Pskov Defense of 1581–82

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pskov Defense of 1581–82


the heroic defense of Pskov by its garrison and citizens in the last stages of the Livonian War of 1558–83 against the Polish king Stephen Báthory.

Báthory’s first detachments appeared near Pskov on August 18, and the bulk of the Polish army of some 50,000 men surrounded the town on August 24–26. Although the official commander of Pskov was Prince V. F. Skopin-Shuiskii, the defense was actually organized by Prince I. P. Shuiskii, who commanded approximately 4,000 noblemen, musketeers, and cos-sacks and about 12,000 armed inhabitants of Pskov and its environs. The Polish Army launched its first attack on September 8, after two days of bombardment, but it was repulsed with heavy losses. Attempts to tunnel under and blow up the fortifications and a second attack on November 2 were also unsuccessful, and Báthory then settled down to a siege. In November part of his forces unsuccessfully attacked the Pskov-Pechory Monastery.

Russian guerrilla attacks on enemy foragers and communication lines began in September, and sorties by the Pskov garrison became frequent in November and December. Báthory’s military failure prompted him to sign the Iam-Zapol’sk Armistice, and on Feb. 4, 1582, the last Polish-Lithuanian detachments left Pskov. The most important outcome of the defense of Pskov was the disruption of Báthory’s plans for expansion into Russia.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.