Start page

Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

Personal site


The second reign in Novgorod
(1229 – 1232)

Nicholas Zharkikh

Shortened text of the section. Full text in ukrainian version.

If the "lazy war" discussed by us in the previous chapter really ended no later than February 1229 (as researchers think), then it was very timely for Prince Michael Vsevolodovich. The fact is that on February 20, 1229, another revolution began in Novgorod the Great, and princes Fedor and Alexander Yaroslavichs were taken out of the city…

On this occasion, for the first time in our sources, prince Rostislav Mykhailovych is mentioned. His biography is very important for our topic. Michael would by no means push the little boy Rostislav to the Novgorod throne if he had an adult (or at least slightly older) son. But he was not there, and Rostislav was the only "political asset" of his father. Historians’ attempts to combine other sons of Michael are unstable.

And in the future – until the very end of the existence of the Chernihiv principality, that is, during the next 8 years – we have no news about the settlement of this conflict and, in general, about the political contacts between Chernihiv and Vladimir. The Principality of Vladimir, thanks to its wise leadership, found itself in political isolation just before the great Tatar campaign.

The Novgorod direction of Chernihiv’s politics was finally liquidated. The struggle for Novgorod did not benefit Chernihiv either, because the Chernihiv principality gradually slipped into a state of war against all its neighbors at the same time.

In 1232, another Tatar detachment invaded Bulgaria. The Vladimir chronicler only knew about it that the Tatars wintered before reaching the city of Bolgar (Laurentian Chronicle under 6740 / 1232).

"Not every thunder strikes, and if it strikes, just not for us" – this seems to be the end of the political philosophy of the Rus’ princes. The limited political horizons, the traditional absence of strong external enemies, and the same traditional reticence of politicians in communication within Rus’ were a big problem, and ancient Rus’ died faster than it even had time to realize this danger.