920 years ago, on October 19, 1097, at the council of princes in Lyubech, the division of Rus into appanage principalities was legalized. This advice was preceded by the difficult era of Izyaslav, full of strife, swarms and blood, the internecine war of 1094-1097. and the war with the Cumans.
At the congress in Lyubech, heartfelt speeches were made about the structure of the world and about "how we are almost destroying the Russian land", and the Polovtsy "carry our land apart". However, despite the peace agreements reached, in the same year 1097 a new war broke out for the inheritance, this time in the west of Russia. The collapse of Russia continued. The elite ambitions of the princes and boyars eventually destroyed the empire of Rurikovich, and quite soon, in historical terms, it will become a relatively easy prey for the Western powers, directed by Rome, etc. "Mongol-Tatars" (the same heirs of the continental Scythian state, like the Rus of Kiev and Vladimir).
Decay of the Russian state
After the death of Svyatoslav the Great (964-972), the period of disintegration of the Russian state begins. The elite ambitions of the princes, the narrow corporate interests of the boyar-trading elite and the conceptual and ideological sabotage of the Byzantine version of Christianity against the background of the decline of the ancient pagan (Vedic) faith led to degradation and, as a result, to the disintegration and destruction of the Russian Empire, created by the works of the first Rurikovichs.
First, Russia was shocked by the battle of the Svyatoslavichs. The victory was won by Vladimir, who, in order to strengthen the princely power, first created a pantheon of gods in Kiev, and then adopted the Byzantine version of Christianity. For this service, the fratricide and voluptuous owner of the harem with hundreds of concubines (where the wife of the murdered brother also ended up) was later called by the church "saint". From that moment on, a long period of merging of Christianity and Russian paganism began, which, several centuries later, completed the creation of fiery Russian Orthodoxy (Slavia Prav). But before that, Greek missionaries, with the support of princes and boyars, tried to "civilize" the Rus. True, the overwhelming part of the population for several centuries adhered to paganism, only outwardly receiving baptism. According to some researchers, during the reign of Vladimir in Russia, another bloody civil war also took place - the struggle against the pagan "party". Christianity was accepted not so beautifully and voluntarily, as they later began to show, but through a lot of blood. In addition, Vladimir fell out to death with the steppe (Pechenegs), with whom his father Svyatoslav had an alliance, and was forced to build a defense system on the southern approaches to Kiev.
His sons started a new internecine war. According to the official version, it was started by Svyatopolk the Damned (1015-1016), who killed his brothers Boris and Gleb. According to another version, the rebellion during Vladimir's life was raised by the Novgorod prince Yaroslav, refusing to obey Kiev. And Svyatopolk was a co-ruler of his ailing father and was preparing, together with his brothers, to suppress the rebellious Novgorod. After the death of Vladimir, Yaroslav and Mstislav refused to recognize Svyatopolk as the legitimate prince in Kiev. Only two brothers - Boris and Gleb - declared their loyalty to the new Kiev prince and pledged to "honor him as his father," and for Svyatopolk it would be very strange to kill his allies. Yaroslav hired the Varangians to fight the brothers and killed them. The defeated Svyatopolk fled to Poland, to his father-in-law Boleslav the Brave. In 1018, with the support of Polish and Pechenezh troops, Svyatopolk and Boleslav set out on a campaign against Kiev (How the Poles of Boleslav the Brave took Russian Kiev for the first time). The squads met on the Bug, where the Polish army under the command of Boleslav defeated the Novgorodians, Yaroslav fled to Novgorod again. There he gathered a new army. Svyatopolk, having quarreled with the Poles, was forced to flee from Kiev again from Yaroslav, who had returned with the Vikings. He gathered an army. In the decisive battle on the Alta River, Svyatopolk suffered a decisive defeat and soon died. And the winner and his heirs - Yaroslav "the Wise" and the Yaroslavichs - rewrote history in their favor, dumping all the blame for the civil war on Svyatopolk.
At the same time, Yaroslav was not the sovereign ruler of Russia for a long time. In 1023, another brother of Yaroslav, the warlike Tmutarakan prince Mstislav, captured Chernigov and the entire left bank of the Dnieper. In 1024, Mstislav defeated the troops of Yaroslav under the leadership of the Varangian Yakun near Listven (near Chernigov). Mstislav moved his capital to Chernigov and, sending ambassadors to Yaroslav, who had fled to Novgorod, offered to divide the lands with him along the Dnieper and end the wars: "Sit down in your Kiev, you are an older brother, and let this side be for me." In 1026, Yaroslav, having collected a large army, returned to Kiev, and made peace at Gorodets with his brother Mstislav, agreeing with his peace proposals. The brothers divided the lands along the Dnieper. The left bank remained for Mstislav, and the right bank for Yaroslav. Yaroslav, being the Grand Duke, preferred to sit on the Novgorod table until 1036 (the time of Mstislav's death).
