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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 897 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TSARDOM OF MUSCOVY] the ambitious boyars, nor the pillaging Cossacks, nor the German mercenaries were satisfied with the change, and soon a new impostor, likewise calling himself Dimitri, son of Tsar Ivan, came forward as the rightful heir. Like his predecessor, Pseudo- he enjoyed the protection and support of the Polish Denier- king, Sigismund III., and was strong enough to rlus 1H., compel Shuiski to abdicate; but as soon as the 1608-10. throne was vacant Sigismund put forward as a candidate his own son, Wladislaus. To this latter the people of Moscow swore allegiance on condition of his maintaining Orthodoxy and granting certain rights, and on this under-standing the Polish troops were allowed to occupy the city and the Kremlin. Then Sigismund unveiled his real plan, which was to obtain the throne not for his son but for himself. This scheme did not please any of the contending factions and it roused the anti-Catholic fanaticism of the masses. At the same time it was displeasing to the Swedes, who had become rivals of the Poles on the Baltic coast, and they started a false Dimitri of their own in Novgorod. Russia was thus in a very critical condition. The throne was vacant, the great nobles quarrelling among themselves, Accession the Catholic Poles in the Kremlin of Moscow, the of the Protestant Swedes in Novgorod, and enormous bands house of of brigands everywhere. The severity of the crisis Romanov. produced a remedy, in the form of a patriotic rising of the masses under the leadership of a butcher called Minin and a Prince Pozharski. In a short time the invaders were expelled, and a Grand National Assembly elected as tsar Michael Romanov, the young son of the metropolitan Philaret, who was connected by marriage with t'he late dynasty. During the reign of Michael (1613–45) the new dynasty came to be accepted by all classes, and the country recovered Mlchae% to some extent from the disorders and exhaustion 1613-45. from which it had suffered so severely; but it was not strong enough to pursue at once an aggressive foreign policy, and the tsar prudently determined to make peace with Sweden and conclude an armistice of fourteen years with Poland. At the conclusion of the armistice in 1632, during a short interregnum in Poland, he attempted to avenge past injuries and recover lost territory; but the campaign was not successful, and in 1634 he signed a definitive treaty by no means favourable to Russia. That lesson was laid to heart, and he subsequently maintained a purely defensive attitude. As a precaution against Tatar invasions he founded fortified towns on his southern frontiers—Tambov, Kozlov, Penza and Simbirsk; but when the Don Cossacks offered him Azov, which they had captured from the Turks, and a National Assembly, convoked for the purpose of considering the question, were in favour of accepting it as a means of increasing Russian influence on the Black Sea, he decided that the town should be restored to the sultan, much to the disappointment of its captors. In the reign of Michael's successor, Alexius (1645–76), the country recovered its strength so rapidly that the tsar was A/exlus, tempted to revive the energetic aggressive policy 1645-76. and put forward claims to Livonia, Lithuania and Little Russia, but he was obliged to moderate his pretensions. Livonia continued to be under Swedish rule, and Lithuania remained united with Poland. Some advantages, however, were obtained. Smolensk and Chernigov were definitely incorporated in the tsardom of Muscovy, and great progress was made towards the absorption of Little Russia. Roughly speaking, Little Russia, otherwise called the Ukraine, may be described as the basin of the Dnieper south-The ward of the 51st parallel of latitude. In the 16th Ukraine. century it was a thinly populated region inhabited chiefly by Cossacks, speaking the so-called Little Russian dialect, and until 1569 it formed nominally part of Lithuania, but was practically independent. In that year, when Lithuania and Poland were permanently united, it fell under Polish rule, and the Polish government considered it necessary to tame the wild inhabitants and bring them under regular administration. For this decision there were good
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