The war of the Russian Empire against Turkey and the Crimean Khanate in 1735-1739 had, of course, very specific political reasons, generated by the military-strategic situation that developed in Europe in the second quarter of the XVIII century. In particular, France, after losing to Russia of the war 1733 — 1735. for the Polish legacy, seeks to push Russia with Porto. At the same time, the Russian-Turkish war was an episode of the centuries-old struggle of Russia for the restoration of its positions in the Black Sea region, when the Black Sea was still Russian during the first Rurikovichy. Russia sought to create reliable and natural borders in the southern and south-western strategic directions, to solve the long-standing problem of the Crimean Khanate, a parasitic state entity. Therefore, the war reflected the deep geopolitical processes and interests of Russia.
The need to destroy a permanent focus of danger at the southern borders. Fighting Turkey
The Crimean Khanate finally separated from the Horde in the XV century, when the Horde Empire collapsed into several parts. As a result, the Crimea for several centuries became a constant threat to Russia-Russia and a strategic foothold of the Ottoman Empire in the Northern Black Sea region. To protect the southern borders, the Russian government built defenses - the so-called cross-border features consisting of notches, moats, ramparts, and fortified towns, stretching along a narrow chain along the southern borders. The defensive lines made it difficult for the steppe people to go to the internal districts of Russia, but their construction cost the Russian people tremendous efforts. In fact, for centuries, the people had to mobilize all resources for defense from the south.
Under Ivan the Terrible, the Kazan and Astrakhan "splinters" were able to uproot, the Cossacks began the annexation of Siberia, defeating the Siberian Khanate. At the same time began a strategic confrontation with the Crimean and Turkey. The capture of Kazan and Astrakhan in 1552-1556. Tsar Ivan IV, provided Russia with control over the trade routes along the Volga and Kama, eliminated the threat of constant raids from the east and southeast, and simultaneously caused a real outburst of fury in the Crimean khan Devlet-Girey, who himself claimed the Volga lands, considering himself the legitimate heir to the Horde . The Ottomans were also displeased. First, the Sultan wore the title of Caliph and was considered the sovereign and protector of all Muslims. Secondly, in 1552-1555. The port was able to discourage most of the Transcaucasus from Persia, seized Erivan (Yerevan), Tabriz, Erzerum. The approach to the Caspian region and the Caucasus of a new potential adversary naturally aroused concerns in Constantinople.
In the spring of 1569, a selective janissary corps was concentrated at the Cafe, which then moved to the Don, and from there went to Astrakhan. However, due to a number of mistakes, the campaign ended in complete failure. Ivan the Terrible did not want a big war with the Ottomans and the Crimean Tatars and tried to solve the problem with the world, offering Devlet-Giray Astrakhan, but failed. In 1571, the Crimean Khan with a large army broke through to Moscow itself. In 1572, the Crimean horde repeated the campaign. But this time the enemy was met on the Oka. Prince Mikhail Vorotynsky inflicted a crushing defeat on the enemy, almost destroying the enemy army. Khan Devlet-Girey immediately became more compliant and sent a letter to the Russian Tsar with a promise to stop the war in exchange for "Astrakhan Yurts." In it, the Crimean Khan drew his ideal of the Crimean economy: “Only the king will give me Astrakhan, and I will not go to death on his land; and I will not be hungry: on my left I have Lithuanian, on the right Circassians, I will fight them, and I will be full of them from them ”. However, Ivan IV did not see such an opportunity and refused and also outlined his vision of the “geopolitical situation”: “Now one sword is against us - the Crimea, and then Kazan will be the second, Astrakhan - the third, and the leg - the fourth”.
Smoot for a long time pushed the solution to the problem of the "fourth sword" - the Crimea. Only after the consolidation of the Romanov dynasty on the throne and the restoration of statehood, did Russia again try to expand its sphere of influence in the south, but did so very carefully, fearing a full-scale war with a powerful enemy. In 1620-ies, Russia and the Port attempted to agree on joint military actions against a common enemy - the Commonwealth, but did not achieve success. Negotiations were hampered by: caution and passivity of the Russian government, which was afraid of starting a big war with a strong adversary, even protecting the Russian population of South and West Russia, which came under the jurisdiction of Lithuania and Poland; the unstable political situation in the Ottoman Empire itself; frequent attacks of Cossacks on Turkish merchant caravans, on the Crimea, and even on the coast of Turkey itself. In Constantinople, the Cossacks were considered subjects of the Russian tsar, they sent complaints about their “robberies” to Moscow, but received a constant answer that “thieves live on the Don and the sovereign is not listening”. On the other hand, the actions of the Cossacks were a response to the regular raids of the Crimean Tatars. Moscow and Constantinople, thus, constantly exchanged blows through the Cossacks and Tatars, writing off the matter to their “liberty”.
