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(10761132), Vladimir Monomakh's eldest son, grand prince of Kiev, and the progenitor of the dynasties of Vladimir in Volyn and of Smolensk.

In 1088 Mstislav Vladmirovich's grandfather Vsevolod appointed him to Novgorod, but in 1093 his father (Monomakh) sent him to Rostov and Smolensk. In 1095 he returned to Novgorod where he ruled for twenty years. In 1096 his father ordered him to campaign against Oleg Svyatoslavich of Chernigov, who was pillaging his Suzdalian lands. Mstislav's most important victory was defeating Oleg and making him attend a congress of princes in 1097 at Lyubech, where he was reconciled with Monomakh and Svyatopolk of Kiev.

In 1117 Monomakh, now grand prince of Kiev, summoned Mstislav to Belgorod where, it appears, he made Mstislav coruler. He also designated Mstislav his successor in keeping with his agreement with the Kievans, who had promised to accept Mstislav and his descendants as their hereditary dynasty. Monomakh therewith violated the system of lateral succession allegedly introduced by Yaroslav the Wise. When Monomakh died on May 19, 1125, Mstislav succeeded him. Two years later, when Vsevolod Olgovich usurped Chernigov from his uncle Yaroslav, Mstislav violated the lateral order of succession again by confirming Vsevolod's usurpation and thus winning his loyalty. Whereas Monomakh had driven the Polovtsy to the river Don, in 1129 Mstislav drove them even beyond the Volga. In 1130, in keeping with Monomakh's policy of securing his family's control over the other princely families, Mstislav exiled the disloyal princes of Polotsk to Constantinople and replaced them with his own men. Thus, before he died, he controlled, directly or through his brothers or his sons, Kiev, Pereyaslavl, Smolensk, Rostov, Suzdal, Novgorod, Polotsk, Turov, and Vladimir in Volyn. Moreover, Vsevolod of Chernigov was his son-in-law. Mstislav, called "the Great" by some, died on April 15, 1132, and was buried in the Church of St. Theodore, which he had built.

See also: kievan rus; novgorod the great; rota system; vladimir monomakh


Dimnik, Martin. (1994). The Dynasty of Chernigov 10541146. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

Franklin, Simon, and Shepard, Jonathan. (1996). The Emergence of Rus 7501200. London: Longman.

Martin Dimnik

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