How the weather disrupted the Kazan campaign of 1547–1548
Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich personally headed the new campaign against Kazan. The decision was announced with extraordinary solemnity:
"… the Tsar and Grand Duke Ivan Vasilyevich of All Russia with the Metropolitan and s brothers and s bolyars conceived to go against his foe against the Kazan tsar Safa-Kirey and against the perjurers of Kazan for their perjury."
True, because of the fire in Moscow and the riots, the campaign had to be postponed until winter.
In November 1547, the troops headed by the voivode Dmitry Belsky set out along the winter route, in December the sovereign himself departed. It was no longer an easy raid. Infantry regiments and artillery - the "outfit" were concentrated in Vladimir. From Vladimir, the troops set out for Nizhny Novgorod. On Meschera, the second army was preparing under the command of Shah-Ali and the governor Fyodor Prozorovsky. It consisted of cavalry regiments, which were supposed to go in the steppe to the meeting point of the two men appointed at the mouth of the Tsivili River.
But the winter turned out to be unusually warm and rainy, which made the trip even longer. The cannons were stuck in the mud. From Moscow to Vladimir and Nizhny, they were dragged by "a great need." The "outfit" was delivered to Vladimir only after Epiphany (December 6). The main forces arrived in Nizhny Novgorod only at the end of January 1548. And on February 2, Russian troops went down the Volga to the Kazan border. When the Volga was crossed, a big thaw began, the ice became covered with water, and began to fall under the weight of the cargo.
As the historian N. M. Karamzin wrote:
“When the king … arrived on the island of Robotka, the entire Volga was covered with water: the ice cracked; the gunshot shell fell through and many people died. For three days the sovereign lived on the island and waited in vain for the way: finally, as if frightened by a bad omen, he returned with sorrow to Moscow.
Thus, an abnormally warm winter thwarted a large march to Kazan, which involved its assault and capture. Most of the artillery was lost. The tsar returned to Nizhny, then to Moscow. However, part of the regiments that crossed the river, led by Belsky, continued to move. On February 18, the troops united on the river. Civil with Shah Ali's cavalry regiments. The Russians went to Kazan. Safa-Girey led his army to the Arsk field, but was utterly defeated. Remnants of Kazan citizens were "trampled" into the city. They did not lay siege to Kazan without artillery, having stood under the walls for 7 days. They also walked through the khanate in a devastating wave.
Changes in Kazan
In the summer of 1548, the Kazanians made a retaliatory raid.
A large detachment of Arak the hero attacked the Galician and Kostroma places. The Kostroma voivode Zakhary Yakovlev overtook and defeated the enemy, burdened with prey and full on Gusev Pole, on the Ezovka River. Other Kazan detachments, having learned about the defeat of Arak, preferred to retreat.
Meanwhile, great changes have taken place in Kazan itself. In words, the local elite have always adhered to Islam. But the princes and murzas themselves did not always follow the rules of their religion. In particular, according to the old tradition, they liked to drink. It happened that the Russian troops took advantage of this and smashed a drunken enemy.
Safa-Girey was a bitter drunkard. In March 1549, Moscow was informed of the death of the Kazan Khan. In a drunken state, he slipped and killed himself in his mansion about the "washing house". True, there are certain doubts about this news. It is possible that the eccentric khan, who brought Kazan a lot of troubles, was simply eliminated, taking advantage of his binge.
Kazan tried to get a new king from the Crimea, but their ambassadors could not fulfill the mission entrusted to them. As a result, the two-year-old son of Safa-Girey, Utyamysh-Girey, was proclaimed khan. His mother, Queen Syuyumbike, began to rule in his name.
Kazan campaign 1549-1550
The citizens of Kazan offered Moscow to conclude peace. However, the Russian government no longer believed the perjurers. The Cossacks intercepted the Kazan ambassadors to the Crimea “on the Field” and in Moscow they knew that the Kazan people were expecting the Crimeans and Turks. The government of Ivan Vasilyevich decided to take advantage of the dynastic crisis in Kazan and continue the war.
However, Moscow was not able to immediately take advantage of the favorable situation on the eastern border. It was necessary to cast new cannons to replace the drowned ones. And the Cannon Yard burned down during the fire. Livonia did not allow weapons-grade copper to enter Russia. In addition, it was not possible to immediately send large forces to the Volga. The best Russian regiments from spring to autumn 1549 stood on the southern border, on the "coast", where the attack of the Crimeans was expected.
In the summer, it was possible to send only the light army of the Saltykovs to the Kazan places. The raid was obviously of a reconnaissance and demonstration nature, so that the enemy would not be naughty.
