At the end of the reign of Peter the Great in Western Europe, two opposing groups of states were formed. France, England and Prussia in the fall of 1725 entered into a Hanover treaty against Austria and Spain. Prussia, however, immediately led a double game and soon signed an alliance with Austria. And the union of France and England remained strong.
France was very unhappy with the penetration of the Russian Empire in Poland. England with irritation accepted the desire of Russia to establish itself in the Baltic States and, even during the Northern War, supported Sweden, on the verge of war with the Russian state. In the spring of 1726, England again almost started a war with Russia. At this time there was a conflict between Denmark and Holstein, the ruler of which the Duke Karl-Friedrich could not reconcile with the fact that the Danes took away his state Schleswig. Since the duke was married to the daughter of Peter I, Anna Petrovna, he began to ask for help from his mother-in-law, Empress Catherine. And Denmark turned to England for help, and King George sent a squadron of twenty ships under the command of Admiral Wager to the Baltic Sea, which blocked the Russian fleet in Reval. A few months later, after the exchange of sharp notes, the British left for their harbors. It came to a collision, but the situation was dangerous.
As a result, Austria became a natural ally of Russia. During this period, both powers had common interests. In particular, the common enemy was Turkey. In early August, 1726 Russia and Austria signed a defensive alliance. According to him, each of the parties committed, in the event of an attack by a third power, to send at least 20 thousand infantry and 10 thousand cavalry to the aid of an ally. Austria also promised to help Holstein in the return of Schleswig, but not by military means.
The Union of Vienna and St. Petersburg alarmed their opponents - Paris and Istanbul. France’s concern was that Austria had a military alliance with Spain concluded in 1725, and Spain, in turn, was quickly transforming from an ally of France into its worst enemy. Young King Louis XV got married at Maria Leschinsky, daughter of the former King of Poland Stanislav. As a result, Poland has become the cause of a dispute between Russia and France. In addition, France had a very strong influence on the Ottoman Empire. And Russia's interests clashed with the Turkish, as already noted above, in the Northern Black Sea region, the Crimea and the Caucasus. At the same time, English diplomats also played against Constantinople against Russia.
Especially at this time the situation in the Caspian Sea escalated. In December, 1725, the Turkish troops occupied the Persian city of Ardeville, which under the contract was not at all included in their zone of occupation. Russian envoy I. I. Neplyuev met with the Grand Vizier, and they had a detailed conversation during which the Russian resident declared that further seizures would be regarded by the Russian Empire as a violation of not only a treatise, but also “forever established friendship” and that Russia can not allow any other power to the Caspian Sea. In response, the vizier noted that a significant part of the Persian lands was not owned by Shah Tahmasp, with whom Russia had signed a treatise, but the usurper Afghan Eshref. “Porta,” said the Vizier, “takes the cities only to protect them from the captor of Esref and does so at the request of the residents themselves and for their own safety, so as not to hand them over to the usurper. Russia, for its part, must do the same. The port wants the Persian cities to be in Russian hands, and not from the Eshref: just as Russia should be pleased that the Port is taking the Persian cities into its protection ... "
In April, an experienced military leader V. V. Dolgoruky was sent to the Caspian Sea for command of the Russian troops, who first of all brought order to the rear. At the same time, he tried to establish good relations with local residents, especially Christians. He noted that Armenians are fighting with the Ottomans and asking for Russian help. In addition, the victorious offensive of the Turkish army choked. In the spring of 1726, on the way to Isfahan, the Ottoman troops were defeated by the Eshref, and in the Crimea two years ago a disturbance broke out, which has now turned into a dangerous rebellion.
