Strengthening and equipping his country, Grand Duke Andrei wanted to secure its south-eastern borders. For this it was necessary to end the predatory robbery of the Bulgars, who made raids in order to capture people for sale into slavery in the southern countries (the ancient trade route ran along the Volga). In the summer of 1164, Andrei carried out the first after the campaign of Yuri Dolgoruky (1120) a campaign against the Volga Bulgar, rather than a punitive raid, which usually responded to the Bulgar raids. Not only the regiments of the grand duke, but also the retinue of his brother Yaroslav, sons and prince Yury of Murom, went on the march. This campaign was also an exam for the new infantry regiments of Andrei Bogolyubsky.
The Bulgarians-Bulgars learned in advance about the Russian campaign and were well prepared. A large army was assembled, which included not only the militia of cities and tribes, but well-armed detachments of Khorezm mercenaries. 1 August 1164, the battle took place. The Russian center, where the infantry stood, was attacked by the enemy. Clouds of arrows interspersed with waves of enemies. The enemy tried to break through the deadly Russian "wall" of spears and shields. Dead and wounded fell, but the ranks closed again, not allowing them to break the line. On the flanks of the prince's cavalry squads struck counterattacks, cutting in the enemy order. They were restrained by selected Muslim cavalry. The fight was boiling, many knights fell. Among them was the son of the Grand Duke - Izyaslav, he received a severe wound, warriors saved him from death (but the wound turned out to be strong, Izyaslav died in 1165, year). In the midst of the battle, when the main forces of the enemy were drawn into the battle, Andrei and Yaroslav personally led to the enemy select squads - the nobles, "the merciful". The enemy cavalry was overturned by a ram strike, the surviving Bulgars fled. The enemy infantry, seeing that it was being bypassed, also ran. It was a victory. Bulgarian king escaped "in the male squad."
Developing success, the army of Andrew walked on Kame. Russian troops took Brahimov and four more cities. The Bulgarians asked for peace, agreed to pay tribute, and promised no longer to disturb the Russian lands. By this time, the first wife of Grand Duke Julitta (the daughter of the boyar Kuchka) had died, so the contract was sealed by a wedding — the Bulgarian princess was given the name of Bogolyubsky (her name история did not save). This victory was costly, hundreds of warriors died and were wounded, soon the son of Grand Duke Izyaslav died. However, Russia did not know such a victory over the external enemy for a long time, the forces of the princes were more often wasted in internecine wars. Bogolyubsky 1 August in honor of the victory set a holiday in honor of the All-Merciful Savior and the Most Holy Mother of God (now known as Honey Spas). It should be noted that from the point of view of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, it was a great audacity - some prince of their dense, barbarous land allowed himself to set up a church holiday. Andrew founded in Russia and another church feast - the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos. In 1165, the great sovereign built the first temple of the Intercession - an amazing temple on the Nerl, near Bogolyubovo. This holiday has become very popular among the people, because it was rooted in a deep pagan past - according to the folk tradition, Autumn and Winter met on this day, field work was fully completed, which was noted by a number of rites. Thus, there was a process of merging the ancient Russian folk tradition and Christianity.
The policy of the Grand Duke and the Byzantine intrigues
In addition to the Vladimir state, Veliky Novgorod towered over the fragmented Russian land by the giant. Possessions of Novgorod covered vast territories from the north of European Russia to the Northern Urals. Novgorod jealously fled their independence, not allowing them to divide their lands into princely inheritances. No princes ruled the Novgorod land, but the boyar-merchant oligarchy - “three hundred golden belts”. However, the rich could not do without princes, they needed a symbol of power over the people and a military leader. Neighbors looked at the riches of Novgorod with interest. And war required professional warriors, not specialists in the field of commerce. It was necessary unity of command, rigid discipline. Therefore, the prince of Novgorod received the functions of a military leader during the fighting. The princes of Novgorod at that time usually chose the sons of Kiev, Smolensk and Suzdal sovereigns, so that they, if necessary, would support them with their regiments. For the protection of Novgorod shared the precious furs and silver, which came from behind the Stone (Ural).
