Potemkin. The portrait was painted by court painter Juan Carreno de Miranda during the second visit of the Russian Embassy of Spain in 1681. Located in Prado
The Potemkin family is widely known in Russia primarily due to the activities of its brightest representative, Prince Grigory Alexandrovich Potemkin of Tauride. It is impossible to overestimate his merits to the Fatherland, however, such a large-scale historical the figure sometimes overshadows others, no less glorious, but not so famous representatives of the Potemkin family. Not only the XNUMXth century - the time between the two European revolutions, the era of rationalism and enlightened absolutism - became the arena of activity of this noble family. To a large extent, its representatives worked in the previous, merciless in their cruel realities, XVII century. It was a time when Russia, pierced by the Time of Troubles, fought for the very right of its existence. Time of feuds, impostors, interventions and wars. Russia has just begun to get acquainted with a strange and somewhat miraculous Europe for her. In towers and white-stone chambers, the language of Henry IV and Cardinal Richelieu was not yet spoken, a man in a foreign dress could only be seen in the German settlement or on the battlefield, and dandy winged hussars were greeted with spears at the ready of a gloomy look of bearded men.
Potemkin was one of those few nobles who was captured in two lifetime portraits, and the work was done with all the skill and thoroughness of European art. Pyotr Ivanovich, like many nobles of that time, had an eventful biography; he happened to be a courtier, a military man, an administrator and a diplomat at different times. And often it was necessary to combine and synchronize these roles, as circumstances required.
Peter Ivanovich Potemkin was born in 1617 and was the youngest son of a Moscow nobleman, Ivan Gavrilovich Potemkin. His family was not distinguished by special generosity and eminence - mostly loyal soldiers in the state service. Of the most remarkable representatives of the Potemkin family, Fyodor Illarionovich Potemkin, who has repeatedly been part of the embassy in Polish lands, should be noted. He was also meeting and accompanying the papal legate Antonio Possevino, the first Jesuit who came to the Russian capital. Being not in the best position due to the unfavorable course of the Livonian War, Tsar Ivan IV appealed to the Pope with a request to mediate in peace negotiations with his opponents. Rome did not miss its chance, secretly counting on a union with the Orthodox Church, where Catholicism, of course, will dominate. The Possevino mission was not crowned with success, but the Italian made detailed notes about his stay in Russia, which were published at the end of the 16th century.
Potemkin's childhood took place in difficult conditions. Russia only began to rebound after a long-term bloody Trouble, with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth a Deulinsky truce concluded, which became practically nothing more than a long respite. The country was devastated, gangs of robbers and marauders were wandering along its roads, and more than ever they needed stability and peace. The consequences of the Time of Troubles were overcome more than one year. It was in such conditions that the future commander and diplomat began his career. Like many noble children, Potemkin was given into the service from a young age. The first information about Peter Potemkin appears in 1637, when he is referred to as a solicitor at the royal court. In 1651, his surname is among those who had to accompany the king on trips to the pilgrimage.
By this time, the international situation, and so not distinguished by excessive complacency and tranquility, gradually heated up. The eastern regions of the Commonwealth were engulfed in the flames of an uprising led by Bogdan Khmelnitsky. The course of hostilities proceeded with varying success - bloody battles alternated with sophisticated diplomatic trades, where Polish waywardness and Little Russian stubbornness clashed in heavy fighting. Khmelnitsky quickly got rid of illusions about his own ability to achieve rights, freedoms and most importantly privileges for himself, Cossack officers and simple Cossacks. Terrible on trophies and prisoners, the Crimean Khan was an unreliable and even dangerous ally. The whole logic of action pushed Khmelnitsky to an alliance with Moscow. And in the capital of the Russian state numerous embassies, messengers and delegates began to torment the road. Alexey Mikhailovich listened with understanding to his southern neighbors and co-religionists, nodded his head, but did not give a clear answer about taking Ukraine into his citizenship. The implementation of this step entailed practically irreversible consequences in the form of war with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, after long deliberation, Alexei Mikhailovich made a positive decision, and Russia began to prepare for war. The much anticipated war began in 1654.
Peter Potemkin served under the command of a young and enterprising governor, Prince Grigory Romodanovsky. In the spring of 1655, the governor received orders to go to Belaya Tserkov with his regiments to join the troops of Bogdan Khmelnitsky. It was planned to carry out a campaign deep into enemy territory, paying great attention to the capture of Polish cities. The march began in July 1655, after both armies joined. Romodanovsky and Khmelnitsky invaded Polish Galicia. It was planned to focus on mastering Lviv. A detachment, mainly an equestrian, led by Potemkin, was separated from the main forces of the governor. Romodanovsky set him the task of capturing Lublin. Appearing from the city suddenly, Potemkin took it without much resistance. Residents considered it to be good, just in case, to swear an oath to the Russian Tsar.
The raid on Galicia continued. Khmelnitsky overlaid Lvov, Romodanovsky went after the Polish hetman Stanislav Potocki, who diligently avoided the battle, followed. The maneuvers of the Russian and Polish armies ended in a fierce and successful battle for Romodanov at Gorodok, where the forces of the crown hetman were caught unawares, defeated and put to flight. Bogdan Khmelnitsky, however, did not take advantage of the success achieved. The enemy field army did not threaten him. Instead of storming Lvov, he began to conduct long negotiations with the townspeople on surrender and indemnity. Potemkin's detachment at the time ravaged Polish communications. In the midst of a constructive dialogue with Lviv hetman received a message that the Crimean Tatars left the Crimea and attacked the southern borders of Ukraine. Khmelnitsky lifted the siege of Lviv and marched back with a quick march. After him, Galicia was abandoned by the Russian troops.
Against the Swedes in the north
During the generally successful war for Russia, an external factor intervened. King Charles X, who ascended the Swedish throne, suddenly remembered his claims to the Commonwealth because of Livonia and part of other territories. In 1655, Swedish troops invaded Poland and occupied a number of its cities. This period remained in Polish history as the "Swedish Flood". The position of King Jan Casimir became critical - the struggle on two fronts was an openly losing option.
Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich after the initial success in the war at that time was extremely confident in his abilities and capabilities, therefore the option proposed by Charles X of the Commonwealth was rejected by him. The king believed that the power to implement the planned territorial acquisitions independently. Moreover, in Moscow, they looked at Swedish activity in Polish affairs with caution. Agreement on joint action against a common enemy could not be reached. Having concluded at the end of 1655, through the mediation of the Holy Roman Empire, the Vilenskoye truce with the Poles in need, Aleksei Mikhailovich began to prepare for war already with Sweden, whose troops occupied a number of Polish and Lithuanian territories, pledging allegiance to Moscow.
The forces released after the beginning of the truce were transferred to the north. The main grouping of Russian troops was to attack Dinaburg and Riga - the main goals of the campaign. Smaller in size and possessing better mobility at the expense of more cavalry, the group under the command of Prince Trubetskoy was intended for operations in eastern Livonia, in Karelia and on Izhora land. The tasks of Trubetskoy included the destruction of the enemy rear and the violation of his communications. Planned raids into Swedish territory. It was to this army that Petr Potyomkin, who had become stolnik by that time, ended up. The voivode already had the experience of ruining the enemy rears and was able to prove himself as an independent commander.
17 May 1656 in Moscow under the sound of bells and a large crowd of people Alexei Mikhailovich declared war on Sweden. With the outbreak of hostilities, Trubetskoy moved to Dorpat, having Pskov and Novgorod in its rear as bases. In early August, the city was besieged and besieged. The Russian commander was not content only with measures against Dorpat. In all the nearby territories were sent cavalry detachments with the order to ravage the enemy rear. One of the detachments sent carried out a campaign in Finland, took and destroyed the Nyslotlot fortress, the other laid siege to Kexholm. The regiment, headed by Peter Ivanovich Potemkin, also acted independently, separately from its main forces. Even before the beginning of the war, his unit was located in Izhora on the very border with the Swedish possessions.
Feeling the inevitability of the outbreak of war, the local royal administration in the person of the Riga Governor Magnus Delagardi, in its many appeals, frightened the local population with hordes of Tatars and Cossacks. The recruitment sets and the forced formation of self-defense units began. All these steps of the already long-time "beloved" Swedish administration turned the Russian population against it. Even before the war, a deputation from peasants living in the royal lands came to Potemkin with a request to release them from Stockholm as soon as possible.
3 June 1656, the voivode squad crossed the Russian-Swedish border and laid siege to Noteburg (in fact, the Russian fortress Oreshek). This Swedish fortified point was in fact a tough nut to crack, and it was not possible to take it from a swoop. Not having enough artillery, Potemkin decided not to waste time on the long siege promised to be and simply blocked the roads to the Noteburg with outposts, thereby interrupting the supply of provisions and ammunition.
Voevoda headed for the next goal, Nyenskansu, where he planned to try his luck. Nyenskans is an important Swedish fortress, founded in 1611 on the left bank of the Okhta River in the place where it fell into the Neva River, by order of King Charles IX. The place for its construction was not chosen by chance: it was not flooded in the event of even severe flooding. The nearby trading city of Nyen was founded in 1632 by the order of Gustav Adolf, the whole trade of northern Livonia passed through it, and the fortress served protective functions. On the way to Nyenskans Potemkin was joined in large numbers by the local population, who saw the advancing Russian troops as liberators from the Swedes who were disgusted with their “European politics”. The voivode took the fortress with a decisive assault on 6 June; Nyenskans was destroyed and burned. The winners as trophies got large reserves of provisions concentrated here, in particular, grain.
Having successfully completed this part of the operation, the detachment returned to the previously blocked Noteburg. From the local population, Potemkin learned that Commandant Kexholm Robert Jarn was traveling along Lake Ladoga with its attendants. A special group of capture, moving on handy boats, carried out the seizure of the commandant committing the voyage, and later he was sent along with other prisoners to Novgorod.
Using the siege fortifications under Noteburg as an operational base, Potemkin sent small detachments from Karelian and Koporsky counties, isolated from his forces. These groups dealt with tactical issues, mainly the ruin of the Swedish rear. July 22 boating Potemkin out to sea. At Kotlin Island, the Russians boarded a small Swedish ship, captured the captain, part of the crew and 8 soldiers, then landed on the island itself, where enemy settlements were ravaged. The systematic attack on the Swedish communications and the destruction of the enemy’s rear lines soon yielded results. In the Baltic Swedish provinces in the end there was a catastrophic food situation. It was not enough for not only the urban population - the rations had to be reduced even for the troops in the garrison service.
Despite the continued siege, Noteburg was held by the Swedes, who from the beginning of August began to probe the Russians on the fortress, sending reinforced reconnaissance units to the destroyed Nienshantsu. During August there were clashes between small units of the opposing sides. In the end, the Swedish command sent a fairly large force to the area, dominated by mercenaries under the command of Gustav Horn. The horn erected several field fortifications on the ruins of Nyenskans and placed a garrison there. However, the Swedish commander did not dare to go to the rescue of the Noteburg.
The whole beginning of autumn in the Neva region was a lull - the center of enemy activity shifted to Gdovskiy district. A small man was built under the command of Potemkin in order to monitor the Gorny stationed near Nyenskans Gorny in 20 km from this fortress under the command of his relative Alexander Potemkin. According to intelligence data and captured prisoners, it became known that the number of Swedes concentrated at Nyenskans reached 200 – 2500 people, while Peter Potyomkin had just over a thousand people. Nevertheless, despite the superiority, no one went to the rescue of the Noteburg.
October 12 after a long siege, Trubetskoy finally took Dorpat - this was the culmination of the 1656 campaign for the northern grouping of the Russian army. Autumn was approaching, and on November 3, Potemkin received an order to lift the siege of Noteburg and retreat to winter apartments. After removing all the artillery and supplies from the well-settled siege camp, the voivode began to retreat on November 17. Approximately 20 km from Noteburg, he stopped to cover the massive transition to the Russian side of the local population, for whom the return of the power of the Swedish crown did not promise anything good. It was well known about the merciless recruitment and compulsory engineering work carried out by the royal administration in Livonia, and in addition the tax burden increased significantly. Covering with his detachment the passage to the Russian territory of residents, whose account went to thousands, Potemkin went to winter apartments in Ladoga. Despite the departure from Noteburg, the Russians did not allow the Swedes to relax. During November-December 1656, small Cossack detachments carried out disturbing reconnaissance raids to the area. In the spring of 1657, Peter Ivanovich Potemkin handed over command of the detachment - he was summoned by order of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich to Moscow.
From the military front to the diplomatic
Embassy Compound in Moscow. The departure of the ambassador for an audience with the king
Some representatives of the Potemkin family were somehow connected with diplomacy - the tsar decided that Pyotr Ivanovich would be useful in this area. Despite the generally favorable course of the war with Sweden, the situation for Russia looked complicated. Having taken a deep breath, Rzeczpospolita was ready to continue the fight for control over Little Russia. Yes, and there everything was very difficult and ambiguous. At the end of his hetman’s period, Bogdan Khmelnitsky began to show all the signs of a pernicious hobby for “multi-vector”. More recently, the hetman who swore allegiance to Moscow was seen trying to start negotiations with representatives of the Swedish king. The next hetman, Ivan Vyhovsky, went even further - he established close ties with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, hoping to reintegrate Ukraine into its composition, while retaining the hetman’s quite substantial place. In Ukraine, in the end, the civil war began, and the Russian-Polish conflict resumed. A truce was signed with Sweden in 1658, the terms of which were very moderate for Stockholm. Poland was considered the most important adversary; its main efforts were aimed at combating it.
Peter Ivanovich Potemkin was among the emperor's authorized representatives: he carried out responsible assignments and was present at negotiations with ambassadors and representatives of foreign states. In 1658, Peter Potemkin was among those who should have been at a meeting with the Georgian king Teimuraz I who arrived in Moscow. His mother and two sons were sent to Persia as honorary hostages in their time, but the Persian Shah executed them. Teimuraz I went to Moscow for help, but the king, absorbed in the war with Poland, refused him. He believed that Russia could not afford to start a war with Persia.
The war with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ended with the signing of the Peace of Andrusovo, Ukraine turned out to be divided into Right Bank and Left Bank. Russia regained part of the land it had lost during the Time of Troubles. The peace was concluded with the active mediation of diplomats of the Holy Roman Empire, which, in turn, was far from friendly with respect to Russia. It turned out that in Europe at that time Moscow had no allies, no friends, not even good acquaintances. For the Western world, Russia remained largely unknown, mysterious Tartaria and Muscovy, about which frightening tales tell. In order to establish diplomatic contact with the great powers of that time and to indicate their presence not only on geographical maps, but also in the international arena, it was decided to send a special embassy to the court of the two strongest European countries - Spain and France. Russian envoys generally went to the Iberian Peninsula for the first time.
For such a responsible mission they chose none other than Peter Potemkin. 7 July 1667 was promulgated by a royal decree according to which Stolnichny Potemkin and deacon Semyon Rumyantsev were ordered to go to Spain and France to inform the sovereigns about signing peace with the Commonwealth, and to have friendly correspondence. For solidity before sending the embassy, Potemkin received the title of the governor Borovsky. In order for the gentlemen, the Europeans showed a more lively interest in the Russian international initiative and in order to arouse in them a useful craving for friendly correspondence, Potemkin was allocated a very substantial amount of 1160 steering wheels from the treasury. For gifts and representative presents issued sable furs for 600 rubles and the so-called soft junk for 5000 rubles. In addition, large funds were transferred for transportation costs.
The sea route was then more preferable than a long grueling shaking along the “roads” of then-Europe. Having left Moscow at the beginning of July, the embassy arrived in Arkhangelsk, where, on a ship that had been made, from the Russian north went to the shores of Spain. 4 December 1667 embassy Alexey Mikhailovich reached Cadiz. The strength and power of the Spanish Empire, whose possessions continued to stretch across four continents, already weakened. The golden stream from the American colonies began to melt, inflation grew, internal discontent with constant wars and the taxes that followed because of them threatened to escalate into armed unrest. The last Spanish Habsburgs have done a lot to make many domestic processes irreversible. Philip III the Pious left behind anecdotes about his superstition and a huge public debt.
His son Philip IV perceived everything connected with state affairs as an annoying obstacle to his hobbies for hunting and women. Surrounded by favorites, whose mediocrity was multiplied by their own greed and ambition, trying to get a son, Philip IV eventually married Marianne of Austria, who came to the Spanish king's niece, and part-time former bride of his deceased only son and heir. After 12 years of marriage and several stillborn children, in 1661, the long-awaited heir came to light, who became the last Spanish Hapsburg Karl II. The heir from birth suffered a whole host of diseases and physical defects that had the most disastrous effect on his development. His condition was aggravated by genes: all 8 great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers were descended from Juana I Mad. The country, in the name of the minor sick king, was a strict registrant, Marianna of Austria, as a regent.
27 February 1668 Mr. Peter Potemkin arrived in Madrid with his embassy, and on March 7 was granted an audience with the king. During the reception there was a small diplomatic incident. Potemkin introduced himself to Charles II and his mother standing next to him. The seven-year-old king took off his hat, and then put it on. The Russian envoy welcomed the Spanish monarch and his widowed mother on behalf of Alexei Mikhailovich, but, noting that he was covered with a covered head during the announcement of the royal title and did not cope with the health of the sovereign, as was customary in Russia, he demanded an explanation. An embarrassing situation arose, but the delicate state marshal was able to rectify the situation, explaining to indignant Potemkin that Karl II and his mother, on the contrary, emphasized their respect for the envoys, meeting them standing up. The monarch in Spain, however, receives foreign ambassadors with his head covered, and the fact that His Majesty did not inquire about the health of His Royal Majesty, it is "solely because of his childhood and without any tricks." The incident was settled, and Potemkin solemnly handed gifts to the Spanish side.
The next day there was a new incident. The Russian envoy was informed that the letter from the king to the king would be delivered directly to the embassy. Here Potemkin again expressed his disagreement with what was happening, believing that such a document should be handed to him in the presence of the king. Explanations of the Spanish side that they did not have such a rule were rejected by the Russian side. Potemkin continued to insist on getting a letter from the hands of the Spanish monarch. Finally, in view of the ambitious position of the ambassador, the Spanish side satisfied his demands, and Peter Ivanovich received a diploma from Charles II. The Russian Embassy also received as a gift two portraits in expensive frames, in which the king and the widow queen were depicted. Potemkin received as a gift a diamond cufflink worth 11 thousand efimkov, diam Rumyantsev - a more “simple” cufflink, estimated at 6,5 thousand efimkov. For comparison, in Moscow, the embassy received transport money in 5100 efimkov.
7 June 1668 The city of Potemkin and his comrades left Madrid and headed dry for France. In Bayon an unpleasant incident occurred. Tax collector Marshal Duke de Gramona charged with the embassy, contrary to the custom of tax in the 200 ducats. Potemkin’s fury was so great that he threw the purse with money under the feet of a French official. A couple of miles from Paris, the embassy was met by an honorary escort, headed by Marshal de Belfon. For the most Potemkin arrived royal carriage. On August 21, the king’s envoys moved to Paris, and 24 was received at Saint-Germain by King Louis XIV.
Louis XIV receives the Russian ambassador
France, in contrast to its southern neighbor, entered into a strip of power and political influence. The Sun King was by that time one of the most influential rulers of Europe. In contrast to the Spanish court, all performances and greetings went as expected, and Louis received the ambassador without a headdress. His Majesty was so kind that he generously rewarded members of the embassy and returned with apologies to 200 gold coins, selected in Bayon. The French ministers tried to persuade Potemkin to sign an agreement on behalf of the tsar on trade and duties between Russia and France, but he refused, citing a lack of authority and the lack of instructions on this. Peter Ivanovich also insisted that the title of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich be specified in the royal charter without any changes.
The embassy left Paris on September 16 and arrived in Pskov through Amsterdam and Riga on November 10. The king was pleased with the diplomatic mission of Potemkin and continued to keep him with him, as one of the most trusted approximate. Peter Ivanovich attended the tsar's second wedding and at the baptism of his son Peter Alekseevich. In June, Potemkin’s 1674 was sent with a responsible diplomatic mission to Vienna: to inform Emperor Leopold of a possible attack by the Ottoman Empire on the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and to find out whether he would help the Polish king. Through Novgorod and the Baltic, the embassy reached Lübeck, and then by dry route moved to Vienna, where the October 23 arrived. On November 2 Potemkin was received by the emperor, who assured the envoy that in the event of an attack by the Turks on Poland, the empire would provide that comprehensive assistance. In March, 1675, the embassy returned to Moscow.
Portrait of Potemkin painted by Gottfried Kneller, court painter of the English king
Potemkin was among the room room attendants who carried the coffin of Alexei Mikhailovich on the day of his funeral, and in 1680, he was sent with a diplomatic mission to the courts of Spain, France and England to report the death of the king and, if possible, enter into trade agreements. After serving 14 November from Riga on a ship, in April 1681 he arrived in Paris. The ambassador was graciously received by Louis XIV, but in the process of awarding the royal diploma a dispute arose about the writing of the title of the ruling at that time, Fyodor III Alekseevich. In the end, the letter was not adopted, and the mandrel of the French embassy in Moscow did not take place.
After leaving Paris, on July 28 the embassy arrived in Madrid, and on August 2 was taken up by matured, but not added to the health of Charles II. This time there were no incidents, and Potemkin headed towards the final goal of his mission - to England. On November 21, the Russian people saw London, and on November 24 were received by the King of England and Scotland, Charles II, who returned to their homeland after the restoration, organized by General Monk.
15 February 1682, the embassy left for home, which reached in August of the same year. The princess Sophia, who ruled with the younger brothers Peter and John, Potemkin was in disgrace, although he received in the same 1682 the title of duma’s boyar, and in 1692 - okolnichy. In the last years of his diplomatic activity, Peter Ivanovich went to Denmark with the aim of concluding the necessary agreement. When he was informed that the monarch was sick and was in bed, Potemkin declared that he should certainly get an audience and demanded that another bed be placed next to the royal one, on which he would carry out his diplomatic mission. The Danes did not want to lose relations with Russia, and Potemkin’s demand was satisfied. He really laid down on a specially prepared bed near the painful Christian V and, having finished the negotiations, went further.
He graduated from his worthy not only historical research, but also an adventure novel, a life honored voivode and diplomat already in the reign of Peter I in 1700 year. A new era began in Russian history and in the new, eighteenth century, the Potemkin family again had to prove themselves in the military and diplomatic career and serve the Fatherland.