Prince Dmitry Shemyaka: biography. Domestic and foreign policy of Dmitry Shemyaki

In Russian history this descendant of the genus of Moscowthe great princes were known as a man with unbridled energy: he was a cynic who would not stop at nothing to achieve the goal. Who is he? The grandson of Dmitry Donskoy himself is Prince Dmitry Shemyaka. He was remembered for his military exploits and successful deeds in the management of specific principalities, but because he waged an endless struggle for the throne. Dmitry Shemyaka wanted to rule the whole Russian state, and not its separate part. At the same time, as already emphasized, in the funds that he used to take the throne, the prince was not particularly discriminating. The paradox is that he still managed to achieve the cherished goal and become the head of the Moscow principality. How did Dmitri Shemyaka manage to occupy the throne in the Russian capital? Let's consider this issue in more detail.

Facts from biography

Dmitry Shemyaka (years of life: 1420-1453) was the offspring of the Grand Duke of Moscow, Yuri Dmitrievich.

Dmitry Shemyaka

Already from a young age the prince was nurturing the idea of ​​putting onhimself, "the hat of Monomakh," despite the fact that his father was in good health. The young Dmitry Y. Shemyaka, whose brief biography is contained in virtually any history textbook, began to participate in dynastic strife against Basil II (Dark), enlisting the support of his elder brother Vasily Kosoy. The young prince rendered all-round support to Father Yury Dmitrievich when it came to the claims to the throne. It should be noted that the struggle for the right to rule the state between the above-mentioned bidders was "tough": they occupied the throne alternately.

Death of the father

When Grand Duke Yuri Dmitrievich dies(it happened in 1434), his eldest son Vasily Kosoy sits on the throne. Dmitry Shemyaka took this message with undisguised annoyance; he was not satisfied with this state of affairs. Together with his younger brother Dmitry Krasny they help Vasily the Second to overthrow his elder brother and take the throne. In gratitude for such a service, Dmitri Shemyaka (reigning years: Galich principality - (1433-1450), Uglich principality - (1441-1447), Moscow - (1445-1447) receives inheritance. He becomes ruler of Rzhev and Uglich.

Struggle for power

However, after a while Shemyaka turns into an ambitious prince: he decides to join the struggle for the throne, gathering around him a lot of opposition from the boyars.

Shemyaka Dmitry Yurievich

However, to realize their dreams then he neverIt was possible, and he was forced to reconcile for a while with Vasily the Second. And yet for many historians it was a complete surprise that Dmitry Shemyaka was a Moscow prince for some time. Here's how it happened.

In 1445, a campaign was declared for the Golden Horde,whose soldiers violated the borders of Russia. After losing the battle of Suzdal, Basil II was taken prisoner and, according to the rules of succession, his successor, albeit temporary, became Dmitry Yurievich, since he was the eldest of the descendants of Ivan Kalita.

Country Governance

Sources indicate that the GreatPrince Uglitsky, Galitsky and Moscow was an "incompetent" manager. Dmitry Shemyaka, whose foreign and domestic policy was limited solely to strengthening his own positions in power, did not bring the state entrusted to him to prosperity and prosperity.

Dmitry Shemyaka short biography

From his short-sighted solutions,estates: boyars, merchants, princes, wars. Increased anger among the people called the so-called Shemyaka courts. The upstart prince was a very rude and arrogant man, therefore the sentences that he imposed justice created by him had very few points of contact with justice.

On the tyranny that the thenrepresentatives of Themis, eloquently described in the satirical "The Tale of the Shemyakinsky Court". It was during this period that such phenomena as bribery, extortion, excess of their powers by judges began to flourish as never before. The norms of the ancient charters were ignored, judicial decisions were often infringed upon with common sense. The historian Karamzin considered the grandson of Dmitry Donskoi to be the culprit.

Dmitry Shemyaka was a Moscow prince for a while

This arbitrariness created all the prerequisites for a mass outflow of people from the capital. The number of people dissatisfied with Dmitry Yurievich's policy grew day by day.

