Švitrigaila [Ukrainian: Свідригайло; Svidryhailo] (Orthodox names: Олександер; Oleksander and Лев; Lev; Catholic name: Boleslav), b ca 1370, d 10 February 1452 in Lutsk, Volhynia. Grand duke of Lithuania (1430–2); son of Algirdas and brother of Władysław II Jagiełło (Jogaila). He ruled the Vitsebsk appanage (from which he was expelled by Vytautas the Great in 1393) and the Polish fiefdom of Podilia (1400–2). Later, supported by the Teutonic Knights, Muscovy, and Moldavia, he fought against Vytautas and Jagiełło. In 1420 he made peace with Vytautas and received the Novhorod-Siverskyi and Briansk appanages. After Vytautas's death Švitrigaila was backed by Ukrainian and Belarusian magnates (who were promised high offices in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania) and by Lithuanian magnates (who wanted independence from Poland) in his appointment as grand duke of Lithuania (1430). In 1432 he fought against Poland for the control of Podilia. Jagiełło's supporters instigated a rebellion against Švitrigaila in Lithuania, as a result of which he was defeated and replaced by Žygimantas. To neutralize Švitrigaila's popularity with Ukrainian and Belarusian subjects Jagiełło and Žygimantas granted the Orthodox equality with the Catholics (1432). Švitrigaila continued to fight for the throne, but he suffered a major defeat in Lithuania on 1 September 1435. For a while he preserved his control over the Ukrainian territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, but after 1438 he ruled only Volhynia and eastern Podilia. He was buried in the Vilnius cathedral.

Lewicki, A. Powstanie Świdrygiełły (Cracow 1892)
Matusas, J. Švitrigaila (Kaunas 1938)

 Arkadii Zhukovsky

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

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