Yury Bogolyubsky

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Yury Bogolyubsky (Russian: Ю́рий Боголю́бский), known as Giorgi Rusi (Georgian: გიორგი რუსი, George the Rus') in Kingdom of Georgia, was a Rus' prince of Novgorod (1172–1175). He was married to Queen Tamar of Georgia from 1185 until being expelled from the kingdom in 1188.


Son of Grand Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky of Vladimir-Suzdal, he ruled Novgorod from 1172 to 1175. He was dethroned and expelled after the murder of his father in 1175. Defeated in a series of internal wars, he finally found a shelter in the Northern Caucasus in the late 1170s. He was found among the Kipchak, with whom he hoped to restore his rights to his father's princedom in 1184–1185.

Marriage and revolt

In 1185, Georgian nobles arranged a marriage of Prince Yury with Queen Tamar of Georgia. As her husband, he commanded, in 1186–1187, a Georgian army which successfully raided the Seljuk possessions of Rüm in the west and the Ildenizid state in Arran in the east. However, Tamar soon got disappointed in her husband and divorced him in 1187. Said to be a heavy drinker, ambitious, involved in sexual misdeeds and sodomy,[1] Yury was expelled from Georgia in 1188.

Yury allied himself with a powerful party of Georgian nobles led by Vardan Dadiani, Guzan of Klarjeti and Botso Jakeli, and returned to lead a revolt against Tamar in 1191. The rebels proclaimed Yury King of Georgia in the palace of Geguti and captured several provinces in the south-western Georgia, but were eventually crushed by the Queen's devoted general Gamrekel Toreli at the battles of Tmogvi and Erusheti. The rebels capitulated and Yury was pardoned by Tamar. However, he revolted again in a few years and invaded Kakheti province. Defeated in the vicinities of Kambechani, he was finally expelled from Georgia. Since then, Yury disappeared from history.

Legacy and popular culture

Tamar's marriage to the Rus prince Yuri became a subject of two resonant prose works in modern Georgia. Shalva Dadiani's play, originally entitled The Unfortunate Russian (უბედური რუსი; 1916–1926), was attacked by the Soviet critics for distorting the "centuries-long friendship of the Russian and Georgian peoples."[2] Under the Communist Party pressure, Dadiani had to revise both the title and the plot to bring it into line of the official ideology.[3] In 2002, a satyrical short-story The First Russian (პირველი რუსი) penned by the young Georgian writer Lasha Bughadze and focused on a frustrated wedding night of Tamar and Yuri outraged many conservatives and triggered a nationwide controversy, including heated discussions in the media, the Parliament of Georgia and the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church.[4]


  1. Histories and Eulogies of the Sovereigns, M216r
  2. Suny (1994), p. 290
  3. Tillett, Lowell (1969), The Great Friendship: Soviet Historians on the Non-Russian Nationalities, p. 329.University of North Carolina Press
  4. Spurling, Amy (2003), "The Georgian Literary Scene". PEN Bulletin of Selected Books. 53-54: 100

External links

Preceded by
Rurik Rostislavich
Prince of Novgorod
Succeeded by
Sviatoslav Mstislavich