So, in June 1637, a large detachment of the Don Cossacks stormed Azov, a fortress in the mouth of the Don, which the Ottomans called Sadd-ul-Islam - the “Stronghold of Islam”. The Cossacks skillfully took advantage of the conflict between Sultan Murad IV and the Crimean ruler Inaye-Giray. Khan captured Cafa, which was considered a stronghold of Turkish power over the Crimean Khanate, and the sultan in response deposed him. It was at this moment that the detachment of ataman Mikhail Tatarinov and captured the powerful Turkish fortress, in which there were more than two hundred cannons. After that, the Cossacks turned to the Russian Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich with a request to take the city "under his own arm". However, in Moscow they perceived this event as a dangerous “self-righteousness” that could drag the country into a big war with the Ottoman Empire, and did not render assistance to the Donors. However, in the autumn of the same year, the Crimean Khan Bokhadur-Girey sent his brother Nuraddin to attack the Russian lands, stating that his campaign was revenge for the destruction of Azov. In 1641, a large Turkish army approached Azov, but could not knock the Cossacks out of the city.
In Russia, the Zemsky Sobor was convened in 1642. All participants in the Council agreed that Azov from the Cossacks should be taken. The nobles Nikita Beklemishev and Timofey Zhelyabuzhsky, who firmly believed that Azov was the key to the lands in the Kuban and in the Caucasus, substantiated their opinions in detail. "There will be Azov for the sovereign," they said, "then Nogai is big ..., the mountain Circassians, Kzhenskys, Besleneevskys and Adinskii will all serve the sovereign." At the same time, the deputies complained about their plight. Nobles accused clerks of extortion in the distribution of estates and money, townspeople complained of heavy duties and cash payments. In the provinces there were rumors about a quick "confusion" in Moscow and a general uprising against the boyars. As a result, the tsarist government was frightened in such a difficult internal situation to start a big war with Turkey and refused to Azov and invited the Don Cossacks to leave the city. The Cossacks left the fortress, ruining it to the ground. Tsarist ambassador Ilya Danilovich Miloslavsky was sent to the sultan with a diploma about “eternal friendship”. In response, the Sultan promised to send an order to the Crimea prohibiting the Tatars from attacking Russia. True, the lull was short-lived. Already at the end of 1645, the Crimeans once again invaded the Russian kingdom, but were defeated.
In the spring of 1646, Russia proposed to Poland, whose possessions the Tatars also attacked, to undertake a joint campaign against the enemy. As a result of long negotiations, after the return visit of the Polish ambassador to Moscow, only a defensive treaty against the Tatars was concluded. However, nothing came of it. Russia and Poland themselves were on knives. Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador in Port, Afanasy Kuzovlev, was subjected to constant insults and humiliation caused by the same raids of the Don Cossacks on the Crimean and Turkish lands. At the beginning of 1647, vizier Azim-Saleh even threatened to “fry the ambassador to the land” if Cossacks attacked Turkish lands. Dontsy before these threats was not the slightest thing, and they continued to rob the Turkish ships on the Black Sea. The border war between the Cossacks and the Tatars did not stop.
In 1654, Russia entered into a grueling battle with the Commonwealth. The war was caused by the national liberation war led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Its result was the accession to the Russian kingdom of Left-Bank Ukraine and the acquisition of temporary ownership rights for Kiev (as a result, Kiev remained for the Russians). At the same time, the Ottomans also made claims on the lands of Little Russia. At the same time, the Cossack officers, having adopted the worst features of the Polish pancy, sought independence and sought support from Russia, now from Poland, then from Turkey and the Crimea. All this led to the fact that Little Russia has become a battlefield, which trampled all and sundry, including overt gangs.