It must be said that there was no unity among the “golden belts”, so the boyar-merchant families were divided into parties that supported various candidates for the title of Novgorod prince. Naturally, Prince Andrew, strengthening his power in the north, began to make his claims on the Novgorod table. He had quite a few supporters, and the Suzdal party overthrew Rostislav Svyatoslav Rostislavich (the son of Rostislav Naked), who reigned then. However, the Novgorodians acted too rudely: the prince himself was exiled to Ladoga, his wife was imprisoned in a monastery, prisoners were thrown into custody, the property was looted. Such an ugly attitude towards Svyatoslav, from whom Novgorod saw only good, to his pious father, caused irritation in Andrei. Vladimir sovereign had respect for Rostislav and preferred to negotiate with him. Bogolyubsky voluntarily conceded Novgorod and took the side of Rostislav.
Against the will of the two great sovereigns, Novgorod did not dare to speak and restored the position of Svyatoslav Rostislavich with an apology. This agreement was very helpful. In 1164, the Swedes attacked the lands of Novgorod. The enemy fleet from 55 ships went up along the Neva, and the Swedes besieged Ladoga. The townspeople with the posadnik Nezhatoy managed to shut up in the fortress. For four days they fought off the enemy onslaught. On the fifth day, Svyatoslav Rostislavovich and the Novgorod militia arrived with Zadar Zakhar with the squad. The Russians immediately attacked the enemy and broke into the Swedish camp. In a fierce battle, the Swedish army was destroyed, only 12 ships were able to flee. Many Swedes were captured.
After this, the relationship of Andrei and Rostislav the Pious has developed into a union. The troublemakers died down. Rostislav even managed to organize the princes to march against the Polovtsy, who used Russian unrest. Andrew continued the peaceful construction, turning Vladimir not only into a flourishing capital, but also the most important cultural center of Russia. Here began the chronicle writing, there appeared talented authors who raised the idea of gathering Russia. Andrew began to be called "king" and prince of all Russia.
It is clear that these successes annoyed opponents of the gathering of Russian lands into a single fist. According to Manuel, the Byzantine basileus, there could be only one “king” - “the Roman emperor”, and in Russia - archons, the spokesmen of his will, nothing more. The Byzantine sovereign did not even think to fulfill the promises given to Rostislav and Andrei (approval of Klim Smolyatich for the Kiev Metropolis and Fedor for the Rostov diocese, as well as the creation of the Vladimir Metropolis). The church was supposed to perform the role of an instrument controlling Rus. Naturally, in this case, the highest hierarchs should have had their own people (preferably the Greeks, who had undergone special training). As one can afford to have a Russian metropolitan, one can lose the main political instrument.
To begin with, the Patriarch of Constantinople Luka sent a very polite message to Andrei in 1164, which praised the prince of Vladimir for the spread of Christianity, the construction of churches, and monasteries. But in the sweet wrapper was a bitter stuffing, there was a refusal in the formulation of Fedor by the Rostov bishop. Moreover, the refusal was disguised, supposedly it is not yet possible to appoint a new bishop, since there was not yet a church trial over the old bishop Leon. It can only be judged by the Kiev Metropolitan, which is not yet available.
With the appointment of the Kiev Metropolitan also pulled. Prince Rostislav of Kiev considered that his request was simply forgotten and sent a new embassy in 1165. But the Kiev embassy met on the Dnieper the retinue of the new Metropolitan John, who was appointed without the consent of Kiev and did not even put Rostislav on notice. Rostislav was outraged, but the Byzantine emperor and the patriarch fell apart in flowery apologies. No words were spared, the deed was already done. John had already established himself in Kiev, having received the appropriate secret instructions and powers. He officially denounced “heresy” and “heretics”, under the heresy they summed up the custom to soften the fasting on Fridays on Wednesdays and Fridays. Holidays, introduced by Andrey Bogolyubsky, were rejected. Leon again returned to the Rostov diocese.
However, here the spit found on the stone. In Vladimir, the Byzantine spy and intriguer did not want to see. When Leon, with a whole retinue of Byzantine officials and agents, arrived in Vladimir-Suzdal Russia, Fedor locked the doors of the temples and did not give the keys. He acted with the consent of Andrei Bogolyubsky, therefore, not being able to use force, the uninvited guests left home. In Kiev, Prince Rostislav and the abbot of the Pechersky Monastery of Procopius could somewhat slow down the attacks of the new metropolitan.
But Rostislav was already an old man, he had little time. The Kiev metropolitan and metropolitan nobility were able to push the candidacy of Mstislav Izyaslavich Volynsky, who was a figure of the Byzantine basileus, onto the Kiev table. Rostislav was pressured, proving that this was the strongest candidate, that in another case, war would begin again. The sons of Rostislav - Roman Smolensky, Svyatoslav Novgorodsky, Rurik, Davyd, Mstislav, were offered the support of a new Kiev prince and additional cities. At the beginning of 1167, Rostislav the Devout traveled to Novgorod, once again took the oath from Novgorod to look for no other princes besides his son. And on the way back he passed away.
