Paul could not immediately establish strong allied relations with France. Russia had a strong anti-French party. Influential circles, including the figure of Vice Chancellor Count Nikita Panin, consistently and persistently adhered to the idea of cooperation only with the "legitimate" dynasty, any other France was for them "unholy," a hotbed of "social evil." This opinion was so traditional and natural for St. Petersburg's foreign policy that even the “knight on the throne” Paul had to reckon with him. His wish to move closer to France in January 1800 for a long time hung in the air, moreover, Prussia’s proposal to mediate in negotiations with the French was rejected in February.
At the same time, there was a growing understanding in Russia that the new French government is stronger, more energetic than the old monarchy, and has strong support among the people. This understanding was also with the great Russian commander Alexander Suvorov, who repeated more than once that the intervention of the interventionists within France would cause the strongest resistance from the popular masses, and the new French republican army would not wish to restore the old government. Therefore, the idea of restoring monarchy will remain on paper and in the “ranting of emigrant rogues and in the head of political dreamers” until the army supports it.
In July, the French Foreign Minister Talleyrand, with the knowledge of Napoleon, sent a message to Panin. In it, he noted that "the British and Austrians owe all their success to the assistance of the Russian troops" and offered to return all Russian prisoners — about 6 thousand people, with weapons, a new uniform, with all the banners and military honors. It was a very noble and effective political move. Paul had to appreciate him. The second move was followed by a second strong move - Talleyrand spoke of the French’s readiness to defend Malta from the British. The topic of common interests of the two great powers was introduced into the negotiations. Petersburg took the proposal to transfer the prisoners with great satisfaction. General Sprengporten went from Petersburg to Paris. Officially, he had to deal with the transfer of prisoners. The hidden side of his mission was the establishment of friendly relations between Russia and France. The French understood everything well, and the general was received in great honor. Bernonville talked with him in Berlin, Clark in Brussels, and Talleyrand in Napoleon in Paris.
Napoleon at that moment realistically and soberly assessed the international situation and told Sprengporten that France and Russia "were created geographically in order to be closely interconnected." On December 9 (21), 1800, Napoleon wrote the first direct appeal to Paul, in which he proposed peace. Napoleon’s calculation was simple and reasonable, of the three leading world powers - England, France and Russia, the first were divided by insurmountable contradictions (someone had to cede the role of the "first violin"). The interests of the British and French clashed from Belgium and Holland to Egypt and distant African, American and Asian territories. In almost every corner of the world, the interests of the two great European powers clashed. Behind a fierce political struggle was hidden economic rivalry, the two most developed Western powers sought to achieve complete superiority. There were no such contradictions between France and Russia at that time. The expansion of Russia and France went on the whole in various directions. Russia was interested in various European affairs, but had no fundamental contradictions with France. All contradictions could be resolved for mutual benefit. Therefore, Napoleon was absolutely right in this historical the period when he said: "Only Russia can be an ally of France."
In Russia, the most reasonable people understood this too. However, Paul had to overcome the powerful resistance of the enemies of this alliance, both internal and external. In September, 1800, Panin gave the emperor a note in which he argued that Russia's debt and interests required immediate military assistance to Austria. The same line was bent by S. Vorontsov, the Zubov brothers, associated with the English ambassador Whitworth. The Austrian house, losing the war to Napoleon, launched a broad diplomatic campaign, getting "the restoration of good accord" between Russia and Austria, "a close union of two imperial courtyards." French emigrants actively resisted the possible rapprochement of Paris and St. Petersburg. London also did not give up hopes to keep Russia in the networks of the anti-French coalition, using its military resources.
