Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi


Born Oct. 12, 1350, in Moscow; died May 19, 1389, in Moscow. Grand prince of Vladimir and Moscow from 1359. Son of Prince Ivan II Ivanovich the Red; grandson of Ivan I Danilovich Kalita (“Moneybags”).

During Dmitrii’s minority the metropolitan Aleksei directed the government. Relying on the renewed strength of the Muscovite principality and the support of boyars in his service and city dwellers, Dmitrii overcame the resistance of his rivals—the princes of Suzdal’-Nizhny Novgorod, Riazan’, and Tver’—in the struggle for the “Grand Duchy of Russia.” During his reign, in 1367, the first stone Kremlin was erected in Moscow. In 1368 and 1370 his armies repulsed the attacks on Moscow by the Lithuanian prince Olgerd. In 1375, during the war with Tver’ (1368-75), he forced the Tver’ prince to acknowledge his seniority and to conclude an alliance with him in the struggle against the Golden Horde. In 1376 the Muscovite principality strengthened its influence in Bulgaria on the Volga-Kama, and in 1378 its army defeated the prince of Riazan’ at Skornishchev.

Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi was the first of the Muscovite princes to lead an armed struggle of the people against the Tatars. In 1378 he destroyed the Tatar army of Begich, and in 1380 he led a united Russian force against the advancing hordes of the Tatar military leader Mamai. In the battle of Kulikovo, where he routed the conquerors, he showed outstanding talent as a general and earned the name Donskoi. After the attack of the Tatar khan Tokhtamysh on Moscow in 1382, Dmitrii Donskoi organized the restoration of the city. During his reign Moscow asserted its position of leadership in the Russian lands. He was the first to will the Grand Duchy to his son (Vasilii) as “his own otchina (patrimony)” without the sanction of the Golden Horde.


Povesti o Kulikovskoi bitve. Moscow, 1959.
Cherepnin, L. V. Obrazovanie Russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva v XIV-XV vv. Moscow, 1960.
Sakharov, A. M. Obrazovanie i razvitie Rossiiskogo gosudarstva v XIV-XVII vv. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Theodore Stratilates, Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi, Ivan Ivanovich (II), Daniil Aleksandrovich, a certain Dmitrii Ivanovich of Uglich, St.
1383) and wife of the Muscovite grand prince Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi (1350-89), commands a rich literary and visual source base that was created during this period.