Historical story

Where did the Romanov dynasty come from?

They created tsarist Russia - and they fell with it. They were to be puppets in the hands of courtiers, and they became a strong, autocratic dynasty. But before that, they were masters of intrigue ... and of bringing disaster upon the state. And their great career was almost over before it started in earnest.

We know the ancestors of the Romanov dynasty from the end of the 13th century. The first of them, the semi-legendary Glanda Kambila Diwonowicz, he came to Russia as a Lithuanian or Prussian pagan fleeing the Teutonic Knights. He was baptized there in the Eastern Rite under the name of Ivan.

We know from the documents his son, Andrzej Iwanowicz Kobyla, a boyar at the court of Prince Semyon of Moscow. His descendants were called Koszkin (or Cats), and then Zachariewicz and Zacharin-Juriewicz. As active political players, they played an increasing role in the state.

Michał Zacharin was one of the guardians of the minor Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible . His numerous relatives were also active at the court. One of Michał's brothers, Roman Zacharin, gave the family another - the final - name of the Romanovs.

Tsarina from a rigged contest

When the tsar was sixteen, he announced a competition for ... his wife. All virgins from the princes' and boyar families were to take part in these elections, and the prize was the title of Tsarina. Before the maidens from the provinces came to the Kremlin, the courtiers brought their daughters and relatives. Ivan chose the beautiful Anastasia, Roman's daughter, from among them.

They had six children together. She softened his character, he would beat her and cheat on her more than once, but he did not respect and love any woman like her . Although she died young and the tsar married six more times, her sons were certain heirs to the throne. And the mother's family stood as one with them.

Brothers at the helm

After Anastasia's death, Ivan appointed a row of five boyars, including her brother Daniel, a cousin, and two further relatives. The Zakharitsa headed the Tsarevich court . From then on, in the Tsar's absence, the management of the state was formally transferred to the minor heir, and in fact to his mother's family. The Zacharin government lasted four years until Daniel died.

Another brother of Anastasia, Nikita Romanovich, became one of the main associates of his former brother-in-law. He was famous for conquering the Pärnu, from 1572 he was in charge of the defense of the southern borderlands. He was very popular in those parts. There were even folk songs about him, where he was depicted as a brave and cunning defender of the homeland.

Ivan IV the Terrible

He had the greatest influence on rule at the beginning of Fyodor I's reign as his uncle. However, after a few months, he succumbed to an attack of apoplexy, he allegedly lost his speech and could no longer carry out state activities. It was then that Boris Godunov, a boyar of an insignificant family, and the brother-in-law of Fyodor I.

Under the wings of Godunov

Before his death, Nikita entrusted his adolescent sons to the care of Godunov . The oldest of them, Fyodor, stood out in particular with his talents and energy. He was tactful, handsome and elegant, he was a great horse and hunter. Fyodor sat in the Duma, he was the governor of Nizhny Novgorod, he negotiated with the emperor Rudolph II's envoy.

His firstborn son with Ksenia Shestova was named Boris, which clearly proves his friendly relationship with Godunov. The boy died young - just like the rest of Fyodor's children, with the exception of Michał.

However, the infertility of the Tsar changed the relationship between the young Romanov and Boris . Many believed that the throne of Fyodor I should be given to his namesake cousin. There were even rumors that he was the last Rurkowicz who left the throne or that he was proclaimed tsar by courtiers. But it was Godunov who finally took power after the death of his brother-in-law.

On the verge of extinction

In 1600, Boris Godunov openly turned against the Romanovs. It is hard to say what exactly was driving him. Perhaps it was the venomous rumors they were spreading about him, or perhaps it was an actual plot to overthrow Tsar Boris.

Fyodor was haircut to be the monk Filaret and imprisoned in a monastery. His wife, Ksenia, was sent to another monastery and forced to take monastic vows. Their children were in exile in the north with their aunt. The taboos of the Romanovs found their way to different outskirts of the country, where they were kept under strict supervision . Three of them died of mistreatment.

In Russian historiography, the rule of Tsar Boris marks the beginning of the Great Trouble, which ended only in 1613 with the elevation of Michael Romanov to the throne.

