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FROM THE ASSEMBLY OF THE LAND TO THE SEIZURE OF AZOV

Дата публикации: 10 ноября 2021
Автор(ы): Olga BAZANOVA
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Рубрика: ТУРИЗМ И ПУТЕШЕСТВИЯ
Источник: (c) Science in Russia, №5, 2013, C.74-80
Номер публикации: №1636549096


Olga BAZANOVA, (c)

by Olga BAZANOVA, journalist

 

In 2013, the State Historical Museum (Moscow) organized an exposition "The Romanovs. Beginning of the Dynasty" dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the event that opened up a new epoch in the life of Russia: in 1613, the District Council elected Mikhail Romanov to the throne, a descendant of an ancient noble family, and from that time his descendants reigned in Russia for over three hundred years.

 

The exposition was prepared with the participation of scientific and cultural centers of the capital-Russian State Library, State Archives of Ancient Documents, Museums of the Moscow Kremlin*, Russian State Tretyakov Gallery. Unique artifacts were also provided by the Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), museums of history, architecture and art located in Kostroma, Uglich, Arkhangelsk, Solvychegodsk Regional Museum, Royal Castle in Warsaw, Stockholm Museum of the Army, Royal Armory of Sweden, etc.

 

See: A. Nikolayeva, "Moscow Kremlin Museums", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2006.--Ed.

 

Before 1917, the State Historical Museum* that keeps the biggest in the world collection of exhibits telling about the history of our country from ancient to modern times, was known as the Imperial Museum: it was established in 1872 by the tsar Alexander 11 and its honorary chairmen were Great grand princes Sergei Alexandrovich and Mikhail Alexandrovich. It is not by chance that the arched ceiling of the main building of the national trea-

 

See: V. Yegorov, "Treasure-House of Russian History", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2004.--Ed.

 
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sure-house is decorated with fresco paintings representing emblems of Russian lands and the family tree of its rulers with 68 portraits--from Princess Olga* to Alexander III (artist--Academician of Painting Foma Toropov).

 

Historians found out: at the "roots" of the Romanov family tree is Andrei Kobyla, a boyar of the Grand Prince of Muscovy Ivan Kalita, referred to in the written documents of 1347. The surname originated and then was inherited by the family after his descendant Roman Zakharyin-Koshkin, who served as an okolnichy (in Muscovite period, member of a social group with status second to that of boyars) to the tsar Ivan IV and died in 1543. His junior son Nikita, one of the most powerful state and military figures of the second half of the 16th century, was a grandfather of the first ruler from this dynasty Mikhail Fyodorovich.

 

In 1598, after death of the last Rurik Fyodor Ivanovich (this dynasty ruled the country for many centuries)**, the Council elected his wife's brother Boris Godunov to the throne, who by that time had already consolidated all state power in this hands. The remarkably clever man, he was very suspicious and sent away everybody whom he believed a contender to the highest state title. The Romanovs were not an exception: parents of the future tsar--Fyodor Nikitich and Ksenia Ivanovna--were first forced to take monastic vows under the names of Filaret and Marfa to deprive them of the rights to the throne and then exiled him (in 1601) to a place near Arkhangelsk to the Monastery of St. Trinity and her--to the settlement of Tolvuya near Onega Lake. These repressions inaugurated a new period in the history of our country known as the Time of Troubles, a dynastic and social crisis accompanied by failure of crops and hunger, peasant riots and the Polish-Sweden intervention.

 

After Boris Godunov died, in 1605 the Moscow boyars "took an oath" to the impostor False Dmitry I, who announced himself the son of Ivan IV, saved by a miracle (his real son died in strange circumstances in 1591 in Uglich)*** and was supported by the King of Poland Sigismund III. This new "gracious" ruler allowed the Romanovs and other earlier disgraced courtiers to return from exile, Filaret was even ordained to the office of Metropolitan of Rostov.

 

In the meantime, the country still lived like in fever: muddy waters of the Time of Troubles buoyed up adventurers who challenged the crown of Russia in the coun-

 

See: A. Bogdanov, "The Architect of Rus", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2004.--Ed.

