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    Shuysky Tribute. 411 years ago Tsar of Russia paid homage to Polish King

    On October 29, 1611, Hetman Stanislaw Żółkiewski returned triumphantly to Warsaw from Moscow. In the retinue passing through the city was the captured Tsar Vasily IV Shuysky, who at the Royal Castle humbled himself before the Polish King Sigismund III Vasa and teenage prince Władysław. The country’s strength, however, was illusory, and the humiliation inflicted on the Russians became the cause of centuries of strife and severe acts of revenge.

    On October 29, 1611, the Shuysky Tribute (sometimes also called Russian Homage) took place in Warsaw. So, exactly 411 years ago, Hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski made a triumphal entry into Warsaw after his victory at Klushino, where the Polish army crushed the Russian Tsar’s army, which was several times more numerous.


    In the solemn procession led to the Royal Castle were the captive Tsar Vasily IV Shuysky and his brothers Dmitry (commander of the Russian-Swedish forces at the Battle of Klushino) and Ivan. They gave the oath of allegiance to Polish King Sigismund III Vasa in the Senate Room of the Royal Castle in the presence of the nobility and the Senate.


    Together with Tsar and his brothers, there were also Grand Duchess Ekaterina Grigoryevna (a daughter of Ivan the Terrible’s associate Malyuta Skuratov; Dmitry’s wife), Patriarch Filaret and military commander Mikhail Shein. 



    The dethroned tsar, along with his brothers and sister-in-law, settled in Warsaw, from where – after the fire in the edifice where they lived – they were moved to the suburban town of Gostynin.


    Vasily Shuysky died in Gostynin on September 22, 1612. Less than a week after his death, his brother, Dmitry, and his wife, Ekaterina, also died. The most likely reason for their deaths was an infectious disease, although the sudden death of three members of the Shuysky family raised suspicions that they were victims of poisoning.


    In 1892, Jan Matejko (a Polish painter known for depicting nodal events from polish history) painted a picture entitled: “The Shuisky Tsars at the Warsaw Seym,” which commemorated the 1611 event.


    The Shuysky Princes before King Sigismund III (Jan Matejko, 1982) // credits to:


    On the Documentary and Feature Film Studios (WFDiF) website, we can read that the “1892 painting depicts a little-known event in Polish history when Tsar Vasily IV Shuysky, along with his brothers, paid tribute to the King of Poland, Sigismund III Vasa, following the defeat of Russian troops at the battle of Klushino, on July 4th, 1610. This was an unprecedented victory for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which regained the strategically important fortress of Smolensk that it had lost in 1514. For centuries, the tribute was a thorn in the side of Russian Tsars, who sought to suppress all memory of the event and destroy the documentary evidence.” 

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