Yaropolk I was the oldest son of Grand Prince Sviatoslav I of Russia and was his father's deputy in the capital city of Kiev while Sviatoslav was away conquering more territory for Russia. Yaropolk's brothers Oleg and Vladimir were in charge of other cities, and as there was no set rule for succession to the Grand Prince's throne, a civil war broke out on Sviatoslav's sudden death in 972. Oleg died (apparently by falling off a bridge and drowning during a battle with Yaropolk's troops), and Vladimir managed to hide out in Scandinavia.

Very little is known about what Yaropolk actually did during his reign, but apparently he didn't please the people of Novgorod, because they invited his brother, their city's former governor, back to their lands. Vladimir brought mercenaries, and managed to overthrow Yaropolk in Kiev and execute him around 978 or 980.

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