Yaroslav asked the brothers to observe the "row", the order of inheritance. The elder, the Grand Duke of Kiev, everyone was obliged to honor and obey, like a father. But he also had to take care of the younger ones, to protect them. Yaroslav established a hierarchy of Russian cities and princely thrones. The first in rank is Kiev, the second is Chernigov, the third is Pereyaslavl, the fourth is Smolensk, the fifth is Vladimir-Volynsky. None of the sons was left without an inheritance, each received possession by seniority. But Russia was not divided at the same time. The younger princes were subordinate to the elder, Kiev, and important issues were resolved together. Lots were not given for perpetual use. The Grand Duke will die, he will be replaced by the Chernigov one, and the rest of the princes move along a kind of "ladder" (ladder) to higher "steps". Other cities and lands were not distributed personally, but were attached to the main appanages. The right bank of the Dnieper and the Turovo-Pinsk land departed to Kiev. Novgorod was directly subordinate to the Grand Duke. The two most important centers of Rus - Kiev and Novgorod, which determined the development of the Russian land, were to be in the same hands. The Chernigov table included Tmutarakan, other advanced outposts of Russia, lands on the Desna and Oka up to Murom, etc. But this order was quickly violated.
Izyaslav's heavy legacy
The Kiev table, after the death of Yaroslav, was not inherited by the strongest and most reasonable of his son, like the warrior Svyatoslav or the book-lover Vsevolod. And Izyaslav was a weak ruler who was easily turned around by his wife and those close to him. At this time, the trading-boyar, usurious (including foreigners - Jews-Khazars, Greeks) top of Kiev sharply increased, which enslaved the common people. To meet the ever-growing needs of the rich and powerful, taxes were increased and new taxes were introduced. Predation and embezzlement flourished in Kiev. Wealthy nobles, boyars, merchants, Greeks, Jewish usurers, tiuns who collected taxes. The nobles and boyars seized the land and villages. The peasants, who yesterday were free communes, became dependent. The advisers suggested that it is necessary to edit the Russian Pravda - the laws of Russia. Laws came from ancient times, when there was no slavery and the overwhelming majority of people were free members of the community. According to Russkaya Pravda, death was avenged by death. Now amendments were made - blood feud and the death penalty were abolished, replaced by a monetary vira (fine). And if the criminal cannot pay, he can be sold to the same merchants, usurers. It is clear that the rich strata of the population could pay off for the crime.
In the meantime, the situation on the steppe borders of Russia sharply deteriorated. There was a massacre in the steppe. The Polovtsi defeated the Torks and Pechenegs. Those fled, some asked to go to Russia, becoming a "border guard". The time of the Polovtsian raids began. And Yaroslavich inside Russia themselves violated the order of the ladder. The great Kiev prince Izyaslav with his mercenary entourage removed Rostislav's nephew (the son of Vladimir Yaroslavich) from the wealthy Novgorod. Vyacheslav Yaroslavich Smolensky died soon after. The passage along the ladder began. Igor was transferred from Vladimir-Volynsky, the fifth city in rank, to Smolensk. But he did not reign for long, fell ill and died. Rostislav received the rights to Smolensk. In full accordance with the ladder: when the brothers die, their sons begin to move up the ladder. First - the eldest, then the second oldest, etc. And Rostislav's father, Vladimir, was older than Izyaslav. In this situation, Rostislav was the fourth in line for the Kiev table! This did not suit the Grand Duke, his entourage, and even Svyatoslav and Vsevolod. Rostislav walked ahead of the sons of the three main rulers of Russia. As a result, the law was “edited”. Like, when the distribution of the inheritance was going on, Vladimir was no longer alive. Therefore Rostislav falls out of the ladder system. The children of the dead brothers - Vyacheslav and Igor - were thrown out of the stairs. They became rogue princes. Smolensk and Vladimir-Volynsky became estates under the direct control of the Grand Duke and his people.
