"Prince Izyaslav Mstislavich offers peace and friendship to his uncle Vyacheslav." Engraving by Schliter from the picture of Claudius Lebedev
The story of South-Western Russia smoothly switched to the Principality of Galicia for a reason. It was with him that the most interesting events of the region in the XNUMXth – XNUMXth centuries turned out to be connected, which is explained by the vernacular there of a particular branch of the Rurikovich who tried to conduct an independent policy. The Volyn principality remained part of Russia, was directly dependent on Kiev and was inextricably linked with all its main processes, including strife and further fragmentation of destinies. If Volyn was once unified and, apart from Vladimir, Cherven and Przemysl could be distinguished, then after the loss of Subcarpathia, separate inheritances began to appear in the composition of the land like Lutsk, Belz, Brest, Dorogobuzh or Peresopnitsa.
The principality was headed mainly by the main bigwigs of Russian politics of that time or their closest relatives, because Volyn often served as the basis for their great undertakings - from campaigns against the Polovtsy to the struggle for Kiev. As a result of this, unlike the principality of Rostislavich, Volyn is difficult to perceive separately from the historical process in the rest of Russia. However, despite all the above, do not consider in more detail history principalities will still be a crime against copyright tediousness, and therefore in the future a certain amount of material will be devoted to this.
After the expulsion of Prince Davyd Igorevich from Vladimir-Volyn in 1100, Yaroslav Svyatopolchich, son of the Kiev prince Svyatopolk Izyaslavich (the same one who participated in the blindness of Vasyl Rostislavich, Prince Terebovli), settled there. Moreover, he ruled not as a full-fledged ruler, but only as the governor of his father. Svyatopolk wanted as much as possible to control the resources of the rich Volhynia plus, probably, he feared a scenario similar to the Principality of Galicia, when the rich land, tired of strife, decided to separate from Kiev. This situation lasted a long 18 years, during which the principality managed to gain strength and develop, becoming even richer than before.
In 1113, Svyatopolk died, but his son continued to rule Volhynia. At the same time, clouds began to gather on the horizon. The power in Kiev was taken by Vladimir Monomakh, and Yaroslav became greatly afraid for his reign. He managed to quarrel with the Rostislavichs, who ruled in neighboring Subcarpathia. In 1117, it came to an open conflict, and the next year Monomakh, together with Volodar and Vasilk Rostislavich, expelled Svyatopolchich from Volyn. He also tried to fight for the principality, with the support of Poles and Hungarians, but died during the siege of Vladimir-Volynsky in 1123, according to chronicles, at the hands of Polish soldiers.
Yaroslav Svyatopolchich was replaced by Monomakhovichi: first, Roman, who was closely connected with the Rostislavichs by the bonds of a dynastic marriage, and in 1119, when he died, Andrei Vladimirovich, nicknamed Good, sat down to rule in Vladimir-Volynsky. Despite the fact that he had a chance to fight with his predecessor for the principality, his 16-year rule as a whole turned out to be quite quiet and calm, devoid of major conflicts that would affect the territory of Volyn. In 1135 he received the principality of Pereyaslav, transferring Volyn to the next prince.
The next was Izyaslav Mstislavich, one of the most prominent and prominent representatives of the Rurikovich times of strife. Before that, he had already managed to sit the prince in several destinations, and to remain completely landless, forced to fight along with his relatives to obtain new possessions. Prince of Kiev Yaropolk after a conflict in which he did not succeed, was forced to make concessions, and after another shuffling of princes and tables for Izyaslav, the Volyn principality was allocated. In 1139, Vsevolod Olgovich became the prince in Kiev, who for some time clashed with Izyaslav, but to no avail. In 1141, Izyaslav went to the same place as his predecessor - to Pereyaslavl.
Izyaslav Mstislavich was replaced by the son of Vsevolod, Svyatoslav, who ruled in Volyn until the death of his father in 1146. After this, the three-year reign of Vladimir Andreevich (son of Andrei Kind) followed, but already in 1149 Izyaslav Mstislavich (the same one) removed him from the princely post, putting his brother, Svyatopolk in Vladimir-Volynsky, who ruled the princedom from 1149 to 1154, for with the exception of two years, when the principality was directly controlled by Izyaslav expelled from Kiev, and Svyatopolk at that time ruled Lutsk. At the same time, the war with the Principality of Galicia was gaining momentum, where just at that time Vladimir Volodarevich sought to expand his possessions at the expense of Volyn, continuing his long-standing conflict with Izyaslav Mstislavich, which was described earlier.
