The XVIII century was abundant not only in the gold of the palaces of enlightened absolutism, where the violins were singing under the graceful steps of the court minuets, and the philosophers invited by kings plunged indestructible truths to dust on their fireplaces. Nearly, on the other side of the cast-iron fence, at the same time massive and airy, the peasant sullenly followed the plow dragged behind the thin horse, cursed the city tax collectors, enjoyed the hangouts of taverns and taverns in the hangover, hogwash little stuff in the hats of street musicians. And the same frequent guest was war. History moved slowly: contradictions grew, and with them the quality of gunpowder.
Russia was not an exception in this system organizing the world, and the circumstances did not allow us to live alone. The territory of the empire increased, and with it the number of its ill-wishers multiplied. While the country, located thousands of miles from the berths of London, Le Havre and Amsterdam, smelling of overseas spices, turned in the networks of internal unrest and fought for its very existence, Europe did not have much to do with distant Muscovy, where one part of the population consisted of “wild Tatars” and the other - from bears.
The situation changed dramatically during the reign of Peter I, when the new-born empire showed its importance and proved to skeptics their right to be in the "big leagues". Russia aspired to the seas as a springboard for trade with Europe, and on this way she had to face Sweden and Turkey. And, of course, with the interests of those "enlightened" states that, to the best of their considerable forces, contributed to these clashes. The result of the Northern War 1700 – 1721. There was a strong justification for Russia on the Baltic Sea coast and a lowering of the status of Sweden as a military power, which could no longer have any influence on the situation in Europe. The issue of access to the Black Sea for a long time remained open, and its decision for several reasons of a political nature was constantly postponed until the reign of Catherine II.
Sweden, of course, did not accept the decline in its status and throughout the XVIII century, sought to restore it - first of all trying to take revenge from Russia. At first, the Swedes ventured on such an enterprise into the rule of King Fredrik I, and the war with Russia (1741 – 1743) was an attempt to revise the outcome of the Nishtadt peace treaty. The conflict with a neighbor turned out to be of little success, despite the palace coup in St. Petersburg and the coming to power of Elizaveta Petrovna. The Swedish king was also not noticed in excessive curiosity in the military sciences, since his role in the political life of the country was very insignificant. Spending time in heart battles with court maid of honor, Fredrik I did not pay attention to such an insignificant event as the war with Russia.
According to one of the conditions of the Abos Peace, which ended the 1741 – 1743 war, the son of the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, Adolf Fredrik, who in St. Petersburg was considered a figure more or less loyal to Russia, was chosen as the heir to the widely walking and childless Fredrik I. .
It should be noted that the political life of the northern kingdom from about the 30's. The 18th century revolved around two factions formed in the Riksdag, the Swedish parliament. One of them, consisting mainly of high-born aristocracy, advocated a tougher foreign policy aimed at restoring Sweden’s influence in Europe, and had the tacit name “party of hats”. "Hats" were considered an anti-Russian faction, dreaming of revenge for the loss in the Northern War. The bellicose aristocracy was opposed by the “party of caps”, which can be attributed to the opposition to a tough course. The composition of the "caps" was heterogeneous: it was dominated by officials, landowners, merchants and peasants. This group sought to good-neighborly relations with its powerful neighbor, thanks to which Sweden would benefit more from trade and the realization of economic interests. Period 1718 – 1772 is known in the history of Sweden as the “era of freedom”, when power was concentrated in the hands of parliament, not the king. This state phenomenon arose as a result of the defeat of the country in the Northern War. The initiator of such a parliamentary administration was a prominent Swedish statesman Arvid Bernhard Horn, who believed that the power of the king should be controlled. The example of Charles XII galloping throughout Europe, absent from his homeland for many years and fond of adventures dangerous for her existence (having accepted for example ardent statements about the European integration of a Little Russian hetman), made us think seriously and pragmatically look at the power of the monarch's power.
