Yaroslav III was the son of Grand Prince Yaroslav II of Russia, and succeeded his brother Alexander Nevsky to the throne in 1263 on Alexander's death. Before that he had been prince of the city of Tver, where his descendants continued to rule. The people of Novgorod, probably Russia's foremost city at the time, recognized Yaroslav as their prince shortly after he had received confirmation of his title from the Mongol overlords of Russia. However, by 1270, the people of Novgorod rebelled against Yaroslav, who threatened to bring in Mongol troops to subdue them. The Orthodox Church leader Cyril, managed to mediate and bring affairs to a peaceful conclusion.

During the reign, the invasions from the north and west continued as they had in Alexander's reign; in 1268 Yaroslav's brother Sviatoslav managed to defeat the Lithuanians at Rakovor, bringing a little respite to Russia. Yaroslav died in 1271 and was succeeded by his brother Vasily.

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