Mikhail Shein

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Mikhail Borisovich Shein (Михаил Борисович Шеин, spelling is 'Shay-een') (?–1634) was a Russian warlord of Tsar Mikhail Romanov. Despite his tactical skills and successful military career, he ended up losing his army under Smolensk and being executed for this defeat. The first Russian generalissimo, Aleksey Shein, was his great grandson.

Revolts and awards

In the years 1602–1603 he put down peasant revolts, and in 1606–1607, revolt of Ivan Bolotnikov. For that, in 1605 he was promoted to okolnichy, and around late 1606 / early 1607 - to a boyar. In 1607 he also became the voivode of Smolensk.

First siege of Smolensk

Shein's prominence dates from 1607, when he was made a boyar and sent to govern the key western stronghold of Smolensk. It was he who commanded the Russian contingent for 20 months of its siege by the Poles. On midnight June 3, 1611, the Poles, led by a traitor, stormed the fortress. Shein put up a fierce resistance, but finally capitulated to Polish General Potocki. He was tortured in order to discover where the people of Smolensk concealed their fabulous treasures. For the following 9 years he was imprisoned in Warsaw together with his family.

Shein was allowed to return to Moscow in 1619, accompanying another illustrious captive, Patriarch Philaret. Subsequently, he became one of the latter's most trusted advisers. During the 1620s, Shein led the Cannon Prikaz and took part in various secret negotiations. The fame of his former...
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