Formally taking the throne in 1751, Adolf Fredrik got into the very center of opposition of parliamentary factions. Militant "hats" constantly sought to limit the already moderate power of the king. Even the upbringing of the heir, the future king Gustav III, was equated with the matter of state importance, and the father was forced to coordinate with the relevant parliamentarians the subtleties of upbringing and education of his son. For those cases where the king did not approve and did not sign the state papers that did not suit him, “hats” produced a special stamp with his signature. The Swedish king was a kind, gentle man, he preferred not to interfere with the parliamentarians and, in the end, he died from the blow caused by the absorption of a dense lunch. The son of Adolph Fredrik, who became king of Gustav III, decided that the country needed a change.
Neighbors, relatives and enemies
Swedish king Gustav III, initiator of revenge
The future king, who will cross swords with the Russian Empire, was born in 1746 year. Like many monarchs of that period, the young man fell into a wave of enlightened absolutism. The sovereign now had to be not just the first feudal lord, landowner and commander (the latter did not work for everyone), but also know a lot about philosophical wisdom, throw aphorisms in the language of Voltaire and Montesquieu into the crowd of admiring court members, to play music and write. The future king kept pace with the times: adored theaters and brilliantly expressed himself in French. The death of his father Adolf Fredrik 1 March 1771, found the heir to the bed of the Paris Opera House. He returned to Stockholm by His Majesty Gustav III.
Having had enough of it in his youth notations and teachings from the caring representatives of the “hats” party, the new king decided to put an end to parliamentary liberties. On August 19, the troops loyal to Gustav surrounded the Riksdag, and at gunpoint he obediently and, most importantly, quickly adopted a number of laws that significantly expanded the powers of the king, and the parliament itself could now assemble only by the will of the monarch. The "era of freedom" was over.
Sweden was not in a vacuum - the events in the country were closely watched, and especially in St. Petersburg. As a result of the next palace coup, Sofia Augustus Frederick of Anhalt-Zerbst, who became known to the world as Catherine II, reigned with the direct support of the guard on the throne. The wife of Peter III, who was removed from power, also belonged to a cohort of enlightened monarchs. The figure is contradictory and ambiguous, Empress Catherine was notable for her outstanding qualities among contemporary monarchs. Having come to power in the 1762 year, the empress made one of the most important areas of foreign policy the emergence and consolidation of Russia in the Black Sea basin. To fight the still strong Ottoman Empire, it was necessary to secure the western frontiers and maintain the status quo in relations with Sweden. In the second half of the 18th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was completely degraded as a state entity and was no longer a subject, but an object of the policies of Russia, Austria and Prussia. It was necessary to simply keep Sweden in the wake of loyalty towards Russia and not allow the revanchist views to develop.
Empress Catherine II the Great
Catherine II was a subtle politician and well understood the difference in situations: when you need to strike with an ax, where a sharp knife is useful, and under what conditions a graceful wallet is more necessary, in which it is convenient to toss golden circles into the right pocket. Simply put, considering the admirer of operas, plays and comedies of King Gustav III to be fussy and narrow-minded, the Russian empress decided to strengthen Sweden’s peacefulness with full-bodied imperial rubles. Investing part of the state budget in some improvement in the welfare of statesmen of neighboring countries in order to correct the political course was and remains a standard tool of external state manipulation. Through the Russian ambassador in Stockholm, Count Andrei Kirillovich Razumovsky, there was a feasible charitable assistance, mainly to gentlemen from the party “caps” and some hopeless “hats”. Catherine II was well aware of what was happening in the king's entourage, with extensive agencies and well-wishers. Russia did not incite the Swedes to any other country; Catherine did not need the Swedish grenadiers to land from galleys on the quays of London or Dunkirk. It is important that they simply sit in the barracks of Stockholm and Gothenburg.
