Vladímir I left twelve sons surviving. The immediate business was to thin their ranks.
Svyatopólk oí Turov (a town on the Pripet’ about 150 miles from Kíev) at once proclaimed himself grand prince and despatched his brothers Borís of Rostóv and Glěb of Múrom and Svyatosláv, prince among the Drevlyáne.
Svyatopólk bears a very bad name in the annals of Russia, for bloodthirstiness and tyranny. In the Zadónščina (the Moscovite plagiarism on the Slóvo) he is constantly mentioned as the prototype of an evil prince.
Svyatopólk was married to a Polish princess and had already revolted against his father. Yarosláv with the Norsemen of Nóvgorod marched to Kíev and expelled Svyatopólk, who recovered Kíev soon after with the aid of Polish troops. This foreign occupation rendered him even more detested, and soon after their departure, he was beaten by Yarosláv in 1019 and died on his way to Poland.
The reign of Yarosláv the Wise [Мудрый] lasted until 1054; up to 1036 Mstíslav of Tmutarakáń obliged him to adhere to a partition of Russia; from 1036-1054 Russia was for the last time a unitary state.
Yarosláv's enduring reputation rests on his fortification of the boundaries by building cities and on his codification of Russian law [Русская Правда], the erection of cathedrals (e.g. Saint Sophia at Nóvgorod); generally speaking on his work as a consolidator.
In 1020 he defeated Svyatopólk with great carnage on the Alta [or Льта]; an event worth marking as the first time when a Russian prince appeared in the field leading the Pečenegs, nomad enemies against the Prince of Kíev. Polotsk became the permanent possession or the house of Izyasláv; this marked the first definitive scission.
In 1022 Mstíslav of Tmutarakáń defeated the Kasog chieftain Redélya in single combat, (a heroic episode for which see line 19 of the text, and the note on it).
Yarosláv tried to provide against the anarchy of the partitions by decreeing in his will the division stated in the previous section. It was a vain attempt.
His death marks the passing of Russia's unity. In that same year, too, a more formidable foe began to assail the borders of Russia; the Pólovtsy under their leader Bolus or Blus. The Pečenegs were now conquered, but by a more energetic Turanian race that harassed Russia, until the Mongols in 1224 subdued them and the Russians alike.