I would like to appeal to those readers who, perhaps, believe that the topic of Lithuanian Rus is irrelevant for Russians. Meanwhile, it is known that ignoring individual historical periods of the formation of the Russian state, especially those associated with neighboring countries, often leads to far-fetched problems in relations with them. This is what is observed today in relations between Lithuania and Russia.
HEDMIN, OLGERD AND ORTHODOXY
After the strife that reigned after the death of Prince Mindovg, it was time for the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gedimin (he reigned from 1316 to 1341). About him already mentioned. Add that ON under Gedimine significantly strengthened economically and politically, has grown new territories.
And Gediminas did not always act by military means. The marriage of his son Olgerd to the prince's daughter of Vitebsk allowed Gediminas to include this principality in ON. He also managed to make his ally the principality of Kiev. At the same time, Gedymin concluded an agreement with Smolensk Prince Ivan Alexandrovich, thanks to which Smolensk was able to refuse to pay the tribute to the Horde. In this regard, I will inform one curious detail that characterizes those times.
The consequences of concluding an agreement with ON for Smolensk turned out to be quite unpleasant. The Horde Tumen, supported by the army of the Moscow principality headed by Prince Ivan Kalita, marched on Smolyan by march. Smolensk with great difficulty survived.
Yes, it was not an easy time. Treason and opportunism then settled in the Russian land. Brother went to his brother to please the Horde. In this situation, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became a refuge for the western Russian principalities. They felt quite calm in it.
It is not by chance that the Germans under Gediminas called the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania "the Russian city", and the Polish chroniclers - the "capital of the Greek [Orthodox] retirement." This is how strong Russian Orthodoxy was in Vilna. But unlike Catholicism, Orthodoxy did not try to become dominant. Apparently, this in Orthodoxy attracted the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
About the Orthodox wives of Gediminas was mentioned in the previous article. It is known that most of his sons also professed Orthodoxy and married Russian princesses. The daughter of Gediminas, Maria, in 1320, married Tver Grand Prince Dmitry Mikhailovich the Terrible Eyes. Another daughter of Aigusta, at the baptism of Anastasia, in 1333, became the wife of Simeon Ivanovich Proud, Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince Vladimir.
At the same time ON and the Moscow principality remained rivals in the collection of Russian lands. Let me remind you once again that the Moscow principality at that time was a tributary of the Horde. All Eastern Russian principalities were her tributaries and vassals. This circumstance greatly facilitated for the Lithuanian princes the task of taking them under their arm. It is known that the Smolensk princedom and the Novgorod republic at that time were more Russian to Lithuania than to Moscow.
Gedimin's policy of expanding ON to the East was continued by Olgerd, one of his seven sons. Olgerd was born in 1296 from the Orthodox Polotsk Princess Olga Vsevolodovna and became Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1345.
Meanwhile, Lithuanian historians present Olgerd-Algirdas as an ethnic Lithuanian. In this regard, they argue that the name Algirdas (Algirdas) comes from the Lithuanian words “alga” - reward and “girdas” - hearing, news, and literally means “known reward”. There is a clear nonsense.
The version that Princess Olga called her son her joy, that is, “Olga” - “rd”, seems incomparably more substantiated. This decoding is given in order to show to what nonsense the Lithuanian historians are not shy of resorting in order to “prove” the Lithuanian origin of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
In addition, we once again recall the inscription on the Olgerd seal. It is made in the Old Slavonic language and Olgerd is referred to there not as Algirdas, but as “OLGER”.
A significant part of his life Olgerd lived in Orthodox Vitebsk. He was baptized in Orthodoxy under the name of Alexander. At twenty-two, he married an Orthodox Vitebsk princess, Maria Yaroslavna. After the death of her father reigned in the same Vitebsk.
Here it is necessary to make a retreat. In Lithuania, it is persistently claimed that Olgerd was a pagan. In this case, refer to the author Hermann Varberg "Livonian Chronicles." Meanwhile, it is known that the Germans always represented Litvin as pagan to justify their expansion into their lands.
Gustynskaya chronicle states otherwise. Olgerd was baptized before marriage with Mary. It `s naturally. In Orthodox Vitebsk, only an Orthodox prince could reign. Not to mention that Orthodox Olga, without a doubt, would try to baptize her son Olgerd after birth, so that the child would grow up healthy.
