(also, M. Zalizniak). Born in the early 1740’s, in the village of Medvedovka, near Chigirin; year and place of death unknown. Zaporozhian cossack, one of the leaders of the Peasant War of 1768 in the Right-bank Ukraine against the Polish szlachta (gentry). Son of a poor peasant.
As a boy, Zhelezniak entered the Zaporozhian Sech’; he worked as a hired laborer. When the uprising flared up in the area of Cherkassy in May 1768, he took command of a detachment of insurrectionists. With other leaders of the uprising he was captured by tsarist officers, punished by the rod (running the gauntlet) and branding, and was sent to Siberia. His eventual fate is unknown.