But all these diplomatic attempts were unsuccessful. 18 (30) December 1800, Napoleon sent a direct letter to Paul, in fact, this meant the establishment of peace between the two powers and the recognition of the power of Napoleon. Paul wrote: “I do not speak and do not want to argue about either human rights or the principles of various governments established in each country. We will try to return to the world the peace and quiet that he so needs. ” In fact, the Russian sovereign proclaimed the principle of non-interference in internal affairs. Napoleon agreed with this without objection. Pavel, having agreed to negotiations with Napoleon, actually rejected the principle of legitimism, which Russia had so defended with such fervor. It was a logical decision, since the former allies of Russia - Austria and England themselves were the first to violate this principle. The Austrians captured Piedmont, won back by Russian weapons, trampling on the rights of the Sardinian king, and the British seized Malta that never belonged to them, violating the rights of the Order of Malta and personally insulting the Russian emperor, who was the legitimate head of this order. Russia had to pay a price for the road before it came to the realization that the Russians were fighting for other people's vested interests. Sharply changing the foreign policy course, Emperor Pavel rejected Panin’s program, which defended the need for an alliance with Austria and England, and dismissed him from the post of vice-chancellor.
Russia and France quickly went to a strategic alliance. With significant differences in the form of government and ideology, both Napoleon and Pavel had strategic, global thinking, made grandiose plans for the future. Emperor Paul’s favorite and head of Russian foreign policy, Count Fyodor Rostopchin, believed that an alliance with France would lead to the division of the Ottoman Empire, with the participation of Austria and Prussia. Napoleon drew even more ambitious plans, dreaming of campaigns to Ireland, Brazil, India, etc.
Relations between Russia and England after the British seizure of Malta continued to deteriorate. In February, Napoleon gave the order to explore the possibility of a joint Russian-French campaign in India. Pavel even outstripped Napoleon, in January he suggested to Napoleon “to undertake or at least produce something on the shores of England” and sent the ataman of Don Orlov Army to begin a campaign to India. The Cossacks were instructed to ruin all English institutions, to release the local rulers from the power of the British. India was to enter the Russian sphere of influence. The Don army exposed more than 22,5 thousand people with 12 guns and 12 unicorns. The expeditionary corps managed to pass from Don 700 miles when it received news of the death of the sovereign and the cancellation of the campaign. The hike was poorly organized, but was a very telling lesson for London. The British realized that one order of the Russian Tsar was enough - and Russian troops would occupy India. Given the hatred of the local population for the British, the task was quite doable.
In January, the British government ordered the seizure of all Russian, Swedish and Danish ships in their ports. The formation of the Baltic squadron of 20 battleships, 5 frigates, 7 bombing ships and 21 other ships began. The head of the squadron was Admiral Hyde-Parker, the second flagship, Vice Admiral Nelson. Upon learning of the preparations of the British, A.F. Krusenstern suggested that Admiral Ribas “to curb England” immediately form a detachment of light and fast ships and send him to the Azores to intercept larger ships and sink small ones. The British decided to strike at Denmark, a member of the blockade of England, before the ices of the Baltic Sea melt and the Russian fleet leaves its bases in Kronstadt and Reval, and will be able to assist the Danes. An ultimatum was sent to the Danish government demanding an exit from the union with Russia, Prussia and Sweden. Denmark rejected the ultimatum. 2 April 1801, the English fleet (20 of the battleships and 5 frigates) attacked the Danish ships (7 of the battleships and 24 others), anchored along the coast, and coastal batteries. Part of the Danish ships was destroyed, others were captured by the British.
Copenhagen battle 1801 of the year.
On the night of Monday 11 (23) in March on 12 (24) in March 1801, England struck at Russia - a group of conspirators killed Russian sovereign Pavel Petrovich. The former British ambassador to Russia, Charles Whitworth (who was a high-degree Freemason, like many Russian conspirators), played an active role in this murder, and perhaps also led the plot. He manipulated the conspirators through Olga Zherebtsova, his mistress. And she was the sister of Nikolai Zubov, who became the immediate murderer of the emperor. Through Zherebtsova, Whitworth passed on instructions and money. According to some reports, the English ambassador spent a huge amount of money on bribing - 1 million rubles. According to P. S. Lopukhin, Zherebtsova went abroad a few days before the murder, in case of failure of the operation, and in Berlin awaited the outcome of events. Later in London she received from the English government an amount corresponding to 2 million rubles. They were supposed to be distributed among the conspirators, but Zherebtsova kept the money behind him, realizing that no one would demand them.
