Vasily Kosoy (biography)
Second quarter XV B. marked the internecine war. It went down in history under the name feudal, lasted from 1433-53 G.-the last large-scale feud in Russia. The main reason for it was the question of succession to the throne. The spiritual decree of Dmitry Donskoy (1359-1389) is based on the "ladder law" – an ancient procedure for transferring Supreme power. Having divided the estates between his sons, Donskoy wrote off the reigning in Moscow and Vladimir to Vasily I – 1371-1425), the eldest son. He was to be succeeded by his next son, Yuri, Prince of Zvenigorod and Galich. It should be noted: the Moscow Principality did not yet have full independence, it was a Horde tributary, but for the first time the Grand Duchy was transferred without coordination with the Horde-shag very bold and unexpected. Then it became even more unexpected. Vasily I, in violation of the spiritual Charter of his father, appointed his only son as the heir 10-summer of Basil II (1415-1462). Before coming of age, he "ordered" his wife Sofia and father – in – law-the Lithuanian ruler Vytautas (1350-1430) - which his brother Yuri did not expect. He was ready to immediately fight for the table, but fearing an armed conflict with mighty Lithuania, he pretended to accept and recognized his young nephew as "big brother". His sons were dissatisfied with his act: Dmitry Krasny (Lesser head) XV C. - 1440), Dmitry Shemyaka (beginning. XV V.-1453) and especially the eldest-Vasily, nicknamed Kosoy.
The Prince's eldest son
Smart, energetic, ambitious, a great organizer, adventurer and villain-epithets best suited to the personality of Vasily Yuryevich Kosoy, one of the great historical losers. He rallied around him the same ambitious youth: appanage princes and princes, whose only property is a sword and shield; boyars who were not at the table; boyar children; free servants. All of them were hungry for wealth, power, and were ready to get what they wanted with weapons in their hands. The" guard " of the army consisted of the Vyatichi: an ancient Slavic people driven by former princes to the northeast. Freedom-loving, mostly pagans, in the event of the victory of Vasily Yuryevich, they received solid preferences. Without a doubt, Kosoy had the makings of a great strategist, but he overestimated his strength, lost his allies, made a lot of mistakes and lost.
The nickname" Oblique " Yuryevich Sr. was awarded by historians, in connection with blinding, in order to distinguish him from the numerous relatives with the same name. Chronicle information about it is stingy. Even the exact date of birth is unknown (the beginning 1400-x). Vasily Yuryevich is one of many representatives of the Rurik dynasty, whose name should have been lost in time. He could take the princely throne if his father Yuri Dmitrievich received the Grand Duchy, so he did not hesitate to join the confrontation, became one of the instigators of unrest 15 V., thereby perpetuating his name. From a historical point of view, he can be regarded as a negative hero of his era. He spent a short life on a fruitless struggle for power, having managed to visit both the Great and the specific Prince, delaying the unification of Russia and its formation as a single state by his actions.
Belt of discord
The confrontation between the nephew and uncle escalated with the death of Vytautas (1430), but it has not yet reached an open conflict. The occasion was Dmitry Donskoy's belt: a unique piece decorated with gold embroidery, with precious stones on gold chains. Donskoy got it as a dowry and soon disappeared. Where was it located? 70 years are a dark matter. Vasily Yuryevich also had the belt as a dowry. That's where he showed up in the winter 1433 d. for the wedding of Vasily II together with his brother Dmitry Shemyakoy. Sofya Vytautovna was whispered about the unexpected appearance of a once-lost family heirloom. She ordered to tear the belt off her nephew: it is difficult to think of a greater humiliation for a man of that time.
It is possible that this was a provocation on both sides. Slanting belt grandfather showed who should own power, Sofia Vitovtovna (1371-1453) - to whom the power belongs.
The offended brothers left the wedding celebration and went to Halych. Along the way, the borders of Yaroslavl were looted. The Yaroslavl princes pursued their own policy, but after such resentment they spread to Moscow.
This year Vasily Kosoy was in the shadow of a more famous father. In the battle of the Klyazma river (April 25), he commanded the vanguard. The battle went down in history under the name "Drunk". The hastily assembled Moscow warriors were drunk. The chronicler reports that they brought honey with them, intending to drink the world Cup with their rival. No one expected a bloody outcome. Zvenigorod princes completely defeated the Muscovites. Basil II was taken prisoner. Yuri Dmitrievich took the great table. The sons – especially Kosoy-insisted on the immediate execution of the deposed Vasily, thereby closing the issue forever succession to the throne. While Kosoy and Shemyaka were running around Moscow looking for old offenders, Semyon Morozov, a famous boyar, persuaded Yuri to let his nephew go to Kolomna. Kosoy and Shemyaka's indignation was boundless. In the dark passages of the Kremlin, they stabbed boyar Morozov to death and fled from their father's wrath to Kostroma.
One can only wonder how Yuri Dmitrievich, a reasonable and respected man, turned out to have such children. Kosoy and Shemyaka were worth each other. The lust for power hardened their hearts. They were willing to do anything for her: brothers in blood, rivals in life, where the elder is the clear leader.
