Politics of Ivan Kalita continued his sons – Semyon Proud and Ivan the Red. In 1359 the prince’s throne was occupied by the nine-year-old son of Ivan the Red Dmitry. He, like his grandfather Ivan Kalita, proved to be an able and energetic ruler. It was thanks to his tireless energy in Moscow that the only stone in the entire North-Eastern Russia was the stone Kremlin. This indicated the growth of the political might of the Moscow principality.
Under Dmitri Ivanovich, Moscow became so strong that it could throw an open challenge to the Golden Horde, whose ruler at that time was the Mamai Temnik. Prince Dmitry stopped paying tribute to the Horde.
Since that time, open hostility has begun between Moscow and the Horde. In the summer of 1378, the Tatars burned Nizhny Novgorod. Hence Mamai sent a large army to Moscow. Prince Dmitry bravely came against the enemy. He met the Tatars on the banks of the River Vozha in the Ryazan principality and defeated them.
The defeat on the river Vozha terribly annoyed Mamai. He swore that he would not rest until he took revenge on Dmitri. The cunning and treacherous Mamai waited for two years. During this time he collected a huge army of 100 thousand people. In the summer of 1380, Mamai invaded Rus.
Toward him came Prince Dmitry Ivanovich, who managed to collect the same forces. Confidence and fortitude of Dmitry Ivanovich and his army was also added by the fact that the founder and hegumen of the Trinity Monastery, Sergius of Radonezh, consecrated the Horde.
Prince Dmitry did not wait for the Tatars to devastate Rus, and decided to get ahead of them. For this, the Russian army moved to the Don to the Horde steppes. The appearance on the Don of the rat Dmitry Ivanovich caught Mamai by surprise. Prior to this, the Russian regiments did not penetrate here, because the steppe was considered a territory of the Horde. On the night of September 7 to September 8, 1380, Prince Dmitry crossed the Don and built his troops on the Kulikovo Field. All the bridges were burned – there was nowhere to retreat.
Here, on the Kulikovo Field, on September 8, 1380, a decisive battle took place. It started at dawn. The battle was preceded by a heroic duel. Out of the Russian ranks came the monk Peresvet, from Tatar – the Chelusk. Striking each other with their spears, they fell dead. This served as a signal to the battle. Mamai was the first to throw his cavalry into the attack. He placed his bet on Red Hill and from there followed the course of the battle, and Prince Dmitry in the armor of a simple warrior fought along with others.
After a long brutal attack, the Tatars managed to press the Russian regiments. But at the most intense moment, an ambush regiment suddenly appeared on the battlefield under the command of Serpukhov prince Vladimir Andreevich and voevoda Dmitry Bobrok Volynets. Unable to withstand the onslaught of fresh forces, the Tatars rushed... to flee. The victory was not easy. Dmitry himself was seriously wounded. After this battle, the courageous prince began to be called Dmitry Donskoy.
XVI century. “The Legend of the Mamai Battle” about the Battle of Kulikovo Field
… And the two great forces came together formidably, fighting hard, brutally destroying each other, not only from weapons, but also from terrible crowding under horse hoofs, they let out a spirit, for it was impossible to fit everyone in that field with Kulikov…
And the third hour, and the fourth, and the fifth, and the sixth, brave, not weakening, Christians with filthy Polovtsians. When the seventh hour of the day came… they began to overcome the foul. Already from noble husbands, many have been killed, Russian heroes, and voevods, and remote people, like trees with oak groves, are leaning towards the ground under horse hooves: many Russian sons are crushed. And the great prince was wounded heavily, and his horse was dropped, he struggled to get out of the field, because he could not fight…
… Prince Vladimir Andreevich could not restrain himself and said to Dmitry Volynets: “So what is the use of standing in our country? What success will we have? Who will we be able to help?” Our princes and boyars, all Russian sons are brutally perishing from the rotten, as if the grass is sloping! ” And Dmitri answered: “The trouble, to the prince, is great, but our hour has not yet come: the beginning of the time ahead of time will bring harm to itself… And then came the eighth hour of the day… and exclaimed Volynets with a loud voice:” Prince Vladimir, our time has come and hour convenient came! “
Companions also jumped out of the oak forest green, like falcons… hearts like lions,. ..and they began to slander the Tatars unmercifully.
The scoundrels… saw their death, shouted: “Alas for us, Rus again outwitted: the younger ones fought with us, but the best survived!” And they turned the filthy, and showed their backs, and ran…
The Battle of Kulikovo inflicted a terrible blow on the Horde. Although the overthrow of the Tatar yoke did not take place, it brought it nearer and showed that Rus could win.
The defeated Mamai fled to the Crimea, where he was killed by the Genoese. At the head of the Golden Horde was Khan Tokhtamysh. In 1382 Tokhtamysh with a large army approached Moscow. Prince Dmitry Donskoy left to collect shelves. Muscovites themselves defended their hometown and for the first time used firearms. After a three-day siege, Tokhtamysh tricked the Muscovites into opening the gates and burnt the city to ashes.
However, the Horde could no longer regain its former power over Rus. Although the tribute was paid, its size decreased significantly. Moscow managed to keep the primacy over other principalities. Dmitriy Donskoy for the first time bequeathed to his son as a “patrimony” the great reign of Vladimir, without recognizing the Horde’s right to dispose of them. So the foundations of the succession to the throne were laid.