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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Mythical "sons"
of prince Michael Vsevolodovych

Nicholas Zharkikh

Shortened text of the section. Full text in ukrainian version.

From historical sources contemporary to the events themselves (or extremely close to the time of the events), we know that after the attack of Batu in 1237-1241, there were no princes left on the territory of the former Chernihiv principality.

Of great importance is the fact that all three of our main sources – the Laurentian chronicle, which was written in Vladimir, the first Novgorod chronicle, which was written in Novgorod the Great, and the Romanovychs’ chronicle, which was written in Volyn – all of them continued after 1239 for many more decades. And from all three sources, the Chernihiv principality disappears – simultaneously and unanimously.

This cannot be a coincidence, it means the disappearance of the very subject of reference, that is, the principality as a political structure.

In such a situation, it is safe to say that there were no princes, no power on the territory of the former Chernihiv principality after 1239, and all talk about "Chernihiv princes of the Tatar era" belongs to fiction (not a very good one).

Having clarified the most general features of the scheme of origin and social role of the group of "Verkhovski" princes, we can move on to the second question posed above: how these princes turned into sons of Lieutenant Schmidt descendants of prince Michael Vsevolodovych?

The answer was found in the way of expanding genealogical books. The task was set – to record all "passportless" princely families in Rurikovichs.

This is how the outwardly slender, but completely illusory system of Moscow genealogical books was formed, in which every princely family was traced back to Rurik. This contributed to the consolidation of the ruling elite of the newly formed Moscow state, and the "troubled time" was postponed for more than a century, until the extinction of the Moscow princely family in 1598.

And this is how our "Lieutenant Schmidt" had "sons" – two hundred and seventy-odd years after the death of the "father"!