Princely and boyar family in Russia during the 15th and 16th centuries. They descended from Gedimin, Grand Duke of Lithuania.
In 1482 Fedor Ivanovich Bel’skii (died c. 1505–06) and in 1500 his brother Semen Ivanovich Bel’skii (died after 1507) “departed” for Russia, where the former received an appanage at first in the western regions and later (after a fall from favor in 1493 and a pardon in 1497) in the Volga Region. The. Bel’skii family held these appanages until 1571. In 1498 Ivan III gave his niece, the Riazan’ princess Anna Vasil’evna, in marriage to Fedor Ivanovich Bel’skii. The sons of this marriage played an important role in the state and political life of 16th-century Russia. Dmitrii Fedorovich Bel’skii (first mentioned in 1521; died Jan. 13,1551), a boyar from 1530 on, was designated by Vasilii III Ivanovich as regent during the reign of Ivan IV, and he was an outstanding military leader during the 1530’s and 1540’s. Ivan Fedorovich Bel’skii (first mentioned in 1522; killed in May 1542 at Beloozero), was a boyar from 1534 on (he was in disfavor from 1534 to the summer of 1538). Beginning in the summer of 1540 he headed the Bel’skii government and was first adviser to Ivan IV. He was overthrown in January 1542 as a result of a conspiracy by the faction of the princely Shuiskii. Semen Fedorovich Bel’skii (first mentioned in 1522) fled to Lithuania during the summer of 1534 and subsequently took part in wars against Russia (1535, 1541). Ivan Dmitrievich Bel’skii (first mentioned in 1555; died May 24,1571), the son of Dmitrii Fedorovich, was a statesman and military leader. He was a boyar from 1560, and he fell into disfavor briefly in 1562. Beginning in 1565 he was head of the Boyar Duma in the zemshchina (the non-oprichnina part of Ivan IV’s realm), and he took part in the Zemskii Sobor (Land Assembly) in 1566. Ivan Dmitrievich perished together with his entire family during a raid on Moscow by the Crimean Tatars. This marked the end of the Bel’skii family. At various times the Bel’skiis had occupied an outstanding position among the Russian aristocracy and by marriages were related to the ruling dynasty.
REFERENCESVeselovskii, S. B. “Poslednie udely severo-vostochnoi Rusi.” In the collection Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 22. Moscow, 1947.
Zimin, A. A. Reformy Ivana Groznogo. Moscow, 1960.
V. D. NAZAROV