Mongols ruled Moscow, Kiev, Russia for 240 years

The Siege of Kiev by the Mongols took place between November 28 and December 6, 1240, and resulted in a Mongol victory. It was a heavy morale and military blow to Halych-Volhynia and allowed Batu Khan to proceed westward into Europe.


Batu Khan and the Mongols began their invasion in late 1237 by conquering the Principality of Ryazan in north-east Rus. Then, in 1238 the Mongols went south-west and destroyed the cities of Vladimir and Kozelsk. In 1239, they captured both Pereyaslav and Chernihiv with their sights set on the city of Kiev (Kyiv).

When the Mongols sent several envoys to Kiev to demand submission, they were executed by Michael of Chernigov and later Dmytro.

The next year, Batu Khan’s army under the tactical command of the great Mongol general Subutai reached Kiev. At the time, the city was ruled by the principality of Halych-Volhynia. The chief commander in Kiev was Voivode Dmytro, while Danylo of Halych was in Hungary at that time, seeking a military union to prevent invasion.


The vanguard army under Batu’s cousin Möngke came near the city. Möngke was apparently taken by the splendor of Kiev and offered the city terms for surrender, but his envoys were killed. The Mongols chose to assault the city. Batu Khan destroyed the forces of the Rus vassals, the Chorni Klobuky, who were on their way to relieve Kiev, and the entire Mongol army camped outside the city gates, joining Möngke’s troops.

On November 28, the Mongols set up catapults near one of the three gates of old Kiev where tree cover extended almost to the city walls. The Mongols then began a bombardment that lasted several days. On December 6, Kiev’s walls were breached, and hand-to-hand combat followed in the streets. The Kievans suffered heavy losses and Dmytro was wounded by an arrow.

When night fell the Mongols held their positions while the Kievans retreated to the central parts of the city. Many people crowded into the Church of the Tithes. The next day, as the Mongols commenced the final assault, the church’s balcony collapsed under the weight of the people standing on it, crushing many. After the Mongols won the battle, they plundered Kiev. Most of the population was massacred. Out of 50,000 inhabitants before the invasion, about 2,000 survived. Most of the city was burned and only six out of forty major buildings remained standing. Dmytro, however, was shown mercy for his bravery.

After their victory at Kiev, the Mongols were free to advance into Hungary and Poland.

The siege of Moscow in 1382 was a battle between the Muscovite forces and Tokhtamysh, the khan of the Golden Horde supported by Timur.


After the death of Berdibeg, the Blue Horde fell into anarchy, with local khans in various places of the Horde’s domains. Mamai Khan had emerged as a kingmaker in the political scenario of the Blue Horde. However, in 1380 Mamai was defeated by Dmitri Donskoi in the Battle of Kulikovo and was soon assassinated in Caffa.

However, in 1378, Tokhtamysh, a descendant of Orda Khan and an ally of Tamerlane, assumed the power in the White Horde and annexed Blue Horde by fording across the Volga and quickly annihilated an army sent by Muscovy. He then united the hordes and formed the Golden Horde.


After uniting the two hordes, Tokhtamysh promoted a military campaign to restore the Tatar power in Russia. After ravaging some small cities, he besieged Moscow on the 23rd of August, but his attack was beaten off by the Muscovites, who used firearms for the first time in Russian history. Three days later, the two sons of Dmitry of Suzdal, who was a supporter of Tokhtamysh, present at the siege, namely the dukes of Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod Vasily and Semyon, persuaded Muscovites to open the city gates, promising that forces would not harm the city in this case. That allowed Tokhtamysh’s troops to burst in and to ravage Moscow, killing around 24,000 people in the process.


The defeat reasserted the Horde’s rule over some of Russian lands, which overthrew Tatar rule 98 years later by the great stand on the Ugra River. Tokhtamysh also re-established the Golden Horde as a dominant regional power, reunified the Mongol lands from Crimea to Lake Balkash and defeated Lithuanians at Poltava in the next year. However, he made the disastrous decision to wage a war against his former master, Tamerlane, and the Golden Horde never recovered.

Battle of the Ugra, (1480), bloodless confrontation between the armies of Muscovy and the Golden Horde, traditionally marking the end of the “Mongol yoke” in Russia. By 1480 the Golden Horde had lost control of large portions of its empire; Ivan III of Moscow had stopped paying tribute to the Horde and no longer recognized it as an authority over Muscovy. In 1480 Akhmet, khan of the Golden Horde, led an army to the Ugra River, about 150 miles (240 km) southwest of Moscow, and waited there for his Lithuanian allies. The Muscovite army was drawn up on the opposite bank of the river. The two armies faced each other but did not fight. When the Lithuanians did not appear and Akhmet received word that his base camp near Sarai had been raided by allies of Ivan, he withdrew his army. The Muscovite army returned home. Although the event itself had little significance, Muscovite chroniclers later composed grandiose tales about it, giving rise to the notion that the Muscovites had won a great victory on the Ugra and liberated themselves from Mongol rule.

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