At this convenient time, V. V. Dolgoruky suggested that the government start an open war with the Ottoman Empire. “Seeing Turkish weakness,” he wrote from Rasht, “one should not miss a good time and not let the Turks enter in force; and in the weakness of the Turks enter our provinces, and if they were in their old strength, they would not have looked at the treatise ... There is no other hope that, at the present prosperous time, you agree with whom it should be, remembered imaginary friends to drive out of Persia and strengthen it in oneself and establish oneself and thereby fix the state loss ”. In the spring of 1727, Mr. Dolgoruky led a military detachment on an expedition along the shores of the Caspian Sea, conducted reconnaissance of the area, and founded several fortresses.
In St. Petersburg, Dolgoruky’s actions were approved, but they did not dare to start a war with Porta. However, consultations between St. Petersburg and Vienna on the Turkish issue continued. This was beautifully seen in Paris and the French began to push Porto more actively. The representative of France at the Sultan's court, the Marquis Jacques-Louis Dusson de Bonnack, coordinated his actions with the English ambassador and inspired the Ottomans to conclude peace with Persia, and then Port with France, as well as England and Prussia, could elevate Stanislav Leschinsky to the Polish throne. The Polish question was one of the causes of tension in Europe.
The entire 1727 was held for the Russian Empire in constant disputes with Turkey over the Persian problem. At first, Russian diplomats feared Turkish successes, and then began to worry that the Ottomans, having suffered a series of defeats from the Esref's troops, would make peace with him and start a war with Russia. Indeed, in October, Eshref Shah, seeking to gather all the forces to fight Tahmasp, concluded the Hamadan Treaty with the Turks, recognized the Sultan as the Caliph of all Muslims and promised to give him part of the Persian lands. However, Emperor Peter II was indifferent to foreign policy. And the commander of the Russian army in Persia, Prince V. Dolgoruky was recalled to Russia shortly after the death of Catherine I. His relatives then fought for influence over the new emperor and wanted to have a reputable commander at hand. On departure, Dolgoruky gave his assistants to the generals V.Ya. Levashov and A.I. Rumyantsev, an instruction to conclude peace with the Eshref. Thus, the successes of Russia in the Caspian were soon launched into the wind.
In the meantime, Paris pressed on Istanbul more and more persistently, prompting the Ottomans to conflict with the Russian Empire. Instead of the deceased Bonnak, the Marquis Mark Louis Sawière de Villeneuve was sent to Istanbul, whom the head of the French government, Cardinal Fleury, considered one of his best diplomats. The new ambassador was accompanied by a strong squadron to show the power of France to the sultan. And at the first audience with Ahmed III, he spoke about the plans of Austria and Russia hostile to Ports. Neplyuev bombarded Petersburg with reports on the "nasty" actions of the French.
In December 1727, the Ottoman Empire made peace with the official ruler of Persia, Shah Tahmasp. The port offered Russia its mediation in Persian affairs. The whole 1728 passed in disputes and recriminations. The Turks complained that the Kalmyks in alliance with the recalcitrant prince Bakhty Giray were attacking the Crimea. The Russian envoy, Neplyuev, complained that the Ottomans in the Pre-Caspian Sea "are joining the lands and peoples belonging to Russia." The army helped to improve the situation for Russia in this region. General Levashov inflicted a number of defeats on the Persians. In February, 1729 signed an agreement with Eshref that provided for the return of Persians Mazenderan and Astrabad to the hands, and Eshref promised in return that the Russian possessions on the shores of the Caspian Sea and in the Caucasus (Shirvan Oblast) would be inviolable.
In the autumn of 1730, an uprising of the Janissaries broke out in Istanbul. The rebels forced Ahmed to abdicate, and put his nephew Mahmoud I on the throne. Topal Osman became a vizier under Mahmud I. The Crimean throne was given to the militant Kaplan-Giray, who was a supporter of the war with Russia. This reinforced the Ottoman Empire’s aspiration for war with Russia and pushed Russia towards reconciliation with Persia.