Petersburg was why to attend to. Almost from the first years of his reign, Gustav III openly expressed a desire to repay Russia for the shame of the Nishtadt and Abossky peace treaties. Already in 1775, the monarch publicly spoke of the need to “attack Petersburg and force the empress to make peace” with all his might. While such demarches did not go beyond the loud slogans, they were treated like another cyclone in the head of the monarch, famous for his whimsicality. However, soon Gustav III began to put in order his navy and army. The revanchist plans of the king were warmly approved in countries such as England, France and, of course, Turkey. The Kyuchuk-Kainarji Treaty of 1774 significantly strengthened Russia's position in the Black Sea basin, although it did not completely solve the problem of mastering the entire Northern Black Sea and Crimea. Paris and London have invested significant sums of money in the modernization of the Turkish armed forces, and in supporting the war in Stockholm loomed the tempting prospect of imposing a war on two fronts on Russia and distracting from Turkish affairs. Therefore, a financial trickle flowed into Sweden in the form of subsidies, which were primarily spent for military purposes. Under these conditions, the activities of Count Razumovsky became more lively, and soon the king himself drew attention to it, expressing his extreme irritation.
The growing anti-Russian stance of Gustav III, strongly inspired by Western benefactors and Turkey, did not prevent him from conducting a rather kind correspondence with Catherine II, where the talkative king assured his “sister” (Gustav’s father, Adolf Fredrik, was the brother of the Empress’s mother) in his most sincere peace intentions. They even met twice: in 1777 and in 1783. At the last meeting, the Swedish king received from the Russian Empress a modest gift in the amount of 200 thousand rubles. The exalted patron of theaters and the arts eagerly took the money, and the degree of peace in his letters has increased dramatically, but there is little doubt that this amount was spent on fancy dresses and updating the wardrobe of the artists of the royal opera. Axes knocked across the country, harvesting ship timber. Sweden was preparing for war.
Preparation for performance
In August 1787, the next and second Russian-Turkish war began in the reign of Catherine II. Turkey, backed by the help of the Western powers, decided to try their luck in military affairs. Accordingly, the size of financial assistance from France and England to Gustav III expanded. In this situation, the Swedish king saw for himself a convenient opportunity to get even for previous defeats. As luck would have it, Gustav III was unusually confident in his own abilities and tried on the hat of the great commander. The nuance was that the king could declare a victorious war (as well as not a victorious one) only with the approval of the Riksdag - Gustav III did not dare completely eradicate parliamentarism. The exception was the situation if the country was attacked by the aggressor. Since the impressive role of the evil enemy with a bearish grin in the play composed by the king was given to Russia, an excuse was needed to get her to be the first to go on stage.
Commander of the Baltic fleet Admiral S.K. Greig
Catherine II took a low profile and so far has ignored the ever-rising tone of talking about going to St. Petersburg through Finland. Not relying only on Razumovsky’s financial combinations, Russia at one time attended to an alliance with Denmark, which traditionally feared its belligerent neighbor. According to the union agreement concluded in 1773, in the event of war between Russia and Sweden, Denmark pledged to side with the first and support its actions with a military contingent of 12 thousand soldiers, 6 battleships and 3 frigates.
Meanwhile, the Swedish military preparations continued. In the spring of 1788, Russia began preparing Admiral Greig's squadron for a march to the Mediterranean Sea in order to replicate the successful experience of the Archipelago expedition of the past war. Sweden was informed about this in advance, and also received assurances that the equipped ships are in no way intended against Sweden. But the king has already suffered. Caring people with a foreign accent whispered to Gustav, which would have been highly desirable if the Russian fleet had not left the Baltic. From this directly depended the depth and width of the golden brook, irrigating the Swedish economy.
By May 27, a squadron destined for a trip to the Mediterranean focused on the Kronstadt raid. It consisted of 15 battleships, 6 frigates, 2 bombing ships and 6 transports. Soon, on June 5, the vanguard of these forces, consisting of three stop-gun battleships, one frigate and three transports under the command of Vice-Admiral Vilim Petrovich Fonesizin (von Dezin) went to Copenhagen. On the way, a curious incident occurred. The detachment of Fondazin met with the entire Swedish fleet under the command of the brother of the king, the duke of Södermanland. The war has not yet been declared, and the Swedish commander demanded a salute to the Swedish flag. Fondezin objected that under the 1743 agreement, no one was obliged to salute anyone, but since the duke is a relative of the empress, he could personally greet him. The Russians fired 13 shots. The Swedes, who considered themselves already masters of the situation and of the entire Baltic, answered eight.
