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Dmitri

Dmitri (dəmēˈtrē) [key] or Demetrius dĭmēˈtrēəs, 1582–91, czarevich, son of Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) of Russia. His brother, Feodor I, succeeded Ivan in 1584, but Boris Godunov actually ruled Russia for the period of Feodor's reign (1584–98). Dmitri was killed in 1591, possibly on Boris's orders. Subsequently four pretenders assumed his name. The first, whose origin is unknown, appeared in Poland c.1600; claiming that he was Dmitri, he enlisted the support of Lithuanian and Polish nobles and finally of King Sigismund III of Poland. He invaded Russia in 1604. Boris died suddenly in 1605 and the false Dmitri was crowned as czar. But his favoritism toward Poland and his marriage to Marina Mniszech, a Polish noblewoman, aroused the opposition of the boyars, led by Prince Vasily Shuiski. An insurrection was provoked in Moscow, and Dmitri was killed. Shuiski was made czar as Vasily IV. In 1607 another Dmitri appeared. Aided by the Poles after Marina identified him as her husband, he marched on Moscow and had some success, but in 1610 he was killed. In 1612 a man claiming to be Dmitri's son was put to death by strangling. Another, also claiming to be Dmitri's son, was beheaded in 1613. In that year the chaotic period, known as the Time of Troubles in Russian history, came to an end with the coronation of Michael Romanov, first of the Romanov line, as czar.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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