 

** See: Ye. Pchelov, "Jubilee of Russian Statehood", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2012.--Ed.

 

*** See: O. Bazanova. "Tsarevich Dmitry's Town", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2008.--Ed.

 

try "drowned in blood and devastated by gangs that robbed people in the name of a tsar"*. Only in 1612 the Second National Home Guard led by Minin, a warden from Nizhni Novgorod, and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky** liberated the Russian capital, where the future tsar and his mother lived at that time.

 

Committed to an objective representation of the events associated with coming-to-be of the dynasty that ruled in Russia for over three hundred years, the museum staff members worked a lot to arrange the exposition incorporating almost 400 artifacts from national and foreign collections. The exposition covers the whole 17th century and consists of two sections--"The Time of Troubles. Birth of a New Dynasty" and "First Romanovs: Portrait in the Context of the Century". The first one is dedicated to an uneasy period for Russia anticipating enthronement of Mikhail Fyodorovich, the second one represents portraits of tsars and tsarinas, their gifts to monasteries and nunneries, icons, personal belongings, clothes, furniture, etc.

 

The Time of Troubles is illustrated by engravings with images of False Dmitry I and Marina Mniszek (after portraits by the painter Franz Snadecki, early 17th cen-

 

SeeA. Bogdanov, "All of Us Should Be in Chime and Union...", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2007.--Ed.

 

** See: L. Lyashenko, "For the Sake of Peace and Accord", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2010.--Ed.

 
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tury), daughter of a Polish voivode, who married the first and then the second impostor. You can also see the act of 1609 entered into by the Swedish Commander-in-Chief and the voivode Prince Mikhail Skopin-Shuisky under which they agreed to participate and assist in a military campaign against Poland; personal belongings of King Sigismund III: the restored red-brown ceremonial banner (made part of Swedish spoils of war in 1656), a saddle of the late 16th-early 17th cent., etc. (Swedish Museum of the Army).

 

The most fascinating exhibit is a facsimile copy of the "Stockholm scroll" (early 17th cent., Royal Castle in Warsaw) exhibited in Russia for the first time. It is a paper tape of over 15 m long and 27 cm wide composed of 39 parts representing a solemn entry of Constance of Habsburg, Sigismund Ill's bride, to Krakow. Among some hundreds of participants of this parade, the artist painted also the Russian embassy headed by the deacon of the Boyars' Council Afanasy Vlasyev, who also went there to betrothe False Dmitry and Marina Mniszek in absentia.

 

It is worth mentioning that after return from exile to "big politics", Metropolitan Filaret (Fyodor Nikitich Romanov) took part in all most important events of the Time of Troubles. As a very smart man full of energy, he made all contenders to the Russian throne respect him, except for the last one--Sigismund Ill's son Vladislav-- with whom he had a lot of problems. The delegation led by Mikhail Fyodorovich's father held negotiations with

 
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the Polish side aimed to invite the Prince to accept Russian throne. But these negotiations ended with nothing, and in 1611, by order of the Polish King, the Russian metropolitan was made prisoner for 8 years, while the future Moscow tsar together with his mother lived from 1612 in the country house near Kostroma-first in the family estate of Domnino and then in the Ipatiev Monastery.

 

In the meantime, commanders of the Second Home Guard sent official documents about convening of the Assembly of the Land to elect the tsar. Soon, hundreds of representatives of all social classes, including free peasants paying state duties came to Moscow. According to Acad. Vasily Klyuchevsky, a historian, St. Petersburg AS (from 1900), the only building in the city devastated by the war that could receive such a mass meeting, was the Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin.

 

After hot discussions accompanying the nomination, the electors voted for the 16-year old Filaret's son. According to the historian Lev Gumilyov (1912-1992), "the Cossacks supported Mikhail, since his father... was not their enemy. Boyars remembered that the father of the noble contender came from a boyar family and was a cousin of Fyodor Ioannovich, the last tsar from the Ivan Kalita family. The church hierarchs voted for Romanov as his father was a monk (metropolitan); as for the noble class, it supported the Romanovs because they opposed oprichnina".

