Andrei Olgierdovich of Polotsk (Belarusian: Андрэй Альгердавіч, Lithuanian: Andrius Algirdaitis, born ca. 1319 – died on 12 August 1399 in the Battle of the Vorskla River) was the eldest son Algirdas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and his first wife Maria of Vitebsk. He was Duke of Pskov (through his deputy Yuri, 1342–1348) and Polotsk (1342–1387). As the eldest son of the Grand Duke, Andrei claimed his right to the throne after his father's death in 1377. Algirdas left Jogaila, his eldest son with his second wife Uliana of Tver, as the rightful heir. Andrei's rivalry with Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania and later King of Poland, eventually led to his demise.
Duke of Pskov and Polotsk
In 1342 Andrei joined his father Algirdas and uncle Kęstutis in a war against the Livonian Order to help the Pskov Republic. The Republic asked him to stay as a duke of Pskov so that his presence would guarantee continuous support from Algirdas. Andrei accepted and was baptized in Orthodox rite (his pagan name is unknown). However, he stayed there for a very short time and returned to Lithuania. Reasons are not entirely clear, but historians speculate it was related to death of his great-uncle Vainius, Duke of Polotsk. Polotsk was vital to Lithuanian interests as it was situated between Lithuania and the Livonian Order. Andrei became the Duke of Polotsk and helped defend Lithuania against Livonian attacks. In Pskov Andrei left his deputy, otherwise unknown Yuri. Lithuanian historian Alvydas Nikžentaitis speculates that this Yuri could have been grandson of Gediminas.
Yuri remained in Pskov until 1348. That year State of the Teutonic Order organized a large attack against Lithuania (see Battle of Strėva). The army of Pskov army was helping Novgorod against Sweden when the Livonian Order attacked Pskovian fortress at Izborsk. Yuri died in the attack. Because Lithuanians were unable to help defending Pskov, the city refused to accept another deputy from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Andrei responded with repressions: all merchants from Pskov were arrested and their goods confiscated. Friendly relationship between Pskov and Lithuania was terminated. Andrei remained as Duke of Polotsk for the next three decades.
Struggle against Jogaila
After death of Algirdas in 1377, Andrei, as the eldest son, rivaled his half-brother Jogaila, whom Algirdas designated as his heir. Jogaila at the time enjoyed strong support from his uncle Kęstutis. Andrei organized anti-Lithuanian coalition with Polotsk, Grand Duchy of Moscow, and Livonian Order. In 1379 Moscow army attacked eastern lands of the Grand Duchy; Moscow and Lithuania were in peace since the Treaty of Lyubutsk in 1372. Andrei's brother Dymitr I Starszy did not defend Principality of Trubetsk and Starodub. Russian army did not remain in taken territories and retreated into Moscow; Andrei and Dmitri followed it. Jogaila signed a ten-year truce with the Teutonic Knights on September 29, 1379 and a truce with Livonian Order on February 27, 1380 thus fracturing the coalition. He further enlisted Mamai, Khan of the Golden Horde, and Oleg II of Ryazan as his allies against Andrei. In 1380 Andrei and Dmitri participated in the Battle of Kulikovo between Moscow and Tatars. Tatars were badly defeated when Jogaila's army did not arrive to the battlefield on time.
In 1381 Jogaila attempted to install his loyal brother Skirgaila in Polotsk, former domain of Andrei. As Skirgaila was laying a siege on the rebellious city, Kęstutis took the opportunity to start the Lithuanian Civil War against Jogaila and removed him from the throne. Polotsk voluntarily surrendered to Kęstutis, who reinstated Andrei. Sources do not mention him in 1381–1385. Possibly he was waiting in Polotsk for the feud between Jogaila and Kęstutis with his son Vytautas the Great to be sorted out. Jogaila and Vytautas reconciled in 1384. On October 10, 1385 Andrei signed a treaty with Livonian Order in which he surrendered to the Order in exchange for protection against Vytautas and other enemies. According to the treaty, Andrei became Order's vassal and received Polotsk as a feudal estate. When Jogaila traveled to Poland to discuss the Union of Krewo, Andrei took the opportunity to renew his war against Lithuania. In 1386 he attacked territories south east of Polotsk. His cause was helped by the Livonian Order, which attacked Duchy of Lithuania, and by Sviatoslav of Smolensk, who attacked Mstsislaw, taken from Principality of Smolensk by Algirdas.
Capture and release
Lithuanian army led by Skirgaila attacked Polotsk in 1387. Livonian Order did not defend it and the city soon surrendered. Andrei was captured; his son Simeon died in the fighting and another son Iwan escaped to Pskov, where he is mentioned as a duke in 1389. Andrei was imprisoned in Poland for seven years. He was released in 1394 by request of Vytautas. After the release Andrei moved to Pskov, where he attempted to negotiate a truce between Pskov and Novgorod. After this event he is mentioned only once – as one of the prominent figures, who perished in the Battle of the Vorskla River in 1399.
- ^ a b c d e (Lithuanian) Matulevičius, Algirdas (2004). "Andrius Algirdaitis". In Vytautas Spečiūnas. Lietuvos valdovai (XIII-XVIII a.): enciklopedinis žinynas. Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos institutas. pp. 51–52. ISBN 5-420-01535-8.
- ^ Bychowiec Chronicle records his pagan name as Vingolt, which Maciej Stryjkowski rendered as Vigunt. However, that is the name of another son of Algirdas.
- ^ a b c d e f g (Lithuanian) Jonynas, Ignas (1933–1944). "Andrius". In Vaclovas Biržiška. Lietuviškoji enciklopedija. I. Kaunas: Spaudos Fondas. pp. 575–585.
- ^ (Lithuanian) Nikžentaitis, Alvydas (1989). Gediminas. Vilnius: Vyriausioji enciklopedijų redakcija. pp. 13.
- ^ (Lithuanian) Jonynas, Ignas (1933–1944). "Dimitras". In Vaclovas Biržiška. Lietuviškoji enciklopedija. VI. Kaunas: Spaudos Fondas. pp. 912–914.
|#g1: Offspring of Algirdas (1296-1377) and Maria Yaroslavna of Vitebsk (c1300-c1348)|
|Andrei Olgierdovich of Polotsk (1325-1399)||1325,||12 August 1399,|
|Dmitri Olgierdovich of Bryansk (c1330-1399)||1330,||12 August 1399,||Anna Ivanovna of Drutsk (c1335-c1375) + Anna Aleksandrovna of Ryazan (c1328-c1390)|
|Vladimir Olgierdovich of Kiev (c1330-1398)||1330,||1398, Kiev, Ukraine||Anna NN|
|Konstantin Olgierdovich Chartorysky (c1332-c1388)||1332,||1388,|
|Fyodor Olgierdovich (c1333-1404)||1333,||1404,|
|Feodora Olgierdovna (c1336-c1375)||1336,||1375,||Svyatoslav Titovich Karachevsky (c1310-c176)|
|Agrypina Olgierdovna (c1337-1393)||1337,||1375,||Boris Konstantinovich of Suzdal (c1322-1394)|
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