Having quarreled with his sons, Yuri Dmitrievich returned the reign to Vasily II, promising not to contact Kosy and Shemyaka. The brothers gathered their troops. In the battle of the Kus river, they defeated Grand Duke Vasily.
Vasily II found out that Yuri Dmitrievich secretly provided military assistance to his eldest son, and, in revenge, ravaged Galich. This event reconciled Yuri with Kosy and Shemyaka. Military luck did not accompany Vasily Vasilyevich. The combined forces of Yuri and Kosoy again defeated the Moscow army in Rostov land. Yuri Dmitrievich won the Grand Duchy for the second time. Vasily Vasilyevich retreated to the Volga. Shemyaka and Krasny followed in pursuit. Kosoy stayed with his father in Moscow. In the summer, Yuri Dmitrievich unexpectedly died (according to some sources, he was poisoned). By the right of the" ladder", which he defended, the throne he was supposed to return to Basil II. Kosoy could not allow this and voluntarily accepted the princely table, which he informed the brothers who were in Vladimir. An incredible thing happened: Shemyaka and Krasny refused to recognize him as the eldest Prince. The Chronicles are silent about the true reasons. But Scythe has broken the ancient law, appropriated to himself what cannot belong to him. This fact deprived the brothers ' struggle of the concept of "fair". Although it is hardly possible to imagine the same Shemyaku burdened with the idea of justice. The instinct of self-preservation played: with the strong-willed character of oblique, his independence in deeds and actions, the younger ones, at best, could count on a remote, seedy lot. They would not have been able to play a significant role under Prince Vasily III, so they exchanged a strong sibling for a weak cousin and sent a messenger to Vasily II with an offer to return the table.
Kosoy found himself alone. For a month he wandered around Moscow in the famous grandfather's belt, then took the Treasury and went with his colleagues to Novgorod. There he hoped to find allies. Novgorod was pleased to observe the Moscow squabble, but was in no hurry to provide military assistance.
Vasily Yuryevich stayed in Novgorod for two months. Not getting what he wanted, he went to Bezhetsky Verh, where he hoped to gain a foothold by increasing the territories loyal to himself. He didn't care that Bezhetsky Verh was jointly owned by Tver, Moscow, and Novgorod. For obvious reasons, it was not possible to gain a foothold, and Vasily went to Kostroma. I gathered my strength and went to Moscow. In a winter battle on the Kotorosl river, he was defeated and fled to Kashin.
Vasily II decided that Kosoy was in Vologda and sent troops there. Kosoy came to Vologda secretly, caught the Muscovites by surprise, captured prisoners, a large booty. Surprise is the Foundation of his strategy and tactics. Not having the strength to capture Moscow, Vasily Yuryevich circled around it in rapid marches, attacking weaker suzerains, crushing the enemy one by one.
The Yermolinsky chronicle reports: after Vologda, Vasily went to Beloozero, from there to Dvina land, where he besieged the city of Gleden. The two-month siege was fruitless. Oblique promised that he would not touch the city if the defenders opened the gates, and deceived. He executed the Moscow voivode Obolensky, many famous residents. Gleden burned it.
In the spring, he is already in Kostroma, waiting for the faithful Vyatichi. Basil II, unable to continue the struggle, offered Oblique peace. In support of the words passed Dmitrov, demanded no more claim to the Moscow table. Kosoy promised, but a month later he returned to Kostroma with a strong detachment.
Oblique's overconfidence caused discord between the brothers. Vasily II brought the offended Shemyaku and Krasny closer to him, and generously rewarded them. The years of struggle were not in vain for him. He became more serious, wiser. Gathered a strong army. Loyal people rallied around the Supreme Prince. Many people thoroughly tired of the bloody unrestrainedness of Yuryevich Sr.
In the spring, the enemy met again in Rostov land on the Cherekha river. This time, the power was on the Grand Duke's side. Kosoy went to a trick: he offered his brother a truce until morning. In the morning, Vyatichi's devotees were supposed to arrive. Vasily Vasilyevich agreed, but Kosoy suddenly attacked him. Well-wishers managed to warn the Grand Duke. The plan failed. Kosoy was defeated and captured along with his voivodes Dyatl and Semyon Zhadovsky. The first was hanged, the second beaten to death with clubs. Kosoy was brought to Moscow.
Basil II did not dare to execute him. Vasily Yuryevich still had many supporters. His death might have embittered them. The Grand Duke had prepared a different fate for his cousin. 21 May Vasily Kosoy was blinded. The fact of being blinded implied a ban on the possibility of ever claiming power. Although history knows blind rulers. Afterwards 10 years and Vasily Vasilyevich himself will be blinded by Shemyakaand will remain in historiography with the nickname Prince Dark.
Dmitry Shemyaka will take Kosy's place in the bloody battle for power. Chronicles will briefly recall Vasily Yuryevich in the year of his death – 1448. Where was it located? 12 years unknown.