Rostislav was given Vladimir-Volynsky to feed, but not according to the ladder system, but from the "bounty" of the Grand Duke. It is clear that Rostislav was offended. His father was the heir to Yaroslav the Wise, a favorite of Novgorod. And now his son is just a vassal of the Grand Duke, Izyaslav wanted - he gave Volhynia, he wants - he will take away, as Novgorod had taken away earlier. And the descendants of Rostislav will not be able to climb the stairs, they will not be able to get Pereyaslavl, Chernigov and Kiev. Then Rostislav entered into an alliance with Hungary, married the daughter of the Hungarian ruler Bela. With such a father-in-law, the Volyn prince became independent from Kiev. However, in 1063, his patron Bela died. Volhynia could not be held alone. The decisive and enterprising prince came up with another move - he suddenly occupied Tmutarakan, which belonged to the Chernigov prince. Here he began to plan a trip to Chersonesos or other Byzantine possessions. With such a lot, he became one of the most powerful princes of Russia and could claim the legacy of his father. But the Greeks preemptively poisoned the Russian prince.
A new turmoil immediately began. It was started by the independent Polotsk prince Vseslav of Polotsk (Vseslav the Prophet), who was considered a sorcerer. Polotsk has long harbored a grudge against Kiev, even since the time when Vladimir the First staged a pogrom of the Polotsk principality, killed the local prince Rogvolod, his sons and forcibly took his daughter Rogneda for himself. When Rostislav made porridge in the south, the Polotsk prince decided that a big war would begin, the Yaroslavich brothers would be busy and would not be able to stop him. He plundered Novgorod. The Yaroslavich brothers - Izyaslav, Svyatoslav and Vsevolod, in 1067 responded with a campaign against Minsk. The city was taken by storm, the defenders were killed. The townspeople were sold into slavery, Minsk was burned. While Minsk was still holding out, Vseslav gathered an army. In March 1067, the two armies met on the Nemiga River. The troops stood facing each other in deep snow for 7 days. Finally Vseslav of Polotsk launched an attack on the full moon, and many soldiers fell on both sides. The battle is described in the Word about Igor's regiment: "… on Nemiga sheaves are laid from their heads, beaten with damask flails, life is put on the current, the soul is blowing from the body …". The battle became one of the largest and most fierce internecine battles in Russia. Vseslav's troops were defeated. The prince himself was able to escape. The Polotsk land was devastated. 4 months after the battle, the Yaroslavichs called Vseslav for negotiations, kissed the cross and promised safety, but they broke their promise - they seized him along with their two sons, took him to Kiev and imprisoned.
Battle on Nemiga. Miniature from the Radziwill Chronicle
Meanwhile, in Kiev, dissatisfaction with the princely power and the boyars continued to grow. The people's cup of patience was overwhelmed by the defeat from the Polovtsians. At the end of the summer of 1068, the heroic outposts reported that an enemy army was coming from the steppe. Princes Izyaslav, Svyatoslav and Vsevolod raised squads, but they did not collect the infantry troops, so as not to waste time. They decided to meet the enemy on the distant approaches, drove to the Alta River. Here the princely squads suffered a heavy defeat from the Polovtsians. Izyaslav and Vsevolod fled to Kiev, shut up. The avalanche of the Polovtsians followed. The Russian land was not ready for invasion, villages were burned, masses of people were in full. Then the people of Kiev gathered a veche and sent them to tell the prince: "Here the Polovtsians are scattered throughout the land, give the prince, weapons and horses, and we will still fight with them." However, the prince's entourage was afraid to arm the people. The nobles were afraid of a popular uprising. They refused to arm the people. The crowd seethed. The enraged people smashed the Tysyatsky's courtyard. After the tysyatsky, they remembered the Grand Duke. Like, why do we need such a weak and cowardly prince? They remembered that another prince was languishing in the dungeon - Vseslav Bryachislavich and said: "Let's go free our squads from the cellar." Unjustly offended, innocently injured Vseslav seemed a good candidate for the place of the prince.
Izyaslav fled from Kiev to Poland and offered the Cherven towns to the Poles for help. In 1069 Boleslav marched with an army to Kiev. The Kievans were ready to fight, they fought and went to Belgorod. However, Prince Vseslav, feeling the instability of his position, abandoned his army near Belgorod and fled to his native Polotsk. In the morning, the army learned that it was left without a leader and retreated to Kiev. The Kievites called on Vsevolod and Svyatoslav as peacekeepers. Kiev promised to submit to the prince if he would forgive the townspeople and prevent the Poles from ruining the city. The Grand Duke promised mercy, but deceived the townspeople. He released only part of the Polish army, Boleslav remained with the other part of the army. The first to enter Kiev was the son of the Grand Duke Mstislav, who did not take any oaths. Repression fell on the heads of the townspeople. And the Polish troops were stationed in Kiev and the surrounding area. This caused discontent among the Russians, the Poles behaved like conquerors, did not stand on ceremony with the locals, took whatever they wanted. As a result, the same story repeated itself as half a century ago - the Poles began to be beaten and driven out.
