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Detail from the Millennium of Russia Monument: Mstislav Mstislavich, left, and Daniel of Galicia, his son-in-law

Mstislav Mstislavich the Bold (Russian: Мстисла́в Мстисла́вич Уда́тный; Удало́й[1], Ukrainian language: Мстисла́в II Мстисла́вич ) was one of the most popular and active princes of Kievan Rus' in the decades preceding the Mongol invasion of Rus'.[attribution needed] He was the maternal grandfather of prince Leo of Galicia, who became Grand Prince of Kiev.

He was the son of Mstislav the Brave of Smolensk by a princess of Ryazan. In 1193 and 1203, his bravery in the Kypchak wars brought him fame all over Kievan Rus'. At that time, he married a daughter of Kypchak Khan Kotian. In 1209 he was mentioned as a ruler of Toropets. A year later, he came and took the Novgorodian throne, seizing Sviatoslav Vsevolodovich's men (Sviatoslav himself was detained in the archbishop's compound in Novgorod).[2]

On his way to Novgorod, Mstislav delivered the key town of Torzhok from a siege laid to it by Vsevolod III of Vladimir. He led two successful Novgorodian campaigns against the Chudes in 1212 and 1214. In 1215, he expelled Vsevolod IV from Kiev and elevated his uncle Mstislav Romanovich to the throne.[3]

In 1216, Mstislav mustered a large coalition of princes of Rus' which defeated Vladimir-Suzdal on the Lipitsa River. After that he installed his ally Konstantin of Rostov as Grand Prince of Vladimir and married his own daughter to Yaroslav of Vladimir, who had fortified himself in Torzhok. In the meantime, his other enemies had him deposed in Novgorod, and Mstislav had to abandon Northern Rus for Halych. In 1219, he concluded peace with his chief rival, Danylo of Halych, who thereupon married Mstislav's daughter Anna.[citation needed]

In 1223, Mstislav joined a coalition of perhaps 18 princes, which, along with Polovtsian allies, pursued the Mongols from the Dnieper River for nine days and joined battle with them at Kalka River. While three princes were captured and later killed at the battle site, and six more were killed in headlong pursuit back to the Dnieper River, Mstislav is the only prince specifically named among the nine or so who escaped. He managed to escape by cutting loose the boats on the Dnieper River so he could not be pursued.[4]

Mstislav reigned in Halych until 1227, when boyar intrigues constrained him to leave the city to his son-in-law, Andrew of Hungary. Thereupon he retired to Torchesk, where he died in 1228.[citation needed]


Mstislav Mstislavich
Born: ? Died: 1228
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Sviatoslav Vsevolodovich
Prince of Novgorod
Succeeded by
Yaroslav Vsevolodovich
Unknown Prince of Halych
Succeeded by
Andrew of Hungary
Unknown Prince of Torchesk


  1. The original nickname was The Lucky (or The Fortunate), "Udatny", later transformed to "Udaloy", i.e. The Bold.
  2. Michael C. Paul, "Was the Prince of Novgorod a 'Third-rate Bureaucrat' after 1136?" Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 56, No. 1 (2008): 91.
  3. Paul, "Third-rate Bureaucrat" 91-92.
  4. A. N. Nasonov, ed., Novgorodskaia pervaia letopis: starshego i mladshego izvodov (Moscow and Leningrad: AN SSSR, 1950), 63, 267; John Fennell, The Crisis of Medieval Russia 1200-1304 (London and New York: Longman,1983), 66-68.

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