Vladimir Monomakh (1053-1125) was an influential Russian Prince in the Middle Ages. Born to Vsevolod and grandson of Yaroslav the Wise, he was also the grandson of Konstantin IX Monomakh of Byzantium.

The Russian empire was at this point centered in Kiev and had a powerful economy fueled by controlling trade routes between the Byzantine empire and the German Hanseatic cities on the Baltic sea. However, Russia was in a particularly turbulent stage: the princes of the various Russian cities were constantly feuding, making Russia a very loose coupled empire. Further, Russia was constantly at war with Polovtsi raiders from the eastern steppes.

Monomakh is most notable for uniting the Russians and bringing the Russian empire back from the brink of disintegration. He led a united Russian campaign which dealt a decisive blow against the Polovtsi in 1111. After the death of Sviatopolk, Prince of Kiev, in 1113, the usual chain of succession was usurped by a popular revolt, and Monomakh was offered the throne.

As Prince of Kiev, Monomakh further expanded territory and secured Russia against external threats. At the same time, he instituted reforms on the homefront to rebuild the Russian economy. In particular, he restored the rule of law which was widely flouted in the preceding chaos. He reformed the banking system and got lending rates under control. High interest and large debt had bankrupted many small landowners, throwing them into virtual slavery. The Jews, heavily involved with the banking system, were seen as part of, if not the root of, the economic problems, and were expelled, only to be invited back much later in the Czarist era to help modernize Russia.

Vladimir Monomakh composed a document known as the "The Testament of Vladimir Monomakh", which basically attributes his successes to God and instructs his people to live humble and pious lives.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.