The foreign policy course of Russia during the reignShemyaki also did not meet the requirements of the times. The Grand Duke of Uglitsky, Galitsky and Moscow, in order to seize the throne, did not pay a ransom for the captive Basil II, and in order to retain power, he tried to be acceptable to the Khan of the Golden Horde. He also enlisted the support of his brother-in-law - the Grand Duke of Lithuania Svidrigaila Olgerdovich, ignoring the political interests of the Novgorod Republic.

The confrontation continues

After some time, Basil II succeededto free themselves from the Tatar captivity by paying a huge ransom. Learning about this, Shemyaka Dmitry Yurievich was not going to give up his position and hurried to block his opponent's path to "white stone". Meeting Basil in the Trinity Monastery, Grand Duke Uglitsky, Galitsky and Moscow deprived him of the ability to see and exiled to Uglich.

Dmitry Shemyaka years of life

But soon Shemyaka released his relative andgave him possession of Vologda. Supporters and associates of Basil the Second began to come to this city, which after a while gathered a massive army and moved to the capital in order to win back the throne. And he succeeds. Dmitry Yurievich handed over to the Grand Duke Uglich, Rzhev and Bezhetsk Parish. In addition, he undertook to return money from the state treasury and no longer claim the throne. However, in the future he repeatedly violated these promises.

Throne is lost

Since 1447 Shemyaka Dmitry Yurievich takes inmanagement of the Suzdal-Nizhny Novgorod land, and in the period from 1451 to 1453 he reigns in the Novgorod Republic. But here he did not stay long. He again began to be ambitious plans to expand the boundaries of his rule. Dmitri Yurievich with his army moved down the Dvina and without much resistance took Ustyug. However, far from all the inhabitants of this city were pleased with the Grand Duke, knowing full well that his influence in power is dying away every day. But Shemyaka still wanted to manage people, even in a separate principality, so he cruelly dealt with the Ustyuzhans who showed disobedience towards him.

Dmitry Shemyaka foreign and domestic policy

And to them he applied the most severe measuresintimidation: some were killed, wearing a stone around his neck and throwing him into the river. The locals did not want any such arbitrariness on their land, and asked for help from the vymers and vychegians, since the territory on which they lived was administratively owned by Ustyug. One way or another, but Dmitry Yurievich managed to eventually win the ancient Russian city. After this victory, he ordered vyatchan to plunder the grand prince's parishes located on the territory of the Vychegda-Vym land.


The excesses and atrocities that were happening at willGrand Duke of Uglitsky, Galitsky and Moscow, could not but anger the representatives of the clergy. According to some sources, in 1450 Prince Dimitri Shemyaka was excommunicated, in support of which was written "damned letter". This document was signed by the Permian Bishop Pitirim. However, up to the present time, historians are debating whether the grandson of Dmitry Donskoi really was anathema, since the sources in this matter are contradictory. In particular, Metropolitan Jonah in a letter to Archbishop Ephrimius wrote that the prince "excommunicated himself from the church."

Why Shemyaka?

So, we figured out how it turned outthe power of Dmitry Shemyaka. Why such a nickname attached to the Grand Duke of Uglitsky, Galitsky and Moscow? This question is no less interesting for the reader.

Prince Dmitry Shemyaka

On this account, there are several versions. One of them is based on the fact that the word "Shemyaka" is akin to the Tatar-Mongolian "Chimak", which means an outfit or decoration. Another interpretation of the word says that "Shemyaka" is a shortened from "Shemyaki" (they called the one who had enormous power). But Dmitry Donskoy's grandson "became famous" due to other qualities: cunning, cruelty, cunning and lust for power. For the sake of self-interest, Dmitry Shemyaka was ready for everything. The nickname he received from the people was spread out in lands where the Galician princes had great authority. It is possible that Prince Alexander Shakhovsky himself began to wear it after he became related with Shemyaka. Sources show that in 1538 Ivan Shemyaka lived Dolgovo-Saburov, whose pedigree roots began in Kostroma. In 1562, Shemyak Istomin-Ogorelkov is mentioned: his ancestors were Vologians. In 1550, worked in Russia Vasily Shemyaka, who had his own salt varnitsu. In the 16th century, according to sources, people with the name Shemyak also lived on the territory of the Novgorod Republic.