In 1667, the hetman of Pravoberezhnaya, who remained under the control of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Ukraine, P. Doroshenko, entered into an agreement with the hetman of the Left Bank, I. Bryukhovetsky, persuaded him to “pass on” to the Ottoman sultan. Each hetman, in secret, hoped to become the sole ruler of the united Little Russia, and the Ottomans hatched their own ideas. In April, 1668, Mr. Bryukhovetsky, sent his ambassador, Colonel Gamalei, to Sultan Mehmed IV and asked him to be received "under a high hand." At the headquarters of Bryukhovetsky, the city of Gadyach appeared a large Tatar army to take the oath of allegiance to the hetman. Upon learning of these events, Doroshenko swiftly moved his troops against an opponent. Despite all the prayers of Bryukhovetsky, the Tatars refused to fight on his side. The left bank hetman was captured and killed. Having proclaimed himself the hetman of “both Ukrainians,” Doroshenko himself declared the acceptance of Turkish patronage in 1669 and was received with honor in Constantinople, where he received the title of bey from the Sultan. These events have caused anxiety in Poland and Russia.
In May 1672, a large Turkish-Tatar army invaded Podolia. The Polish-Turkish war broke out, which Poland lost. In October 1676, Sobieski made peace with the Turks. Poland yielded to the Ottomans Podolia, along with the fortress Kamenetz-Podolsk. Right-Bank Ukraine, with the exception of the Belotserkovsky and Pavolochsky districts, passed under the authority of the Turkish vassal, Hetman Peter Doroshenko, turning, thus, into an Ottoman protectorate.
During this war, Chernigov Colonel Ivan Samoilovich, a supporter of the alliance with Russia, became the only hetman of Ukraine-Ukraine. Doroshenko, in order to regain his rights, made an alliance with the Crimean Khanate and seized with them the hetman's capital Chigirin. In order to oust the Ottomans from the Ukraine, in the spring of 1676, the combined army of Hetman Samoilovich and the boyar GG Romodanovsky went to Chigirin. In July, 1676, the avant-garde of the Russian army, was able to capture the city. In August, 1677 Sultan moved his army to Chigirin. However, the Russian garrison repelled the attack, and the main Russian forces that came to the scene of the actions defeated the Ottomans in a field battle. In July, 1678, the Turks and Tatars again moved to Chigirin. After a stubborn battle, superior enemy forces defeated the defenders. The remains of the garrison with great difficulty broke through to the Russian army, which came to the aid of the fortress. The following two years passed in clashes between the Russian army of Samoilovich and Romodanovsky on the one hand, and the Crimean Tatars on the other.
In January, 1681, without having achieved its goals, Porta signed the Bakhchisarai peace treaty with Russia, according to which it recognized the Left-bank Ukraine for the Russians. The Turks were preparing to fight the Austrians, so they needed peace in the east.
The war with Austria, as previously noted, ended for the Ottomans a crushing defeat. Initially, the Ottomans were successful. In March 1683, the Sultan personally led troops from Adrianople and Belgrade to the north and invaded Austria in June. On the way, he connected with his ally, the ruler of Transylvania, Mihai Apafi, and the total number of Ottoman troops exceeded 200 thousand people. In mid-July, the Turks besieged Vienna. Emperor Leopold I fled from the capital, but the small garrison of Vienna put up stubborn resistance to the enemy. The siege lasted until September 12, when Polish king Jan Sobessky rushed to the aid of the Austrians. His army made the transition from Warsaw to Vienna in just 15 days and united with the army of Karl of Lorraine. Detachments of electors of Saxon, Bavarian and Brandenburg also joined them. The Polish king inflicted a crushing defeat on the Ottomans. It was the finale of the Ottoman expansion in Europe. The port was still a powerful naval power, but now it was increasingly defeated. From now on, the sultans had to fight desperately to preserve their possessions, which, despite all their efforts, were constantly shrinking.
The turn of the XVII - XVIII centuries. became a turning point not only for the Ottoman Empire, but also for Russia. The beginning of the decline of the Ottoman Empire coincided with the time of creation and growth of the Russian Empire.
Russia tried to use the success of its neighbors before Peter. In 1684, the Austrians and Poles, inspired by the victory, decided to build on their success and make an alliance with Russia. After long disputes, the parties concluded an alliance, and Poland pledged to finally cede Kiev to Moscow. This is how the anti-Turkish Sacred League came together, including Austria, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Venice. In the spring of 1687, the Russian army, under the command of V. V. Golitsyn, moved to the Crimea. Tatars, having learned about the approach of the enemy, set fire to the steppe grass. Having lost feed for their horses, Golitsyn's troops were forced to turn back. Tatars responded to the Russian campaign with a whole series of raids.