To resolve the dispute, we turn to the already mentioned Konrad Kiburgu. In his diary, he wrote about Olgerd’s attitude to Catholics: They “were few in number and despised during the reign of Olgerd” and experienced “government opposition”.
Especially Kiburg emphasized that while Prince Olgerd did not sympathize with paganism at all, he "professed Christianity according to Eastern rites, which, as is well known, was held by Grand Duchess Juliana (Olgerd's second wife, Princess Tverskaya. - V. Sh.)".
He explained Kyburg and the attributed to Olgerdu the execution of three future holy martyrs Anthony, John and Eustache, crucified in Vilna on the crosses. It turns out that once, in the absence of Olgerd, Vilna was struck by "some kind of infection and people died with extraordinary speed." A rumor was born that the monks were to blame. Excited crowd of citizens dealt with them. Some were hacked, others were thrown into the water, and three were crucified.
When he returned, Olgerd severely punished those responsible for insurrection and murder. More than thirty people “of both Lithuanians and Russians” were executed, and the castle garrison was completely replaced. However, responsibility for the crucifixion of the martyrs for some reason fell on Olgerd.
Having become the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Olgerd set a goal - to establish power over all of Russia. His ambassadors repeatedly stated: “All Russia must belong to Lithuania!” This phrase is often interpreted as invasive. However, it did not mean the influence of Russia. For Olgerd, it meant, above all, the establishment of ON power over Russia.
By the way, at that time, the Tver and Moscow princes set the same goal. With one difference. They were vassals of the Golden Horde. Therefore Olgerd succeeded more than them. The territory of ON with him doubled.
And it was no wonder. Under Olgerd, the Russian princes Rurikovich, whose possessions were absorbed by Lithuania, organically fit into the highest layer of the aristocracy of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Lithuanian "conquerors" in the Russian principalities were treated calmly. There was no particular cause for concern. After all, the city was "taken" by an Orthodox prince Olgerd-Alexander with a retinue, the bulk of which were also Orthodox. Moreover, Olgerd appointed a moderate tribute, took the principality under protection and, most importantly, protected him from the encroachments of the Golden Horde. Why not live under the hand of Olgerd?
The success of such “seizures” was largely due to Olgerd’s second marriage. After the death of his first wife, Olgerd in 1350, he married Princess Ulyana (Juliana) Alexandrovna, the sister of Prince Alexander Alexandrovich of Tver. Tver was then Moscow's rival. She became a strong ally of Olgerd in the struggle with the Moscow prince for the Russian lands.
Thrice Olgerd went on trips to Moscow. In this case, the following is surprising. In the autumn of 1368 of the year and in December of 1370 of the year, the Lithuanian army surrounded the Moscow Kremlin, but it did not go offensively. Meanwhile, the stone walls of the Moscow Kremlin were erected literally on the eve of the arrival of Olgerd, who knew well that the “raw” walls could not stand the siege. But she did not follow!
In April 1372, the troops of Olgerd and Moscow’s Prince Dmitry Ioannovich (the future Donskoy), having stood against each other, dispersed, concluding the Lyubotinsky peace treaty. In this connection, some historians ask themselves the question, did Olgerd want to “take” the Moscow Kremlin? If you take into account his biography, then, apparently, not too much.
By the end of Algerd's life under the rule of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, there was a significant territory occupied by modern areas: Smolensk, Bryansk, Kaluga, Tula, Oryol, Moscow, Pskov, Novgorod. Under his rule, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became the main bastion of resistance to the Mongol-Tatar expansion into the western Russian principalities.
In 1362, the Olgerd Russian-Lithuanian army near the Blue Waters River (left tributary of the Southern Bug) defeated three Tatar hordes - the Crimean, Perekopskaya and Yambalutsky, who were trying to subdue the Podolsk land again. The victory over them allowed Olgerd to dislodge the faithful of the Horde's Kiev Prince Feodor and put his son Vladimir in Kiev.
Without a doubt, Olgerd's victory in Blue Waters had a great psychological impact on the Russian princes of North-Eastern Russia, who paid tribute to the Mongol-Tatars and received from them labels on the board. Perhaps it inspired Prince Dmitry Nizhegorodsky in 1367 to give battle to Horde on the Pyan River and smash them.
