Michael of Russia

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Mikhail Fyodorovich, (Russian: Михаил Фёдорович) - Mikhail Fyodorovich, also Michael Fydorovich, was the first Russian Tsar of the house of Romanov. He was the son of Fyodor Nikitich Romanov (later known as Patriarch Philaret and his wife Xenia (later known as "the great nun" Martha). His reign marked the end of the Time of Troubles.


Michael Romanov was born on July 12, 1596. His father Fyodor was the brother to the Tsarina Anastasia Romanovna, wife of Ivan IV (the Terrible), and an advisor to Ivan. In 1600, after the rise of Boris Godunov as tsar, Michael and his mother, Xenia, were exiled when his father was falsely accused of treason and also forced to take monastic vows as Philaret. Michael remained in exile thorough out the Time of Troubles, a time when the occupant of the Russian throne was disputed.

During the Time of Troubles, Michael remained at the Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma. It took until March 24 for the delegates of the Zemsky Sobor (national assembly) to find him after his unanimous election by the Sobor as Tsar on February 21, 1613. Only sixteen, Michael was crowned on July 11, 1613, after the boyars overcame the protests of his mother, now the nun Martha after being compelled to take monastic vows by Boris Godunov, that he was too young to take the throne during such a troublesome time. Also there was a need to restore decent accommodations in the badly damaged city of Moscow.

Michael's first task as tsar was to clear the Russian land of the countries occupying it. Peace with Sweden was made at the Treaty of Stolbovo on February 17, 1617, followed by a treaty with Poland at the Truce of Deulino on December 1, 1618). As part of the Truce of Deulino was the return from imprisonment in Poland of Michael's father, Philaret. Philaret upon his return to Moscow was enthroned Patriarch of Moscow on June 2, 1619 and was placed on equal footing with Tsar Michael with the title of grand sovereign. He came to dominated Michael’s government.

Thus, from 1619 until Patr. Philaret's death in 1633 there were two actual sovereigns of Russia, Tsar Michael and his father, the most holy Patriarch Philaret. While theoretically they were co-regents, Patr. Philaret frequently transacted affairs of state without consulting Michael. Philaret replenished the treasury by a more equable and rational system of assessing and collecting the taxes. His most important domestic measure was the chaining of the peasantry to the soil, a measure directed against the ever increasing migration of the down-trodden serfs to the steppes, where they became freebooters instead of tax-payers. The taxation of the tsar's military tenants was a first step towards the proportional taxation of the hitherto privileged classes. After the death of Patr. Philaret, Michael’s maternal relatives played prominent roles in his government until he died and left his throne to his son Alexis.

Tsar Michael married twice, first in 1624, to Princess Maria Vladimirovna Dolgorukova, who died four months later, and then, on February 5, 1626, to Eudoxia Streshneva, with whom he had ten children, three sons and seven daughters. Tsar Michael reposed on July 12, 1645.

Succession box:
Michael of Russia
Preceded by:
Theodore II
Tsar of Russia
1613 - 1645
Succeeded by:
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