The son of Yuri Dolgoruky and the younger brother of Andrei Bogolyubsky, Prince Vsevolod Yuryevich the Big Nest (in baptism Dmitry, 1154 - 15 on April 1212) became the Grand Duke in 1176 and almost 37 years reigned. During the years of his reign, Vladimirskaya Rus reached the peak of its power. The author of The Lay of Igor 's Party, stressing the strength of his power, wrote that the army of the Grand Duke could "splash the Volga with oars and scoop Don with shemales." The reign of Vsevolod III is the period of the highest ascent of Vladimir-Suzdal land. Vsevolod Yuryevich received his nickname - Big Nest for a large offspring: he had twelve children (eight sons and four daughters).
Period of Troubles
During the reign of Andrei Bogolyubsky, Vsevolod was in South Russia, fulfilling the orders of his elder brother. After the murder of Andrew in 1174, the Rostov and Suzdal boyars came to Vladimir with the embassy of Gleb Ryazan and convened a meeting where the question was raised: who should be invited to the throne. It seemed that the younger brothers of the murdered prince, Mikhail and Vsevolod, who were his closest associates and followers of the great-power politics, should take the throne. However, the boyars did not even want to hear about it. It was said that Rostov and Suzdal are “senior” cities, and Vladimir is their “suburb”, its inhabitants are only slaves, “masons”, and cannot solve issues of this nature. The associates and brothers of Andrew did not suit the Rostov-Suzdal boyars, could and punish the conspirators, besides continue the autocratic policy, limiting the self-will of the boyars. They spoke for the nephews of the Grand Duke - Mstislav and Yaropolk Rostislavich. These were the sons of Rostislav Yuryevich - the eldest son of Prince Yuri Dolgoruky, brother of Prince Andrew.
Both of these princes were participants in the conspiracy of Princess Anne against Andrew Bogolyubsky (for more details, see Andrei Bogolyubsky and the creation of Vladimir Russia. Fight against the intrigues of Byzantium) and they were expelled from Vladimir-Suzdal land. After that, they were in the south of Russia, but they did not distinguish themselves anywhere and were not fixed. Such prince - colorless, "flexible" and required boyars. In addition, Gleb Ryazansky was married to their sister, and supported their desire to occupy Rostov and Suzdal.
It must be said that while the Rostov-Suzdal boyars were spinning their nets, all four princes did not yet know about Andrei’s death, nor the situation in the Vladimir State. They even at that time were in good relations with each other. Moreover, they stayed with Svyatoslav of Chernigov, who acted as the patron of Dolgorukov’s descendant, supported them (Yury Dolgorukiy helped Svyatoslav at one time, and did not forget that debt). When a delegation of Rostov boyars arrived in Chernigov, who called Rostislavichi to the table, they did not even understand what was happening. The situation was discussed by the four of a kind, and they decided that the eldest, Mikhail, should reign. Rostislavichi reported that they were inferior to him, and they all went to Vladimir together. Boyars, learning about the situation, sent a second embassy, which intercepted the princes in Moscow. They were able to lure Rostislavich to their side, and secretly took them away from Michael and Vsevolod. In Pereyaslavl-Zalessky, Mstislav was proclaimed the Grand Duke.
However, the residents of Vladimir did not accept this decision and invited the Bogolyubsky brothers to their place and declared Mikhail to be the state. However, he failed to rule. The Ryazan-Murom army of Gleb Ryazan led to Vladimir and the Rostov-Suzdal regiments approached. They besieged the city, but the Vladimir residents refused to surrender. For 7 weeks, the townspeople stood behind Michael and defended themselves courageously. For two months Ryazan, Murom, Rostov and Suzdal residents besieged Vladimir and ravaged the surrounding villages. Mikhail and Vsevolod were experienced warriors, but did not expect to go to war, arrived with a small retinue, leaving the squad in the south. The townspeople held out until the food ran out, the famine forced them to begin negotiations. They asked Michael to leave. Mikhail and Vsevolod were able to slip out of the blockade ring. The townspeople agreed to submit to Yaropolk and Mstislav, only by taking an oath from them, not to revenge Vladimir.