Eleven years later, in 1378, the army of Dmitry Ivanovich of Moscow and the Great Prince of Vladimir (later Don) with the support of Ryazan on the Vozhe River (Oka's right tributary) defeated the Horde army under the command of the best commander of the Horde of Tatar murza Begić.
Well, in September 1380, the combined forces under the command of the same Moscow Prince Dmitry Ivanovich won a significant victory over the army of Beclarbek and temnik of the Golden Horde Mamai. On the Russian side, the Lithuanian regiments of the sons of Olgerd, the princes Andrei Olgerdovich Polotsky and Dmitry Olgerdovich Bryansky took part in the battle.
Speaking of ON, as a shield of Western Russian principalities from the Mongol-Tatars' encroachment, one should not forget that in the north-west the Teutonic Order represented a constant threat to the same principalities. But there the expansion of the German knights successfully opposed the troops under the leadership of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Keistut, co-ruler and brother Olgerd.
That is how ON in those hard times covered the Western Russian principalities from the Mongol-Tatar and Teutonic aggression. At the same time, the relations between VKL and Russia of Moscow were far from fraternal. It was natural, because at that time everyone was eager for supremacy over all.
At the end of the topic is a curious historical fact. Dying, Olgerd transferred the great reign to his beloved son from the second marriage of Jagiello, in Orthodoxy Jacob. In the 1381 year, four years after Olgerd’s death, Jagiello faced a serious choice.
Dmitry Donskoy, Prince of Moscow, after his victory over Mamai on the Kulikovo Field, Jagiello suggested a dynastic alliance, which was to be forged by marriage with the Moscow Princess Sophia. There was a real opportunity to unite the Lithuanian and Moscow principalities. The consequences of this association could have epoch-making meaning. But…
At the same time, Polish magnates promised Jagiello the royal throne with the condition of marrying Queen Jadwiga. The Lithuanian prince accepted the proposal of the Poles. The brilliance of the Polish Court seduced him. In 1385, he signed a dynastic union at Krevo Castle. According to her, he pledged to help Poland to return the lands seized from it, to attach its own to the Polish crown, and also to baptize the pagan population of the GDL to the Catholic Faith.
After the signing of the Krevo Union, Jagiello abdicated the Orthodox faith and converted to Catholicism. He was named Vladislav and in 1386, he was married to the Polish queen Jadviga. This was the beginning of a rapprochement between the Kingdom of Poland and the Kingdom of Poland. It turned out to be fatal for the fate of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. But it turned out only much later.
VITOVT - THE LAST GREAT PRINCE
The Grand Duke of Lithuania Vitovt (1350-1430) was the son of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Keistut and the pagan Samogitian priestess of Biruta. It is not by chance that during his lifetime he was called Great. Vitovt inherited luck and wit from Grandfather Gedimin, military courage from Father Keistut, and intelligence and diplomacy from Uncle Olgerd.
Vitovt, Grand Duke of Lithuania. Keistut's son, Olgerd's nephew and cousin Jagiello. The last ruler who defended the political independence of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from Poland
At a difficult time, when the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was actually placed under the authority of the Polish Crown by the will of Jagiello, Vitovt managed to preserve the independence of the Lithuanian principality. He, in spite of the fatal twists and turns in fate, became the Grand Duke of Lithuania and delayed the incorporation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania into the Kingdom of Poland for half a century.
Vitovt was baptized three times. For the first time in 1382, according to the Catholic rite under the name of Alexander. The second time in 1384 year - according to the Orthodox rite under the name Yuri and the third time in 1386 year, along with Uncle Jagaylo, according to the Catholic rite also under the name Alexander. In his position it was natural. Moreover, the examples of his predecessors contributed to this.
He had a difficult fate, during which he had to be not only a lion, but also a fox. Sometimes at the same time. That was the time. Surprisingly, when you read the diary of the aforementioned Kyburg, telling about those times, you understand: humanity has not changed much.
In this regard, I would like to wish some historians not to explain the behavior and actions of our ancestors by some contrived features of the time. We have not left much of them in the life plan and often do the same. Therefore, as the English monk and part-time philosopher William Ockham said: “Do not multiply the number of entities unnecessarily!”
Following the path of a lion and a fox, Vitovt significantly expanded the possession of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the east, they reached the headwaters of the Oka and Mozhaisk. In the south, Vitovt finally ousted the Horde from South Podolia and went out onto the shores of the Black Sea. During his reign, the name “Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Russian and Zhemoitskoe” finally consolidated with the state.