 

To deliver the Assembly's Oath (final document of the Assembly of the Land) to the tsar and invite him to the capital, the embassy composed of a number of church hierarchs, boyars, public servants and elected representatives of different cities left for Kostroma*, eternalized on the miniature in the manuscript of The Book on Election... of Mikhail Fyodorovich to the Throne... (1672-1673). This unique work of the 17th century illustrated by painters of the Armory, is exhibited in the electronic form together with letters written by the young tsar Peter I, his sister tsarevna Sofya and other invaluable evidences of that epoch.

 

The exposition also incorporates a highly valuable Orthodox icon of Our Lady of St. Theodore, the elderly nun Marfa used to bless her son Mikhail to the throne. Nearby, there is her donation to the Ipatiev Monastery--a shroud of the same subject and name, embroidered with silver and gold threads on a crimson silk cloth. The outdoor lamp (such lamps travelled with the great embassy to the tsar) in the form of a miniature decahedral church with 11 hipped roofs, wooden domes, red and green small mica windows decorated with a pattern metal brackets is very elegant.

 

At first, the tsar was assisted by his mother in settling state affairs, and the Assembly of the Land also regularly gathered. Then, his father, who in 1619 returned

 

See: O. Bazanova, "'Cradle' of the Romanov House", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2008.--Ed.

 
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from the Polish imprisonment and was elected Moscow Patriarch, became his main helpmate. They had a lot of things to do: to end the war between Poland and Sweden, finish with the Time of Troubles and bring together recent political opponents (the tsar was "kind, gentle, and humble... loved everyone, pardoned everybody and was generous to all"), and restore devastated lands. Mikhail Fyodorovich solved all set tasks. The exposition includes his personal belongings: a shishak (battle helmet), his letters to Filaret, an armchair, according to the legend, belonging to the latter (Arkhangelsk Regional Museum), richly decorated apparels of the 17th century monarch, many of which are exhibited for the first time.

 

There you can also see a portrait of the tsar's second wife Yevdokiya Lukyanovna Streshneva by an unknown painter of the late 17th-early 18th centuries. She was mother of the next representative of the Romanov family on the Russian throne Alexei Mikhailovich (ruled from 1645 till 1676) called "very gentle" for his rare piety and soft character, who at the same time, left a bright trace in the country's history. One of the most well-educated persons of those times, he was interested in many things and arranged his main residence in Kolomenskoye, famous for a beautiful wooden tower (foreigners called it "the eighth wonder of the world")*. The successor of Mikhail Fyodorovich arranged an experimental farm with gardens, greenhouses, water

 

See: O. Bazanova, "Patrimonial Estate of the Czars", Science in Russia, No. 1, 2011.--Ed.

 

bodies, fountains and even a zoo, the first in the country*, in another small town near Moscow. Besides, he was a great lover of the beautiful, in particular, of the

 

See: O. Bazanova, "Great Oaks From Little Acorns Grow", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2011.--Ed.

 
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works by the icon-painter Simon Ushakov, and theater arts that appeared in Russia during his rule.

 

The main exhibit of the exposition is a monumental painted portrait (2.61 m high and 1.91 m wide) on the wooden pedestal "Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich and Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich Standing in Front of the Sudarium" (1678). Its author, the outstanding icon-painter of the 17th century Fyodor Zubov, painted the first tsars of the Romanov dynasty in ceremonial robes, with orbs and scepters. This painting was made as an icon in accordance with the existing traditional canons, but the painter managed the tsars look like real people; besides, he scrupulously delineated all intricate ornamental details which makes the work highly expressive.

 

There you can also see a portrait of Alexei Mikhailovich in a "big attire" made by an unknown master (1670s), his "stentorian cap"--a field dome-shaped helmet decorated with gold and silver plates (Turkey, 17th century). Close to it, there is an iconostasis with family icons--a donation made by the tsar to the Novodevichy Convent* in Moscow after seizure of Smolensk, Vilno, and Riga during the Russo-Polish War of 1654-1667. Nearby visitors can see weapons of

 

See: O. Borisova. "Adobe Most Radiant and Wonderfully Adorned", Science in Russia, No. 1, 2005.--Ed.

