Shein, Mikhail

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shein, Mikhail Borisovich


Date of birth unknown; died Apr. 28, 1634. Russian military leader and state figure. Helped suppress uprisings of peasants and kholopy (bondmen) in 1602 and 1603 and the peasant uprising led by I. I. Bolotnikov in 1606 and 1607.

Shein became an okol’nichii (a noble ranking below the boyars) in 1605 and a boyar in late 1606 or early 1607. In late 1607 he was appointed voevoda (military governor) of Smolensk. During the intervention in Russia by Polish and Lithuanian feudal lords, Shein directed the defense of Smolensk of 1609–11. When the Poles took Smolensk on June 3, 1611, the wounded Shein was captured and taken to Poland with his family.

Shein returned to Russia in 1619 and became one of the closest associates of Patriarch Filaret. Shein headed a sysknoi prikaz, or office for the search, pursuit, and capture of fugitive posadskie liudi (merchants and artisans), in 1620 and 1621 and from 1625 to 1628 and the Pushkarskii Prikaz (Office of Field Ordnance) from 1628 to 1632. In the 1620’s and early 1630’s he took part in numerous diplomatic negotiations, some of them secret.

In April 1632, Shein was appointed commander of the army in the Russo-Polish War of 1632–34. After the Russian troops were forced to capitulate on Feb. 15, 1634, he was unjustly accused of numerous mistakes and crimes, including treasonous acts beneficial to Wladyslaw IV, and was executed by order of the Boyar Duma. Shein’s property was confiscated, and members of his family were exiled.

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