Vasily I is the son of a fire victim. How the “master of intrigue” managed to save Russia

650 years ago, on December 30 & nbsp; December 1371, in the & nbsp; family of the Grand Duke of Moscow Dmitry Ivanovich a son was born. Since it was on the eve of a holiday in & nbsp; honor of the famous saint and & nbsp; theologian Basil of Caesarea, better known as Basil the Great, the boy was named by this name. This was the second son of the prince. But & nbsp; after & nbsp; after some time, he & nbsp; will become the first: his older brother Daniel will die at the & nbsp; age of nine. He will be the first & nbsp; and & nbsp; on the & nbsp; pages of textbooks, since he himself will become the Grand Duke of Moscow and & nbsp; thereby earning a serial number: Vasily I & nbsp; Dmitrievich. & Nbsp;

And & nbsp; more, according to & nbsp; the opinion of many historians, he & nbsp; will not & nbsp; be the first nor & nbsp; in & nbsp; what. The successes of Prince Vasily do not & nbsp; go to & nbsp; what a comparison with & nbsp; the successes of his famous father, Dmitry Donskoy, who in general can be considered almost & nbsp; is not & nbsp; the most recognizable ancient Russian prince along with & nbsp; Alexander Nevsky. The failures of Prince Vasily Dmitrievich were surpassed by his son, also Vasily , earned the nickname Dark. Repeatedly beaten by his greedy relatives, taken prisoner by the Kazan Khan, blinded by his cousin, almost & nbsp; did not & nbsp; lost his power …

A & nbsp; Vasily I & nbsp; & mdash; how & nbsp; would be such a middle peasant. The nickname is not & nbsp; deserved. He did not win major battles. But & nbsp; and & nbsp; did not lose. Some great accomplishments for & nbsp; like & nbsp; would not be listed. Yes & nbsp; and & nbsp; in general, it is not & nbsp; very clear what the son of Dmitry Donskoy did on the throne for thirty-six years.

Meanwhile, this is a long time. In terms of & nbsp; the duration of the reign, Vasily Dmitrievich is second only to Ivan IV & nbsp; the Terrible, Ivan III the Great and & nbsp; Peter I & nbsp; the Great … The last two spent on the & nbsp; throne for & nbsp; forty-three years. Ivan the Terrible & nbsp; & mdash; fifty-one years old. Thirty-six years of Prince Vasily & nbsp; & mdash; more than a respectable result. And & nbsp; these years, if you look, were full of truly great achievements. They just aren't & nbsp; very noticeable. & Nbsp;

Especially considering the starting position of Basil as heir to the throne. This is not so much the son of the winner of the battle at Field Kulikovo as the son of a fire victim. He & nbsp; saw Moscow burned by Tokhtamysh in & nbsp; 1382 & nbsp; year. Moreover, he had to pay for the & nbsp; successes of his father, in particular for & nbsp; that & nbsp; the very Kulikovo victory. Burn and & nbsp; rob Moscow & nbsp; & mdash; This was not enough for Tokhtamysh. And & nbsp; he & nbsp; wished to & nbsp; take his son hostage as a guarantee of Dmitry Donskoy's obedience. Vasily, who was only eleven years old, went to the & nbsp; Horde.

Anyone else being held hostage, away from home and & nbsp; parents, could & nbsp; break. But & nbsp; Vasily was not & nbsp; smart and & nbsp; years old. He's been with the Horde for several years. And & nbsp; acquired several important skills at once. First of all & nbsp; & mdash; a political outlook that allowed in the future to understand the logic of the Horde and & nbsp; benefit from the & nbsp; contradictions of the Asian powers. Then & nbsp; & mdash; another very important skill. The experience of putting money into the & nbsp; the right moment for the right people: the officials of the excessively bloated Horde apparatus. Subsequently, corruption and & nbsp; ability to bargain will become one of & nbsp; favorite policy instruments of Vasily. Well & nbsp; and, finally, the understanding that the Horde can, if not & nbsp; be defeated immediately and & nbsp; forever, then & nbsp; deceive. With this, in fact, Vasily and & nbsp; begins his independent political career. In & nbsp; 1386 & nbsp; he, a fourteen-year-old teenager, flees to & nbsp; Moscow.

But & nbsp; in a tricky way. Not & nbsp; immediately to & nbsp; north, but & nbsp; giving a solid circle. First & nbsp; & mdash; to the & nbsp; west, to & nbsp; Moldavian ruler Peter Mushat . For a while, Vasily was hiding with & nbsp; him. Then, when attempts to find and & nbsp; return the prince to the & nbsp; Horde subsided, he & nbsp; goes to & nbsp; Lithuania, where he meets the & nbsp; prince Vitovt and & nbsp; gets engaged to & nbsp; his only daughter Sophia. And & nbsp; only then & nbsp; & mdash; Moscow. Turn an escape into a & nbsp; political triumph, becoming related to & nbsp; one of the & nbsp; most influential sovereigns of Eastern Europe, & mdash; you need to be able to.

And & nbsp; almost immediately, without respite, he & nbsp; ascends to the & nbsp; throne. In & nbsp; 1389, his father, Dmitry Donskoy, dies. Now Vasily & nbsp; & mdash; sovereign sovereign.

