Vasily II

Vasily II
Russian Vasily Varilyevich known as Vasily the Blind

born 1415
died March 27, 1462, Moscow

Grand Prince of Moscow (1425–62).

At age 10 he was named to succeed his father, Vasily I, but for many years his uncle and cousins struggled to wrest the throne from him. Despite being blinded by his cousin Dmitry Shemyaka, he regained power in 1447 and ruled Muscovy for another 15 years. Vasily quelled internal strife in his realm by 1452 and enlarged his state's territory by absorbing nearby principalities. During his reign the Russian church asserted its independence from the patriarch at Constantinople. Vasily signed a treaty with Lithuania (1449) but fought Tatar hordes on his southern and eastern borders.

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▪ grand prince of Moscow
in full  Vasily Vasilyevich , byname  Vasily the Blind , Russian  Vasily Tyomny 
born 1415
died March 27, 1462, Moscow
 grand prince of Moscow from 1425 to 1462.

      Although the 10-year-old Vasily II was named by his father Vasily I (ruled Moscow 1389–1425) to succeed him as the grand prince of Moscow and of Vladimir, Vasily's rule was challenged by his uncle Yury and his cousins Vasily the Squint-Eyed and Dmitry Shemyaka. After a long, chaotic, and bitter struggle, during which Vasily not only temporarily lost his throne both to Yury (1434) and to Dmitry Shemyaka (1446–47) but was also blinded by Dmitry (1446), Vasily recovered his position (1447) and ruled Muscovy for another 15 years.

      Despite the prolonged internal discord, which finally ended in 1452, Muscovy made great strides toward becoming a large, politically consolidated, powerful Russian state during Vasily's reign. The Russian Church asserted its independence from the patriarch at Constantinople; and the state of Muscovy, in an effort to enlarge its territories, absorbed most of the neighbouring principalities. It gained suzerainty over the Grand Principality of Ryazan (1447) and the city of Vyatka (1460; now Kirov). To pursue his policy of aggrandizement without foreign interference, Vasily concluded a non-aggression pact with Lithuania in 1449. He could not, however, avoid intermittent conflict with the rival Tatar hordes bordering his lands on the south and east, one of which tried unsuccessfully to storm Moscow in 1451. Nevertheless, he welcomed individual Tatars at his court and, encouraging them to enter his service, established a vassal Tatar horde to defend his state's southeastern frontier (c. 1453). By the end of his reign he had also substantially reduced the domination of the Tatar khan, who formally remained his suzerain, over Muscovy.

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Universalium. 2010.

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