This happened a year before the events described. Vsevolod ruled in Novgorod. In the summer he went west, won victories over the Chud tribes, took Yuriev (Dorpat).
As soon as he returned from a successful campaign, Izyaslav Mstislavich came to him, who a few months earlier had conceded, not without the participation of Yuri Vladimirovich, the city of Pereyaslavl to Uncle Vyacheslav, and in exchange received Turov and Pinsk.
Soon Turov took away from him Vyacheslav, and the prince of Suzdal took Pereyaslavl. Izyaslav was left without two cities. He was very offended by his relatives, asked for the protection of Vsevolod. He reassured him:
– I, brother, will conquer the Suzdal land for you.
The decision of the prince was supported by the Novgorod veche. But the march to the south was unsuccessful. Vsevolod reached Dubna, where he was met by a large army of the enemy. The Novgorodians did not dare to cross the river with a fight and turned back.
Approaching Novgorod, the prince felt that something was wrong. He was informed that the townspeople were agitated, changed several mayors, one of them was thrown off the bridge, blaming the unfortunate man for all his troubles, the main of which was a crop failure . More than once in recent years, the Novgorod land has not yielded a crop. People were starving. They rebelled. By sending Vsevolod’s squad on a campaign to the south, the townspeople hoped for rich booty. And here – no victory, no prey. Some waste.
The Novgorodians greeted Vsevolod’s squad with malice. The people gathered at the veche and called on the prince not to dismiss the soldiers, to go on a campaign again.
It was the last days of December. Cold time. Holidays time. Only the Novgorodians were not up to the holidays. Crop failures have raised food prices. The neighbors took advantage of this. Merchants from other regions believed as follows: Novgorodians are rich and very cheerful people, they will buy bread at any price. Novgorodians did pay a lot of money for food, until prices jumped so high that even the noble and wealthy found it costly to go to the market.
Bad harvest. Hunger. Despair. Only hungry people are ready to go hiking in the cold December time. If only to survive. Chroniclers, however, write that the Novgorodians considered the second campaign a matter of honor, but you can fight for honor even at other times of the year . She does not have a sled, she will not roll off in the cold for ever and ever into the distant kingdom.
– Gather a squad for a hike! – shouted angry Novgorodians. – We are not afraid of the fierce frost! We will take Suzdal!
Both the prince and the Metropolitan of Kiev Michael tried to dissuade them, they did not dissuade them. The Novgorodians got tired of talking, they arrested the metropolitan, got into the ranks, and the prince led them on December 31, 1133 to Suzdal.
The blizzard hummed in different voices, the wind ruffled the clothes of the soldiers, tossed about in the hard manes of horses, frost showered people with white hoarfrost, snowdrifts prevented them from walking, but people walked south along the winding river beds.
The Novgorodians pushed south for twenty-six days. We went to Zhdanova Hill. We saw a huge enemy army on it. Great white mountain. There are people on it. Also Russians and also white. Only – well-fed.
Hungry Novgorodians scrambled upstairs, the battle began. And Zhdanov Mountain quickly turned red – the battle was equal.
At some point, Vsevolod wavered, left his hungry people to fight the well-fed Suzdal warriors and fled shamefully from the battlefield. The battle continued for several more hours, until everyone, including Yuri Dolgoruky , realized that no one would be able to win the battle today. Then only the passions on Zhdanova Hill were extinguished. And then he sprinkled coarse snow, as if on purpose to hide the traces of human violence.
The killed were counted. Novgorodians lost a little more people. Everyone didn’t want to continue the war. The warring parties made peace. The northerners went home, harboring a grudge against their cowardly prince.
Yuri Vladimirovich already then realized that the struggle with Novgorod was acquiring a new quality for him, the Prince of Suzdal. And Vsevolod, who fled from Zhdanova Mountain, in that battle appreciated the military leadership talent of his enemy. And there is nothing surprising in the fact that he fled from near Kiev to Chernigov for fear of once again meeting on the battlefield with the army of Yuri Dolgoruky.