13.05.2021

Strife and Zaokskaya land

Before proceeding to the story of the further fate of Yuri Vladimirovich, nicknamed Dolgoruky for his active policy in the south of Rostov, it is necessary to recall one reproach brought against this figure of Russia by some scientists. They accuse the prince of Suzdal of repeated attempts to seize Pereyaslavl land, annex it to their northern possessions. Even if Yuri Dolgoruky strove to unite these lands under his rule, it is unfair and ridiculous to reproach him for that. It’s funny, if only because all the princes dreamed of such acquisitions, but unfair because this was not the essence of Yuri Dolgoruky’s actions.

Ancient customs that existed in Eastern Europe long before the arrival of the Varangians did not interfere with the movement of people. “The initial history of Russia is determined by two important facts unknown to Western Europe: the concept of territorial unity and the wandering state of the population. The state territory, outlined by the weapons of the first Rurikovichs, was considered the legacy of the entire princely family and all Russian people. The population did not know those closed narrow spheres in which the life of a Western European farmer or city dweller took place. He walked freely and crossed the common homeland.

He did not risk, leaving his city or parish, stumbling into an alien area, a hostile state. Everywhere there was one and the same Russian land, stretching over an immense space, separate parts did not constitute independent political bodies either in the eyes of the princes or in the eyes of service people and peasants. The princes looked at their volost as a temporary possession, in which they sat until the first change in the Kiev reign … “9

The growth in the number of cities mentioned above would be impossible or extremely difficult if such customs did not exist. A strange feedback acted on the territory of the Kiev state: the more people left the rich lands inhabited in the 9th-11th centuries and went to the unknown lands, settled there, the more sharply the antagonism between the old and new principalities was manifested, the more peaceful people left the inhabited areas.

Such people in Eastern Europe were called rovers. This word has several different meanings. Prince Kiy could be a wanderer, a man who lived at the ford, or even owned a ford, a crossing. Brodniks were those who left for the steppe, seduced by the delights of a free life, quickly ran wild there, like horses run wild without people, hired in various squads, went to the Pechenegs, and then – to the Polovtsi and as part of the detachments of the steppe – to the Russian land. We will not be talking about these roamers, but about those who walked and wandered around Russia in search of a calm, non-military life.

These wanderers turned from the Dnieper and left the roads that were well-groomed by the vigilantes to small rivers, narrow roads, looked for and found secluded corners surrounded by forest wilds and swamps, lakes and hills, settled here, without fighting with anyone, without interfering with anyone, but only working from day to day.

It was these wanderers who got to the Oka River from the west through the Ugra. Some settled on the banks of the swift Oka, where the Vyatichi (Slavic tribes) lived in the middle and upper reaches, while others, the most peaceful ones, turned to the Moskva River, quite small, neburnaya, which could well be called the Oka backwater, and not only the Oka, but also the backwater of the turbulent stream of history, along which Eastern Europe raced at fast speeds. Wars, battles, betrayals, insults, fires, the blood of enemies and relatives – all this was repeated year after year there, outside the territory adjacent to the Moskva River valley. And here there was a calm life by a calm river, winding gently between rolling hills, densely overgrown, like the whole area around, with pine forests interspersed with deciduous forests, with birch groves, transparent as April water; here – a blissful silence, sounded only by the melodies of nature almost untouched by people.

Along the Moscow River, which is not outstanding in anything, people climbed on plows that appeared in the 11th century in Eastern Europe, or on boats, reached the place where the Pakhra flows into it, went further upstream, and suddenly at some point they began to wonder: what happened with the river, why did she wind up and down nervously, as if she had lost something very important here a long time ago and couldn’t find it? What such a precious treasure the river is looking for, twisting abruptly, sending countless of its sisters around at different distances, bifurcating here and there, forming low caps of islands, scattering wide sleeves, coming close to steep slopes, as if looking into the hills, and not being afraid to get hit by a falling block of earth for annoying curiosity? Apparently, a very expensive treasure was lost in these parts, if the river was so agitated.

