In conditions of the system of independent principalities-lands, each of them began to lead independent foreign policy. From the end of XII-beginning of XIII centuries some texts of several international treaties between Russian lands and foreign countries have been preserved. For example: between Novgorod and Gotland coast and German towns (1191-1192), between Smolensk and Riga and Gotland coast (1229 and 30s of XIII century).
Many of principalities entered alliances with foreign lands against other Russian principalities. In 40s-70s of XII century during the fierce struggle for Kiev between Volyn, Chernigov, Smolensk and Suzdal princes, they often formed unions with Hungarians, Polish and Polovtsy.
After the death of Vladimir Monomakh and his son Mstislav, Polovtsy began to attack Russian lands more frequently. They participated in internal wars, and attacked independently, in any case they caused great losses to south Russian lands.
Till 70s there were two large Polovtsy unions: khan Kobyak was in the head of one, khan Konchak (son of Otrok, grandson of Sharukan) - of the other.
At the same time the situation in Kiev principality became rather stable. But in 1180-1181 Svyatoslav Vsevolodich began the war with Rurik Rostislavich and his alliances with the help of Konchak and Kobyak. But they were defeated. In next years Svyatoslav and Rurik organized joint actions against Polovtsy.
In 1184 khan Kobyak was defeated and captured as a result of south Russian joint forces campaign. The next year, 1185, there was a climax in the struggle of Russian princes against khan Konchak. After three days of severe battles Igor's army was fully defeated. Four princes - Igor, his brother, nepnep and son were captured. Polovtsy began campaign against Russia, but without significant results. In summer Igor managed to escape from the capture.
Beginning from 90s of XIII century, the frequency of Polovtsy raids decreased, partly because of Polovtsy's inclination for settled way of life.
Comparing with previous periods, the political relations with Byzantium were not significant (in 1204 Byzantium empire stopped temporary its existence after Constantinople being captured by crusaders). But church relations remained in full volume.
To the beginning of XIII century the four strongest lands in Russia were defined: Chernigov, Smolensk, Vladimir-Suzdal and Volyn. They competed for three Russian thrones: Kiev, Novgorod and Galich in the first part of XIII century. Active participation in the struggle for Galich throne took Poland and Hungary. But in 1245 Daniil (son of Roman Mstislavich) defeated hungarian-polish army and obtained Galich principality.
Rostislavich and Olgovich fought for Kiev throne in 1205-1212. Then for two decades Rostislavich reigned in Kiev. But in the end of XII-XIII there settled the system of collective ownership of Kiev land. All the princes of the strongest lands had the right for a part of Kiev land.
Yurievich and Mstislavich had a struggle for Novgorod throne in XIII century. Since 30s, princes of Suzdal began to reign in Novgorod.