At the same time there was a dispute over the Caucasian lands. Crimean Khan made in Kabarda. Russia protested. The vizier declared that the khan went to the lands subject to the Crimea and, for Russia this is no offense. A dispute about Kabarda began - which part of it, to whom it belongs. After long disputes, the Vizier and Neplyuev decided: the border disputes should be settled by the commanders of the border troops, “not bothering with their yards”. However, the governor of the Crimean Khan in the Kuban refused to negotiate with Major-General D. F. Eropkin, who commanded the Grebensky detachment, and even began to threaten to send Cossacks to the Russian Tatars and shouted that he could "sweep the whole of Russia".
All this forced Russia to go closer to Persia. In January, 1732 in Resht signed an agreement under which the Russian Empire returned to the shah the Caspian provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Astrabad. Russian troops were taken over the Kura River. Persia, in turn, granted Russia the right of duty-free trade, duty-free transit of goods and some other benefits. The Resht treaty was very timely, as the war with Turkey was fast approaching. And in Persia itself, the power was captured by the skilled commander Nadir Shah, which led to the resumption of the war between Turkey and Persia.
In the spring of 1732, another conflict between Russia and the Crimean Khanate took place. Tatar army, on the orders of the Sultan, went on a campaign against the Persians. The Crimean Tatars went through Dagestan, i.e., through the lands that Russia considered its own. When Major-General D. F. Eropkin demanded a halt, the Tatar military leader Feti-Giray replied that he was fulfilling the will of the sultan and Russia, having peace with Porto, should not disturb him. However, the Tatars wanted to avoid open clashes and therefore went mountain paths, albeit through Russian possessions. Prince L. Gessen-Gomburgsky arrived at the scene, replacing V. Ya. Levashov as Commander of the Persian Corps in 1732. He again ordered the Tatars to stop, and then blocked his troops with two barriers. The Crimean Tatars, descending from the mountains, attacked near the village of Goryachaya on a small Russian detachment, which consisted of only 500 dragoons. Russian cavalry dismounted, lined up and repelled the enemy onslaught. At the height of the battle, the detachment of General Yeropkin came first, and then the prince’s main forces, who turned the Tatar army to flight. In this fight, 55 was killed by Russian soldiers, many were injured. Among the latter was Eropkin, who received a blow with a saber in the face. Having suffered defeat, the Tatars retreated to the Chechen lands, where they called for the Highlanders to war against Russia. This campaign reached its goal: almost all of South Dagestan rebelled. The Prince of Hessen-Homburg was forced to withdraw his forces to the Sulak fortress, and the Tatars ravaged several settlements of the Terek Cossacks and even tried to capture Derbent. Then the Tatar army went to the connection with the Turks. At the same time, the heir to the Khan throne, Kalga-Saltan, launched a new foray into the Kabarda from the Crimea.
Thus, the situation on the borders of the Crimea, in the Caucasus and the Caspian region was on the verge of a big war between Russia and Turkey. The reasons for this were enough.
However, in Europe the situation was difficult. War between Spain and Austria was brewing due to Vienna’s unwillingness to give Spanish princes Carlos and Philip ownership in Italy. In this case, Russia would have to deploy an auxiliary corps to the aid of Austria or to break the alliance. In St. Petersburg, opinions were divided. Osterman was a strong supporter of the alliance with Austria and believed that the contract should be fully implemented. He was supported by the favorite of Empress Biron, bought by Austrian gifts: a diploma for the county of the Holy Roman Empire, a portrait of Emperor Charles VI, adorned with diamonds, and two hundred thousand tallers. Against the war with Spain was Yaguzhinsky. He believed that there was no need to interfere in the feuds remote from Russia, when "we can enjoy peace at home." However, Osterman was able to send Yaguzhinsky an ambassador to Berlin and his influence on the Russian court weakened. France at that time was an ally of Spain, and Russia entered into a confrontation with France, as an ally of Austria.
