Mstislav II was the son of Grand Prince Izyaslav II of Kievan Russia. He was prince of several different Russian cities during the reign of his father and then his uncle Rostislav, both of whom he supported during the conflicts within the royal family which put Yuri I and others on the throne of Kiev at times. He married a Polish princess and also worked to obtain Magyar troops from what is now Hungary to support his immediate family's side of the conflict, since Yuri had the support of the Polovtsi tribes to the east of Russia.

Mstislav gained the throne in 1167 when Rostislav died. He kept that position for two years before Andrei I, son of Yuri, drove him out of Kiev and took the throne for his branch of the family. Mstislav died in 1170.

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