The Grand Duchy was divided into two parts. Mstislav Rostislavich sat down to reign in Rostov and Suzdal, his brother Yaropolk in Vladimir. Thus, Rostov became the capital of the principality again for a short time. They agreed with the Novgorod boyars. Son of Andrei Bogolyubsky Yuri (George) was expelled from Veliky Novgorod, calling for his son Mstislav. However, soon the situation was again destabilized. Too victoriously behaved themselves predatory. As a result of the victory of Rostislavich, the position of the common people seriously deteriorated. In the Rostov-Suzdal principality, the boyars hurried to reward themselves for their long abstinence, when Dolgoruky and Bogolyubsky kept them in check. The princely villages were seized, free peasant communities were not captivated, the tax was taken into their own hands, three skins were dragged from people (taxes were taken with furs). They placed their people in administrative posts. Prince Mstislav was a convenient ruler, he endorsed all the decisions of the boyars. In addition, the prince handed out to his warriors the posts of posadniks in Rostov-Suzdal land and turned a blind eye to judicial "charges" and bribes. Vigilantes looking at the boyars, and remaining without princely attention, the same began to behave like predators.
In the Vladimir principality things were even worse. Here Gleb Ryazansky hosted - and his soldiers behaved as invaders, plundered the houses of merchants, artisans, churches, and plundered the villages. Lines and revenues that Andrew appointed to the Assumption Cathedral, Yaropolk took away in their favor (as well as the treasury of the cathedral). In Ryazan, they even gave the Vladimir (Vyshegorodsky) icon, which was considered miraculous. The residents of Vladimir didn’t stand such an outrage and sent messengers to Mikhail to Chernigov: “Go to the throne of Bogolyubsky, and if Rostov and Suzdal do not want you, we are ready for anything and with God's help we will not give up to anyone”.
Mikhail and Vsevolod gave their consent. They themselves were not averse to avenging the offense. They gathered their squads, small but skillful, who participated in many fights on the southern frontier. They were supported by Svyatoslav of Chernigov, singled out the army with his son. With a sudden touch they occupied Moscow. Here they were joined by Prince Yuri (their nephew), who was expelled from Novgorod. In the army flowed Vladimir militia. True, Michael was ill, he fell down, tortured old wounds. But he led the campaign, he was carried in a stretcher. Enemies at this time did not sleep, raised troops. Yaropolk with the Ryazan troops moved towards. They were able to outwit, the Vladimir residents showed the princes a different road and they missed each other. Yaropolk has now become "catching up." He sent messengers to Mstislav and said that the enemies were going “in small numbers,” Mikhail was sick and could not lead the army. He suggested that Mstislav close the road to Vladimir, to take the enemy into ticks.
Mstislav and his boyars took the plan. At the small river Dubrovitsy, a Suzdal regiment leaped out from behind the hill to the army of Yuryevich. But seeing that the forces of the enemy, contrary to expectations, are not small, the Suzdalians were embarrassed. They did not know that the Vladimir residents had already joined up with the squads of Mikhail and Vsevolod. Michael used this hitch to build troops and go on the attack. Suzdaltsev crumpled, many surrendered. 15 June 1175, Michael solemnly entered Vladimir. He was greeted as a savior. The citizens of Rostov and Suzdal also sent a delegation, recognized the authority of Michael. Yaropolk fled to Ryazan, and Mstislav to Novgorod. The Ryazan prince, realizing that power was not on his side, asked for peace and returned the Vladimir icon and other exported values.
Mikhail and Vsevolod were satisfied and did not fight with Ryazan. They did not even punish the Rostov-Suzdal boyars, who were forced to take an oath of allegiance. Mikhail executed only those directly involved in the murder of Andrei Bogolyubsky, and chose not to hurt the boyars of Suzdal and Rostov. He believed that first of all it was necessary to restore peace, not to irritate the boyars with cruel punishments. He even his brother Vsevolod, so as not to cause irritation of the boyars and the conflict, he set him to reign not in Rostov or Suzdal, but on Pereyaslavl-Zalessky.
