Ivan I, Grand Duke of Moscow (1325–40), used his favoured vassal status to the Golden Horde to earn the soubriquet ‘gatherer of Russian lands’, inveigling the Khan to murder his rivals, or using trade monopolies to indebt them and annex their territories. Dmitri Donskoy (1359–89) was more bombastic, going to war with Lithuania and confronting, and defeating, his erstwhile overlords, the Khanate of the Golden Horde, at the battle of Kulikovo (1380). Although the Golden Horde subsequently reasserted their control, Dmitri managed to more than double the size of his realm. His successor, Vasili I, doubled it again, annexing the territories surrounding Nizhniy Novgorod to the east, and of Velikiy Ustiug and Vologda to the north. Under Vasili II (1425–62), civil war wracked Muscovy. The Golden Horde’s successor, the Khanate of Kazan invaded; Vasili was twice imprisoned, and blinded during these conflicts, but kept his princedom intact.
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