What follows makes us completely reconsider the attitude to & nbsp; him as to & nbsp; “ average. '' In the next decade, Prince Vasily I & nbsp; Dmitrievich brilliantly reproduces the great deeds of his ancestors. Moreover, it reproduces at a & nbsp; qualitatively different level & nbsp; & mdash; higher.

Let's say his great-grandfather, Ivan Kalita , bought from & nbsp; Khan Uzbek labels for & nbsp; the right to collect Horde tribute from & nbsp; some principalities. Roughly speaking, Kalita went to the & nbsp; khan in & nbsp; collectors. Kalita's great-grandson, appearing to & nbsp; Tokhtamysh in & nbsp; 1392 for & nbsp; confirmation of the existing labels, was able not to & nbsp; just buy, but, in & nbsp; in fact, to attach to & nbsp; Moscow a huge Nizhny Novgorod principality. In addition, Murom, Tarusa, Mescheru and & nbsp; Gorodets. This caused immense surprise, since the prince did not even have to bargain at that time. On the contrary, the khan almost fawned upon him: “ They treated & nbsp; Vasily with & nbsp; great honor, which no Russian prince has ever seen. '' Q & nbsp; what's the deal? Yes & nbsp; in & nbsp; that Vasily chose a very favorable moment for the visit. On & nbsp; Tokhtamysh was well crushed by the famous Timur. The same Tamerlane, the Iron Lame, who by that time had managed to inflict a number of military defeats on Tokhtamysh. And & nbsp; here is the Russian prince, who does not even & nbsp; asks, but & nbsp; hints at & nbsp; that it would be good to support Moscow, such an important ally and & nbsp; generous tributary … In general, in & nbsp; in exchange for & nbsp; agreement to consider himself a vassal of Tokhtamysh got an incredibly big jackpot.

And & nbsp; after only a few years, he showed what this vassalage was worth. In & nbsp; 1395, Tamerlane defeated Tokhtamysh and, having ruined the only Russian & nbsp; & mdash; but & nbsp; not & nbsp; moscow & nbsp; & mdash; the city of Yelets, got back to the & nbsp; steppe. In & nbsp; that & nbsp; the same year, Vasily chooses the path no longer & nbsp; Ivan Kalita, but & nbsp; his father, Dmitry Donskoy. That in & nbsp; his time stopped giving tribute to the Horde, and & nbsp; then and & nbsp; did start a full-scale war against it. At first this war was successful, but & nbsp; then, as we & nbsp; remember, the hour of reckoning came in the & nbsp; form of burning Moscow.

How does Vasily look like in & nbsp; compared to & nbsp; father? He just stopped paying tribute. And & nbsp; his victories, perhaps, even surpass the deeds of Dmitry Donskoy. In & nbsp; anyway, for & nbsp; benefit. If the governors of Prince Dmitry managed to take the Horde city of Bulgar in & nbsp; 1376, then & nbsp; this is what Prince Vasily's brother Yuri did in & nbsp; 1399 & nbsp; year: “ He & nbsp; took the city of the Great Bulgarians, and & nbsp; the city of Zhukotin, & nbsp; and the city of Zhukotin, and & nbsp; and the city of Kazan ; the city of Kermenchyuk, and & nbsp; all their land & nbsp; fought, and & nbsp; a lot of besermen and & nbsp; Tatars beat, and & nbsp; captured the Tatar land, and & nbsp; returned with & nbsp; a great victory and & nbsp; with & nbsp; and nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; no one in Russia & nbsp; does not & nbsp; remember that Russia fought the Tatar land so far … ''

The ending of this story, of course, was logical. Rus already “ fought the Tatar land '' with might and main, but & nbsp; to consolidate the position and & nbsp; to & nbsp; to fully take advantage of the fruits of victories so far could not & nbsp; The Horde struck back. In & nbsp; 1408, Tamerlane's protege Edigei undertook a punitive campaign against & nbsp; Moscow, with the aim of repeating Tokhtamysh's success, and & nbsp; also to receive tribute for & nbsp; the past thirteen years.

But the & nbsp; times were not & nbsp; the same. To & nbsp; Moscow Edige nevertheless approached. Here are just a three-week siege of the city and & nbsp; to & nbsp; which did not & nbsp; led. The Tatars didn’t take Moscow then. And & nbsp; instead of a gigantic amount of & nbsp; 90 & nbsp; thousand rubles & nbsp; & mdash; that is how much the tribute was for & nbsp; thirteen years & mdash; Edigei got only 3 & nbsp; thousand rubles of a one-time “ buyout ''. Tribute, however, had to be paid again. But & nbsp; to & nbsp; this case, the Moscow princes began to treat not & nbsp; as a & nbsp; obligation, but & nbsp; as an & nbsp; annoying hindrance, periodically stopping and & nbsp; cutting payments.

In a word, Vasily I & nbsp; Dmitrievich, starting almost from & nbsp; to the end of his reign, had a resource barely & nbsp; is not & nbsp; greater than the one that Dmitry Donskoy had at his time. Russia survived. Strengthened. And & nbsp; got the opportunity to start a new round in the & nbsp; fight against an & nbsp; old enemy.

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