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The General Characteristics of Igor’s Reign

The rule of Prince Igor Rurikovich during the period from 912 to 945 was less eventful compared to the reign of his predecessor, Oleg the Prophet. Overall, Igor attempted to keep the state he inherited in obedience and expand his power to still unconquered tribes.

At the beginning of his rule, the Prince subdued the Drevlyans, who tried to refuse tribute payments. He waged war against the Pechenegs who approached the borders of Rus and both fought against and campaigned with them. He tried to build relations with Byzantium from a position of strength, following the example of his predecessor. However, after suffering a devastating defeat during the first campaign against Constantinople, during the second campaign, he received a peace proposal from the Byzantine Emperor before reaching Constantinople, which he agreed to.

At the end of his reign, he tried to collect tribute from the Drevlyans himself during a festival, but due to his own greed, he was killed during the uprising of this tribe.

Portrait of Igor Rurikovich from the Tsar's titular book of 1672.
Portrait of Igor Rurikovich from the Tsar’s titular book of 1672.

Domestic policy

The general scheme of the domestic policy of Prince Igor Rurikovich
The general scheme of the domestic policy of Prince Igor Rurikovich

In his domestic policy, Igor proved himself to be a short-sighted ruler.

After Oleg’s death, the Drevlyans refused to pay tribute, but the following year Igor led a campaign against them and forced them to submit. After the victory over the Ulichi, he gave Sveneld the right to collect tribute from them, and a few years later, he also entrusted him with the collection of tribute from the Drevlyans. This caused envy and dissatisfaction among Igor’s own retinue, and in 945, he gave in to their persuasion and decided to conduct the collection of tribute himself.

At the end of the campaign, the prince released most of his retinue and returned to the Drevlyans to collect tribute again. The Drevlyans, outraged by his greed, killed Igor.

Domestic policy

Relations with the Drevlyans

Drevlyane uprising

Foreign policy

Foreign policy of Prince Igor Rurikovich - map
Foreign policy of Prince Igor Rurikovich – map

As for foreign policy, the main event during Igor’s reign was his attempt to force Byzantium to pay the tribute agreed upon in the treaty with Oleg. After the first unsuccessful campaign, the prince gathered a much larger army and finally achieved a new peace agreement, but the rights of the Rus were somewhat curtailed in the new agreement.

In addition, the Pechenegs appeared for the first time on the borders of Rus, with whom Igor had to interact. Also the prince sent his voivode Sveneld to deal with the tribes that before had not submitted to Oleg.

Foreign policy

Relations with the Pechenegs

War with Byzantium

Results and outcomes of the reign

The activity of Prince Igor Rurikovich is often negatively evaluated by historians, which is not surprising if we briefly summarize the main achievements of the prince:

  • The Drevlyans were forced to pay tribute again.
  • The beginning of the confrontation with the Pechenegs.
  • The first campaign to Constantinople in 941 was unsuccessful, but the result of the second campaign in 943 was a new peace treaty with Byzantium in 944.
  • The Byzantine emperor resumed payment of tribute.
  • The new agreement limited Rus’ claims to Cherson and instructed them to protect Byzantine possessions in Crimea from the Bulgars.
  • The Rus and Byzantium were obligated to assist each other with troops upon request.
  • The Rus were obligated not to interfere with Greek fishermen at the mouth of the Dnieper, and they themselves were not to winter there, as well as in the Beloberezhie and near Saint Euphemia.
  • Unlike the treaty between Byzantium and Oleg, the Rus no longer had the right to duty-free trade in Constantinople.
  • The Ulichi tribe was subjugated and pays tribute.
  • Voivode Sveneld was entrusted with the collection of tribute from the Drevlyans and the Ulichi.
  • Igor was killed during his attempt to collect tribute from the Drevlyans again.

Cluster “Igor Rurikovich”

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Опубликовано: 25.03.2023
Изменено: 25.03.2023