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He extended his control from Novgorod south along the Dnieper river valley to protect trade from Khazar incursions from the east, and he moved his capital to the more strategic Kiev.
Sviatoslav I (died 972) achieved the first major expansion of Kievan Rus' territorial control, fighting a war of conquest against the Khazars.
The Rus' were raiding and plundering into the Caspian Sea region from 864, As the 10th century progressed, the Khazars were no longer able to command tribute from the Volga Bulgars, and their relationship with the Byzantines deteriorated, as Byzantium increasingly allied with the Pechenegs against them.
Rus' relations with the Pechenegs were complex, as the groups alternately formed alliances with and against one another.
On their way south, they discovered "a small city on a hill," Kiev, captured it and the surrounding country from the Khazars, populated the region with more Varangians, and "established their dominion over the country of the Polyanians." The Rus' turned back before attacking the city itself, due either to a storm dispersing their boats, the return of the Emperor, or in a later account, due to a miracle after a ceremonial appeal by the Patriarch and the Emperor to the Virgin.
In 880-82, Oleg led a military force south along the Dnieper river, capturing Smolensk and Lyubech before reaching Kiev, where he deposed and killed Askold and Dir, proclaimed himself prince, and declared Kiev the "mother of Rus' cities." In 883, he conquered the Drevlians, imposing a fur tribute on them.
This uncertainty is due largely to a paucity of contemporary sources.
and they soon launched excursions into Khazar territory along the sea coast, up the Don river, and into the lower Volga region.Trade from the Baltic also moved south on a network of rivers and short portages along the Dnieper known as the "route from the Varangians to the Greeks," continuing to the Black Sea and on to Constantinople.Kiev was a central outpost along the Dnieper route and a hub with the east-west overland trade route between the Khazars and the Germanic lands of Central Europe.By 885 he had subjugated the Poliane, Severiane, Vyatichi, and Radimichs, forbidding them to pay further tribute to the Khazars.Oleg continued to develop and expand a network of Rus' forts in Slav lands, begun by Rurik in the north.