Vsevolod was the son of Grand Prince Yaroslav I of Kievan Russia, and succeeded his older brother Izyaslav I as Grand Prince. At their father's death, Vsevolod ruled Pereslavl, a southern city exposed to raids from tribes to the south, but managed to keep the southern border of Russian territory safe while he was there.

He was apparently a good-natured guy who supported Izyaslav against the usurper Vseslav but was persuaded to support their other brother Sviatoslav II, who took the throne away from Izyaslav in 1073 (giving Vsevolod Cherngiv to rule). Vsevolod was briefly Grand Prince after Sviatoslav died in 1076, but let Izyaslav have the throne back as soon as he returned to the country. He became Grand Prince permanently on Izyaslav's death the next year while fighting to get the city of Cherngiv back from one of Sviatoslav's sons, Oleg, so that Vsevolod could rule it again. (So Oleg got Cherngiv anyway, because Vsevolod was going to be busy in Kiev as Grand Prince from then on.)

Vsevolod was a fairly popular ruler who managed to keep Kievan Russia from falling apart, despite the bunches of relatives constantly trying to throw each other off the thrones of individual cities within Russia. He suppressed a lot of uprisings from Sviatoslav's descendants and others of his nephews. He died in 1093, and was first succeeded by his nephew, Izyaslav's son Sviatopolk II.

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