The war continued with Vseslav of Polotsk. The brothers of Izyaslav, seeing his “professional unfitness”, soon came out against him themselves, when Izyaslav began to negotiate with Vseslav behind their backs. The Yaroslavich brothers immediately went to Kiev and demanded that he leave the Kiev table. Izyaslav fled to the West again. The throne was occupied by Svyatoslav (1073-1076). Izyaslav began to ask for help from Boleslav, then from the German emperor Henry IV. The prince promised to recognize himself as a vassal of the Second Reich, to pay tribute if the emperor helps to take the Kiev table again. It got to the point that Izyaslav sent his son Yaropolk Izyaslavich to the Pope. On behalf of his father, he kissed the papal shoe, gave Russia under the rule of the “tsar of kings” Gregory VII, even expressed his readiness to accept the Catholic faith. In 1075, the Pope crowned Yaropolk with the royal crown in Rome and granted him the Lenin of the Holy See to the Russian kingdom, power in Kiev was to belong to Izyaslav and his son Yaropolk "St. Peter's flax").
The position of the Grand Duke Svyatoslav in Kiev was solid. Poland, at the direction of the papal throne, could not immediately support Izyaslav, since it was associated with the war with the Holy Roman Empire, and Russia was his ally. However, here Izyaslav was lucky. In December 1076, Prince Svyatoslav Yaroslavich died suddenly. Vsevolod Yaroslavich, who took the Kiev table, found himself in a difficult position. The Polovtsians began to stir again in the steppe. The next stage of the struggle between the Polotsk prince Vseslav Brachislavich and the Yaroslavichs began. And the Polish king Boleslav immediately forgot about the alliance with Russia and how Svyatoslav helped him against the empire. He gave Izyaslav an army, helped to recruit mercenaries. In 1077 Izyaslav went to Kiev. Vsevolod preferred to negotiate rather than fight. Izyaslav took the Kiev table for the third time.
The third reign of Izyaslav was short-lived. The Grand Duke wisely forgot about his promise to convert to Catholicism and to subordinate Russia to the Roman throne. The struggle with Vseslav continued. The Yaroslavichs organized two campaigns to Polotsk, inviting the Polovtsians to help. In 1078, a new internecine war broke out. Against the uncles - Izyaslav and Vsevolod - their nephews Oleg Svyatoslavich and Boris Vyacheslavich rebelled, dissatisfied with their position. The distant Tmutarakan became their base. Having united with the Polovtsy, they defeated Vsevolod on the river. Sozhitsa. Vsevolod fled to Kiev for help. Izyaslav supported his brother: “If we have a part in the Russian land, then both. If we are deprived of it, then both. I will lay down my head for you”(and so it happened). Soon the united troops of the princes Izyaslav, his son Yaropolk, Vsevolod and his son Vladimir Monomakh opposed the offenders. The decisive battle on Nezhatina Niva took place on October 3, 1078. The battle was wicked. The outcast princes were defeated. Prince Boris was killed. The Grand Duke was mortally wounded in this battle.
Vsevolod's reign (1078-1093)
Vsevolod took the great reign. The sensible prince tried to put out the civil strife. He offered peace to the Svyatoslavichs. Roman left Tmutarakan, Oleg offered the Muromo-Ryazan principality. However, the princes refused to reconcile. In 1079, Oleg and his brother Roman gathered an army from representatives of the Caucasian tribes and Polovtsians, and again moved from Tmutarakan to Kiev. Vsevolod met them at Pereyaslavl. He was able to negotiate with the Polovtsian princes, they preferred gold to a fight, took a ransom and turned back. Vsevolod bribed the Polovtsians, they killed Roman, and Oleg was handed over to the Greeks. They exiled him to the island of Rhodes, where he stayed for another fifteen years. Tmutarakan came under the control of Kiev. According to another version, the Polovtsians were bribed by the Taman Khazars-Jews, who were tired of the restless princes.