The court circles in Russia, affected by the virus of Freemasonry, Westernism and Anglomania, were generally pleased with this event. But the murder of Paul led to the fact that Russia will participate in a series of wars against France and pay for it with rivers of the blood of Russian soldiers. So, only in one battle of Austerlitz 1805, the Russians will lose 21 thousand people.
Bonaparte was smarter than the Russian courtiers and reacted correctly. Upon learning of the terrible murder in the Mikhailovsky Castle, he became enraged. “They missed me ... but they hit me in Petersburg,” he said. Napoleon had no doubt that the murder of Paul was the business of the British. London managed to destroy a promising alliance of Russia and France, withdrew a blow from India.
Rotate Alexander. Russia becomes the pawn of England
True, Napoleon was still hoping to make an alliance with Alexander Pavlovich. The new emperor Alexander, surrounded on all sides by conspirators and “liberals” of that time, dreaming of starting wide reforms in Russia (“restructuring” the sample of the beginning of the XIX century), received a lifelong psychological trauma that for many years determined its foreign and domestic policy .
12 May 1801 Admiral Spiridov told the emperor that the English squadron approached Revel. However, before the battle did not come. Alexander I actually capitulated to England. He didn’t have the strength of mind to oppose the British Empire. Alexander immediately lifted the ban on British merchant ships and property in Russian ports. 5 June 1801 was a convention between Russia and England that effectively destroyed the rules of armed neutrality and the alliance of the northern powers directed against England. Russia resumed the trade treatise with England from 1797 of the year.
These were not the most serious concessions. Much worse was the fact that Alexander again dragged Russia into a war with France. This war did not meet the vital interests of the Russian people and was fought solely for the interests of London, Vienna and Berlin. In St. Petersburg, Germanophile sentiments were strong (the Romanov dynasty itself, and many noble families, had many connections with Germany), as a result, the interests of a narrow group of the Russian population involved the empire in a series of fierce and bloody wars with France. The interests of almost all the people in these wars were violated.
Alexander's government has become actively involved in the affairs of Germany and Austria, and to a lesser extent in the Mediterranean. Russia actively increased its military presence in the Ionian Islands. From the middle of 1803, by the end of 1804, the military contingent on the islands increased from 1,2 thousand to 8 thousand people. And this is in the absence of a military threat. There was peace with England and France that could challenge Russia in this area. Napoleon’s attempts to continue constructive cooperation were ignored. In October, 1804, Russia restored the alliance with Austria, in January, 1805, the alliance was concluded with Sweden, in April - with England. The Union officially was exclusively defensive in nature and had to stop the French expansion. Unfortunately, in St. Petersburg they did not think about the question of why Russians should fight for the interests of the British and Austrians.
Pay for British interests had a Russian soldier. In September, the Austrians 1805 invaded Bavaria, which was an ally of France (the defensive nature of the war remained a declaration). The offensive operation ended with the complete defeat of arrogant Austrians, and the Russian army was saved from encirclement and defeat by the genius Kutuzov, who made an amazing march. November 20 (December 2) 1805 of the year in the battle of Austerlitz Napoleon defeated the Allied army. Alexander and his government did not learn the lesson and continued to persist, drawing Russia into the IV anti-French coalition 1806 — 1807. Fate gave Russia another lesson - again, the arrogant Germans (now the Prussians) did not wait for the approach of the Russian troops and attacked Napoleon. Their offensive ended with the shame of Jena and Auerstedt. The army as an organized force of Prussia ceased to exist in one day. The Prussian kingdom collapsed, and was later saved only at the request of Alexander, to whom Napoleon agreed to this, continuing to hope for a union of Russia and France. The defeat in this war forced Alexander to sign the Tilzit Agreement. Napoleon was still complacent and did not demand any humiliating concessions from Russia. Moreover, he went to meet Alexander and retained Prussia and even gave the Belostok region to Russia. It was an amazing occurrence. Russia was defeated in the war, and she was invited to the union of equal powers and presented Bialystok.
The mediocre policy of Alexander and his entourage led to serious losses not only in the manpower of the army, but also in navy. The Baltic and Black Sea fleets during these years lost most of their battle-worthy ships. So, 8 ships, 4 frigates and other ships were captured by the French. And when Russia left the anti-French coalition and joined the continental blockade against England, the British captured the Senyavin squadron in Lisbon - 9 battleships and 1 frigate. In the English Channel, the British captured the frigate "Hurry", which was carrying a load of gold for the Mediterranean squadron.