Poland became the new arena of confrontation. The Commonwealth at that time lost its former power, not having a strong central authority and weakening from the endless disputes of magnates and gentlemen. Poland has lost the position of an equal opponent of Russia. At the end of the 17th century, Russia tested the practice of “pushing one’s own person” onto the Polish throne. In 1697, when, after the death of the winner of the Turks, Jan Sobieski, Poland was seized by a cruel “kingdom” (at such periods in Poland there were often civil wars), Tsar Peter I, knowing about the close contacts of France with Porto, moved his army to Poland Saxon Party. King was the Saxon Elector Augustus, Peter's ally. During the Northern War, the Swedes elevated Stanislav Leschinsky to the throne. After the victory of Poltava, Pyotr Alekseevich again restored Augustus to the throne. Commonwealth became an ally of Russia.
King Augustus II was very old and in 1732 he was on the verge of death. The European powers were preparing to share the Polish legacy. France, as already noted, wanted to see King Stanislav Leschinsky, whose daughter was married to Louis XV. Of course, Russia and Austria could not allow the protégé of France to access the country in Poland. In 1728, a defensive alliance was signed between Prussia and Austria. Therefore, Prussia supported the position of Russia and Austria. As a result, an agreement was drawn up, which contemporaries called the "union of three black eagles" (black eagles were part of the emblems of Russia, Austria, Prussia). According to its terms, during the elections of the king, all three great European powers were to move their troops to the borders of Poland, as stated in the treaty, "not to restrain the elections, but to guard Polish liberty." The single candidate initially decided to nominate the Portuguese Prince Emanuel. The King of Poland Augustus II himself asked to help establish the inheritance law of the Saxon electors to the Polish crown. Frederick Augustus II (future King of Poland Augustus III) was to be his heir. Rumors about these talks excited the Polish gentry, who began to prepare to repel the attempts at "Polish liberty."
1 February 1733 Propulsion August Strong died. After the death of the king, power over Poland, according to tradition, was accepted by the royal locum tenens, the archbishop of Gnezna. Archbishop Tadeusz Pototsky, who was an ardent supporter of Leshinsky, immediately ordered the withdrawal of the Saxon Augustan troops from Poland. This led to a panic of the German population of Poland. Together with the soldiers, artisans and merchants, the court of the late king and officials fled. Petersburg immediately sent a formidable letter to Poland demanding that Leshchinsky be excluded from the list of candidates for the throne. France and Austria preferred to act as a bribe: more than a hundred thousand gold were sent from Vienna, a million livres were sent from Paris to bribe the Polish nobility.
At the end of April, the convocation Diet (the Diet convened after the king’s death to determine the date and preparation for the election of the new king) opened, deciding that only a “natural Pole”, a Catholic married to a Catholic and not having an army, can be the king. This decision clearly excluded Emmanuel, as well as any other foreign applicant. Austria and Russia have expressed strong protest. The party of Leshchinsky began to threaten war, to seek support from the Ottoman Empire and the Crimean Khanate. Meanwhile, the Portuguese king unexpectedly announced his intention to offer the Poles not Emmanuel, but his other brother, Antonio. Austria and Russia, extremely surprised by this act, began to search for a new candidate for the throne of Poland. The choice fell on the son of August II, the Saxon Elector Augustus III.
Elector of Saxony August III
In turn, Augustus did not stint on the promises. For the sake of Austria, he recognized the Pragmatic Sanction. This document, compiled by the emperor Charles VI back in 1724, secured the right to inherit the Austrian throne for his daughter Maria Theresa. However, many European monarchs, who had dynastic ties with the imperial family, themselves expected to occupy the throne of Austria and did not recognize the document. Among them was Saxony, which has now changed its mind. A defensive alliance was signed between Russia and Saxony, and Augustus promised that, after becoming king, he would try to sign the same agreement on behalf of the Rzeczpospolita. Having Poland as an ally on the eve of the Porto war was very tempting. In addition, Russia could not allow Poland to again become the enemy, behind which will stand France. Prussia did not like it very much. Strengthening Saxony was not beneficial to Prussia. However, the Prussian king somehow persuaded to maintain neutrality.
