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Monument to Yuriy Dolgorukiy in Moscow.

Prince Yuri I Dolgorukiy (Russian: Юрий Долгорукий, "Yuri the Long-arm"), also known as George I of Rus', (c. 1099–15 May 1157) was the founder of Moscow and a key figure in the transition of political power from Kiev to Vladimir-Suzdal following the death of his elder brother Mstislav the Great. He reigned as Velikiy Kniaz (Grand Prince) of Kiev from September 1149 to April 1151 and then again from March 1155 to May 1157.


Activities in Rostov and Suzdal

Yuri was the sixth son of Vladimir Monomakh. Although his birthdate is uncertain, some chronicles report that Yuri's elder brother, Viacheslav, said to him: "I am much older than you; I was already bearded when you were born." Since Viacheslav was born in 1083, this pushes Yuri's birth to c. 1099/1100.

In 1108, Yuri was sent by his father to govern in his name the vast Rostov-Suzdal province in the north-east of Kievan Rus'. In 1121, he quarrelled with the boyars of Rostov and moved the capital of his lands from that city to Suzdal. As the area was sparsely populated, Yuriy founded many fortresses there. He established the towns of Ksniatin in 1134, Pereslavl-Zalesski and Yuriev-Polski in 1152, and Dmitrov in 1154. The establishment of Tver, Kostroma, and Vologda is also popularly assigned to Yuri.

In 1147, Yuri Dolgoruki had a meeting with Sviatoslav Olgovich in a place called Moscow. In 1156, Yuri fortified Moscow with wooden walls and a moat. Although the settlement probably existed earlier, Dolgoruki is often called "The Founder of Moscow".

Struggle for Kiev

For all the interest he took in fortifying his Northern lands, Yuri still coveted the throne of Kiev. It is his active participation in the Southern affairs that earned him the sobriquet of "Dolgorukiy", i.e., "the long-armed". His elder brother Mstislav of Kiev died in 1132, and "the Rus lands fell apart", as one chronicle put it. Yuri instantaneously declared war on the princes of Chernigov, enthroned his son in Novgorod, and captured Pereyaslav of the South. The Novgorodians, however, betrayed him, and Yuri avenged by seizing their key fortress, Torzhok.

In 1147, Dolgorukiy resumed his struggle for Kiev and two years later he captured it, but in 1151 he was driven from the capital of Rus by his nephew Iziaslav. In 1155, Yuri regained Kiev once again. His sudden death, however, sparkled anti-Suzdalian uprising in Kiev. Yuri Dolgoruki was interred at the Saviour Church in Berestovo, Kiev, but his tomb is empty.

Marriages and children

The Primary Chronicle records the first marriage of Yuri on 12 January 1108. His first wife was a daughter of Aepa Ocenevich, Khan of the Cumans. Her paternal grandfather was Osen. Her people belonged to the Kipchaks, a confederation of pastoralists and warriors of Turkic origin.

His second wife Helena survived him and moved to Constantinople. Her paternity is not known for certain but Nikolay Karamzin was the first to theorise that Helena was returning to her native city. She has since been theorised to be a member of the Komnenos dynasty which ruled the Byzantine Empire throughout the life of Yuri. She has been tentatively identified with Helena Komnene, a daughter of Isaac Komnenos. The identification would make her a granddaughter of Alexios I Komnenos and Irene Doukaina.

Yuri had at least fifteen children. The identities of the mothers are not known for certain


Muscovites have cherished Yuri's memory as the legendary founder of city. His patron saint, Saint George appears on the coat of arms of Moscow slaying a dragon. In 1954, a monument to him was erected on Moscow's Tverskaya Street, the city's principal avenue, in front of the Moscow municipality.

Dolgoruki's image was stamped on a medal "In commemoration of Moscow's 800th anniversary", introduced in 1947.

The nuclear submarine Yuri Dolgoruki is named after him.

Preceded by
Iziaslav II
Grand Prince of Kiev
Succeeded by
Iziaslav III
Preceded by
Vladimir Monomakh
Prince of Rostov and Suzdal Succeeded by
Andrei Bogolyubsky

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