The Struggle over control of Kiev in 1235 and 1236

Kievan RusThe Struggle over control of Kiev in 1235 and 1236

Martin Dimnik

Canadian Slavonic Papers: v.21 (1979)


The years 1235 and 1236 are important in the history or Kievan Rus’ because they witnessed a major reorientation in the status quo between the families of princes. Historians have argued that the most powerful political centres during the first half of the thirteenth century, and more specifically, during the second quarter of that century, were the principalities of galicia-Volyn’ in the southwest and Rostov-Suzdal’ in the northeast. They claimed that the other principalities, such as Chernigov and Smolensk, did not play a significant part in the history of this period.


Thus, for example, the nineteenth-century historian M. Pogodin wrote that there was no chronicle evidence concerning Cherigov after 1217 since, owing to internecine wars, it had become to weak to participate even to the smallest degree in the political conflicts of this period. His view became commonly accepted by later historians, so much so that M.N. Tikhomirov, when writing about the history of Kievan Rus’ for the first half of the nineteenth century, limited his discussion to the regions of Rostov-Suzdal’ and Galicia-Volyn’, ignoring the principalities of Chernigov and Smolensk.

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