Vsevolod Bolshoe Gnezdo

Vsevolod Bol’shoe Gnezdo


Born 1154; died 1212. Grand prince of Vladimir, son of lurii Dolgorukii.

Prince Vsevolod received the epithet Bol’shoe Gnezdo (Big Nest) because of his many children (eight sons and four daughters). In 1162, Vsevolod, with his mother and brother, was exiled by his brother Andrei Bogoliubskii and traveled to Constantinople to visit Emperor Manuel. Returning to Rus’ after the death of Andrei in 1174, he helped his brother Mikhail gain control of Vladimir. When Mikhail died in 1176, Vsevolod Bol’shoe Gnezdo became Grand Prince.

After a feudal war in which Vsevolod Bol’shoe Gnezdo defeated the other princes who laid claim to Vladimir, as well as the Rostov boyars who opposed the strengthening of his power, he confiscated their land and property. Relying on the support of a number of Novgorod boyars and merchants and taking advantage of the class struggle in Novgorod, Vsevolod Bol’shoe Gnezdo tried to bring Novgorod under his rule and forced the acceptance of his appointees as princes. In the Riazan’ campaigns of 1180, 1187, and 1207 he brought Riazan’ under his influence. Kiev and Chernigov were dependent on him. In 1190 he extended his suzerainty over the Galician prince Vladimir laroslavich.

During the reign of Vsevolod Bol’shoe Gnezdo the territory of the Vladimir-Suzdal’ Principality was extended in the east as a result of campaigns against the Volga Bulgars and the Mordvins in 1183 and 1186. During the princely rule of Vsevolod the culture of the Vladimir Principality continued to flourish. Chronicle writing continued to develop, and the cities were adorned with splendid new buildings. The Uspenskii Cathedral in Vladimir was enlarged in 1185-89; the Cathedral of St. Dmitrii was built in 1193-97, the Vladimir kremlin in 1194-96, and the Rozhdestvenskii Cathedral in 1192-95.