He was born about in 980 the son either of Vladimir I or of Yaropolk
I by a captured Byzantine nun. They are shown on this family
chart. He married about in 1013 a daughter of King
Boleslaw I of Poland. He died without heirs. He was prince of Turov 988-1015
and prince of Kyiv 1015-16 and 1018-19. No sooner had the news of the death of
Vladimir been heard than his eldest son, Svyatopolk, "The cursed"
reigning over the Turov region, proclaimed himself Great Prince.
The youngest son of Vladimir, Boris, had on his
father's orders been fighting the Pechenegs, but was returning to Kiev, and was
camped on the river Alta when news of his father's death reached him. The
entourage of Boris as well as Boyars, all of whom greatly admired him,
counseled him to go to Kiev and succeed his father's reign; but the young
Prince replied, that he would not raise a hand on an older brother, as he was
now to be held in the same esteem as his father. Following this the army
disbanded leaving Boris with a small number of loyal men.
Meanwhile Svyatopolk, at first did not wish to quarrel with Boris and meant
to peacefully resolve the matter, moved quickly on learning that the army had
left Boris and resolved to kill his brother. This is how the chronicle recounts
history. Svyatopolk arrived at night in Vishgorod, and secretly called a
meeting of the Vishgorod boyars and brought in some unknown by the name of
Putsha and asked them: "Are you loyal to me?" Having received an
affirmative response, he asked them: "Being that you are, then do not
speak to anyone, act quickly and kill my brother Boris."
Putsha with his buddies took to the road to the river Al'ta. Upon arriving
there, during the night, they approached the tent of Boris, they heard that the
Prince Boris was saying matins. They stopped while the Prince prayed and laid
down on the bed, the killers broke into the tent and drove spears into Boris
and his trusted servant Georgi. The evil doers threw a blanket over the still
breathing Prince and dropped him in a cart. Svyatopolk, upon hearing that his
brother is still alive, sent two Varangians to end his life, which they did,
driving a sword thru his heart. The body was secretly brought to the church of
Saint Vasilii. This murder was shortly followed by another. Boris has a younger
brother, Gleb, who reigned over Murom and was unaware of the death of Vladimir.
Svyatopolk dispatched a messenger with the news that Vladimir is gravely ill
and is calling for him to come to him. Gleb gathered together his entourage and
stopped on the way close to Novgorod. At this time a messenger from his brother
in Novgorod caught up with Gleb. "Don't go, Prince," the messenger
was instructed by Yaroslav to tell him, "Your father is dead, and
Svyatopolk has murdered your brother." Gleb, was stunned, began to weep
and mourn his brother. At that moment the murderers Svyatopolk had sent came;
forcing Gleb to a nearby boat and slit the young prince's throat; they threw
the corpse between two water pumps on the shore; the remains of the prince were
carried to Vishgorod and were laid down next to his brother Boris when Yaroslav
was reigning. The closest to Kiev, Prince Svyatoslav, reigning over the land of
the Drevliane, upon hearing of the fate of Boris and Gleb, ran to Hungary.
Svyatopolk sent a party after him which caught up to Svyatoslav in the
Carpathian mountains, where he was also murdered. The moment came that
Svyatopolk started to think he could rule alone. But another half-brother,
Yaroslav, was in the key spot, Novgorod, from which
he could quickly recruit a Varangian war party to contest the throne. Actually
he already was assembling a Varangian force to defend against his father,
1015 AD - Vladimir dies and Svyatopolk I takes the throne in Kyiv. He arranges
the murder of Boris, Glev and Svyatoslav.
1016 AD - Yaroslav assembles 1000 Varangians and 40,000 local troops from
Novgorod region and sails down the Dniper. Svyatopolk marches with the Kyivan
and Pecheneg troops to meet them at Lyubech. The two armies meet across the
river. There they confront each other for 3 months. As winter is coming and the
lakes freezing Yaroslav has to act. Svyatopolk's Kyivan troops are between two
lakes and his Pecheneg allies at some distance. Yaroslav crosses the river and
drives the Kyivans toward the lakes, where the ice broke and they were
overthrown. Svyatopolk flees toward Poland, where his father-in-law is king.
1018 AD - Svyatopolk returns with Boleslaw and the Polish army. Yaroslav
marches out of Kyiv to meet the Poles at Volyn across the Bug river. In a
surprise attack Boleslaw defeats Yaroslav who flees back to Novgorod.
Svyatopolk returns to rule Kyiv but Boleslaw's troops loot the city. At this
Svyatopolk forces Boleslaw out of the city and back to Poland. Boleslaw takes
the Cherven towns along the way home. 1018-19 AD - Yaroslav recruits another
Varangian army plus more Novgorodians and returns to Kyiv. This time Svyatopolk
flees to the Pecheneg. 1019 AD - Svyatopolk marches with a large Pecheneg army
against Kyiv. Yaroslav organizes a large army and confronts him at the Al'ta
river. A terrible battle ensues in which casualties are high on both sides.
Yaroslav is victorious and Svyatopolk again flees toward Poland. He dies
enroute, suffering as the chronicler reports the just retribution of God as did
Cain and Lamech. .