In August, the electoral Diet opened in 1733 in Warsaw. It immediately broke out a fierce dispute between supporters of August III and Leshchinsky. Most favored the French candidate, but he also had enemies. They did not come to a common opinion, clashes began between supporters of the warring parties. Leschinsky arrived in Poland secretly and, having lived in the capital for a very short time, moved to Danzig, where he planned to wait for the help of France. Poland was on the verge of a civil war, when on the night of September 20 1733, the Russian army entered the outskirts of Warsaw under the command of General-in-chief P. P. Lassi. Russia began preparations for the operation in the spring of 1733. At the end of February 1733, by decree of Empress Anna Ioannovna, a “general meeting” of the Cabinet of Ministers was held. It was decided that "Leschinsky and others, who depend on the Crown of the French and Swedish, and therefore from the Turkish, cannot be allowed to the Polish Crown."
Under the protection of Russian bayonets, members of the Seym assembled in Prague (a suburb of Warsaw), on September 24 elected the kings of the Elector of Saxony. In January 1734, the Russian troops took Thorn and approached Danzig, the siege of which was entrusted to Minich himself. In the spring, Russian troops repulsed the French landing force, which attempted to land a French squadron. At the end of June, Danzig capitulated, but Leschinsky managed to escape, disguised as a commoner.
Having won, Russia offered Austria to step up action on the Eastern issue. However, Vienna offered to take time. Austria did not want Russia to aggravate relations with the Ottoman Empire, since it was quite clear that France would not accept the situation in Poland. Indeed, Leshchinsky was preparing to continue the struggle, and France declared war on Austria. On the side of France were Spain and Sardinia. Two French armies headed for Germany, opening the Rhine campaign.
The great war in Europe sharply aggravated the situation on the borders of Russia. The French actively pressed Porto to oppose the Russian Empire. When Russian troops besieged Danzig, the Ottoman authorities secretly sent the Zaporozhian Cossack Orlik, the son of Philip Orlik, the clerk general of the Cossack army, Mazepa's ally, to Little Russia. He received instructions from the French ambassador Villeneuve himself and had to persuade the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks to come forward with the Crimean Tatars against Russia. At the same time, the Turks tried to raise the Hungarians against Austria with the help of Prince Rakoczy.
Fortunately for Russia, the ruler of Persia Nadir Shah continued to wage war with the Turks and quite successfully. True, Russia had to pay a higher price for this. In March, 1735, Russia and the Persian government concluded the Ganja treatise, which provided for the return to Persia of all Russian conquests in the Caucasus. Russian troops left Baku, Derbent and even the fortress of the Holy Cross.
In the meantime, the Port expressed its dissatisfaction with Russia with the situation in Poland. In mid-May 1735, the Sultan decided to send against Persia the army of the Crimean Tatars, whose path was to go through Russian possessions in the Caucasus. The Russian government decided not to let the Tatars through Russian possessions, but to declare to the sultan that Russia would regard such a campaign as aggression. It became obvious to everyone that in the fall of 1735 the war with the Ottoman Empire would start. At the end of June, 1735, Empress Anna Ivanovna ordered Minikh to leave the army in Poland, 40, thousands of soldiers, and with the other troops to go to the Don and begin preparations for the siege of the Azov fortress. Field Marshal Minich met this assignment with sincere joy. “I accept the command of the Azov siege,” he wrote, “with the greater joy that for a long time, as Your Majesty has known, I have eagerly wished to conquer this fortress.”
Thus, for the first time since the unsuccessful Prut campaign of Peter I, Russia decided to engage in open combat with Turkey. At the same time, they did not officially declare war. Russian diplomats assured the Ottoman government that Russia only wanted to punish the Crimean Tatars, and then establish an "eternal" peace. Therefore, the campaign plan provided for operations only against Azov and the Crimea. Azov should have taken 44-th. army of Minich. Punitive raid in the Crimea should have taken 10-thousand. detachment of General Weisbach, who was standing in Volyn.
The Siege of Danzig
To be continued ...