Russo-Polish Wars

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
42,842
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Toronto
#1
Great old painting, "Last Minutes of False Dmitry"


This Dmitry rose to power in 1605, during the so-called Time of Troubles in Russia, when the nation was shaken up by all kinds of internal strifes and squabbles, and this guy, said to be a Catholic who disliked the Orthodox Church, was installed on the throne, with the help of Polish troops, who were able to invade Russia and capture Moscow, at that time.

This was at a time, btw, when the Polish and the Russians were for years engaged in very vicious, bloody warfare with each other

The Polish, basically, felt that all Slavs should be Catholics, like them; while the Russians, of course, fought for their Orthodoxy.

Here, for example, in 1581, people of the Russian city of Pskov defend their walls from Polish invaders

Even after Moscow fell to the Polish and their Dmitry in 1605, the Russians continued to fight.

Here, in 1609, Russians defending the city of Smolensk from the Polish


By 1610, though, the war was turning completely against Dmitry and his Polish backers, and, soon, a combined Russian army of both elite troops of noble blood and ratniki (peasant militiamen) stormed the capital, led by Kuzma Minin, a peasant warrior, at left below, and Dmitry Pozharsky, aristocratic knyaz (knight)


The first painting depicts Dmitry's own horrific final moments, as he looks out the windows of the Kremlin onto the enraged armed mob below; he would then attempt to climb out to the wall, trying to flee, only to slip and fall off, breaking both legs on impact, and he is then hacked to bloody bits and pieces by swords, axes, and halberds of the enraged troops and regular people...

The lady in the painting, I believe, is Marina Mniszek, Dmitry's Polish wife, herself a member of Poland's royalty, if I recall correctly. She was actually able, at that time, to escape from Moscow with their baby son, but would be captured anyway by 1614, when she would first be forced to watch her child be executedб hanged by one version of the story

impaled on a sword by another; and then would be killed herself. The man who executed them would then go on to become Tsar himself. He was Mikhail Romanov. The founder of that new Dynasty...

It is also said that, after her son's death, Mniszek cursed Romanov, promising him that all his descendants will die violent deaths, until his whole line becomes extinct. Which was pretty accurate, all the way to 1917...

The Polish-Russian Wars would actually rage on until 1618, when the last Polish forces were finally either exterminated or expelled from Russia for good.

Aside from Minin and Pozharsky, who are immortalized in a monument on Red Square, to which Putin and all the national religious leaders lay flowers every November 4th (the day when their army retook Moscow)
Russia also remembers many other heroes and martyrs from that time, such as Ivan Susanin

a peasant, an old man, who was forced, in 1613, by a Polish unit, to guide them through dense forests in the Kostroma region. Instead, he deliberately led them deep into the frozen winter woods, where they killed him in a rage after realizing his treachery, but themselves also all perished in there, unable to find their way out, in far subzero temperatures and snowstorms...

A fascinating era, and one that impacts the relations between Russian and Polish people to this day... While the Polish fixate on Soviet abuses in Poland in the 20th century, and before that - by the Romanov Empire, which ruled most of Poland since 1815, when, after the victory against Napoleon, Russian, Austrian, and Prussian/German troops were left in control of various parts of Poland and simply divvied up that country among themselves (so, yeah, Stalin and Hitler did not invent that little trick lol); the Russians, in turn, look back on all this, to find own grievances against them...

What I think is it's all dumb as hell. People in that part of the world, ex-USSR and Warsaw Pact, in most of those countries, just permanently live in the past, by own choice. And the result is that their societies cannot move forward, they are not developing, economically or socially... :(
 
Likes: Akosikojak

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