Kiev occupied Mstislav Izyaslavich. Initially, he seemed to have continued Rostislav’s line on ending the distemper in Russia. He agreed with the preservation for the sons of Rostislav inheritance in the principality of Kiev: Rurik Rostislavich kept Ovruch (Vruchy), and Davyd Rostislavich - Vyshgorod. He convened a congress of princes and in the spring of 1168, undertook a great campaign against the Polovtsy, inflicting a heavy defeat on the banks of the River Oreli, freeing many Russian captives. However, already in the course of this campaign, the prince’s severe vice (acquisitiveness) became apparent - he hid from the general section a considerable part of the spoil. This ruler was very indifferent to money and other wealth. Then he began to commit to oblivion the agreement with Rostislav the Pious. Expected additional cities Rostislavich not received. In Novgorod, a conspiracy was organized and a riot, three boyars, including Zakhara (the hero of the battle with the Swedes), were killed. Prince Svyatoslav Rostislavich was able to escape to Zalesye. The son of the Kiev Prince Roman Mstislavich was invited to the Novgorod table. So Mstislav became the pioneer of a great distemper in Russia.
The Grand Duke of Vladimir demanded that the Novgorodians take Svyatoslav back. The brother was also supported by the Prince of Smolensk land Roman Rostislavich. Rostislavich squads ravaged Novgorod "suburbs" - Torzhok and Velikie Luki. Roman Mstislavich who arrived in Novgorod burned the Smolensk city of Toropets, stole many thousands of people. At the same time, the Kiev Grand Prince decided to get rid of the princes Davyd Vyshgorod and Rurik Ovruchsky. Thus, he struck at the clan Rostislavich, decided their support in the vicinity of Kiev and expanded their possessions. Mstislav invited the brothers to Kiev, where they had already prepared dungeons for them. However, among the Kiev boyars found well-wishers brothers and warned them. The Kiev prince immediately changed his tactics - he began demanding the extradition of the boyars-traitors, who slandered him. Thus, he received a reason to find fault with Rurik and Davyd. The prince of Vladimir supported the Rostislavites, unequivocally stating that he was ready to replace his father with them.
At this moment, Byzantium also said its word. At this time, the deceased Metropolitan John was replaced by Konstantin, and he continued the implementation of the plan to subordinate Russia to Byzantine basileus. He closed his eyes to the unrest in Novgorod, the actions of Mstislav and gave him full support. A harsh letter was sent to Andrew Bogolyubsky demanding that Fyodor be sent to the court of the Metropolitan. Vladimir sovereign and Fyodor did not fulfill this command. Trying to find justice, they turned to the bishops and the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople struck its blow - a powerful information campaign began on the persecution of Bogolyubsky. The well-known theologian Bishop of Turov, who began to write to Andrei incriminating messages about “insane dignitaries and violent priests”, wrote the parable about “the blind and the lame”. The “mad dignitary” and “blind” meant “Vladimir Prince Vladimir”, and the “exuberant priest” and “lame man” - Fedor. They were exhibited in the form of thieves who encroached on someone else's garden. On what belonged to the Christian Church, the emperor, what was meant - to the Lord God himself. Patriarch Luke forgot about the courtesy of the past and refused to establish the metropolis in Vladimir. He began to insist that the prince sent Fyodor to the court of the Metropolitan. Otherwise, he threatened to excommunicate the prince and the entire land of Zalessky from the church.
Andrew, having considered the situation, decided not to go to a radical break and send Fyodor to Kiev. He was accustomed to measure his steps with the interests of the church, besides, one could argue with the sentence of the Metropolitan, to find supporters among Russian hierarchs, just to ignore it. He did not expect that the Greeks conceived a demonstrative massacre to strike at him, to put the prince of Vladimir in place. The exiled Bishop Leon, with the help of the Rostov boyars, which was also not quite the policy of Andrew, prepared denunciations and complaints of the “local population”. In 1168, a trial took place that accused Fedor of imposture, heresy, and even “blasphemy” against the Virgin Mary. Fedor was sent to the Byzantium in shackles, and there he was cruelly executed. For "heresy" they cut off the tongue, for "hula" they cut off his hand and gouged out his eyes, he died in terrible agony. It was a strong political blow to Andrew and Russia. It turned out that the Russian land is the patrimony of the Byzantine rulers.
