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Mnishek (Mniszech) Marina
(c.1588—1614)

Mnishek (Mniszech) Marina (c.1588—1614)

Marina Mnishek was a political adventurer in the Time of Troubles in Russia. Marina Mnishek was a daughter of a Polish Voivod Jerzy Mniszech - one of the organizers of the Dimitriads, often viewed as a Polish invasion of Russia in the early 17th century. Marina Mnishek's marriage to the impostor False Dmitri I provided an opportunity for the Polish-Lithuanian magnates and Catholic clergy to control their protégé. Mnishek 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, Novgorod and her father, Smolensk and Severia. After Dmitri captured Moscow in June 1605, and in November send 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 bishop of Kraków cardinal Bernard Maciejowski was held per procura in Kraków, at the still-famous 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 May 8 was coronated 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 - the armor of Polish hussar.
However Marina did not reign long. At the morning of May 17, 1606, about two weeks after the marriage, conspirators opposed to Dmitri and his policy of close cooperation with Poland stormed the Kremlin. Dmitry 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. Dmitry's reign had lasted a mere ten months. Vasili Shuisky, whom Dmitr earlier pardoned for conspiring against him, took his place as Tsar. This coup d'etat caused thousands of death, including many from the Polish entourage. Mariana and Jerzy Mnishek have been imprisoned. However the story of False Dimitiris was just beginning.

After the death of False Dmitri I, Marina Mnishek was spared her life - after she had rejected her royal title - and sent back to Poland in July of 1608. However, her father, Jerzy Mnishek didn't gave up on his plan to became father-in-law of the Tsar. Exiled to Yaroslavl, he searched for a way back 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 Stanislaw Zolkiewski wrote in his memoires, that the only two things False Dmitris I and II had in common was that they were both human and usupers. This marriage would soon share the same fate as her previous one.

After the death of False Dmitri II in December of 1610, Marina Mnishek 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 of 1611) for the Russian throne. His henchmen called Marina Mnishek'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, Mnishek and Zarutsky fled to Astrakhan but with the election of Michael Romanov as the 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 of 1614, where 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 government. Ivan Zarutsky and Mnishek's little son were executed in 1614. Marina Mniszech died in prison soon afterwards.


Angola, 2000, Marina Mnishek

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