Yuri III was the son of Prince Daniel of Moscow and grandson of Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky of Russia. He became prince of Moscow himself on his father's death in 1304, and claimed the office of Grand Prince; however the Mongols who ruled Russia at the time gave the office to his cousin Mikhail because of Mikhail's lavish gifts. Yuri did not stop seeking to be Grand Prince; he actually battled Mikhail and was defeated in 1317. Mikhail, however, captured Yuri's wife, the Mongol Khan's sister, and when she died while a hostage, the Mongols wanted revenge and switched their support to Yuri. Mikhail was captured, executed, and Yuri became Grand Prince.

However, he did not last long in the position, probably because of Mikhail's son, the later Dmitry II making complaints to the Khan. Dmitry was made Grand Prince in 1322. Yuri then went to complain to the Khan, and Dmitry was summoned to appear at the Khan's court. Angry, Dmitry murdered Yuri in 1325.

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