A large campaign was organized already in the winter of 1549-1550.
The regiments were assembled in Vladimir, Suzdal, Shuya, Murom, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Rostov and Yuryev in November 1549. The army was led by the king himself.
On December 20, from Vladimir to Nizhny Novgorod with siege artillery, the governors Vasily Yuriev and Fedor Nagoy advanced. The regiments were seen off by Metropolitan Macarius and Vladyka of Krutitsk Sava. The Metropolitan called on the governor and the children of the boyars "for the sake of Christianity" to go on a campaign "without places", threatened with punishment. The fact is that the campaign was greatly hampered by the parochial disputes of the voivods, the noble boyars did not want to obey the "noble" ones. Ivan Vasilievich, trying to appease the unruly aristocrats, summoned the metropolitan to Vladimir to stop the boyars' quarrels.
On January 23, 1550, the Russian army set out from the Lower and went down the Volga to the Kazan lands. This trip also turned out to be difficult. Severe frosts hit, many people froze to death or were frostbitten. Russian regiments reached Kazan on February 12. The tsar offered the citizens of Kazan to surrender the fortress.
There was a hope to take the city without a fight, in Kazan there was a pro-Russian party that promised to open the gates. But these promises turned out to be empty. Siege work began: they set up tours - siege towers, batteries. The shelling of the fortress began. They tried to go to the assault, but he was ill-prepared, there were no gaps or breaks in the walls. Kazan fought desperately. The felling lasted the whole day, the warriors climbed the walls, they were thrown from there. The attack drowned.
The weather failed again. According to the chronicles, an early and strong thaw began, “The winds are strong, and the rains are great, and the phlegm is immeasurable; and it is not powerful to shoot from cannons and squeaks, and it is not possible to approach the city for phlegm."
The Russian army stood at Kazan for 11 days and it rained all the time, "great sputum" came, many rivers opened. Gunpowder is wet. The roads turned into streams of mud, disrupting the supply of food.
As a result, on February 25, the tsar turned the troops back. The case could turn out to be a complete failure. Kazan, seeing that the Russians were leaving, grew bolder, rallied and began to persecute. They could dismember, crush and destroy the exhausted Russian regiments stretched out on the march to the Volga. However, the light cavalry regiments threw back the enemy. The Russians successfully crossed the Volga, crossing the dangerous ice, taking their outfit and carts with them.
Preparing a new campaign
Thus, Kazan could not be taken due to unfavorable weather and local disputes between the boyars, who delayed the army's advance.
But the main reason for the failures of 1547-1550 (and earlier campaigns) was the impossibility of organizing the supply of a large army. The Russian army operated away from their cities, in enemy territory. The rear disturbed the enemy light detachments, which used a good knowledge of the terrain, hid from retaliatory strikes in the forests and swamps.
To remedy this situation, it was decided in the next 1551 to erect a new fortress at the mouth of the Sviyaga River, on Round Mountain. It was located 20 versts from Kazan. From the Sviyazhsk fortress, the Russians could control the entire right bank ("Mountain Side") of the Volga and the nearest approaches to Kazan. The main part of the walls and towers, as well as living quarters and two churches of the future fortress in the winter of 1550-1551 were prepared in advance on the Upper Volga in the Uglitsky district in the patrimony of the princes Ushatykh. The clerk Ivan Vyrodkov was responsible for the construction, who was instructed not only to make the city, but then, disassembled, to deliver it to the mouth of the Sviyaga.
This large-scale operation was covered by the raid of Prince Peter Serebryany. In the spring of 1551, he received an order to go with the regiments "exiled to the Kazan posad." At the same time, the Vyatka army of Zyuzin and the Volga Cossacks were to occupy all transportations along the main transport arteries of the region: the Volga, Kama and Vyatka. To help Zyuzin, 2,500 Cossacks were sent from the Meshchera, led by the atamans Severga and Yolka. The Cossacks had to "Polem" go to the Volga, build plows and go up the river to fight the Kazan places. The Cossacks reached the Volga and established contact with the army of Zyuzin, operating on Vyatka. Other detachments of the Cossacks operated on the Lower Volga. Nuradin (ruler) of the Nogai horde, Ishmael, complained about them to Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich. He wrote to Moscow that the Cossacks "took both banks of the Volga and our freedom was taken away and our uluses are fighting."
In April 1551, the army of commanders Mikhail Voronov and Grigory Filippov-Naumov left Ryazan "for the Field". The Russian army was supposed to interrupt the connection between Kazan and the Crimea, to cover the southern border of the Russian kingdom.
