|Tsaritsa of All Russia|
|Coronation||8 May 1606|
Laszki Murowane, Crown of the Kingdom of Poland
|Died||December 24, 1614
Kolomna Kremlin, Tsardom of Russia
|Spouse||False Dmitriy I
False Dmitriy II
|House|| House of Mniszech
Impostor House of Rurik
Marina Mniszech (Polish: Maryna Mniszchówna or Maryna Mniszech; Russian: Марина Мнишек (Marina Mnishek); also known as Marinka the Witch in Russian folklore; c. 1588 – 24 December 1614), was a Polish noblewoman, a Tsaritsa of Russia and a prominent warlord during Russia's Time of Troubles.
Mniszech was a daughter of Jadwiga Tarło and Polish Voivode-Governor of Sandomierz Jerzy Mniszech – one of the organizers of the Dimitriads, which were instigated by the appearance of a man who claimed to be Ivan the Terrible's son. Marina Mniszech's marriage to False Dmitriy I provided an opportunity for the Polish magnates to control their protégé. Mniszech met False Dmitry 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.
The first wedding ceremony, performed in November 1605 by the 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.
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'état caused thousands of deaths, including many from the Polish entourage. Marina and Jerzy Mniszech were imprisoned. However, the story of the False Dmitri was just beginning.
After the death of False Dmitry 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 become 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 Dmitry II, after supposedly recognizing him as her husband. 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". False Dmitry II was killed in December 1610.
Marina Mniszech then 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, however, according to some sources she has been strangled.
In popular culture
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." 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
- "Laszki Murowane". Dawne Kresy (Former Kresy) (in Polish). Retrieved 2010-02-09.
- Derived from Maria, Miodek, Jan; Zaśko-Zielińska, Monika; Piekot, Tomasz (2002). Słownik ojczyzny polszczyzny (in Polish). Wydawnictwo Europa. p. 397. ISBN 83-87977-92-6.
- Ivanits, Linda J. (1992). Russian folk belief (in Polish). M.E. Sharpe. p. 88. ISBN 0-87332-889-2.
- The Critical Prose of Alexander Pushkin, edited and translated by Carl R. Proffer. University of Indiana Press, 1969. Pages 96-97.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marina Mniszech.|
- Maryna Mniszchówna – caryca Rosji (Polish)
Marina MniszechBorn: 1588 Died: 1614
Title last held byMaria Grigorievna Skuratova-Belskaya
|Tsaritsa of Russia
Title next held byMaria Buynosova-Rostovskaya