People swam to Borovitsky Hill (pine forest grew here, thick, millennial), stopped. Further, beyond the hill, rapids began, not as terrible as on the Dnieper, but … why did the Moscow river throw its bottom with sharp stones and cut the heavy surface of the river with breakers? Maybe the wonderful river prompted people: do not swim further, there is a great treasure here, are you looking for the city of Moscow? Climb, people, up the hill, look around, look for a place to your liking, here every kind soul will find shelter and rest, just do not be lazy to seek and work.

And people accepted the invitation of the hospitable hostess, settled down in these parts for themselves and their descendants to the joy, and by 1134 they achieved significant success in the economic development of the region.

* * *

The land located on the territory of the modern Moscow region, already in the XI century could feed, put on, put on, protect and mentally please more than one hundred thousand people. Rich land. But getting this wealth requires a lot of work, time or money. The brodniks could not have huge funds, and the local Vyatichi could not have it either. They had hands, a greedy desire to live peacefully and the time kindly provided to them by history: it is clear from the chronicles that all the great events of the 12th and 13th centuries took place in completely different parts of Eastern Europe.

But this does not mean that the locals have been rolling like cheese in butter for several centuries. Life in the near and distant environs of Borovitsky Hill in the 11th century can be compared with the life of the mysterious Akkadian tribes, which, fleeing from persecutors unknown to modern science, settled in the 4th millennium BC. e. in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, turned an uninhabitable swampy land into one of the most beautiful gardens of world civilization. A similar feat in the 18th century was accomplished by the Zaporozhye Cossacks, who turned the lifeless land between the Black and Caspian Seas into a flourishing country, into the granary of Russia. There are not many such feats in the history of mankind. And speaking about Moscow and Muscovites, about the affairs of the rulers of the great city, we must not forget that the root of everything Moscow, the origins of everything Moscow, are in the XI century, when the development of the Moscow land began.

Moscow land is self-sufficient and valuable in itself. At the end of the 20th century, this idea will not surprise anyone, but back in the 16th – 17th centuries, foreigners were amazed at the abundance of pristine forests surrounding the capital city and its environs. And with what abundance the first inhabitants of these places encountered, one can only guess. The human feat accomplished in the 11th century by the wanderers together with the Vyatichi tribes is great also by the fact that people, although Russians, but very different, came to the valley of the Moskva River, it was not easy for them to find a common language.

The prince of Suzdal returned to the Zaokskaya land in 1134, perfectly understanding the main goal of the Novgorodian campaign against Suzdal. They went for glory and for booty, but the strategic goal of that war and the entire policy of the Novgorodians in the thirties of the XII century was not even the Suzdal land, but the land in the valley of the Moskva River.
Soon Yuri Vladimirovich was able to make sure of this. In 1135, when the struggle of the Kiev prince with the princes of Chernigov began and military problems for a long time distracted the prince of Suzdal from economic affairs, the Novgorodians took advantage of this circumstance: they decided to build the city of Volok Lamsky on their southern borders on the trade route from the Novgorod lands to the Volga-Oka basin. There was a place where ships were dragged from the Lama River, a tributary of the Volga, to the Voloshnya River, a tributary of the Ruza, which carries its waters to the Moscow River.

Why, then, the strong Novgorodians, who previously always conducted trade on the mighty rivers Dnieper and Volga, paid attention to the quiet Moscow River? One reason has already been said: by this time the Dnieper road had lost its economic importance. But there was another reason, important in the context of the conversation about Moscow: by the beginning of the 12th century, the inhabitants of the Moskva River valley had become so economically strong that they could be a profitable partner. And the merchants from Novgorod were the first to feel it.