In early September, the British blocked Copenhagen and began its shelling. Half of the city burned down, hundreds of residents died. Danes capitulated. The British took the remnants of the Danish fleet, burned shipyards and naval arsenal. The Russian dynasty of the Romanovs had family ties with the Danish and Golshta courtyards. In addition, Denmark was a traditional ally of Russia. Petersburg demanded to return the ships and compensate all the losses of Denmark. Diplomatically, relations between Russia and England were severed, a sluggish Anglo-Russian war began. In it, London acted with Swedish hands. The British provided a cash subsidy to Sweden, promising to pay 1 million pounds sterling every month of the war. The Swedes became English mercenaries. In addition, London promised 14 thousands of soldiers to protect the western borders and ports of Sweden, while all its forces will fight the Russians. Formally, the Swedes themselves gave reason for the war. They reported that reconciliation between Russia and Sweden is impossible as long as the Russians hold Eastern Finland.
During the Russian-Swedish war, the English fleet tried to support the Swedes. After the defeat of Copenhagen, most of the British fleet entered the Baltic Sea. In June, 1808, the battle of the English 50-gun frigate with the boat "Experience" under the command of Lieutenant Nevelsky, who was armed with small guns 14. Boats led the battle for several hours and capitulated only after receiving serious injuries. Many crew members (53 man) were killed and almost all injured. The British, respecting the bravery of Russian sailors, released the survivors. In July, 1808, the British ships attacked the damaged ship "Vsevolod" and burned it. In the spring of 1809, the Russian fleet was concentrated at Kronstadt, awaiting the attack of the English fleet. In April, the British fleet as part of the 1809 ships passed the Sound on April, having on the 52 a thousand airborne squadron on transport ships. Despite all this naval power, England was unable to provide real assistance to Sweden. In 9, the Russian army destroyed the Swedes already in Sweden and forced them to surrender. Finland moved from Sweden to Russia (it was captured back in 1809 year), becoming part of the Russian Empire as the Grand Duchy of Finland. Russia also received the Åland Islands.
This war showed that England alone could not fight with Russia. The actions of the British fleet in the Baltic, the White Sea and the Mediterranean (the siege of a fort on the island of Cerigo) could not do any harm to Russia. England's pin shots could not shake the might of the continental empire. England needed cannon fodder - the Swedes, the Turks, the Persians, etc. But Russia, especially in alliance with France, could put an end to the attempts of England to become a world empire forever. In February, 1808, Napoleon returned to the idea of the Indian campaign and suggested Alexander Pavlovich to deprive Britain of the main source of income - India. The French emperor proposed to form 50-th. Russian-French army (possibly with the involvement of the Austrians) and send it through Constantinople to Asia. Russia firmly stood on the Danube, France - in Dalmatia, both powers could easily occupy Constantinople. France and Russia could seize Gibraltar by closing the Mediterranean to the British. Having mobilized the Russian, French and Spanish fleets to start a cruising war against England, paralyzing the British maritime trade. England would be put on his knees. Russia received the straits and Constantinople, as proposed by Napoleon, it guaranteed its full security from the southern (Black Sea) direction. Even if Napoleon could subjugate the whole of Western Europe, which causes great doubts, this would not pose a threat to Russia. France was already exhausted, and Napoleon dreamed of going to the islands of the Caribbean, to Brazil, to Africa. Sooner or later, Napoleon would have died, and his empire collapsed, because his heirs did not have his talents. In addition, Italy, Germany and Austria had a strong potential for national development, they would not have remained under France. Began a series of new wars for the redistribution of European borders. At that time, Russia could solve the problems of internal development, solve the problem of reconciliation and cultural advance of the Caucasus and Central Asia, master the debris of the Ottoman Empire.
