Campaign of Mstislav Udaloy and pillaging of Pihkva

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In 1212, the prince of Novgorod, Mstislav Udaloy, came to Estonia and headed to Järvmaa. According to Henrik, he was looking for Germans. Not finding them, he went to Harjumaa, and began to siege the fort of the Estonians in Varbola. Defenders surrendered after few days and bought themselves free for 700 silver marks.

At the same time, the Estonians, lead by Lembitu, attacked Pihkva and pillaged it. Estonians fled with theirloot, and Mstislav returned to a devastated town.

The relationship between the Estonians and the Russians was quite tense in the beginning of the Baltic Crusade in Estonia, but was no different from what it had always been. Nonetheless, Russians tended to cooperate with the Germans. But as they were becoming more and more dominant in Estonia, especially after the grand campaign in January of 1212 when Germans came to Järvamaa, Russian politics began to change. In Pihkva, duke Vladimir, a German-friendly ruler who was the father of bishop Albert's sister-in-law, was swapped with the son of prince of Kiev Mstislav-Boriss Romanovich the Old, a man named Vsevolod Mstislavich-Borrissovich. Also the prince of Pihkva, Vselovod, and prince of Toropets, Mstislavich, participated in the campaign organized by Mstislav Udaloy in 1212. Its goal was deal a blow to the Germans to halt their advance in Estonia, and weaken the Estonians at the same time.

Image: gates of the Varbola fort

Source: Ain Mäesalu, Tõnis Lukas, Mati Laur, Tõnu Tannberg. Eesti ajalugu I. Avita: Tallinn 1995;

Sulev Vahtre. Muinasaja loojang Eestis. Vabadusvõitlus 1208-1227. Olion: Tallinn 1990

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