The Host of Serebryany set out from Nizhny to Kazan on May 16, 1551, and already on the 18th was at the city walls. The attack by the Russians came as a complete surprise to the citizens of Kazan. The warriors of the Russian commander broke into the Kazan posad and inflicted heavy damage on the enemy. But Kazan quickly came to their senses and rushed to the counterattack. The Russians were pushed back to the courts, 50 archers led by the centurion Skoblev were surrounded and captured. Having retreated from Kazan, the army of Serebryany broke the camp on the river. Sviyage, waiting for the arrival of the regiments of Shah-Ali (Tsar Shigalei), which covered the delivery of the main part of the Sviyazhsky castle. A large river caravan set out in April and approached Round Mountain at the end of May.
The activity and scale of the actions of the Russian army stunned the citizens of Kazan and distracted them from the construction of the fortress on Sviyaga. On May 24, Shah Ali and his people began to cut down the forest on the site of the future city. Then the walls, towers and internal buildings were erected. The fortress was erected in 4 weeks. The new city was named "in the royal name" Ivangorod Sviyazhsky. It was a Russian bridgehead on the territory of the Kazan Khanate. Local residents (“mountain people) asked to accept them into Russian citizenship. Chuvash and mountain Cheremis-Mari finally go over to the side of Moscow.
The active and successful actions of the Russian troops, the loss of subjects, the blockade of the waterways of the Khanate by Moscow detachments caused another internal crisis in Kazan. A conspiracy has matured in the city, directed against the Crimean party led by the ulan Koschak, the favorite of the queen Syuyumbike. The Crimeans, seeing that they are in the minority and they want to hand them over to Ivan Vasilyevich in order to make peace with Moscow, gathered and fled from the city, having robbed him before that. However, a small detachment of Crimeans - about 300 uhlans, princes, murzas and "good Cossacks", could not leave. There were Russian outposts on all the convenient transports. Koshchak's detachment strongly deviated from the original path, went to Vyatka, where Russian warriors stood in ambush. When the Tatars began the crossing, they were attacked by the army of Zyuzin, atamans Pavlov and Sverga. Most of the Tatars were killed, 46 people led by Koschak were taken prisoner. They were taken to Moscow, where Ivan IV "for their cruelty" ordered their execution.
The new Kazan government, headed by the oglan Khudai-Kul and the prince Nur-Ali Shirin, entered into negotiations with Moscow. Kazan again agreed to accept King Shah-Ali (previously he had already been Kazan Khan twice). The Kazan ambassadors agreed to hand over Khan Utyamysh and Syuyumbike to the Russian side, recognize the annexation of the mountain (western) side of the Volga to the Russian kingdom, and prohibit the enslavement of Christians.
August 14, 1551 on the field at the mouth of the river. Kazanka held a kurultai, at which the Kazan nobility and clergy approved the terms of the agreement concluded with Moscow. On August 16, Shah Ali solemnly entered Kazan. With him were representatives of Russia boyar Ivan Khabarov and clerk Ivan Vyrodkov. On the next day, the citizens of Kazan handed over 2,700 of the most prominent Russian prisoners to the sovereign.
However, the reign of the new Kazan tsar was short-lived. His position among the nobility was very weak. Shah Ali could strengthen his position in the Kazan Khanate only with the help of a strong Russian garrison. But, despite the threat of an uprising, Shah-Ali agreed to bring into Kazan only 300 Kasimov princes, Murzas and Cossacks loyal to him, and 200 Russian archers. The local elite was unhappy with the fact that it was necessary to hand over the remaining prisoners to Russia. Moscow also refused to return the residents of the Mountain Side under the authority of Kazan.
Khan tried to suppress the opposition with repression, but this did not help, only united his opponents. As a result, in Moscow, where they closely watched the situation in Kazan, they began to tend to the idea that it was necessary to recall the unpopular khan and replace him with the Russian governor. Khan, having learned about this, decided not to wait for the Russian governors and left Kazan himself. In March 1552, Shah Ali left the city under the pretext of a fishing trip. With him as hostages, he took the princes and murz accompanying him (84 people). The khan left for Sviyazhsk.
Moscow governors were sent to Kazan, but they could not enter the fortress. On March 9, the princes Islam, Kebek and Murza Alikey Narykov revolted. Opponents of peace with Moscow came to power. Astrakhan prince Ediger-Mohammed was invited to the Kazan table. Kazan residents resumed hostilities, trying to regain control of the Mountain side.