Karl Frederick von Breda. Portrait of King Charles XIII, in 1788, the former commander of the Swedish fleet and then bearing the title of duke of Södermanland
It would seem the most logical for the Swedes to wait for the departure of the entire squadron and, having achieved superiority in power, to attack, but the appearance of Russian ships in the Mediterranean did not suit the Western benefactors. In the Swedish capital, artificially spreading rumors that, they say, the Russian fleet is going to suddenly attack Karlskrona, the main naval base of Sweden, have crept in. When this chatter and the anti-Russian rhetoric accompanying it already reached an impressive scale, the Russian ambassador to Sweden, Count Razumovsky, addressed the foreign minister with a message where, on the one hand, there was a demand for the Swedes to explain their behavior and, on the other, hope for peaceful coexistence two states. The fact is that the Swedish fleet was intensively arming and was in full combat readiness, and did not cause special doubts against whom these preparations were directed. Gustav III considered this on the whole peace-loving note insulting and ordered the Russian ambassador to be expelled from Stockholm.
20 June 1788, the Swedish fleet entered the Gulf of Finland. On June 21, without declaring war, King Gustav’s troops crossed the border and attacked the Russian outpost at Nashlot. The 27 of June, near Reval, captured the frigates of the Baltic Fleet, Hector and Yaroslavets, which came too close to the Swedish ships. Soon, Empress Catherine received an ultimatum, the demands of which made even foreign diplomats doubt the wisdom of the Swedish king. Gustav III’s claims were notable for the scale of his plans: he demanded the punishment of ambassador Razumovsky for “espionage”, the transfer of all lands in Finland that had departed to Russia in 1721 and 1743, all of Karelia and the complete disarmament of the Baltic Fleet. The most impressive was the demand of the Swedish king to return the Crimea to the Ottoman Empire. The ultimatum was so outrageous that Catherine II thought it was beneath her dignity to respond to him, - the Swedish embassy was simply expelled from St. Petersburg with not quite a decent indication of the direction. Soon a manifesto about the beginning of the war with Sweden came out, although formally the fighting was already underway. Going to the army, Gustav III wrote that he was very proud to "take revenge for Turkey" and it is quite possible that his name would become famous not only in Europe, but also in Asia and in Africa. Western benefactors breathed a sigh of relief when they learned about the beginning of the war, but what they thought about this in Africa was forever a mystery.
By 1788, the "Swedish revenge" for the Swedish king was something. The Swedish fleet was fully operational and had, at the start of the war, 26 battleships, 14 frigates and several dozen smaller class ships. Sweden also had a large galley fleet consisting of almost 150 rowing ships. The galley fleet was called the "skerny fleet" and was subordinate to the command of the army. In 1783, the Swedish fleet taught the improved naval charter, in which there is such an innovation as a bearing structure. With the help of exercises in which yachts and longboats were used, naval officers were well acquainted with the tactical methods of building and the signal system. Each ship received new, manufactured in 1782, maps of the Baltic Sea. The morale of the personnel was high. The plan of the Swedish command was to concentrate ground troops in Finland in order to divert the attention of the Russians from St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, the fleet was instructed in the general battle to defeat the enemy, to take in the Helsingfors to galleys and transports the 20-thousandth corps and to make its unimpeded disembarkation near St. Petersburg, where the frightened Catherine would be ready to sign the world on any conditions.
By the beginning of the war, the list number of the Russian Baltic Fleet was 46 battleships with 8 being built. However, the technical condition of many battleships left much to be desired. The three most powerful ships under the command of Fondesin were sent to Copenhagen. In general, in Kronstadt there were about 30 combat-ready battleships, 15 frigates, 4 bombarding ships and a number of ships of lesser ranks. The personnel had no combat experience and was not sufficiently prepared for combat operations. The once-numerous galley fleet was in such a deplorable state that by the beginning of the war no more than the 20 galleys were capable of fighting. I had to make up for lost time already in the course of hostilities.
