Bel’skii, Bogdan Iakovlevich
Died 1611. Russian statesman of the second half of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century; a boyar.
Bel’skii began his career at the court of Ivan IV in the oprichnina. He took part in many campaigns and battles in the Livonian War of 1558—83. He was the keeper of the tsar’s weapons, and in the last years of Ivan IV’s life, he was his favorite. After the tsar’s death in 1584, Bel’skii attempted to put the tsarevich Dmitrii Ivanovich on the throne and restore the dominance of the oprichnina. But he was unsuccessful and was exiled to Nizhny Novgorod as voevoda (military governor). In 1598 he tried unsuccessfully to claim the throne. In 1600 he built the city of Tsarev-Borisov on the southern frontier.
Bel’skii was accused of plotting against Boris Godunov and was imprisoned and exiled. He was an active participant in the intrigues of the False Dmitrii I, and he received the rank of boyar from the latter (1605). After the False Dmitrii’s overthrow, Bel’skii was sent as voevoda to Kazan, where he was killed.