermogenes would later dub him a "little thief". In the summer of 1613, after having lost their supporters, Mniszech and Zarutsky fled to Astrakhan but with the election of Michael Romanov as tsar, the citizens of Astrakhan wanted the pretender and his family gone from their city. In 1614 an uprising of townspeople was aimed solely at capturing the family. They fled into the steppes, to escape. Near the Yaik River in May 1614, after failing to gather a support for a Cossack uprising, they would be captured by the Cossacks a month later and handed over to the new Tsar.

Ivan Zarutsky and Mniszech's little son were executed in 1614. Marina Mniszech died in prison soon afterward.

In popular culture[edit]

Marina Mniszech appears as a character in Alexander Pushkin's blank verse drama Boris Godunov and Modest Mussorgsky's opera of the same name. Although both depict Marina's impending marriage to False Dmitriy I, the depictions of the future Tsarina are quite different. Pushkin wrote, "A tragedy without love attracted my imagination. But apart from love entering a great deal into the character of my adventurer, I made Dmitri fall in love with Marina in order to make the strange character of the latter stand out better. It is barely outlined in Karamzin. But certainly she was an odd and pretty woman. She had only one passion and that was ambition, but with such a degree of energy, or fury, that it is difficult to imagine it. Look how having sampled royalty, drunk on a dream, she prostitutes herself to one adventurer after another -- shares now the disgusting bed of a Jew, now the tent of a Cossack, always ready to give herself to whoever can show her a faint hope of a throne which no longer exists. Look at her brave war, poverty, shame, at the same time negotiating with the King of Poland like one crowned head to another, and then end her most stormy and most extraordinary existence so miserably. I have only one scene for her, but I will return to her if God lets me live long enough. She upsets me like a violent emotion. He is horribly Polish, as Mme. Lubomirska's cousin said."[4] In Mussorgsky's opera, however, Marina Mniszech's ambitious manipulation of her future husband is shown to be instigated by a Jesuit priest, who threatens her with hellfire unless she whores herself to the Pretender.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ (Polish) "Laszki Murowane". Dawne Kresy (Former Kresy). Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  2. ^ Derived from Maria, (Polish) Jan Miodek, Monika Zaśko-Zielińska, Tomasz Piekot (2002). Słownik ojczyzny polszczyzny. Wydawnictwo Europa. p. 397. ISBN 83-87977-92-6. 
  3. ^ (Polish) Linda J. Ivanits (1992). Russian folk belief. M.E. Sharpe. p. 88. ISBN 0-87332-889-2. 
  4. ^ The Critical Prose of Alexander Pushkin, edited and translated by Carl R. Proffer. University of Indiana Press, 1969. Pages 96-97.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Marina Mniszech
Born: 1588 Died: 1614
Russian royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Maria Grigorievna Skuratova-Belskaya
Tsaritsa of Russia
1605–1606
Vacant
Title next held by
Maria Buynosova-Rostovskaya