After the death of Svyatopolk, his brother Vladimir Mstislavich became the prince in Vladimir-Volynsky. He did not rule for long, only 3 years, and the reason for his fall was a rather unexpected act: together with Vladimir Galitsky, he besieged Lutsk, where his nephew, Mstislav Izyaslavich, ruled. The Galicians tried to arrange the conquest of all Volhynia and help them in this, being the Volyn prince, was at least strange ... Near Lutsk, two Vladimirs had to face a very capable and skillful ruler in the person of Mstislav Izyaslavich, who was also a good commander. He, realizing that the forces are unequal, left Lutsk, but only in order to return with the Polish army, with the help of which he not only recaptured his city, but also drove out his uncle from Vladimir-Volynsky and sat there to reign on his own.
The reign of Mstislav Izyaslavich turned out to be closely connected with the next strife, which at that time almost did not stop in Russia. Already in 1158, Volyn, Galich, Smolensk and Chernigov got involved in the war against Kiev, where Izyaslav Davydovich, a representative of the Olgovich branch, was sitting. In 1159, he was succeeded in dropping from the princely post, which Mstislav himself sat on. Instead, the governor in Volyn became Prince Lutsk and his brother, Yaroslav Izyaslavich. However, our hero ruled Kiev for a very short time, after which he was forced to return to Volyn, returning his brother to Lutsk. In 1167, he again became the prince of Kiev, and this time for a longer time. Like last time, Yaroslav Izyaslavich remained to rule Volyn, but only as governor, and not as an independent prince (Mstislav wanted to preserve this inheritance for his son). In 1170, the Grand Duke of Kiev died, and it was the turn of a new change of power in Vladimir-Volynsky.
In short, Volhyn fully suffered from the frequent change of princes, strife and political instability. From quantity -which it literally ripples in the eyes, and without a hundred grams it’s quite difficult to figure out who is who, or even just remember the sequence of boards. Princes changed often, the longest in the 18th century were ruled by Yaroslav Svyatopolchich (13 years old) and Mstislav Izyaslavich (XNUMX years old), which could not but have their negative consequences for the region. However, the wind of change was already felt, and another Rurikovich from the Monomakhovich clan appeared on the horizon, which would drastically change the history of all South-West Russia ...
Now I have to again take a short pause in the tale of the events of that time. The reason lies in the need to describe the processes that were going on in the territory of South-West Russia at the indicated time in terms of social development and political relations between different groups of the population, without which subsequent events may seem unsaid or misinterpreted. Less text will be devoted to Galich, as it was already mentioned earlier; the main part of the article will be devoted to Volyn and its capital, the city of Vladimir.
Subcarpathia and Galich
The development of Subcarpathia, which since 1141 became part of the Principality of Galicia, and before that formed several destinies, was influenced by several factors that were absent in other regions of Russia, or were not so pronounced. There were important trade routes that converged in the city of Galich, which, coupled with convenient geographical and climatic conditions, the availability of land and water resources, made it possible to create a strong economy. The territory of the principality was very densely populated and well developed. At the same time, in the south, this land was adjacent to the steppe and Berlad - a medieval “wild field”, where everyone who did not find a place in the established social system of Russia settled down, forming a fairly large local freemen. In the XI-XII centuries, these territories were quickly developed and settled, approaching the development of the "old" inheritance of Przemysl and Zvenigorod.
Galich himself was a young city, and this affected its features. The old traditions here were not as strong as in other cities, but due to the rapid growth of the settlement, the newcomer was also strong. The Galician nobility was formed in relatively free conditions, for a long time did not have tangible power over the prince and therefore felt especially free, already in the middle of the XII century becoming a powerful aristocracy with an oligarchic bias. Huge profits came from various kinds of crafts, crafts and agriculture, and trade was also important. It was this, and not geographical proximity, that brought the Galician boyars in their spirit closer to the Hungarian nobility - extremely self-willed, independent, regularly arranging big problems for their kings, which is why the chronicles of the Hungarian court will make any “Game of Thrones” cry and puff with envy. The Galician boyars clearly intended to catch up and overtake their Magyar colleagues in this. The communities of the cities of Subcarpathia were still strong and played a prominent role, but they were already beginning to exfoliate into poor and wealthy citizens and often acted only as a blind tool in the hands of an ambitious nobleman who defends his goals.
And Galician land was rich, rich again and rich again, which has already been mentioned several times. In the event of any weakening of power in the principality itself or in South-Western Russia, two strong neighbors inevitably began to claim the principality: Poland and Hungary. Poles have long claimed the Cherven cities, and the Hungarians have just become involved in local political squabbles, suddenly realizing what kind of Klondike they have at their side. Given that the degradation of power in the region was growing rapidly, the beginning of a fierce struggle for Galich was just around the corner, compared with which the events of 1187-1189 would seem like a trifle ...