Leon was again sent to Zalessky, raising him to the rank of archbishop. In Kiev, Metropolitan Constantine forbade service in the Pechersky Monastery and excommunicated Abbot Procopius, who was also accused of heresy. Kievan prince Mstislav did not hinder this, if only the Greeks would support him. He, together with the Kiev Metropolitan at the beginning of 1169, solemnly met the delegation of the Pope, an ally of the Byzantine basileus. Ambassadors of the Pope arrived in Kiev on a very important matter for Rome. Russian princes had to send their regiments to the west in order to fight on the side of the pope and the Byzantine emperor against their enemies (supporters of the German emperor Frederick Barbarossa). Kiev Metropolitan blessed this event, the ambassadors were honored at feasts. The prince of Kiev Mstislav was generally not against the idea, he just specified how much money he would get for it.
However, these negotiations had to be curtailed, since the army of Andrei Bogolyubsky was in Kiev.
Hike to Kiev
Andrei could not but respond to the provoking murder of Fyodor. At the head of the regiments and guards of the Vladimir-Suzdal land was his son Mstislav and the experienced Suzdal voivode Boris Zidislavich. Rostislavich, Bogolyubsky brothers, other masters, all 11 princes joined the army. Ryazan, Murom and Polotsk princes themselves did not come, but they sent troops. Against Mstislav made a large part of the Russian lands. Allies of Mstislav - Yaroslav Osmomysl Galitsky, Svyatoslav Vsevolodovich Chernigovsky and Yaroslav Izyaslavich Lutsky, stood aside. The Greeks and Poles were far away. As a result, Mstislav was left alone. In addition, he sent part of the squad to help his son in Novgorod.
Kiev was besieged. I must say that, on the whole, Kiev nobility and citizens were calm. Permanent troubles laid out the city. Usually, the change of power meant gifts: to know the new Kiev prince had to be gratified by posts and awards, and the capital's mob - by feasts, drinking and distribution of handouts. Troubles and wars brought the Kiev boyars, merchants and Jewish usurers (Vladimir Monomakh’s ban on the stay of Jews in Russia was already forgotten) huge profits. Kiev became a major center of the slave trade, people were bought by nobles, Eastern and Greek slave traders. Therefore, Kiev in the defense of the city is not particularly zealous. They thought that the matter would proceed according to the usual scenario: the besiegers would stand at the walls, negotiations would begin, then the princes would determine who would rule in the capital city.
However, Andrei had other plans - he decided to indicatively “punish” the city, which became the bridgehead of strangers. Mstislav Andreevich received clear instructions from his father how to act. He identified the weak points of the city fortifications, convinced the carelessness of the defenders. On the third day of the siege, 12 March, 1169, a selective detachment of warriors broke into the city with an unexpected throw and opened the gate. Troops poured into the city. Even before this, on the advice of those close to him, Mstislav Izyaslavich fled the city and went to Volyn to collect help. With Kiev, Mstislav Andreevich did the same thing as the winners do with “ordinary” cities, he gave him up for a three-day looting. Nobody was going to pity the city to which so many offenses had accumulated. The city was badly hurt. Although, as the chroniclers noted, Kiev suffered fairly, for the sins of the inhabitants and the “Metropolitan's lie”. The Greek metropolis was punished in the first place, if the prince's warriors guarded the Pechersk monastery, then the metropolitan churches, Sophia and Desyatinny, were purposely ravaged. They were considered to be already repulsed by the Greeks, all the shrines, utensils, books, icons were taken out of them, the bells were removed. Metropolitan Constantine disappeared somewhere, but he did not suffer fear and soon died.
After the capture of Kiev, Andrei Bogolyubsky carried out the most important and radical political reform. He showed that Kiev is no longer the capital city of Russia. Until now, the title of senior grand duke is inseparably linked with the possession of Kiev. Bogolyubsky did not come to Kiev, did not take the city for himself, did not even give it to his eldest son. Forcing him to recognize himself as the grand duke of the entire Russian land, he did not leave Vladimir-Suzdal Russia, transferring the city to his younger brother, Gleb Yurievich Pereyaslavsky.
Miniature from the Radziwill chronicle. The miniature, in particular, depicts the capture of the wife of the Kiev Prince Mstislav Izyaslavich, Agnieszka Boleslavovna.
To be continued ...