However, Emperor Alexander, who was occupied only by minor problems of the German kin, personal offenses, could not rise to a strategic level of understanding of the situation. As a result, Napoleon’s proposals were not implemented, and England retained the position of a great power. Alexander, officially continuing to support the “continental blockade”, himself encouraged its violations. Continued to transfer money to London. The British supported him in this matter in every way, in every way provoking a new war with France. The government of Alexander completely forgot the lesson of the war with France 1806 — 1807, the war with England and the fact that the British provoked the war with Sweden. It should also be noted that Russia's accession to the continental blockade of England was just a gift for Russian industry, which could easily develop without experiencing the powerful pressure of English industry.
Alexander, the Russian “party of war” and a significant number of foreigners who hated Napoleon, whom the king invited to serve in the Russian service (Armfeld, Ful, Volzogen, Wintsentgerode, Michaud, Wilson and others), did literally everything to draw Russia into a new war with France. Napoleon, to the last, tried to avoid war, understanding its stupidity and ruin for Russia and France. Back in the spring of 1812, he wrote to the Württemberg monarch: "The war will be played out in spite of me, contrary to Emperor Alexander, contrary to the interests of France and Russia ... All this is likened to the operatic stage, and the British are behind the machines." In April 1812, St. Petersburg presented an ultimatum to Paris, where Alexander demanded the evacuation of French troops from Swedish Pomerania; the elimination of the French contradictions with Sweden (on April 5, 1812, the Petersburg alliance agreement was concluded between Russia and Sweden); evacuating the French from the Prussian regions; reductions of the French garrison in Danzig; permitting trade with neutral states. Thus, Russia set conditions that France could accept only after a serious defeat of its army. War has become inevitable. Alexander arrived in Vilna, to the troops. But Napoleon made a last attempt at reconciliation. He sent Count Narbonne for negotiations, but he was confused by talking, and then simply expelled from Vilna.
Austria and England could be satisfied: their main rivals came down in the Russian campaign 1812 of the year. Napoleon made a strategic mistake. He violated his own plan of war - moved deep into Russia. Although originally planned only to give an exemplary lesson to Alexander. As a result, the Patriotic War began, where the Russian people was the opponent of the “Great Army”. The 1812 war of the year brought innumerable disasters to the people, tens of thousands of people died (only the army lost more than 200 thousand people), many cities were in ruins, hundreds of villages were burned, material damage amounted to hundreds of millions of rubles in gold.
Alexander did not stop at the defeat of the “Great Army” and, contrary to the opinion of the wisest statesmen, including Kutuzov, he dragged Russia into the 1813-1814 campaign. The commanders and soldiers in this war brought many examples of military valor and courage to the Russian military chronicles. Russian troops liberated Germany, occupied Paris. However, the strategic outcome of the war with France 1812-1814. were very deplorable for Russia. England hands Russia crushed its main rival in Western Europe. England, Prussia and Austria received significant increments of their possessions in Europe. Russia, which bore the brunt of the war with Napoleon, hardly elicited the area of Warsaw, which neither Vienna nor London wanted to give it. In addition, Russia entered 1815 in the Holy Alliance, taking upon itself the responsibility to maintain “legitimacy” in Western Europe. Petersburg actually set itself up, allowing the European public to throw mud at Russia and call it “European gendarme”.
Moreover, in January 1815, a secret alliance of Austria, Britain and France, directed against Russia, was concluded. The coalition was supposed to include Bavaria, Hanover and the Netherlands. The contracting parties pledged to put the ally 150-thousand. the army. England got the right to put up mercenaries, or pay 20 pounds sterling for each infantryman and 30 pounds sterling for a cavalryman. Russia was threatened by a new war with the European coalition long before the Eastern (Crimean) War of 1853-1856. Hundreds of thousands of lives laid in the wars with Napoleon were laid in vain. "Grateful" Europe responded with preparations for a war against Russia. Curiously, Napoleon Bonaparte saved Russia from this war. He landed in France, and enthusiastic soldiers again made him emperor. Frightened "allies" again required Russian soldiers. Vienna and Berlin signed agreements on the division of the Duchy of Warsaw, and Russian troops marched to war with the French. This time they did it without us. Waterloo put an end to Napoleon's empire.
So, Russia suffered huge human and material losses, lost time and resources and got a piece of Poland, which will become a source of headache for St. Petersburg until the collapse of the empire.