Vasily III (1505-1533)
Grand prince of Moscow and all Russia, Ivan III and Sofia's son - Paleolog. After death of the successor - Ivan the Young, Ivan's III son of the first marriage, there was a struggle for the throne succession, the winner of which became Vasily Ivanovich. He was appointed at first the grand prince of Novgorod and Pskov, and then co-regent of Ivan III, after whose death Vasily III easily acceded to the throne on October 27, 1505.
Vasily III continued a policy of father in relation to Lithuania and Poland. Its ultimate goal was joining to Moscow of all east Russian areas, and next tasks - joining of separate cities and areas, submission of boundary minor princes, upholding of interests of orthodoxy in the Lithuanian state, in particular - protection of the sister of the grand prince, queen Elena, of encroachments on her belief and recognition from the part of Lithuania and Poland of the title of the Moscow grand prince - " Sovereign of All-Russia ". After king Alexander's death Sigizmund was elected for Lithuanian throne. He demanded returning the cities seized by Ivan III, but was refused. Soon after that rich and outstanding Lithuanian grandee prince Michael Glinsky came over to the side of Moscow; and his other serving princes started war against Lithuanian lands. Allies of Lithuania - Kazan, Crimea and Livonia - did not render it any help, and in 1508 under the peace treaty all acquired by Ivan III remained after Moscow, and all won by Glinsky was returned to Lithuania. In 1512 Vasily III Ivanovich again set out a campaign, besieged Smolensk, but unsuccessfully. Only in 1514 Smolensk surrendered, and after that prince Mstislavsky went to the side of Moscow.
At Orsha Moscow armies sufferred severe defeat from the hetman of prince Konstantin Ostrozhsky. In Smolensk part of boyars and the lord set up the relations with Lithuania, but the deputy prince Shuysky hung the traitors, except for the lord, and repulsed the attack on the city, after what the war was conducted rather languidly. In 1517 Emperor Maksimilian came out by his ambassador baron Sigizmund Gerbershteyn(who left remarkable memoirs about Russia) with intermediary between struggling, but it was unsuccessful. In 1520 the armistice for five years was made without exchange of captured, but with leaving Smolensk after Moscow. In 1526 negotiations on eternal peace were renewed at intermediary of the emperor, but they didn't result in anything under Vasily III: both sides did not want to renounce Smolensk.
Meanwhile the population of Smolensk and its area gradually varied: local residents were taken to the Moscow areas, and inhabitants of those areas moved to Smolensk - a usual measure of the Moscow policy.
Russian borders in the south were still protected from attacks of the Crimeans. Those were loaded with presents "commemoration" to khan, tsarevitchs, murzas etc., and incited to attacks of the Lithuanian lands. Lithuania, from its part, induced to attacks on Moscow. Most significant of such attacks were accomplished by the Crimeans in 1521; they managed to reach Moscow and to force boyars, leading Moscow in absence of the grand prince, to pay off. Voevode Khabar Simsky, however, managed to defeat Tatars at Pereyaslavl-Ryazan.
The relations with Kazan were very difficult. At first (1506) it was necessary to launch a campaign against Kazan detached from Moscow. The campaign was unsuccessful, but soon Vasily III managed to subjugate Kazan and its tzar Muhammed Aminya. After death of the latter (1518) Vasily III appointed the Kazan tzar Shakh - Ali (Shig Alley), but in 1521 Kazan people expelled him and invited from Crimea Saip-Girey, who beat a lot of Russians. In 1523 Vasily III set out great campaign to Kazan and on the way back founded the city of Vasilsursk on the Soura. In 1524 the new campaign to Kazan was set, which resulted in the flight of Saip-Girey and proclaiming Safa-Girey the Kazan tzar. Vasily III, from his part, at first again appointed Shakh - Ali the tzar, but then under request of Kazan citizens - Jan - Ali. In the time of Vasily III tatar tsarevitchs continued to join Moscow service, receiving the extensive land possessions.
Vasily III negotiated with Prussia, suggesting the union against Lithuania and Livonia; with Denmark, Sweden, Turkey (without results); with the Pope (about union and war against Turkey). In the time of Vasily III the relations with France were established and the embassy of one of hindu sovereigns, sultan Babura (1533) arrived.
Vasily's III task concerning Pskov and apanages still remained its joining to Moscow. He did not hesitate about the means in achieving this aim. In 1510 the city of Pskov was joined to Moscow, and after that the Pskov population partly moved to the Moscow lands, and people from the Moscow areas were removed to their places. When the last grand prince of Ryazan, Ivan Ivanovich, wished to be released from Moscow trusteeship and established the relations with Lithuania, Vasily III enticed an outstanding Ryazan boyar - Korobyin and, having ensnared the grand prince from Ryazan to Moscow, captured him in a dungeon, and the great princedom was attached to Moscow. The usual method of the Moscow policy was applied to the Ryazan population.
Gradually Novgorod - Northern and Starodub, Kaluga and Uglich passed to Moscow.
There were taken measures against boyars and notable people in general; those were made to give " guarantee records " that they would not leave. However, Vasily III treated boyars with care; no one, except for rather not notable Bersen Beklemishev, underwent death penalty, and the number of disgraces was not great. But then Vasily III did not render much attention to nobility, consulted to seigniorial Duma, apparently, more formally and for a "meeting", i.e. he did not accept objections, took decisions mainly with clerks and few trusted people among who the most significant place was taken by the butler - Ivan Shigona, the clerk of the Tver boyars. Nevertheless force of the tradition was that Vasily III had to appoint representatives of suspect to him nobility at all outstanding positions in the army and government.
Vasily did not have children from the marriage with Solomoniya Saburova, and in 1526 he divorced from her, admitted her to the veil and married Elena, daughter of prince Vasily Glinsky. From this marriage sons Ivan (the future Terrible) and feeble-minded Yury were born.
Vasily III, according to the contemporaries, was of severe and abrupt temper; he was a typical Moscow prince, but, in opinion of some historians, without gifts of the father. Vasily III died from a malignant abscess, having taken of monastic vows in the agony under the name of Varlaam.