The lots in Russia were once again redistributed. Grand Duke Vsevolod Yaroslavich did not offend the sons of his deceased brother Izyaslav - he left Svyatopolk in Novgorod, Yaropolk gave Western Russia - Volhynia and the Turov principality. He gave the left bank of the Dnieper to his children. In Pereyaslavl he planted the youngest son of Rostislav, Vladimir Monomakh - in Chernigov. Monomakh retained control in the Smolensk and Rostov-Suzdal principalities. Vladimir Vsevolodovich became the right hand, the main assistant of his ailing father.
Vsevolod was unable to restore order and tranquility in Russia. The Kiev trading-boyar elite got used to the weak prince Izyaslav, turned him around as they wanted. Vsevolod tried to promote his junior warriors, which caused discontent among the Kiev boyars. And Vsevolod's warriors themselves did not behave in the best way. The prince could not keep track of them, in his old age he was ill, rarely left the palace, which was used by those close to him. The predation continued. The new managers competed with the old ones and tried to get rich quickly.
There was no row in Russia. The struggle with Vseslav of Polotsk continued. At the turn of the 1070-1080s, the Polotsk prince led a campaign near Smolensk, plundered and burned the city. The Volga Bulgars captured the Murom, made raids on the Suzdal lands. The Vyatichi tribes rose again, retaining devotion to the old faith and having their own princes. Taking advantage of the weakness of the Kiev government, they fell away from the state altogether. The Polovtsians took advantage of the weakening of Russia, made raids. Torquay, who served the Grand Duke, seeing the weakening of the central government, revolted.
Vladimir Vsevolodovich had to restore order with an iron hand. He now and then raced with the squads to the north-west, then to the east, then to the south. With a retaliatory campaign, Vladimir ravaged the Polotsk land to Lukoml and Logozhsk, then conducted another campaign near Drutsk. In the early 1080s, Vladimir Monomakh and the allied Polovtsy ravaged and burned Minsk. Vseslav sat down in Polotsk, preparing for the defense. But Monomakh did not go to him and did not become entrenched in his principality. I took into account the past negative experience, when attempts to consolidate the Kiev troops in the Polotsk land led to a partisan war and the growth of Vseslav's popularity among the local population. He resettled the gone local residents in his possessions near Suzdal and Rostov.
Monomakh visited the Oka, punished the Bulgars. He took up the hostile Polovtsians. When they went to Starodub, he smashed them on the Desna. Khans Asaduk and Sauk were captured. Then Vladimir made a new lightning throw and defeated the horde of Khan Belkatgin east of Novgorod-Seversky. The formidable prince-commander pacified the rebellious Torks.
In the early 1080s, two consecutive winter campaigns were held against the Vyatichi tribal union. The struggle was hard and bloody. The army of Vladimir laid siege to the capital of the Vyatichi Kordno. The defense was led by Prince Khodota and his son. Vyatichi fought back fiercely, went into counterattacks. Many brave soldiers fell on both sides. The Vyatichi took the capital, but Khodota left. Together with the pagan priesthood, he raised the people against the squads of Monomakh. The battle was fierce. Then the scythe found on the stone. Vyatichi were masters of the forest war. Their militias were swept away by professional squads, but the Vyatichi were strong in the forest, they set up ambushes. They skillfully used the knowledge of the area, escaped from the blow, and suddenly counterattacked. Monomakh had to storm their oak fortresses, repulse the blows of detachments suddenly appearing in the forest. Along with men, as has long been customary in Russia, women also fought. The surrounded warriors preferred to kill themselves, not wanting to be captured. During the second campaign, Vladimir changed his tactics. Instead of storming the remaining Vyatichi castles and looking for Khodota in the snow-covered forests, he looked for pagan sanctuaries. Vyatichi took an open battle, trying to protect their sacred places. But in open battle, their militias were losing to professional and better-armed militias. In one of these bloody battles, the last prince of the Vyatichi Khodota fell, and the priests also perished. The resistance of the Vyatichi was broken, they resigned themselves. Monomakh liquidated the veche self-government of the Vyatichi, and installed his governors. The lands of the Vyatichi entered the Chernigov principality.
And again Vladimir did not know rest. He chased Polovtsian detachments. At the same time, the tough and victorious commander managed to be a zealous ruler, did not repeat his father's mistakes. I tried to delve into all matters personally. Conducted unexpected inspections of cities and graveyards. I myself examined the farms. I spoke with residents, ruled the court and resolved disputes. Under his rule, completely destroyed Smolensk was rebuilt, Chernigov, which suffered after wars and fires, was renovated.