Yurii Dolgorukii

Yurii Dolgorukii [Jurij Dolgorukij] (Yurii I Volodymyrovych), b ca 1090, d 15 May 1157 in Kyiv. Kyivan Rus’ prince; sixth son of Volodymyr Monomakh and Gytha. His appellation, ‘the Long-handed,’ was assigned posthumously by chroniclers who deplored his interventions in the affairs of Kyiv principality. While his father was alive, Yurii brought the Rostov-Suzdal territories in the north firmly under his control. In 1125, upon the death of his father, Yurii transferred his capital to Suzdal and became the sovereign ruler of Rostov-Suzdal principality. After the death of his elder brother, Mstyslav I Volodymyrovych (1132), Yurii seized Pereiaslav by force; after eight days he was ousted by his brother Yaropolk II Volodymyrovych (then the prince of Kyiv). The takeover of Pereiaslav resulted in a conflict between Yurii and his brothers which ended in his defeat in 1135. He was compelled to relinquish all of his southern land claims and return to Suzdal.

During Yurii's reign the economic and political might of the northern principalities grew. The cities of Pereiaslavl-Zaleskii, Yurev (now Tartu), and (allegedly) Kostroma were built by him. Yurii is considered to be the founder of Moscow, which is first mentioned in 1147 and which he fortified in 1156. He formed appanage principalities in northeastern Rus’, which he divided among his sons, and he established the Moscow branch of the Riurykide dynasty. The Rostov-Suzdal principality ruled by Yurii later became the nucleus of Russia.

In 1149, taking advantage of the internecine strife in Kyivan Rus’ to the south, Yurii allied himself with the Cumans and set out on a campaign against Iziaslav Mstyslavych. He defeated Iziaslav and took over Kyiv, but in 1150 he had to relinquish the city. He returned to Kyiv, but Iziaslav defeated him decisively in 1151 at the Ruta River and sent him back to Suzdal. Yurii captured Kyiv a third time in 1155 and remained there. In order to strengthen his position in the south he granted his sons appanages in those territories. He was not liked by the Kyivan citizens; he was poisoned at a banquet hosted by the Kyivan boyar Petrylo. He was buried in the Transfiguration Church in Berestove. After his death the local population rose in rebellion against the remnants of his rule. The north-south hostilities intensified under the rule of Yurii's son, Andrei Bogoliubskii.

Ianovskii, A. Iurii Dolgorukov (Moscow 1955)

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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