However, the conflict was not settled. The boyars were still hostile and waited for a convenient moment for the perfidious blow. They knew that Michael was seriously ill and waited in the wings. The Grand Duke of Vladimir was still alive when Mstislav Rostislavich secretly returned to Rostov. Boyars prepared squads, formed an army. In June 1176 of the year, proklazhiv just one year, Michael died.
Lipitskaya battle 27 June 1176 of the year
True, this time the residents of Vladimir did not allow themselves to be taken by surprise. They did not hesitate and summoned to Vladimir Vsevolod, proclaiming him the Grand Duke. Vsevolod Yurevich moved his troops towards the Rostov ratification of Mstislav. From Suzdal, Vsevolod made an attempt to reconcile with a relative. Vladimir Prince offered to stay in the city that chose him, and Suzdal had to decide for himself who he wanted to see on his desk. Mstislav hesitated and was ready to accept this offer, but on the advice of the Rostov boyars Dobrynia Dolgoy, Ivanka Stefanovich and Matias Butovich rejected the offer. The boyars told the prince: "If you give him peace, we do not give."
Vladimirstsy were serious, declared their readiness to fight with Mstislav to the last: “If we are defeated, let them take the Rostov citizens of our wives and children!” Pereyaslavtsy and Yuryevites joined Vsevolod from Yuriev. 27 June rati converged on the field near the Lipitsa and Gza rivers near Yuriev. The camp was “evil”, this was not yet a “nickname in the Rostov land”. They fought for extermination, mercy was not given. Vladimir residents withstood the blow of the enemy, and the Pereyaslav regiment of Vsevolod managed to crush the right flank of Mstislav's troops. After that he overthrew the enemy and the Vladimir regiment. Vsevolod squad organized the pursuit and completed the rout of the enemy. Many prominent boyars were killed or captured, they were brought to Vladimir in fetters. This time the boyars were not spared, their estates and other property were confiscated. Mstislav was able to escape to Ryazan to Gleb.
War with Ryazan
The defeat of Mstislav and the Rostov boyars did not embarrass Gleb of Ryazan, he considered himself strong enough to cope with the Vladimir "masons". It was decided to continue the war. Ryazan made a raid on the lands of Vladimir, burned Moscow, ravaged the border villages.
Battle of the Koloksha River (February 1177 of the year). Vsevolod decided to answer, but not with a foray, but with a campaign to resolve the issue once and for all. Gleb has already shown himself to be an implacable enemy, did not want to live in peace, did not respect the agreements. Ryazan became a springboard for Vladimir's enemies, Vsevolod was not going to endure such a situation. He began to collect troops. The soldiers sent Svyatoslav of Chernigov with the princes Oleg and Vladimir, the prince of Pereyaslavl of the South came Vladimir Glebovich.
The Ryazan prince also did not sit with folded arms. He called for help Polovtsy. Opponents spoke in winter almost simultaneously. The Vladimir army marched to Ryazan the shortest way, from Moscow along the ice of the Moscow River. And Gleb invaded the lands of Vladimir to the east from the mouth of the Klyazma. He did not go to Vladimir, but attacked Bogolyubovo, where he was not expected. The city was plundered, and the neighborhood was ravaged. While Gleb and the Polovtsi ravaged the lands of Vladimir, the news of this reached Vsevolod. He threw the shelves across the path and overtook Gleb on the r. Koloksha. For a month the troops stood opposite each other, there was a thaw, the river divided the army. Gleb and Polovtsy felt confident, the young Vsevolod was not afraid.