In 1689, Golitsyn made a new attempt to seize the Crimea. His plan was to hike in early spring, when the grass is not so dry yet and the probability of steppe fires is much less. However, this campaign did not lead to success. Instead of the heat, the spring thaw became the main hindrance. Shelves, artillery and wagons were literally stuck in the mud, with difficulty crossing the steppe rivers in the spring. 15 May, already on the outskirts of Perekop, the Russian army was attacked by the Tatars from the rear. The enemy’s attack was repelled, but many regiments, and especially the Cossacks, suffered heavy losses. Five days later, the Tatars again made an attempt to stop the Russian offensive, but failed. In the end, the Crimeans took refuge behind the powerful fortifications of Perekop, and the Russian army began to prepare for the assault. But the lack of wood for the construction of siege structures and assault ladders, as well as a shortage of food, was not there, and there were no sources of fresh water. In the end, the Russian army "with sting and swearing" began to withdraw. On the way back, the Tatars again set fire to the steppe, often making swift raids against the retreating warriors. Unsuccessful Crimean campaigns very much undermined the credibility of the government of Sophia and contributed to his fall. Although contributed to the success of the Austrians, as distracted the Crimean army.
In 1695, Peter I decided to continue the struggle with Turkey. He wanted to provide Russia with access to the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea and, thus, open up new opportunities for economic development. Taking into account the failures of the government of Sophia, Peter decided not to strike at Crimea, but at Azov, which covered the mouth of the Don and access to the Sea of Azov. First hike due to lack of support fleetturned out to be unsuccessful. The campaign of 1696 was successful. A "sea caravan" was assembled in Voronezh, after which the Russian troops overlaid "Azov from both land and sea. This time the Ottoman fortress fell, the Turkish fleet could not help the garrison.
Tsar Peter was preparing for a new big war with the Ottoman Empire. He believed that the conquest of Azov was only the first step in solving the strategic task facing Russia. The Ottomans still held the Kerch Strait in their hands, which connected the Azov Sea with the Black Sea. In order to intensify the actions of the anti-Turkish coalition, a “grand embassy” went from Moscow to Europe. Its structure was incognito and the sovereign Peter Alekseevich himself. However, the embassy failed to achieve its diplomatic goals due to the current international situation. Europe was fascinated by the upcoming war for the Spanish heritage (1701 — 1714). Therefore, Austria, the strongest power in the Holy League, hurried to conclude peace with the Turks. As a result, Moscow also had to abandon the idea of continuing the struggle with Porto. In January, a skilled diplomat, Voznitsyn, signed a truce for two years under the terms of "who owns what, yes owns." Russia, therefore, inherited Azov with the adjoining lands. These conditions were enshrined in the July 1699 Treaty of Constantinople. Peter decided to concentrate on fighting with Sweden in order to return the lands in the Baltic States.
However, military actions against Sweden did not make the king forget about the south. One of the best Russian diplomats, Pyotr Andreyevich Tolstoy, was sent as ambassador to Constantinople, a man of unparalleled cunning and resourcefulness, about which Tsar Peter himself once said: “Head, head, if you were not so clever, I would have cut you off long ago.” He carefully watched the actions of Porta, suppressing all the "misconceptions" of supporters of the new war with Russia. At the same time, the Russians were building up their forces on the Sea of Azov, and the Turks carefully fortified the Kerch Strait, on the shores of which they built the Enikale citadel. Meanwhile, the Crimean Khanate was going through a period of fierce struggle for power and unrest.
After the Battle of Poltava, the Swedish king Charles XII took refuge in the Moldovan possessions of the Ottoman Empire and began to incite Istanbul to oppose Moscow. In one of his epistles to the Sultan, he wrote: “We draw your imperial Majesty’s attention to the fact that if you give the king time to take advantage of our misfortune, he will suddenly rush to one of your provinces, as he rushed to Sweden ... Fortresses built im on the don and on the sea of azov, his fleet denounces clearly harmful designs against your empire. In this state of affairs, in order to avert the danger that threatens Porte, the most saving means is the union between Turkey and Sweden; accompanied by your brave cavalry, I will return to Poland, reinforce my army there and bring back weapon in the heart of Muscovy. Crimean Khan Devlet-Girey, who was a staunch supporter of the war with Russia, the rebellious hetman Mazepa and French diplomats, also pushed for the fight against Peter the Sultan. France was very concerned about the growing influence of Russia in Europe.
