Vsevolod III was the son of Grand Prince Yuri I of Russia. At this point in Russian history, the importance of the former capital city of Kiev in the southeast had greatly declined, and rather than ruling from Kiev, Vsevolod ruled from the northern city of Vladimir -- several princes in Kiev were his figureheads. He gained the throne on his brother Andrei I's death in 1176, and was often known as "Big Nest" due to the large number of descendants he had -- he was essentially the second founder of the Russian royal house because his descendants won out over the other branches of the royal family.

However, while Vsevolod was still alive, there was constant rebellion from his relatives, and also campaigns against surrounding peoples -- the Bulgars in 1184, the Polovtsi in 1185, and the Polish in the early 1200s. There was even some conflict between Vsevolod's sons Yuri and Konstantin over who should be prince of the city of Rostov. Vsevolod managed to stay in power for longer than anyone had in decades, until he died in 1212 and Yuri II succeeded him.

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