 

those times--a heavy arquebus used to hunt big game, the tsar's quiver and bow case, etc.

 

In 1676 the throne was inherited by the 14-year old Fyodor Alexeyevich, who had poor health but became known as prominent scholar of those times. During his rule, he continued reforming the army, in particular, the country was divided into nine military districts, there were formed tens of regiments of a new, West-European type that later on became part of the regular army. Besides, the enlightened tsar put in order the tax system, carried out the population census and became one of the founders of the Printing School: in 1687 it was transformed into the Slavonic-Greek-Latin Academy, the first national institution of higher education. In short, reforms implemented in a later period by the Emperor of Russia Peter the Great had a solid foundation that had been prepared by his predecessors.

 

After Fyodor Alexeyevich died (at the age of 20) (1682), two tsars ascended to the Moscow throne, which had never happened in Russia before: his younger brothers--15 year old Ivan V and 9-year old Peter I, under guardianship of their elder sister Sofya. However, after they came of age, their ambitious regent still kept the power in her hands trying to press back the rivals and get to the throne.

 
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The exposition section dedicated to the descendants of Alexei Mikhailovich incorporates a number of images, including a post-mortem portrait of Fyodor Alexeyevich (by the court painter Bogdan Saltanov, 1686), portraits of his second wife Marfa Matveyevna Apraksina, tsarevna Sofya, young co-rulers Ivan and Peter, Peter's wife Yevdokiya Fyodorovna Lopukhina in a monastic attire (17th-18th centuries). Tsar's liturgical accessories--Triodion (a collection of prayers and hymns), the icon of the Sovereign God, the golden cross, a chalice for communion, etc.--also arose interest, including coins, cold steel, embroidered horsecloths and genre engravings of those times.

 

In the summer of 1689, Peter I got a notice that strelets regiments subordinated to tsarevna Sofya gathered in the Moscow Kremlin and left for the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius. Soon, his loyal boyars, voivodes, and "Toy-soldiers" (armed units formed to participate in toy battles that later on transformed into a regular Guard's army) joined him there, supported by a majority of the army. When Sofya understood that she was in a minority, she went to the monastery for peace negotiations, but was detained on the way: the future tsarreformer decided not to allow the "shameful third person" to get the throne. In the capital his brother Ivan met him cordially and voluntarily passed all his powers; Sofya, accused of treason, was sent to Novodevichy Convent.

 

During his first years on the throne, Peter I mainly was interested in military matters and engaged for this purpose foreign specialists from the German Sloboda in Moscow*. In 1691 he transformed the "toy" army into the regular Preobrazhensky and Semyonovsky regiments (later on, Lefortovsky and Butyrsky regiments were formed). Four years later, the tsar ordered

 

See: O. Borisova, "Like a Ship Off She Sailed Into Europe", Science in Russia, No. 3, 2013.--Ed.

 

to construct rafts, floats and boats on the Don to deliver troops, weapons, artillery, and food to the Turkish fortress of Azov (in the Don estuary). The case was that from 1672 Russia was at war with the Osman Empire, arguing about this very outpost, the seizure of which meant for our country an exit to the Sea of Azov.

 

However, in 1695, the assault from land was a failure, and, after analyzing its reasons, Peter I set a course for the modern regular Navy. He did a lot to prepare well for the Second Azov Campaign: in a short period of time were built 2 big vessels (one of them--the 36 cannon Apostle Peter), 23 galleys and over 1,300 other boats. In 1696 a new fleet entered the Sea of Azov and blocked delivery of supplies to the Turkish fortress; the Russian army of 70 thous. soldiers was also very active, first of all the cavalry and the artillery, which resulted in the first military victory of the young tsar that significantly strengthened his reputation.

 

On October 20 of the same year, the Boyar Duma adopted a resolution: "Sea vessels to be developed...", and this date became the birthday of the Russian Navy. Our country entered an epoch of overall and grand achievements inspired by the genius of Peter the Great, one of the most renowned representatives of the Romanov dynasty.

 

Illustrations supplied by the author

Опубликовано на Порталусе 10 ноября 2021 года

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