Councils of the Metropolitan — a man of great mind and strong character, who used his authority to achieve the primacy of Moscow in North-Eastern Russia — helped Dmitry Donskoy to continue the policy of collecting Russian lands around Moscow. Such policy was followed by his father and grandfather — also the famous historical personality Ivan Kalita.
Eleven-year-old Prince Dmitry Donskoy had to fight for a long time for rule with rivals princes – Ryazan, Tver and Suzdal – Nizhny Novgorod
Commander In 1363,
as a result of a long struggle for the principality Dmitry Donskoy received the right to be considered a grand prince alone. The strengthening of Moscow’s position was helped by the marriage of the prince to Princess Evdokia Dmitrievna of Suzdal. Accordingly, the father of the Princess refused his intentions to rule Vladimir in favor of Moscow.
The first white-stone Kremlin in Russia appeared thanks to Dmitry’s order in 1367. It was a powerful defensive fortress against rival princes. At the same time, the gates of the Kremlin have always been amiably open to Khan’s ambassadors, from whom Dmitry Donskoy preferred to pay off expensive gifts.
It was the white-stone Kremlin that helped to defend Moscow and not let on the reign of Lithuanian prince Olgerd, who in 1367 broke the Moscow troops on the river Trosne. In 1369 the Prince of Donskoy himself went with troops to the Duchy of Smolensk and Bryansk belonging to Olgerd and defeated them. Supported the Grand Duke, again, Metropolitan Alexy.
When in 1377 Tsarevich Arab-Shah of Ordyn attacked the Duchy of Suzdal, where the ruler was Dmitry Donsky’s father-in-law, the Grand Duke first of the Russian princes began an open fight against the Ordynese. But this time the Moscow army failed: according to the traditions, the Russian soldiers did not expect an attack and were defeated by the Horde army. Therefore, the river on the bank of which the camp of Moscow regiments was located was named “the river Pyani”.
However, in 1378 a detachment of warriors, commanded personally by Dmitry Donskoy, broke up a large detachment of ordynets on the river Vozhe. This victory was the first victory of a Russian force over the Ordynese and glorified voivode Daniel Pronsky and Timothy Velyaminov. The
nickname “Donskoy” Grand Duke Dmitry gained by breaking the Horde army on September 8, 1380 in the Battle of Kulikovo, which unfolded between the rivers Nepryadva and Don.
The famous victory of Dmitry Donsky’s troops in the Battle of Kulikovo allowed Moscow for two years not to pay tribute to the conquerors (before the attack on the city in 1382 khan Tokhtamysh).
During thirty years of his reign, Dmitry Donskoy became a recognized fighter with the horde in Russian lands and a collector of Russian lands. The territories of the Principality of Moscow expanded significantly. Prince Dmitry maintained friendly ties with Orthodox Byzantium and sought recognition of independence from Constantinople of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In addition to the white-stone Kremlin under the prince, fortress-monasteries were erected. Earlier than in other principalities, the minting of silver coins was introduced in Moscow.
Family and personality
Grand Duke Dmitry Donsky had 12 children (4 daughters and 8 sons). In the will, the prince handed over the reign to the eldest son Basil. It was under the great prince that power began to be transferred “vertically” – from father to eldest son. Also to all children he bequeathed to listen in all their mother, Evdokiya Dmitrievna.
The prince died on 19 May 1389. He is buried in the Kremlin’s Arkhangelsk Cathedral. June 1 (May 19 in old style) is the day of memory of Dmitry Donsky, who was assigned to the face of the saints.
According to the compilers of “Zhitia”, the prince had a “marvelous gaze” and was “perfected by the mind”, a fastener, high, heavy and brachial. According to contemporaries, the Grand Duke was a man of uneasy character, distinguished by a combination of courage and indecision, bravery and willingness to retreat, simplicity and guile. He was spiritually chaste and malevolent, but he did not differ in education.