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He was a very overbearing man who wanted to rule all of Russia.He expelled Vladimir from Novgorod, and was forced to flee to Scandinavia.On his way to Kiev, Vladimir also seized the town of Polotsk, where he married Yaropolk’s fiancée Rogneda against her will. He lured Yaropolk out, supposedly for negotiations, and then killed him.Yaropolk’s wife became a concubine in Vladimir’s harem.There, he began to muster an army to retake the throne from Yaropolk.Vladimir returned to Russia in 979 and declared war on Yaropolk.After Yaropolk’s death, Vladimir had no other rivals for the throne – middle brother Oleg had died in 977.
As a natural son on Svyatoslav, Vladimir was considered to be his rightful heir.
Vladimir spent his childhood with his grandmother Olga; by the time he was born, she was one of the first in Kievan Rus to have been baptized into the Orthodox Christianity.
Vladimir I, Grand Prince of Kiev and of all Russia, was an outstanding political figure in ancient Russia. His father was Svyatoslav I, Grand Prince of Kiev, who died in 972. According to legend, his mother Malusha was a housekeeper for Vladimir’s grandmother Olga.
During his rule, Christianity was adopted in Russia. Vladimir, Vlad the Baptist and Vladimir the Red Sun. Despite the family’s relatively high status in the court, Malusha was a slave.
This proved to be of great importance later, when Vladimir had to choose a new religion for Russia.Following Svyatoslav’s death, an internecine war broke out between his potential successors.