Basil 2 Dark: years of government, biography
Nephew against uncle
Vasily Vasilyevich was born in 1415. His father died when the boy was only ten years old. The first time for the child was the rules of the boyar regent council. Vasily I handed over power to his son, contrary to the long-standing law, according to which the throne, according to seniority, was to pass on to the next brother of the deceased - Yuri Dmitrievich. This prince received only the city of Galich in inheritance and considered himself deprived. Subsequently, this dynastic conflict led to a long and bloody internecine war.
Vasily 2 The dark, domestic and foreign policy of which in the first years of his reign was determined by advisors from among the boyars, had a powerful defender in the person of his grandfather by his mother - Lithuanian Prince Vitovt. This monarch ruled a great power from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Yuri Dmitrievich rightly feared the intercession of a dangerous neighbor. However, in 1430, the elderly Vitovt died.
For some time the conflict between the uncle and the nephew was in a frozen state. However, in 1431 the old feuds again made themselves felt.Yuri, not wanting to remain a specific prince, threatened his nephew with war. Then Vasily 2 Dark offered to go to the Horde (at that time Russia was still dependent on the Tatars), where King Mahmet ruled.
Opponents were faced by a khan court. The young Basil had experienced boyars who were able to tune the Tatar murz against Yuri and his supporters. The grandees, convinced by Moscow diplomats, began to petition to their king for Vasily. At trial, the Moscow prince defended his rightness by the charter, according to which inheritance was carried out from father to son, and not from brother to brother. Yuri referred to the testament of Dmitry Donskoy, which stated that he was considered the successor of Vasily I.
In the end, Mahmet took the side of the young prince. Moreover, at the command of Khan, Yuri was to lead his horse. Vasily 2 Dark did not want the humiliation of a relative and refused this ancient Tatar rite. As a token of compensation, his uncle received the city of Dmitrov, remaining after the death of another son of Donskoy, Peter Dmitrievich. Upon returning home, Vasily was again solemnly seated on the throne of the grand prince (the ceremony was held by the Tatar nobleman Ulan-Tsarevich).This event became symbolic because it was after him that the city of Vladimir formally lost the status of the capital of Russia.
Stolen belt and spoiled wedding
At the Khan court a particularly important role was played by the Moscow boyar named John. He more convincingly than others spoke before Makhmet, after which Vasily 2 Dark finally won the argument with his uncle. John wanted the young ruler to marry his daughter. Vasily did not do this and in 1433 he played the wedding with the daughter of Serpukhov's prince Maria Yaroslavna.
John was offended and went to Yuri. In the future, throwing boyars from one camp to another will become commonplace. In the meantime, the quarrel between Vasily and her adviser has shown that the conflict with Yuri is far from over.
At the wedding of the Grand Duke there was another memorable event that many contemporaries associated with the beginning of a new civil war. His cousins (sons of Yuri himself) Vasily Kosoy and Dmitry Shemyaka came to the feast for the young Vasily. Suddenly the holiday was clouded by scandal. Vasily Kosoy was in a gold belt. The mother of Grand Duke Sophia recognized this jewel, which was supposedly stolen once from Dmitry Donskoy.The woman, not paying attention to propriety, tore Vasily Oblique belt off, stating that the valuable thing rightfully belongs to her family.
Yuri's children were offended, left the palace in anger and immediately retired to Uglich to their father. The scene with the belt was particularly inappropriate because Kosoy and Shemyaka were going to become peacemakers and intermediaries between the hostile relatives. Now, on the contrary, they began to set up their father against Vasily Vasilyevich.
The number of accumulated grievances between the princes has become critical. A few weeks after the memorable wedding war broke out. Ratio Yuri moved to Moscow. Vasily 2 Dark did not suspect anything about the enemy actions until the very moment when the Rostov governor rode up to him, who reported that his uncle had already captured neighboring Pereslavl. The Council of the Grand Duke was inactive - from the time of Dmitry Donskoy and his son, the boyar entourage became shallow and cowardly. Instead of the army, an embassy went to Yuri. The prince was already standing in the vicinity of the Trinity Monastery and was not going to make concessions.
The reign of Basil the Dark 2 was about to end.In April 1433, the young man took his wife and mother and moved to Tver. Soon he surrendered to Yuri, who had already entered Moscow and declared the Grand Duke. Many approached advised the winner not to show mercy. Yuri, however, listened to Simeon Morozov, the nobleman who spoke the opposite, and dismissed his nephew to rule in Kolomna. Relatives said goodbye. Passed a feast, Basil, having received generous gifts, left Moscow.
It soon became clear that Prince Vasily 2 the Dark was not inferior to his uncle in lust for power. Suddenly, many boyars and noble citizens began to leave Moscow and together they left for Kolomna. Once in the capital, Yuri brought with him an approximate aristocracy. These boyars from Uglich and other specific cities occupied the positions of the former Moscow aristocrats. Many noble people who remained out of work understood their mistake and began to side with Basil, who, on the contrary, having come to power, did not change anything from the old orders of his father and grandfather.
