Yuri Dolgoruky Grand Prince of Kiev
- Born: Abt 1099
- Died: 15 May 1157 about age 58
- Buried: Saviour Church of Berestovo, Kiev, Kiev, Ukraine
Another name for Yuri was George I of Russia.
Yuri Dolgoruki, also known as George I of Russia, (c. 1099 - May 15, 1157) was a key figure in transition of political power from Kiev to Vladimir-Suzdal following the death of his elder brother Mstislav the Great. He reigned as Veliki Kniaz (Grand Prince) of Kiev from September 1149 to April 1151 and then again from March 1155 to May 1157. He is the founder of Moscow.
Activities in Rostov and Suzdal
Yuri, or rather George in English, 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 the early 1080s, this pushes Yury's birth to c. 1099/1100.
In 1108, Yuri was sent by his father to govern the vast Rostov-Suzdal province in the north-east of Kievan Rus'. In 1121, he quarelled with the boyars of Rostov and moved the capital of his lands from that city to Suzdal. As the area was sparsely populated, Yury founded many a fortress 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 Yury.
In 1147, Yuri Dolgoruki had a meeting with Sviatoslav Olgovich in a place called Moskva, or Moscow. This first mention of Moscow is considered the traditional date of the city's founding. In 1156, Yuri fortified Moscow with wooden walls and a moat.
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 "Dolgoruki", i.e., "the long-armed". His elder brother Mstislav of Kiev died in 1132, and "the Russian 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, Dolgoruki resumed his struggle for Kiev and two years later he captured it, but in 1151 he was driven from the Russian capital 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 of Berestovo, which still stands in Kiev.
The Muscovites cherished Yuri's memory ever since and represented his patron saint, Saint George slaying a dragon, on the city's coat of arms. In 1954, a monument to him was erected on Moscow's principal avenue. 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.