Wife and kids

The Grand Duke of Uglitsky, Galitsky and Moscowtook his wife Sofya Dmitrievna, who was the daughter of Zaozersky prince Dmitry Vasilyevich. Dmitry Shemyaka's father-in-law was a descendant of the holy prince Fyodor the Black. Historical documents indicate that the wedding of Dmitry Donskoy's grandson with Sofya Dmitrievna was held no earlier than 1436. In the marriage they had a son, Ivan Dmitrievich. It happened in Uglich not earlier than 1437. After 12 years the offspring settled with his mother in the St. George's Monastery.

Also Sofya Dmitrievna gave birth to her daughter Maria. Later, she married Alexander Czartoryski and stayed in Novgorod the Great. Her death was unexpected: she was buried in the winter of 1456 in the St. George's Monastery.

last years of life

The final stage of the life of the grandsonDmitry Donskoy has not been thoroughly studied, since historical documents do not contain exhaustive information about this. His grandiose plans were not to be realized to the maximum extent: he could not stay on the throne in Moscow, and attempts to become governor of a strong and independent principality, whose capital Ustyug should become, also failed. Grand Duke Uglitsky, Galitsky and Moscow very much feared revenge for their deeds from the side of Basil II, in disgrace to which the Novgorod patrons Dmitry Yuryevich also fell. For some time they "closed their eyes" to the numerous excesses of grandson Dmitry Donskoy, preferring not to interfere in the confrontation between Moscow and Ustyug. Shemyaka himself did not stop thinking about becoming the sole ruler of Rus again, but the residents were already tired of internecine wars and strife: everyone wanted peace and quiet. Metropolitan Jonah was in correspondence with Vladyka Evfimiy, in which he repeatedly asked that Dmitri Yurievich abandon all attempts to regain the throne and once and for all make peace with Basil the Second. But, unfortunately, she had no positive results: Shemyaka did not want to make any concessions. But soon he was punished for his atrocities.


The news that Dmitri's grandson diedDonskoy, "came" from the capital of the Novgorod Republic to "white-stone" in the summer of 1453. In the annals it is written that this news was reported by a scribe named Vasily, who wore the nickname "Trouble". Noteworthy is the fact that after this he was elevated to the clerks. Why did Dmitri Shemyaka die? A number of documents indicate that the Grand Duke was poisoned. What is known about this circumstance? Sources say that a poisonous potion from the capital delivered, as they say, "confidant of Basil II" - Stepan Stepan the Bearded. He was an intelligent man and fulfilled his mission properly. Some sources write that the Bearded gave the poison to boyar Ivan Kotov, others: the posadnik Boretsky. Next, a cook was found by Dmitry Yurievich, to whom the poison was transmitted. It remained a matter of little: to present the potion Shemyake, which was done. The grocer served his master a chicken. Twelve days of the Grand Duke overpowered "hvorob", after which he finally died. Investigation of the remains of Dmitry Shemyaka confirms that he died of poisoning.

A certain part of historians is sure thatthe death of Dmitry Donskoy's grandson is the work of the Novgorod boyars, who, in spite of everything, wanted to settle their conflict with Vasily the Second. For the Novgorod nobility Grand Duke Uglitsky, Galitsky and Moscow, who began to lose credibility and position in power, very soon became unsuitable.

Anyway, the unexpected death of a grandsonDmitry Donskoy caused a lot of questions in society. The fact that he was poisoned in such a mean way, caused a storm of indignation. From the prince-usurper Dmitry Shemyaka almost instantly turned into a martyr, whom the enemies won in an unfair battle.

Later, with undisguised annoyance about the unfair reprisal against the Grand Duke, he wrote a distant relative - Andrei Mikhailovich Kurbsky.

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