Image: Dmitry Pozharsky

Dmitry Pozharsky (1578-1642)

Dmitry Pozharsky (1578-1642), Russian patriot, born near Vladimir. Pozharsky was a hero of the period in Russian history known as the Time of Troubles, the years following the death of Tsar Boris Fyodorovich Godunov in 1605, when the country was without a recognized ruler ( "see "Russia). The Swedes and Poles took advantage of the situation; Crown Prince Ladislas of Poland invaded Russia. By 1611 central Russia was in a desperate plight, overrun by invaders and by rebellious Cossacks who looted and murdered indiscriminately. The nobility, besieged in the Kremlin, were reduced to eating dogs and cats in order to survive. Kuzma Minin, a butcher of the Nizhniy Novgorod market, took the lead in raising funds and recruiting an army to repel the invaders. Pozharsky, who had won a victory near Moscow in 1608, was the obvious choice to lead the army. Pozharsky and Minin`s impromptu army swelled to impressive proportions, and in November 1612 the Polish invaders surrendered. The Swedes were also brought to terms and the loyalty of the cossacks was reestablished. In 1613 Michael, the first of the ruling house of Romanov, was chosen tsar after Pozharsky had refused the throne.

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