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Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 469 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BASIL III., IvANOVICH (1479-1533), tsar of Muscovy, son of Ivan III. and Sophia Palaeologa, succeeded his father in 1505. A crafty prince, with all the tenacity of his race, Basil succeeded in incorporating with Muscovy the last remnants of the ancient independent principalities, by accusing the princes of Ryazan and Syeversk of conspiracy against him, seizing their persons, and annexing their domains (1517-1523). Seven years earlier (24th of January 1510) the last free republic of old Russia, Pskov, was deprived of its charter and assembly-bell, which were sent to Moscow, and tsarish governors were appointed to rule it. Basil also took advantage of the difficult position of Sigismund of Poland to capture Smolensk, the great eastern fortress of Poland (1512), chiefly through the aid of the rebel Lithuanian, Prince Michael Glinsky, who provided him with artillery and engineers from western Europe. The loss of Smolensk was the first serious injury inflicted by Muscovy on Poland and only the exigencies of Sigismund compelled him to acquiesce in its surrender (1522). Equally successful, on the whole, was Basil against the Tatars. Although in 1519 he was obliged to buy off the khan of the Crimea, Mahommed Girai, under the very walls of Moscow, towards the end of his reign he established the Russian influence on the Volga, and in 1530 placed the pre-tender Elanyei on the throne of Kazan. Basil was the first grand-duke of Moscow who adopted the title of tsar and the double-headed eagle of the East Roman empire. By his second wife, Helena Glinska, whom he married in 1526, Basil had a son Ivan, who succeeded him as Ivan IV. See Sigismund Herberstain, Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii (Vienna, 1549) ; P. A. Byelov, Russian History Previous to the Reforms of Peter the Great (Russ.), (Petersburg, 1895) ; E. I. Kashprovsky, The War of Basil III. with Sigismund I. (Russ.), (Nyezhin, 1899). Basin IV., SHUISKY (d. 1612), tsar of Muscovy, was during the reigns of Theodore I. and Boris Godunov, one of the leading boyars of Muscovy. It was he who, in obedience to the secret orders of Tsar Boris, went to Uglich to inquire into the cause of the death of Demetrius, the infant son of Ivan the Terrible, who had been murdered there by the agents of Boris. Shuisky obsequiously reported that it was a case of suicide; yet, on the death of Boris and the accession of his son Theodore II., the false boyar, in order to gain favour with the first false Demetrius, went back upon his own words and recognized the pretender as the real Demetrius, thus bringing about the assassination of the young Theodore. Shuisky then plotted against the false Demetrius and procured his death (May 16o6) also by publicly confessing that the real Demetrius had been indeed slain and that the reigning tsar was an impostor. This was the viler in him as the pseudo-Demetrius had already forgiven him one conspiracy. Shuisky's adherents thereupon proclaimed him tsar (19th of May 16o6). He reigned till the 19th of July 161o, but was never generally recognized. Even in Moscow itself he had little or no authority, and was only not deposed by the dominant boyars because they had none to put in his place. Only the popularity of his heroic cousin, Prince Michael Skopin-Shuisky, who led his armies and fought his battles for him, and soldiers from Sweden, whose assistance he purchased by a disgraceful cession of Russian territory, kept him for a time on his unstable throne. In 1610 he was deposed, made a monk, and finally carried off as a trophy by the Polish grand hetman, Stanislaus Zolkiewski. He died at Warsaw in 1612. See D. I. Ilovaisky, The Troubled Period of the Muscovite Realm (Russ.), (Moscow, 1894) ; S. I. Platonov, Sketches of the Great Anarchy in the Realm of Moscow (Petersburg, 1899) ; D. V. Tsvyeltev, Tsar Vasily Shuisky (Russ.), (Warsaw, 1901—190) ; R. Nisbet Bain, Slavonic Europe, ch. viii. (Cambridge, 1907). (R. N. B.)
End of Article: BASIL III

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