Suddenly Kolomna became the actual capital of the grand duchy. The sons of Yuri blamed the boyar Morozov, who advised to release Vasily. The grandee was killed.Frightened by his father's anger, Shemyaka and Kosoy left for Kostroma. Yuri, meanwhile, decided to return to Galich himself, since he understood that under new circumstances he would not be able to hold Moscow for long. In September 1433, Basil returned to the capital. However, the troubles of his reign were just beginning.
Continuing the fight
Less than a year after the change of power in Moscow, Yuri again gathered the regiments and defeated the army of the Grand Duke on the River Kusi. Basil 2 Dark, whose policies differed little from his uncle, ravaged Galich. In 1434, Yuri, along with his sons, defeated his nephew in a battle within Rostov. Vasily faintly fled to Nizhny Novgorod. The winner took Moscow and captivated his spouse and mother.
Once again becoming the Grand Duke, Yuri enlisted the support of the nephews of Mikhail and Ivan Andreevich (who owned Beloozer, Kaluga and Mozhaisk), as well as Ivan Fedorovich of Ryazan. The new allies promised not to have anything to do with Basil, who had become an exile. It seemed that this time Yuri Dmitrievich would be able to stay on the throne. But in just a few months (June 5, 1434), he died, not even before his sixtieth birthday.
Against Vasily Kosoy
After the death of Yuri, Vasily Vasilyevich, finding a common language with Dmitry Shemyaka and his younger brother Dmitry Krasny, expelled Vasily Kosoy from the capital and once again became a Moscow sovereign. Allies were rewarded. Shemyaka received Rzhev and Uglich, Red - Zvenigorod, Bezhetsk Top and Vyatka. Preserved their contractual charter, in which the princes assured each other in friendly intentions. In fact, all the grandsons of Dmitry Donskoy were cruel and cowardly, which predetermined the inevitability of another internecine war.
The most unreasonable of the princes was Vasily Kosoy. He surrounded himself with vagabonds and brigands, and with this gang, after a few months of peaceful life, he began to rob the possession of a cousin. His army captured Ustyug, killed the grand duke's governor and many unarmed residents. At this time, Shemyaka arrived in Moscow with the intention to call Vasily Vasilyevich for his own wedding. Angered by the actions of Kosoy, the sovereign chained Dmitry in chains and sent him into exile in Kolomna. It was a nasty honor and unsustainable act.
Finally, Vasily 2 the Dark, briefly speaking, tired of the excesses of his cousin, assembled a host (joined by Dmitry Red) and met his bandwagon not far from Rostov.Squint, hoping to defeat the enemy with cunning, begged a truce. Vasily Vasilyevich disbanded the army, after which his camp was suddenly attacked by enemy soldiers. This time, the Grand Duke showed a rare determination for himself. Without moving away, he himself notified the troops about the alarm, having blown it into a special pipe. The army of Kosoy was hoping for a mistake by the Muscovites, but she herself was shamed and dispersed in disgrace.
Victory and Defeat
The defeated Vasily Yurievich tried to escape, but was captured. The Grand Duke, forgetting about charity, ordered to blind his cousin. Even in the darkest centuries of Russian history, such a punishment was notorious and was considered simply barbaric. To calm his conscience, Vasily 2 Dark, whose biography was full of mistakes, ordered the release of Shemyaka and returned him specific cities. Squint lived in solitude for another 12 years, forgotten by all relatives and friends.
In 1437, the Khan of the Golden Horde, Makhmet, was deprived of power by his brother Kichim. Once he promoted the accession of Basil to the throne and now hoped for his help. Khan, together with the three thousand army, approached the Russian borders, but received the news that the Grand Duke demanded that he withdraw. Then the Tatars took the border town of Belev.
Basil 2 Dark, briefly living in the world, was forced to re-assemble the army. He commissioned Shemyaka. The cousin was defeated. Makhmet, however, realizing that he could not linger in Belev, left for the Volga region, where Kazan restored Ash from the Ashes and became the actual founder of the Kazan Khanate, the state that was the most important eastern neighbor of the Moscow principality in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Captured by the Tatars
Kazan Khanate immediately became a serious headache for Vasily Vasilyevich. Regular invasions of the Tatars began. Mahmet even captured and plundered the old part of Nizhny Novgorod. In 1445, his two sons, Mahmoud and Yakub, with the army went to Suzdal. The Grand Duke led the army, hoping for help from the specific princes. Shemyaka did not give a cousin a single warrior.
