Michael of Russia

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Mikhail I Fyodorovich Romanov (Russian: Михаи́л Фёдорович Рома́нов) Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov (12 July 1596 – 13 July 1645) was the first Russian Tsar of the house of Romanov. He was the son of Feodor Nikitich Romanov (later known as Patriarch Filaret) and Xenia (later known as "the great nun" Martha). His reign marked the end of the Time of Troubles.


Life and reign

Michael was unanimously elected czar of Russia by a national assembly on 21 February 1613, but the delegates of the council did not discover the young Tsar and his mother at the Ipatiev Monastery near Kostroma until 24 March. Initially, Martha protested, believing and stating that her son was too young and tender for so difficult an office, and in such a troublesome time. The weeping boyars solemnly declared that if he persisted in his refusal, they would hold him responsible to God for the destruction of Russia[citation needed]. Michael eventually consented to accept the throne.

Michael's election and accession to the throne form the basis of the Ivan Susanin legend, which Russian composer Mikhail Glinka dramatized in his opera A Life for the Tsar.

In so dilapidated a condition was the capital at this time that Michael had to wait for several weeks at the Troitsa monastery, 75 miles (121 km) off, before decent accommodation could be provided for him at Moscow. He was crowned on 22 July 1613. The first task of the new tsar was to clear the land of the robbers infesting it. Sweden and Poland were then dealt with respectively by the peace of Stolbovo (17 February 1617) and the Truce of Deulino (1 December 1618). The most important result of the Truce of Deulino was the return from exile of the tsar's father, who henceforth took over the government till his death in October 1633, Michael occupying quite a subordinate position.

Tsar Michael suffered from a progressing leg injury (a consequence of a horse accident early in his life), which resulted in his not being able to walk towards the end of his life. He was a gentle and pious prince who gave little trouble to anyone and effaced himself behind his counsellors. Sometimes they were relatively honest and capable men like his father; sometimes they were corrupted and bigoted, like the Saltykov relatives of his mother. He was married twice, first to Princess Maria Vladimirovna Dolgorukova in 1624, who died four months after the marriage the next year, and then in 1626 to Eudoxia Streshneva (1608–1645), who brought him 10 children. Michael's failure to wed his daughter Irene of Russia with Count Valdemar Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, a morganatic son of King Christian IV of Denmark, in consequence of the refusal of the latter to accept Orthodoxy, so deeply afflicted him as to contribute to bringing about his death on 12 July 1645.

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