(1157 – 1174)
Smart, courageous grandson of Vladimir Monomakh, Andrei Yurievich was the first Russian prince, who began to struggle with the pernicious unit-system. In his own land, he did not give out patrimony to either brothers or sons, but reigned unanimously in it.
Planted by his father in Zvenigorod, near Kiev, he arbitrarily left for the Suzdal land, where he was born and reigned at a young age in a suburb of Vladimir on the Klyazma.
Dissatisfied with the Grand Duke of Kiev Mstislav II Izyazlavich, Andrew sent an army against him. In 1169, Kiev was taken and looted. Andrew gave it to his brother Gleb, and himself, taking the title of Grand Duke, remained to live in Vladimir on the Klyazma.
He decorated Vladimir with rich temples, especially the cathedral in honor of the Assumption of the Virgin. Since then, Kiev has lost the importance of the capital city.
Going to the South, he took with him an icon of the Mother of God, written according to legend by the Evangelist Luka. This icon became the shrine of the Suzdal land under the name of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God.
Proud, not born of contradictions, he was stern with his warriors. Resenting his excessive severity and autocracy, the boyars formed a conspiracy and killed the Grand Duke in his beloved Bogolyubov, 11 miles from Vladimir. He did not like the stern prince and the people he cared about: for three days his body lay uncleaned.
Andrei Bogolyubsky was a representative not of the prince-druzhinnik, but rather a bearer of supreme power. Everyone, starting with his family, he let feel that he was not a prince, father and brother, but a supreme sovereign. By the right of strong Andrew expelled from the principality of his brothers and nephews.