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He was the son of Rurik Rostislavich, grand prince of Kyiv, and Anna, daughter of Yuri Yaroslavich, prince of Turov. He became appanage prince of Smolensk (the family domain) around 1214 - to 1219 and then grand prince of Kyiv on the death of Mstislav against the Mongols at the Kalka river in 1223. His sons were Rostislav, crown prince or prince of Kyiv; Andrei Dolgo Ruki, appanage prince of Vyazma, who also died at Kalka River , and his daughter was Maria. He died in turn during the second Mongol invasion in 1239. They are shown on this family chart.


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