Volyn and Vladimir
Grand Duke Mstislav Izyaslavich. Figure V.P. Vereshchagin
In a completely different vein, Volyn developed at this time. If the Galician land was largely saturated with the spirit of freemen (universal in Berladi, the boyar in Galich itself), then the territory to the north of it continued to remain under the control of some central authority, although in Russia it became more and more degraded every year. This led to a much greater degree of centralization and community loyalty to the figure of the prince. Volyn, unlike Galich, was affected by specific fragmentation, which was characteristic at that time for all of Russia: small principalities appeared in Dorogobuzh, Peresopnitsa, Lutsk, but local communities continued to hold on to the main one, i.e. Vladimir-Volynsky. In parallel with this, large-scale changes took place in the Vladimir community itself, which were the result of past history and formed the basis for future history. These changes affected the mentality of the community.
It is important to understand: after eight centuries, various theories can be made about this, which will be based on the facts we know. There are several such theories, some of them are outdated, as over time more and more information about past events is revealed. Many theories have eminent historians in their ranks; serious studies are devoted to them. Nevertheless, these are still theories, and not the exact information about what exactly happened in the XNUMXth century, I swear by my mother! And yet, some theories better explain the essence of the events taking place at that time, so you can make some logical and believable picture.
In parallel, in the field of political thinking of the community, two processes were going on that could be called mutually exclusive if they did not concern different spheres of the principality's life. On the one hand, amid growing confrontation with neighboring principalities, as well as growing threats from Poland and Hungary, centralization of power began to take on more and more importance. Veche was still resolving issues at a general meeting, the boyars still acted as the voice of the community, although they had their own interests, but everywhere the clear awareness of the need for a strong ruler was strengthened, which could concentrate all the resources of the Volyn land in its hands and use them to protect her, and therefore, community, interests. Moreover, the awareness of the community of all the communities of the principality gradually led to the formation, so to speak, of a single community, where the individual members were the villages and suburbs of Vladimir, and the Vladimir community was only the first among equals. The consolidation and consolidation took place gradually, and it is difficult to say when this process was completed, but one thing is clear: it began to give its results already in the 2nd half of the XNUMXth century.
On the other hand, the community could not help but be disappointed by the continued connection with the center of Russia, i.e. Kiev, since in the struggle for it the Volyn princes spent a lot of resources that could be spent on strengthening the principality itself. This, in turn, reinforced the desire for decentralization, separation, and even the separation of the principality from Kiev, for the simplest reason: a united Russia was bogged down in strife, which had no end and edge. Even the unity of Russia was called into question. Many principalities behaved independently, did not recognize the supreme power of Kiev, or by means of its capture they tried to head the rapidly crumbling and decaying Rus. In such conditions, maintaining attachment to a degrading center threatened with sad consequences for Volhynia itself.
Thus, in the separation from a conditionally united state, which was already cracking at the seams and was actually on the verge of collapse, many saw salvation. Separated and strengthened, having waited until the rest weakened in squabbles, it was possible to return to the “big game” for Kiev with new forces and unite all Russia around itself. In this case, the Vladimir community would inevitably become one of the main ones, and the local boyars would become the main among the boyars of other principalities. And even in the event of failure, Volyn still remained with its own, remaining aloof from the constant change of princes and strife.
After all this, the evolution of the mentality of the Vladimir community towards establishing a strong monarchical power in Volyn seems quite logical. Only a strong prince could ensure the survival and prosperity of the state. At the same time, it was impossible to count on stable rule under the conditions of the continuing strife and all-Russian ladder, because of which the ruling princes were constantly changing and therefore few of them had an interest in the development of the territory, which he could leave tomorrow. Because of this, the only way out was the path of the Principality of Galicia, where strong princely power within the framework of only one dynasty of Rostislavich, the branch of Rurikovich, allowed a relatively small territory to defend its interests for many years and reflect the encroachments of more powerful neighbors on their lands.
Thus, by the end of the XII century in Volhynia, a social request could well form for the creation of its own statehood with its own ruling dynasty and princes who would be interested in developing their hereditary possessions. For the sake of such a ruler, who would become not just a fleeting ruler, but a real “his” prince, the community was ready to make big sacrifices and show such loyalty that might seem fantastic before. The future Galicia-Volyn state began to arise in the minds of people, and it remained only to wait for the prince, who would agree to go against a kind of Rurikovich in order to turn vast territories of South-Western Russia into his patrimony. The probability was very low, since such outstanding people who are able to go against the system are rarely born. But Volynians are incredibly lucky. In 1170, after the death of Mstislav Izyaslavich, his son Roman Mstislavich became the prince in Vladimir-Volynsky.
To be continued ...