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In 1606–1607, ataman Zarutsky and his men took part in the Bolotnikov Uprising. After Ivan Bolotnikov's defeat on the outskirts of Moscow, Zarutsky went to Poland to take the side of "tsar Dmitry" (False Dmitri II) and Polish king Sigismund III Vasa. Zarutsky played an important role in creating the military for False Dmitri II and took part in all of his battles, for which he would be given the title of a "boyar".
After the death of the impostor, Zarutsky married Dmitri's widow Marina Mniszech and set the goal to install her son Ivan on the Russian throne. In January 1611, Zarutsky joined the First People's Volunteer Army, which had been fighting with the Polish invaders in Moscow under the command of Prokopy Lyapunov. Zarutsky organized Lyapunov's assassination and became the leader of the army; however, most of the service class people left it after that. Zarutsky was left with a scanty unit of the Cossacks, who couldn't struggle successfully in small numbers. The leader of the Second People's Volunteer Army, Dmitry Pozharsky, urged the people to unite and not to recognize the authority of Marina Mniszech, her son and Zarutsky. After an unsuccessful attempt to kill Pozharsky, Zarutsky had to flee to Astrakhan due to the desertion of his supporters and People's Army's advancement towards Moscow. In 1614, the people of Astrakhan decided that Zarutsky and his clique didn't meet their interests and organized an uprising against him. Zarutsky fled to the Ural steppes, where he, Marina Mniszech and her son Ivan would be caught by the Cossacks and handed over to the government.
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