Boris sent the Romanovs to control them and prevent them from contacting their supporters. When he stated that the intrigues had been foiled, he softened the sentences and allowed many to return to their family nest.

Filaret is the sower of confusion

However, the Romanovs somehow kept in touch with the world, and Filaret was quite relaxed. It is hard to resist the impression that he was the co-creator of the first Dmitri the Samozwaniec - a miracle supposedly surviving the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible. The more so because Grishka Otriepjew, who pretended to be him, used to serve at his brother's court.

In 1605, Filaret was sure that the victory of the Self-Prophet would change his fate. After Dmitri took power, he left the monastery cell and, by the grace of the ruler, received the dignity of the Metropolitan of Rostov and Jarosław. However, he was not among the tsar's closest advisers.

That is why Filaret allied with Wasyl Szujski to overthrow the Self-Prophet. However, when Szujski became tsar, Romanov did not receive the promised patriarchal dignity. So after the appearance of the new pretender, the metropolitan of Rostov came to him and for his loyalty he received the coveted title of patriarch - not very valuable at the time, because Hermogenes, who held this dignity, was still alive.

As a representative of Samozwaniec, he sent a letter to Sigismund III regarding the acceptance of the throne by Prince Władysław and the withdrawal of Polish troops from Russia. He did not get anything, because Zygmunt wanted the crown for himself. When the Poles occupied Moscow, he was imprisoned, sent to Poland and imprisoned in Malbork for a number of years.

Let's choose the youngster!

Shortly after the surrender of the Polish crew in Moscow in early 1613, boyars from all over the country gathered to elect a new ruler. After the exclusion of the foreigners and the son of the Self-proclaimed man, the compromise candidate - Michał Fiodorowicz Romanow, the sixteen-year-old son of the patriarch and a relative of the last Rurykowicz - was elected.

He was chosen mainly because of his inertia, young age and lack of a solid education . This pupil of monks has just returned from a year's imprisonment with Poles. The powerful were hoping to be a puppet in their hands.

Maria Nagoj, the last wife of Tsar Ivan, unmasks Dmitri I the Self-Prophet.

The young tsar stayed with his mother in the monastery. When the legation officially requested him to take over the crown, they were both hostile to him and only relented after prolonged insistence. Not because the crowns did not want to - quite the contrary. The idea was to ask them on our knees ... Mother quickly took the reins of power in lieu of the young tsar. A group of sensible advisers also managed to gather around Michał.

They started with hitting the robber bands:the troops of Zarucki (who was executed with his son Samozwaniec), Bałownia and Lisowski were smashed. They were also looking for new sources of income for the state treasury - compared to the times of Ivan the Terrible, taxes doubled.

Uncrowned Sovereign of Russia

In 1618, a long-term truce was concluded with Poland in Dywilinie. Patriarch Filaret returned to Russia the following year as part of an exchange of prisoners. The Tsar-son obeyed him in everything.

The patriarchy, orphaned by Hermogenes' death, awaited Filaret. To his highest clerical dignity, he was added the title of "great gosudar", which had so far been enjoyed only by rulers. In fact, it was the first dual power in Russia .

Except that the young tsar had almost exclusively representative functions, and the father ruled. He was as powerful as any tsar in the 17th century, the more so because he concentrated in his hands the highest power, both secular and spiritual.

Patriarch Filaret blesses his son - Tsar Michael Romanov. Father and son jointly ruled in Russia. Book illumination, 17th century

Filaret took the influence of the Boyar Duma and introduced representatives of new families to it. He eliminated the effects of military disasters and strengthened the central authority. Just before his death, he started a war with Poland. He did not live to see the Russian defeat and the loss of the Smolensk and Chernihiv lands. But also Władysław IV's renunciation of the title of tsar and recognition of Michał's election. From then on, no one questioned the power of the Romanovs.

After the death of Father Michael, a specially convened council elected his son Alexius. The new, young ruler strengthened the position of the boyars by abolishing the emigration of peasants. But most of all he raised the tsarist authority. He appointed Fyodor's son as his successor without any consultation. His youngest descendant was Peter I the Great.