X pageKyivan RusPrincely times Voivodes

Dobrynia (place and dates of birth and death unknown) – Voivode, uncle of the Grand Prince Volodymyr Sviatoslavych of Kyiv.

Uncle of Volodymyr Sviatoslavych, his tutor and associate. The Tale of BygoneYears tells that Volodymyr’s mother was Malusha – housekeeper of the Grand Princess Olha of Kyiv, his paternal grandmother. She was a sister of Dobrynia and Malk Liubechanyn (of Liubech) was their father. Some historians associate him with Prince Mal of the Derevliany, who in 945 killed Grand Prince Ihor Stary (the Old), when he gathered tribute from the Derevliany and next year asked in marriage his widow, Princess Olha.

Dobrynia helped Volodymyr to reign in Novgorod the Great, was his faithful ally in the struggle for the throne. In 980 Volodymyr appointed Dobrynia the mayor of Novgorod the Great, where Dobrynia, as was customary, erected the idol of Perun to worship, but after the baptism of Kyivan Rus threw it down and forcibly baptized the Novgorodians (ca 990). Dobrynia (patronymic Nikitich, by legend) is one of the major heroes of epics of Volodymyr’s cycle, where he appears along with Illia Muromets among the most respected Old Rus heroes. Scholars note that Dobrynia’s image and activities in the chronicle and epic are identical in general.

Portrait (imaginary) of Voivode Dobrynia