At the end of 1710, Sultan Ahmed III decided to go to war. He mobilized the Janissaries and concluded the Russian ambassador Tolstoy to the Seven Turret Castle, which actually meant a declaration of war. Peter did not wait for the offensive of the enemy and he decided to attack. He planned to raise the uprising of Christian subjects of the Sultan: the Greeks, Serbs, Bulgarians and Moldovans. Peter himself actively defended the idea of a joint struggle of the Christian peoples with the Ottomans. In one of his letters to the Montenegrins, it was said: “We don’t want any other fame for ourselves, we can only make the Christian people there from the tyranny of the Pagans save me ...”. Peter made agreements with the kings of Moldova (Cantemir) and Wallachia (Brankovyanu).
However, Prut campaign of Peter ended in failure. The hike was very poorly prepared, leading to defeat. In the Russian army did not have enough food and medicine, and did not produce a thorough reconnaissance. The rulers of Moldavia and Wallachia promised a lot, but did little. The Ottomans were able to block the Russian army with superior forces. In the end, both sides, fearing a decisive battle, went on a truce. According to the agreement, Russia returned Azov to Turkey, pledged to destroy Taganrog and its other fortresses in the Azov lands, to destroy the ships. True, later Peter I delayed the implementation of the Prut agreements, wanting to take revenge under more favorable conditions. But the protracted war with Sweden did not give such an opportunity.
Only after the end of the Northern War, Peter I was able to return to Eastern affairs. In the spring of 1722, the Russian army moved from Astrakhan to Transcaucasia, which belonged to Persia at that time. The Caspian Sea attracted Peter Alekseevich as much as the Black or Baltic. The moment was chosen successfully: Persia was torn apart by strife and distemper. In 1709, an uprising of Afghan tribes broke out in Kandahar, which eventually took the capital Isfahan. The offensive of the Russian army was successful. In the Ottoman Empire, this caused mixed feelings. On the one hand, Ahmed III was pleased with the weakening of Persia, with which the Ottomans had a long-standing feud. On the other hand, the Turkish elite perfectly understood the danger of the resumption of Russian activity in the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. Sultan said: “Peter could not come to us through Rumelia, so now he is trying to get from the Anatolian side. He will take Persia, Arzerum and then, adding strength, he can come to Constantinople. ” However, Porta decided to seize the moment and seize part of the Persian possessions. A large Turkish army invaded Eastern Armenia and Georgia.
Having been subjected to several blows at once, the Shah of Iran Tahmasp II decided to make peace with Peter. In September 1723, the Iranian ambassador Ismail Bey signed an agreement in St. Petersburg, according to which the Caspian provinces of Gilan, Mazanderan, Astrabad and the cities of Derbent and Baku passed to Russia with all the adjacent provinces. At the same time, Russia began to prepare for war with Turkey. However, Istanbul was not ready for war with Russia. In the summer of 1724, the countries signed a treatise on the mutual recognition of the conquests made. Russia agreed with the rights of the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Transcaucasia, the lands of modern Azerbaijan and part of Western Persia. Turkey, in response, recognized Mazzerand, Gilan and Astrabad for Russia. In the case of the resistance of Persia to the section, joint actions of Russia and Turkey were envisaged.
Thus, Peter I secured a reliable position for the Russian state in the Baltic and laid the foundation for the advance to the Caspian coast, and expanded its influence in the Caucasus. However, the problem of access to the Azov and Black Seas, as well as pacification of the predatory Crimean Khanate, was not resolved. This problem remained a pivotal issue for Russian diplomacy throughout the XNUMXth century. Another, extremely important issue for Russia was the Polish one, associated with the struggle of various European powers for influence over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Poland, due to internal problems, entered a period of decay and became the prey of the great powers. At the same time, due to its geographical and military-strategic position and long-standing historical traditions (taking into account the entry into Poland of a significant part of the historical Russian lands) was very important for Russia. In addition, now a major role in Russian foreign policy was played by the desire to maintain international prestige, to play a certain role in preserving European order. On the other hand, England and France began to actively play against Russia, worried about its activity in the Baltic, Central Europe, the Black Sea region and the Caspian.
To be continued ...