Skopin-Shuiskii, Mikhail

Skopin-Shuiskii, Mikhail Vasil’evich


Born Nov. 8 (18), 1586; died Apr. 23 (May 3), 1610, in Moscow. Russian state and military figure. Son of a boyar. Prince V. F. Skopin-Shuiskii.

In 1604, Skopin-Shuiskii became a stol’nik (high-ranking official) under Tsar Boris Godunov. In 1606, when Skopin-Shuiskii’s kinsman, Prince Vasilii Ivanovich Shuiskii, came to power, Skopin-Shuiskii was appointed a voevoda (military commander). He helped suppress the insurrection of I. I. Bolotni-kov and routed the rebel army near Moscow, outside the village of Kotly, but was defeated near Kaluga.

In 1608, Skopin-Shuiskii negotiated in Novgorod with the Swedes about forming an alliance against the Second False Dmitrii, who had laid siege to Moscow. In May 1609, after assembling a Russian detachment and receiving Swedish aid, Skopin-Shuiskii advanced on Moscow, routing the troops of Dmitrii’s supporters at Torzhok, Tver’, and Dmitrov. After liberating the cities of the Volga Region, he lifted the blockade of Moscow and triumphantly entered the capital in March 1610.

Skopin-Shuiskii’s growing popularity among Russia’s urban dwellers, peasants, and dvoriane (nobility or gentry) caused the tsar and boyars to fear for the fate of the throne. According to rumor, Skopin-Shuiskii was poisoned by Ekaterina Skuratova-Shuiskaia, the wife of the tsar’s brother. Skopin-Shuiskii was buried in the Arkhangel’skii Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin.