Russian victories in the Livonian War
In the middle of the XVI century, several factors came together that led to the Livonian War. Among them was the decline and degradation of Livonia, the German knightly orders, which settled in the Baltic. A “Livonian legacy” was formed, in which Sweden, Denmark, United Poland and Lithuania, Russia were interested. The Livonian Order was in decline, but it had a rich legacy - strategic territories, developed cities, strong fortresses, control over trade routes, population and other resources. At the same time, one can single out maritime (Baltic) and continental (Livonian proper) issues.
The Baltic question affected mainly the interests of the Hansa, Sweden and Denmark, who fought for supremacy on the Baltic Sea in order to use this monopoly to implement their great-power plans. So, Sweden needed money and people to fight Denmark. Also, the Swedes wanted to establish a blockade of the Russian state on the Baltic and close the Russian trade in Sweden. To do this, it was necessary to establish control over the exit from the Gulf of Finland. But, having failed in creating an anti-Russian coalition involving Livonia and Poland, and then having unsuccessfully fought with Russia (1554), the Swedish king Gustav abandoned his plans for a while.
The continental issue affected the strategic interests of the Russian state and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund II tried, by absorbing Livonia, to compensate for the expansion to the Black Sea that had faded by that time. The Poles faced powerful adversaries in the south: the Crimean Khanate and the Turkish Empire. As a result, Poland was not able to use the “Kiev inheritance” - obtaining lands of South-Western Russia, in order to establish itself in the Black Sea region. Therefore, Poland and Lithuania needed control over the Livonian lands and access to the Baltic.
Moscow needed to control the intermediary trade system built over the centuries through the Baltic cities and ensure free access to the markets of Central Europe and access to European technologies. The Baltic states were also necessary for Russia for military-strategic reasons. It is worth noting that Ivan the Terrible and his boyars government in the first half of the 1550-s was not up to Livonia. The main and most dangerous enemy at that time was the Crimean horde, behind which stood Turkey. Russia took Kazan and Astrakhan, and fought for the Horde inheritance with the Crimea. In Moscow at that time they even hoped for a final solution of the Tatar question by subjugating the Crimea. At the same time, Moscow first turned its activities in the western (Lithuanian) direction. Prisoner of the Starodub War 1535 - 1537. the truce was extended to 1542, 1549, 1554 and 1556, despite certain tensions between the two great powers. The main enemy was the Crimea and Turkey behind it. Therefore, in Moscow they even worked out the idea of a Russian-Lithuanian anti-Crimean alliance. Moscow also probed the soil for an anti-Turkish alliance with Vienna and Rome.
In the Crimean Khanate in this period, the anti-Russian party prevailed, the core of which was represented by representatives of the nobility, subsidized from Lithuania and people from Kazan and Astrakhan. This party had a strong influence on Devlet-Giray, a rather cautious man who did not want to aggravate relations with Moscow. In addition, Moscow’s offensive policy worried Porto. Istanbul decided to increase pressure on the Russian state with the help of the Crimean horde. All this led to the period of a long war between Moscow and the Crimea, which lasted a quarter of a century, right up to the death of Devlet Giray in 1577. This intense and bloody struggle demanded from the Russian kingdom a lot of strength and resources. The fate of Eastern Europe was decided on the Crimean "Ukraine". Devlet Giray in the year 1571 burned Moscow. The turning point in favor of Russia occurred only in the summer of 1572, during the decisive battle of Molodi, when the Russian army, under the command of M. Vorotinsky, destroyed the Crimean-Turkish army.
As a result, the clash between Moscow and Vilna over Livonia was a continuation of the former Russian-Lithuanian wars over the Western Russian lands, which had previously been under Lithuanian rule and domination in Eastern Europe. Finally, this struggle ended only after the Third Section of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (except for the modern history).
Dorpat on engraving 1553 of the year
Livonia in this confrontation between Moscow and the Crimean Khanate and Poland for a long time was not even of secondary importance. Moscow did not even have direct links with the Livonian Confederation. Contacts with her were maintained through the Novgorod and Pskov governors. After the truce was signed in 1503, which ended the war between Livonia and the Russian state, peace came to the north-west for a long time. However, while Moscow was tied up with confrontation with Lithuania, Kazan and the Crimea, problems began to accumulate on the Livonian borderlands. Step by step, mutual claims of Novgorod, Pskov, Ivangorodians and Livonians (first of all Revelians and Narvites) were accumulating.
First of all, the disputes concerned trade affairs. On the Livonian borderland began a trade war. It was painful for Moscow, since important goods came through Livonia, including those of strategic importance — primarily non-ferrous and precious metals (at that time there was no production in Russia). Silver was needed for minting coins, lead, tin and copper for military purposes. Livonian cities sought to maintain a monopoly in the trade of Russia with Western Europe that was so beneficial for them. And the Livonian authorities prevented the export of goods to Russia, the Livonian Landtag repeatedly imposed bans on the export of silver, lead, tin and copper (as well as other goods) to Russia. Trying to circumvent these obstacles, Russian merchants were looking for workarounds. Thus, in Dorpat, Revel and Narva, they were unhappy with the attempts of Russian merchants from Novgorod, Pskov and Ivangorod to abandon the traditional land routes and move on to transport goods by sea, including through hired Swedish schooners.
In addition, Moscow was important access to European technology, science. In 1648, the German emperor Charles V gave permission to the clever intermediary Schlitte to recruit specialists, including the military - gunsmiths, engineers, etc., and also to restore trade weapons and strategic materials with the Russians. This decision caused serious concern in Livonia, Poland and Lithuania. The Order of the Master Von der Recke and the Polish King Sigismund II strongly opposed this decision. As a result, under the pressure of Poland and Livonia, the decision was canceled. The specialists hired by Schlitte were intercepted in North German and Livonian cities. Naturally, Ivan Vasilyevich was very angry with the Livonian Master. The ban on the supply of weapons, strategic materials and military specialists was very painful for Moscow, which at that time was struggling hard against Kazan.
It is also worth noting the role of the “Novgorod party”. Despite all the political changes and loss of independence, Veliky Novgorod still remained the most important trade and economic center of the Russian state, and together with Pskov, it exclusively owned the right to trade with the West through Livonia and the Ganza. The house of St. Sophia participated in this trade, the Novgorod Archbishop Macarius (the future Metropolitan of All Russia) also took part in it. An influential clan of Shuisky was associated with Novgorod and Pskov. As a result, in Novgorod and Moscow there was a rather influential group interested in the preservation and development of trade in the north-west. Also, do not forget the “Novgorod force” - until 1 / 6 all the children of the boyars and nobles of the Russian state of the mid-16th century. Novgorod servicemen experienced land hunger - there were more of them, but no land, the estates became shallow and crushed, and it was becoming more difficult to ascend to the sovereign service. This led to border conflicts on the border in Lithuania (the Polotsk lands), Livonia and Sweden. They were mutual. And the expansion in the north-western direction could give the Novgorod nobles the desired booty and land for local distribution.
For the time being, Ivan the Terrible and his closest associates were passionate about Eastern affairs, the struggle against Kazan and the Crimea, without paying any serious influence on Livonian affairs. The extra war the government of Ivan Vasilyevich was not needed. In the military-strategic sense, Moscow was advantageous to maintain a weak, fragmented, unable to be a serious military threat to the Livonian Confederation. Livonia was needed as a buffer and communication channel with Western Europe. And Moscow was ready to keep such a neighbor, provided, if not friendly, then at least a neutral position, providing Russian merchants and diplomats free movement, as well as uninterrupted arrival of the necessary specialists, craftsmen and goods. That is, to have at hand a weak, torn by internal contradictions, Livonia was more profitable than if it strengthened Sweden or Poland and Lithuania. In this case, the threat from the west and northwest increased many times over.
But soon everything changed. The current situation violated Poland. In 1552, the Polish king Sigismund II and the Prussian duke Albrecht, under the pretext of the “Russian threat”, agreed on the “incorporation” of Livonia into Poland. In 1555, Albrecht proposed an interesting idea - the vacant position of a coadjutor (Catholic titular bishop with the right to inherit the episcopal chair) under the relative of Albrecht from Riga Archbishop Wilhelm was to be occupied by a “promising young man” Christoph of Mecklenburg. His appointment led to a conflict of interest of the Livonian Order (then headed by von Galen) and the Archbishop of Riga. It was then that Sigismund could get into this conflict, defending the interests of the Riga archbishop.
The Polish king liked the plan. An opportune moment came, Moscow was occupied by a conflict with Sweden and Tatar affairs. In January, the 1556 of the year, the Riga Chapter, chose Christophe as coadjutor. Magister Galen refused to acknowledge this choice and encouraged the choice of von Fürstenberg, the enemy of the Archbishop of Riga and the enemy of rapprochement with Poland, as deputy-coadjutor. In the summer of war in Livonia. Wilhelm and Christoph suffered a defeat. But Poland received a reason to intervene in the affairs of Livonia. In 1557, Sigismund and Albrecht moved troops to Livonia. Master Furstenberg, who inherited the deceased Galen, was forced to make an agreement in the town Allow. The let-out treaty hurt Russia's interests, since Livonia agreed to an alliance with Poland directed against the Russians.
It is clear that this has all superimposed on the already existing economic war and border incidents between Russia and Livonia. Negotiations in Moscow and Livonia (they went through Novgorod and Pskov), which went on from 1550, exacerbated the extension of the truce. Ivan the Terrible did not order his Novgorod and Pskov governors "dati truce" Livonians. Moscow set three basic conditions for Livonia: 1) free pass “from the seashore of servicemen and all kinds of craftsmen”; 2) pass to Russia of goods of paramount importance, the free pass of merchants; 3) the requirement from the Dorpat bishop to pay t. "Yuriev tribute." At the 1554 talks of the year, it turned out that the Russians consider paying tribute to the long-standing duty of the "Bethlehem Germans." Moreover, the okolnichy A. Adashev and the Deacon of the Ambassadorial Order I. Viskovaty not only demanded the payment of tribute, but also all the “arrears” that had accumulated over the past decades. The amount was huge. When the Livonian ambassadors heard about this, according to the Livonian chronicler F. Nienstedt, they “didn’t jump a little from their foreheads and they absolutely did not know how to be here; they did not have any mandate to agree and negotiate tribute and did not dare to ask for a deduction either. ” At the same time, Adashev and Viskovaty hinted transparently that if there would be no tribute, the Russian sovereign himself would come and take what was rightfully his and old.
There was nowhere to go, and the Livonian ambassadors had to yield to the pressure of the Russian negotiators, who, as it turned out, were very well prepared and worked through all the questions. In the text of contracts concluded between the Livonians and governors of Novgorod and Pskov, provisions were made on the obligations of Livonia to pay Ivan the Terrible "tribute to all of Yuryev, and old pledges from all of Yuryevsk (the Dorpat bishopric - Author.) after collecting the required tribute "as from old times," send after the end of the 3-year period. Trade was also facilitated and Livonia should not have entered into an alliance with Poland and Lithuania.
At the end of 1557, a new Livonian embassy arrived in Moscow, wanting to extend the truce. To make the Livonian "partners" more compliant, Moscow decided to hold a powerful military demonstration on the border with Livonia. And during the negotiations themselves, the king conducted a review of the troops. However, the Livonians refused to pay the bill. Upon learning that the "idle" Livonian ambassadors did not bring money, they were only going to bargain about its size, Ivan Vasilyevich was angry. To prevent a war, the Livonians agreed to the complete freedom of trade, including weapons, which they did not demand from them before. But this concession was not enough. Adashev and Viskovaty demanded that the conditions of the 1554 be fulfilled.
When it became clear that the Livonians did not intend to “correct” at all (apparently, the tsar already knew about the Posvol agreements), in Moscow they decided to punish the Germans. They do not want to be good, it will be bad. Prudently collected on the border with the Livonian Confederation, the Russian army was immediately sent to force the Germans to understand the world. And failure to pay Yuriev tribute was the reason for the war. Obviously, at the first stage, Ivan the Terrible was not going to include Livonia or its part in Russia and to fight with the Livonians seriously. He had enough worries without it. The Russian campaign was supposed to intimidate the Germans so that they would go to the agreement Moscow needed.
Noble Muscovite rider. A. de Bruin. Engraving of the late 16th century
To be continued ...
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