Of possible interest if you are into Russian (Ukrainian, Belorussian) history or are looking for an active immersion experience…
It’s been called to my attention that a re-enactment of the Battle of Listven will be happening sometime in September near Chernigov, Ukraine, not far from the Russian border. In addition to the battle itself the event promised to include workshops on medieval crafts, most notably hammering things – usually intended to murder – out of hot pieces of iron.
From what I understood that battle was one of the series of events that lead to fragmentation of Russia that, in turn, made her easy prey to Mongols. That Vladimir character who inflicted a new religion upon his subject “by sward and fire” while throwing a bunch of unique artifacts into the Dniepr had a number of sons from his numerous wives. His sons, having been brought up in a disfunctional family, proceeded, after their father’s death, to fight among themselves for the Alpha position. All but two, Yaroslav and Mstislav, murdered each other well before the battle. These two last survivors had a series of major fights with no clear objective and zero net outcome. I think it was Mstislav who won and retreated to Tmutarakan but soon dies so his elder brother took over the whole cluster of kingdoms anyway. But the tradition of internal strife was well established, reinforced by the Mongol affair, and may explain a lot in what you see in the present-day Russia.
The name “Yaroslav’ translates as “Rage Glory” while “Mstislav’ is “Revenge Glory”. Their dad was “Master of the World”. The city where Mstislav was based, Tmutarakan, is “One Thousand Roaches”.
See www.listven.com for more. For the moment there is no English translation but this yearly event seems to position itself as “international”.