Seven years before the founding of Voloka-Lamsky, a terrible famine broke out in Novgorod. “The winter crops froze out from the cruel, quite extraordinary cold,” writes N. M. Karamzin in the History of the Russian State, “deep snow lay until April 30, the water flooded the fields, villages, and in the spring the farmers saw in the fields, instead of greenery, only mud … The government had no reserves, and the price of bread had risen so high that an octopus of rye in 1128 cost about a ruble and forty kopecks in current silver money. The people ate chaff, horse meat, linden leaves, birch bark, moss, tree rot. Hungry people wandered like ghosts; the dead fell on the roads, streets, squares. Novgorod seemed like a vast cemetery; corpses contaminated the air with the stench of decay, and the mercenaries did not have time to take them out. Fathers and mothers gave their children to foreign merchants into slavery, and many citizens looked for food in remote countries ”10.

It is not known with whose help the Novgorodians survived that terrible famine, it is known something else – they survived, and a year later they were conducting a violent military activity, successfully trading with Gotland and Denmark. Four years later, that is, in 1134, they lost the battle on Zhdanova Gora, and a few months later they considered it necessary to found a new city of Volok-Lamsky, which connected them with the Moscow land. And merchants, as you know, have always invested only in reliable enterprises.

Yuri Dolgoruky, forced to take part in the civil strife and defend the Monomashiches’ cause, could not help but pay attention to this move of Novgorod, whose residents, with the foundation of Voloka-Lamsky, firstly, “cut a window” into the Moscow space, and secondly, took another step south … In itself, this action was useful for the economic development of the Moscow land. But we must remember that Novgorodians always preferred the republican way of life, and in 1136 at the veche they declared the city a republic. And Yuri Vladimirovich could not like this enduring craving of the northern neighbor for independence, and even for the republic.

In 1136 a rebellion broke out in Novgorod. The people did not forgive Vsevolod Mstislavich for the shameful flight from Zhdanova Mountain, they raged for two years, changed two princes at the veche and finally called Rostislav, the son of Yuri Vladimirovich, to Novgorod, which can be considered an important diplomatic victory for the Suzdal prince.

Passions in Novgorod had not yet cooled down, when the Olgovichs declared war on the Monomashichs. They had the right to do so. The elder Olgovich, Vsevolod, was no younger than the Grand Duke of Kiev, which means that he could take the Grand Duke’s throne. Yaropolk, having collected a huge army, supported by almost all Russian princes, as well as Hungarians and Berends, approached Chernigov. Vsevolod was forced to ask Monomashich for mercy. Yaropolk complied with the request, but the Olgovichi responded with evil.
They did not accept defeat, they only calmed down, waiting for the right moment. And it soon came.

On February 18, 1139, Yaropolk died. Four days later, Vyacheslav Vladimirovich arrived from Pereyaslavl to Kiev. He, as a sovereign, was met by the metropolitan surrounded by the people. But Monomashich did not become sovereign. Vsevolod Olgovich, the eldest of the Rurikovich family, approached the capital with a small squad, allowed the soldiers to plunder and burn the neighborhood, sent a messenger to the city with a strict demand to give him power. How could Vyacheslav answer him? Only as Rurikovich, as a descendant of Monomakh.
He sent the metropolitan to Vsevolod, and he conveyed his words to the troublemaker: “I am not a predator; but if the conditions of our fathers do not seem to you a sacred law, then be the sovereign of Kiev: I am going to Turov ”11.

In other works, the metropolitan’s speech is conveyed in a different way: “I, brother, came to Kiev to replace my brothers, Mstislav and Yaropolk, according to the will of our fathers. If you, brother, wished this table and left your patrimony, then I am less than you and I will go to my former volost, and Kiev to you. ”
Vsevolod Chernigovsky, already elderly, bald, fat, vel-bearded, big-eyed, with a long nose and fleshy hands (V.N.Tatishchev gives him such a portrait), rode on a white horse into the capital, approached the clergy, got off his horse and kissed the cross. The Monomashichi lost their grand-ducal throne for a long time.

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