After several years of peace, Vasily 2 the Dark was unable to gather a large army, why the Dark thoughtlessly decided to defeat the Tatars with small forces, there are no exact answers to these questions in the chronicles. One way or another, but on July 7, 1445, a small Moscow army squad was defeated. Foreign policy of Basil 2 Dark turned into a complete failure.The Grand Duke was captured by the Tatars. As a sign of victory, the Kazan princes removed gold jewelry from him and sent them to Moscow as a deterrent.
Not a single prince of Moscow had ever been held captive by the infidels. The news of the unhappy fate of Vasily caused a panic in the capital, which was aggravated by a major fire. At the same time, taking advantage of anarchy, Prince Alexander Alexandrovich of Tver plundered Torzhok.
The Kazan princes, although they won, didn’t have the strength to continue to destroy the Russian lands. They returned to the father. Meanwhile, Mahmet learned that a neighboring Mongol khan had captured Kazan. These circumstances led to the liberation of Basil and the end of the war. The Grand Duke paid a large ransom and gave several small towns to the Tatars for feeding.
It is believed that Vasily 1, Vasily 2 Dark and Ivan III finally united the Russian lands around Moscow. Before this happened, the country had a lot of trouble. For Basil himself, even the captivity was not the last test.
Dmitry Shemyaka, who did not support the Grand Duke in the war with the Tatars, was afraid of revenge. After Vasily returned home, he took up the organization of the conspiracy.Ivan Mozhaisky and Boris Tverskoy joined Shemyaka. The conspirators found supporters and among some Moscow boyars.
In February 1446, Vasily 2 Dark, a brief biography of which speaks of him as a pious man, taking with him two sons, went on a traditional journey to the Trinity Lavra. Shemyaka learned about this and came to Moscow with the right detachment. In the city he had accomplices who opened the gates and let the prince into the Kremlin. Dmitry captured the family of Basil and sent Ivan the Mozhaysky to the Trinity Monastery.
When rumors about the seizure of the capital reached the Grand Duke, he did not believe these dubious news. His guards also acted lightly. Ivan’s armed detachment, hiding in the wagon train, attacked the guard and interrupted it. Finally, Vasily realized that the matter was bad. Being surrounded, he locked himself in the church. Soon Ivan Mozhaysky came to the monastery. Basil begged him not to violate the sanctity of the temple and not to commit a crime.
The traitor assured the sovereign of his good intentions and he surrendered to the enemy. Vasily was immediately announced that he was a prisoner of Grand Duke Dmitry Yuryevich. Slave in custody sent to Moscow.Four days later he was blinded. Basil was subjected to the same penalty on which he had once doomed his cousin and the namesake of Vasily Kosoy. Blinding was done on behalf of Shemyaka, Boris Tversky and Ivan Mozhaisky. The conspirators explained their actions by the fact that the deposed prince indulged the Tatars.
Return to power
Blinded Basil was poisoned into exile in Uglich. His sons Ivan (the future Ivan III) and Yuri found themselves in the hands of faithful monks who transported them to the fortified and neutral Moore. Dmitry resorted to deception and at the request of the local bishop lured his nephews to Moscow. He promised the church that after that he would release Basil. However, Shemyaka broke the word. He also sent his nephews to Uglich, where he left a blind cousin.
Dmitri's treachery set up against him all the new boyars and military men. Finally, frightened by the rebellion, he released Basil and gave him reign in Vologda. Numerous supporters began to gather around the blind man. Some wanted to serve him with a sword, others with prayer. Moreover, Vasily made an alliance with Boris Tversky (as a sign of agreement, the wedding of their children Ivan Vasilevich and Maria Borisovna was played).
Dmitry made a cousin's intentions and stood with the army next to Volok Lamsky. Vasily’s cunning maneuver walked around his position, approached Moscow and took the capital without a fight. The Grand Duke again took the throne - this time until his death. On January 27, 1450, Shemyaka suffered a decisive defeat in a battle near Galich. He continued the struggle, but having lost his father's inheritance, he was left without supporters. In 1453, Dmitry Yuryevich, who was in exile in Novgorod, was poisoned by the people of the Grand Duke.
Death. Results of the reign
Although at its first stage the reign of Vasily 2 of the Dark represented a series of internecine wars, then the Grand Duke managed to stabilize the situation in the country. Most of the minorities were attached to his power, and those who retained imaginary independence, in fact, were completely dependent on Moscow. The internal policy of Vasily 2 of the Dark in church affairs was based on the principle of independence from Constantinople (in 1488 in Russia without regard to the Greeks, the bishop Jonah was elected metropolitan).
The Grand Duke lived a short life. He died in 1462 at the age of 47. Towards the end of his life, tuberculosis was added to Vasily’s blindness.The sovereign was treated with cauterization, which is why he developed gangrene. Vasily was succeeded by his son Ivan III, who continued to strengthen the grand duchy and finally united Russia. After a long internecine war, the law by which power was transferred from parents to children, and not from brothers to brothers, was finally established in the Moscow State.