Rus’, Lithuania and Yatvyag’s Land in the Early Middle Ages

Mykola Kotlyar
Doctor of Historical Sciences (Dr. hab. in History), Senior Scientist,
Institute of History of Ukraine of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Corresponding Member of NAS of Ukraine (Ukraine, Kyiv),
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The relations between Rus’ and Lithuania started at the beginning of formation of the Russian and Lithuanian ethnos, at least from the 6th – 7th centuries AD. We will remind the reader that in ancient times pralithuanian’s and praslav’s made a common ethnocultural substratum from which both ethnoses gradually developed. The first reference of Lithuania in the «Povest’ vremennykh let» already defines the political relations between this country and Rus. During the strengthening of Old Rus’ statehood Old Rus’ dukes tried to keep Lithuania in dependence. In the second half of the 11th–12th century Lithuania, culturally and ethnically connected with Rus’, was already in close social and economic relations with it. However feudal dissociation of Rus’ in the 1140-ies significantly affected the relations between it and Lithuania. The first one lost its purposeful and balanced foreign policy. Lithuania gradually frees itself from the influence of the Old Rus’ state. At the end of the 12th century the processes of dissociation of Rus’ worsen, and just at that time Lithuanian tribes start to form the unions which possessed big economic and military power. Lithuania turns into the offensive party, and Rus’ has to defence itself. Thus the economic and cultural relations between them remain and even develop. At the beginning of the 13th century the Galitsko-Volynsky principality starts playing a major role in the relations between Rus’ and Lithuania. Real threat from the common enemy – the German knights, who rushed into the territory of the Baltic from the beginning of the 13th century, pushed both countries to their rapprochement.



Rus’, Lithuania, Yatvyag’s land, political relations.



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