When the thaw ended, Vsevolod applied military trick. Sent to the other side of the wagon train with Pereyaslavtsy. Polovtsi delighted, rushed to the bait. While the steppe people besieged the wagon train, which was skillfully defended by the Pereyaslav warriors, Vsevolod and the rest of the troops struck directly at the headquarters and the squad of the Ryazan prince. Ryazan were defeated, Gleb and his son Roman, Mstislav Rostislavich, their boyars, including the traitor-governor Boris Zhidoslavich (betrayed Andrew Bogolyubsky), were captured. Polovtsi, having lost allies, retreated. Yaropolk was able to escape, but soon Vsevolod demanded his extradition from Ryazan. Ryazanians, frightened by complete defeat, seized Yaropolk on the r. Voronezh and sent to Vladimir.
Prisoners of princely origin were unusually harsh. Typically, the princes fought with each other, ravaged cities, entire areas, destroyed thousands of soldiers and ordinary people, could die in battle. However, if the prince lost, he, as a rule, was deprived of his inheritance, but not life, freedom was returned for ransom. All notable captives were planted in the pen. Relatives and other intercessors of the prisoners turned to Svyatoslav of Chernigov, so that he would take on the role of peacemaker. He sent a bishop, asked to release the captives.
The residents of Vladimir, who had been eating grief from Gleb, Mstislav and Yaropolk, demanded to punish the main instigators of the turmoil - to execute them. Vsevolod offered Gleb freedom if he abandons the Ryazan table in favor of his son, and he leaves for the south. But the prisoner proudly refused, saying: "I will die by eating food, I am not going." As a result, unable to withstand the conclusion, in June 1178, he died. According to other sources, citizens learned about the negotiations, rebelled, broke into prison and killed Gleb. His son Roman stayed in prison for two years, swore allegiance to Vsevolod and was released to reign in Ryazan.
Mstislav and Yaropolk Rostislavich were blinded. The Suzdal Chronicle explains the action of Vsevolod by the pressure of the rebels of Vladimir. According to N. M. Karamzin, this punishment was caused by the fact that the second wife of Yuri Dolgoruky and the mother of the younger Yuryevichs came from the Byzantine Empire, where blinding of political opponents and prisoners of war was a common occurrence. Vsevolod adopted this method. Although similar events occurred in Russia before. So, in 1097, after the Lyubech congress of princes, where the principle of inheritance of their fathers' lands by princes was proclaimed, Prince Terebovl Vasilko Rostislavich was deafened to stop princely feuds because of inheritances. He was blinded by order of the Kiev Prince Svyatopolk Izyaslavich and at the suggestion of Vladimir-Volyn Prince Davyd Igorevich, who tried to take possession of Vasilko.
True, there is a version that the blinding of Mstislav and Yaropolk was only a skillfully played performance. Vsevolod remembered the former friendship, kinship, understood that Mstislav and Yaropolk were only weapons in the hands of more skillful politicians. The people had to be reassured and the princes "blinded." The Novgorod Chronicle reports on their subsequent "miraculous healing" in Smolensk in the church of Saints Boris and Gleb on Smyadin.
I must say that the "blinded" princes did not calm down. Left to live, Mstislav and Yaropolk wanted revenge and went to Novgorod. The “golden belts” remembered the policy of Bogolyubsky and fearing that Vsevolod would continue his line, supported them. Mstislav soon died, and Yaropolk settled in Torzhok and began to make raids on the lands of Vladimir. 1180 year Vsevolod after 5-week siege, took and burned Torzhok. Yaropolk was wounded and captured again. According to some data, he died in custody in the same year, according to others he was released and died after the 1196 year.
So, the internecine war in Northeast Russia 1174 — 1177. It ended with the victory of Vsevolod Yuryevich, the Grand Duke's power won over the troubled princes and the landed aristocracy. This victory was in the interests of the broad strata of the population — the peasantry, the townspeople, and the growing nobility (at that time they were called “youths,” “swordsmen,” “virnics,” “smaller retinue,” etc.). The autocratic power essentially defended their external enemies and internal “predators” who wanted to enslave ordinary people.
The internecine war in Northeast Russia 1174 — 1177. Approval on the throne of Vladimir Vsevolod Yurevich
- Alexander Samsonov