Reflecting Revolts during the Siege of Smolensk (1609–11): Internal Reports and Diplomatic Instructions

Kuzma V. Kukushin is PhD candidate at the Higher School of Economics (Russia) and focuses on 17th-century Russian politics. In his contribution to our collective volume “Ink and Blood – Writing Rebellion in Early Modern Times”, Kuzma will present diplomatic networks which shaped the Siege of Smolensk in 1609-1611:

“In the early 17th century the Muscovite Empire was shaken by a devastating civil war over dynastic succession that provoked overt Polish and Swedish intervention in its later phase. The Polish siege of Smolensk 1609-1611 was part of Sigismund III’s campaign for the Russian crown. Considerable parts of the Muscovite elite supported Sigismund’s son Prince Wladyslaw’s candidature against the unlucky reign of Tsar Vasily Shuisky (1606-1610), which created a climate of ubiquitous rebellion, treason and desertion. I will focus on the reports sent from the regional borderland authorities in Smolensk to Moscow (Smolensk regional archives) and on Tsar Vasily’s embassies’ mandates (from the archives of the Muscovite foreign office). The aim is to analyze both, how revolts were reflected in internally, and how they were represented on an international stage. The novelty of the paper is to follow the dynamic and complex interdependence between internal and external channels of communication.”

Siege of Smolensk, 1609, (c) public domain, wikimedia

Siege of Smolensk, 1609, (c) public domain, wikimedia

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