Vitovt continued the tradition of his predecessors to marry Orthodox Russian wives. The first wife of Vitovt was Princess Lukomskaya Maria. The second is the Smolensk Princess Anna Svyatoslavovna, who saved Vitovt from the prison of Krevo castle, where he was thrown by Uncle Jagiello, who became the Polish king.
Anna gave birth to Vitovt's daughter Sophia, who later became the wife of Prince Vasily Dmitrievich of Moscow. It is noteworthy that after the death of her husband in 1427, Sophia officially transferred the Moscow principality to Vitovt’s arm, that is, Moscow recognized itself as a vassal of ON. By the way, the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible was Vitovt's great-great-grandson.
The sovereign has established himself as a skillful diplomat. He, at the same time as gaining control over the Moscow principality, concluded treaties with the princes of Tver, Ryazan and Priska, according to which they also became his vassals. So, Vitovt's dynastic marriages and diplomacy worked on the elevation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
The warriors of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, on 9 / 10 consisting of the lands of the lost Kievan Rus, heroically resisted the onslaught of the Teutonic Order to the East
Like his predecessors, Vitovt was tolerant of Christians. But, in an effort to protect the principality from the aggression of the German knights "against the Lithuanian pagans", he equated Catholicism in rights with Orthodoxy. In this regard, Vitovt built a number of magnificent Catholic churches. Nevertheless, as already mentioned, the number of Orthodox churches in Vilna with him twice exceeded the number of Catholic ones.
Another curious fact. The aforementioned Konrad Kyburg reports in his diary that at the request of the wife of Vitovt, Orthodox Anna Svyatoslavovna, the magnificent Church of Sts. Was built in Vilna. Anne. In 1551, it was destroyed by order of King Sigismund Augustus. However, today in Vilnius there is an heir to the church of St.. Anne. Only now she bears the name of St. Ona (Šv. Onos). This is a genuine red brick miracle, which Napoleon said in 1812 that if he could, he would move this church to Paris.
Vitovt paid special attention to ensuring the equality of all peoples and nationalities living in the GDL. He succeeded. People of various nationalities lived, successfully worked and traded in Lithuania of that time. As a result, the principality grew rich and flourished. About this in sufficient detail told the same Kyburg.
The battle of Grunewald (1410 year), which put an end to the hegemony of the Teutonic Order, became the true crown of Vitovt's life. In this battle, he was commander in chief, and the fortitude of the three Smolensk regiments, which Vitovt led on the battlefield, decided the outcome of the battle of Grunwald.
All in all, under the banner of Vitovt, forty regiments came to the battlefield, or banners, as they were then called. Thirty-six of them were from the Russian principalities, which were then ON.
Meanwhile, in modern Lithuania, any mention of the role of "some Russian or Smolensk regiments" in the Battle of Grunwald causes indignation. Local historians claim that Smolensk was already Lithuanian since 1404, so in 1410 there was a “garrison of Lithuanian boyars” in the city. So they allegedly took part in the Battle of Grunwald. However, they are silent about what religion and nationality these "Lithuanian" boyars were.
Lithuanian unfortunate historians are unaware that with the scantiness of the territory of ethnic Lithuania and its population (5% of ON), sending even four regiments from ethnic Lithuanians to Grunewald was an achievement.
Military memory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania is alive. Modern military historical reconstruction in the Trakai castle
Speculation by Lithuanian historians on the greatness of the Lithuanian ethnic factor became possible due to the fact that the history of the GDL in Russia is not yet known. But in vain! This is part of the past of historical Russia. And not the worst. Moreover, for the Russian Federation, the historical experience of the GDL could be very useful.
Concluding the topic of Vitovt, I note that he was the last Grand Duke of Lithuania, during which the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a truly independent state. After his death, the ON began to decline.
Strengthening ties with the Kingdom of Poland led to the forced implantation of Catholicism in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and then its Polonization. This destroyed the internal unity of the Lithuanian principality, which was the key to its prosperity. As a result, the mighty state began to fade away. This is worth talking in more detail.
ON AND SPEECH
Jagiello-Vladislav, becoming the “King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania and successor of Russia”, in February 1387, in the Grand-Ducal Palace in Vilna, organized together with the Catholic priests who came from Poland, to convert a large group of princes, boyars and knights before either pagans or orthodox.
