Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich
Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich Romanov (Tishayshiy) (1629-1676), son of the first tsar of the Romanov dynasty, Mikhail Fedorovich, by his marriage with Yevdokia Streshneva. The second Russian tsar of the Romanov dynasty (1645-1676).
With his accession to the throne, Tsar Alexei came face to face with a whole series of questions that worried Russian life in the 17th century. Little prepared to resolve such issues, he initially listened to the opinion of his former uncle B. I. Morozov, but soon began to take an independent part in affairs himself. In this activity the main features of his character were finally formed. The autocratic Moscow tsar, judging by his letters, had a remarkably mild, good-natured character, was, according to G. K. Kotoshikhin, “much quieter.” The spiritual atmosphere in which Tsar Alexei lived, his upbringing, character and reading of church books developed religiosity in him. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays the tsar did not drink or eat anything during all the fasts, and in general was a zealous performer of church ceremonies. To the veneration of external ritual was also joined an inner religious feeling, which developed in Tsar Alexei a Christian humility. “And to me a sinner,” he writes, “the honor of this place is ashes”. The tsar’s religiosity also had ideological content. According to the British researcher F. Longworth, the tsar regarded himself “as an icon to be worshipped by Russian people,” as “a god crowned porphyrogenitor,” whose “majesty and piety should have inspired awe in his subjects and, consequently, obedience.
The king’s good-naturedness and humility, however, were sometimes replaced by brief outbursts of anger. Once the Tsar, who had been bled by a German “doctor,” ordered the boyars to try the same remedy. Rodion Streshnev did not agree. Tsar Alexei personally “humbled” the old man, but then did not know what gifts to placate him.
Samuel Collins, the English physician at the tsar’s court, reported:
His amusement consists in falconry and hound hunting. He keeps more than three hundred keepers for falcons and has the best gyrfalcons in the world, which are brought from Siberia and beat ducks and other game. He hunts bears, wolves, tigers, and foxes, or, better said, poisons them with dogs. When he leaves, the East Gate and the inner wall of the city are locked until he returns.