Hlynsky, Mykhailo

Hlynsky, Mykhailo [Hlyns’kyj, Myxajlo], b ca 1460, d 15 September 1534. A member of the Ukrainian nobility. He studied in Western Europe, where he served at the court of Emperor Maximilian I and entered the military service of Prince Albert of Saxony and converted to Catholicism. Upon his return to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1497, he rose rapidly in the service of Alexander Jagiellończyk. He was endowed with large estates in Ukraine and Belarus and was appointed a marshal of the court (1499) and a member of the Council of Lords of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The closest adviser to the grand duke, he used his influence to obtain high offices for other Ukrainian nobles. After Alexander was elected king of Poland in 1501, Hlynsky ran the affairs of Lithuania in his absence. His Ukrainian orientation incurred the hostility of the Lithuanian nobles. With the death of Alexander, his influence waned. Although he supported the election of the new king, Sigismund I the Old, he fell from favor and was even accused of poisoning Alexander. Together with his brothers Vasyl and Ivan Hlynsky he led an unsuccessful uprising (1507–8) of Ukrainian and Belarusian landowners against Sigismund and the Lithuanian nobles. Subsequently the brothers fled to Muscovy, where they became boyars. During the Lithuanian-Muscovite War of 1514, Hlynsky led a large Muscovite force against Smolensk. But feeling mistreated, he began secret negotiations to switch allegiances. He was found out, accused of treason, and imprisoned in Moscow. He was released only after his niece, Elena, married Grand Prince Vasilii III Ivanovich in 1526. After Vasilii's death in 1533, Elena became regent and Hlynsky became her principal counselor but was soon accused of trying to seize power; he was again imprisoned in 1534 and starved to death in that year.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]




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