At the same time, Jagiello presented to all those who accepted Catholicism clothes with expensive cloth, specially brought from Poland. Darmshchina at all times (as today) attracted people. Taking advantage of the moment, under the cheers of the crowd, Jagailo-Vladislav declared the Catholic faith the most important religion of the Grand Duchy.
In the same year 1387, Jagiello issued privileges (from Lat. Privilegium - special law), which gave Lithuanian feudal lords great rights and liberties to accept the Catholic faith. The novice received an unlimited right to possess and dispose of her estates in the GDL, and was exempted from a number of obligations. These privileges did not extend to the Orthodox nobility.
On the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, this innovation was suspended by Prince Vitovt, who, relying on the Orthodox Russian boyars, sought independence of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the Polish Crown and from Jagiello-Vladislav. This struggle, with varying success, lasted until the 1392 year, until Jagiello was forced to conclude an agreement with Vitovt, the Ostrovsky agreement, under which Vitovt became the Grand Duke of Lithuania, and Jagiello retained the title of “Supreme Prince of Lithuania”.
Right up until his death, Vitovt opposed the polonization of Lithuania. In matters of religion, he sought to unite the Orthodox and Roman churches, considering Uniatism a compromise that can be made by both Orthodox and Catholics. But there were very few supporters of this idea, which concluded that the Orthodox Church recognized the Catholic dogmas and the supreme authority of the Pope of Rome, but retained ceremonies and divine services in Slavic languages.
Meanwhile, Jagiello continued to act, trying to fulfill the promises made to them when he received the crown. In the year 1413, the Lithuanian-Polish merger was again confirmed at the Sejm in Gorodnya. In Lithuania, the Seimas were established, the Lithuanian nobility was equalized with the rights of the Polish. However, the rights were granted only to "Roman Catholics under the authority". They received a number of economic privileges.
Orthodox feudal lords of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania not only did not receive these privileges, but also lost the right to elect the Grand Duke. He could now be chosen only by "gentlemen and gentlemen of the land of Lithuania, supporters of the Christian religion, the Roman Church, subservient, and not schismatics or other filthy." The decision of the Gorodnensky Diet confirmed the ban on marriages between Catholics and Orthodox! It was a blow to the very heart of the unity of the population of ON.
The mechanism of inter-religious and interethnic strife, launched by Yagaylo, gained destructive power every year, undermining the foundations of ON. In full force, he earned after the death of Vitovt, sowing intolerance in the principality, inequality and absurd prohibitions. At the same time, the polonization of the land ON was going at full speed. This was largely due to the incredible privileges of the Polish gentry, which attracted part of the Orthodox nobility ON.
It is known that the Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander Yaggelonchik, entering the Polish throne in 1501, was forced to issue the Melnitsky Privilev, according to which Polish magnates had the right to disobey the king if their traditional rights were violated.
In 1505, Alexander had to agree with the adoption by Radom of the Seimas of a general set of laws, which significantly limited royal power in favor of the gentry. In fact, these were nails in the coffin of not only gentry democracy, but also the future state of the Commonwealth.
To confirm the conclusion about perniciousness for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of gentry liberties I will cite one historical fact. In the first half of the 17th century, a Cossack centurion and the future hetman of the Zaporizhzhya Bogdan Khmelnytsky lived in the village of Subigov near the town of Chigirin. Being Orthodox, he, nevertheless, for many years faithfully served the Polish King Vladislav IV. As part of the royal troops even went on a campaign against Orthodox Smolensk.
But in 1645, the Polish nobleman Chaplinsky attacked the Khmelnytsky farm and sacked it. When Khmelnitsky demanded the return of the loot, Chaplinsky seized him and the eldest son of 13-year-old Timothy. Khmelnitsky was kept in chains for four days, and his son was almost caught to death.
Appeal to the Polish court was useless. The privileges of the Polish gentry at that time were paramount. Khmelnitsky turned to the Polish King Vladislav IV, whom he knew personally. He, complaining about the lawlessness of the nobility, said that the Cossacks, having sabers "at the sides," should themselves avenge their offenders. Khmelnitsky followed this advice and as a result, as you know, the Commonwealth lost a large part of Ukraine, which had gone under Moscow.
This was the beginning of the decline of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Russia and Zhemoitsky. Read more about this in the next article.