Marina Mniszech was born around 1588 as the daughter of Jadwiga Tarło and Jerzy Mniszech. All we know from her early youth is that she was taught to read and write, as well as singing, dance and embroidery. Around 1604 she met False Dmitriy I, a man who pretended to be the son of Ivan the Terrible, and agreed to marry him. The marriage ceremony took place in November 1605. She left for Moscow with a retinue of about 4,000 people and entered the city in Mary 1606. She was crowned on 8 May. She wore a Polish wedding dressing, while Dmitriy wore the armour of a Polish hussar.
Just nine days after her coronation False Dmitriy was shot and killed by conspirators. His body was first put on display, and it was later cremated, and the ashed were shot with a cannon towards Poland. Marina and her father were both imprisoned. She was forced to reject her royal title, which saved her life. She was sent back to Poland in July. However, this did not end the plotting. Marina secretly married another impostor, False Dmitriy II, after supposedly recognising him as her husband. She was pregnant when her second husband was killed in December 1610 and gave birth to a son named Ivan in January 1611.
Marina was now in desperate need of protection and found it with Ivan Zarusky, whom she married. He tried to promote her son as the next Tsar, but Michael Romanov was elected in 1613. They fled to Astrakhan, but the people of the city did not want them in their city, and they were forced to flee into the steppes. They were captured a month later by the Cossacks and were handed over to the new Tsar. Both Ivan Zarutsky and Marina’s son were executed in 1614. Marina died in prison, though there are rumours that she was strangled.
She is known in Russian Folklore as Marinka the Witch (the very name Marinka is the derogatory form of Marina), an enticing enchantress and supernatural witch.