Activities of the Swedes, of course, canceled the campaign of the Russian squadron in the Mediterranean, and the Baltic Fleet began to prepare for battle. Crews had to be staffed by sailors from cargo and auxiliary vessels, there was not enough supplies and equipment. 26 June, when battles began in Finland, Admiral Samuil Karlovich Greig, the fleet commander, received an order from the Empress to go to sea and look for meetings with the enemy. 28 June 1788 of the year, having finished preparations, the Baltic fleet withdrew and went west.
Greig had at his disposal 17 battleships and 7 frigates. Of the battleships, the most powerful was the 100-gun "Rostislav", except for him there were eight 74-guns and eight 66-guns. The admiral divided the subordinate forces into three divisions. The vanguard was commanded by Martyn Petrovich Fondezin (brother of Vilim Petrovich Fondazin) - a flag on the 72-gun “Kir Ioann”, the rearguard was led by rear admiral T. G. Kozlyaninov (74-gun “Vseslav”). The strongest ships made up the corpsic battalion, where Greig himself kept his flag on “Yaroslav”.
After spending some time in the Gulf of Finland, the Swedish fleet entered Helsingfors, where it replenished its reserves. 3 July, they left this harbor and went to sea. Duke Karl Södermanlandsky had under his command 15 battleships, 5 large and eight small frigates. The commander held the flag on the battleship Gustav III. The king’s brother had the same ardent character as the king, so an experienced admiral, Count Wrangel, was assigned as an “assistant of power” to him. The vanguard was commanded by Vice Admiral Wahmeister, and the rear guard was Lindenstedt. Large 40-gun frigates, the Swedes put in a battle line, to prevent the Russians from covering themselves from the flanks.
Greig, due to insufficient wind power, moved slowly. On July 5, he rounded the island of Gogland from the south, and in the morning of July 6, the opponents saw each other. The Swedes had the guns on the 1300 line of ships. Russians - 1450. In this case, the training of personnel at Greig, whose crews were well diluted with recruits, was lower than that of the enemy. The rapprochement of the fleets was slow, with the Swedes clearly holding the line. At about 16 hours, the Swedish fleet made a “all of a sudden” turn to the left tack and lined up in a battle. At the signal of Greig, the Russian fleet also made a turn to the left tack, while the fondesin vanguard from the 5 ships became a rearguard, broke the formation and began to fall behind. The Russian line, descending on the enemy, stretched out, and the relative order was observed in the vanguard of Kozlyaninov and most of the cordebatalia. Fondezin fell behind, and Greig had to adjust his signals.
In 5 hours, the leading ship of the Russian fleet and the flagship of the avant-garde, the 74-gun "Vseslav", under the flag of Rear Admiral T. G. Kozlyaninov, appeared in two cables and, without waiting for the commander's signal, opened fire on the enemy. The fire was fought along the entire line, with the most fierce fighting taking place in the vanguard and center. However, only three Russian ships fought against the entire Swedish avant-garde: Boleslav, Mecheslav, and Vladislav. Six ships fired, keeping at a safe distance and not rendering assistance. Dense powder smoke interfered with both sides in the orientation and transmission of signals that were transmitted using boats. Despite the inexperience of the crews, the Russian fire was very strong, and after an hour and a half, at half past six in the evening, the flagship Gustav III, damaged by Rostislav, and then several other Swedish ships began to leave their places in the lines and go out from the affected area of Russian guns. However, at the end of the line, the Russian battleship “Vladislav” was under the fire of five enemy ships at once - they did not support him.
Around 9 evenings, Karl Södermanlandsky again made a turn to the north, seeking to increase the distance. The Russians repeated the Swedes maneuver, and a number of Russian battleships were towed by boats. At this time, the flagship "Rostislav" was in close proximity to the vice-admiral ship "Prince Gustav" under the flag of Vahmeister and energetically attacked him. Unable to withstand numerous hits, around 10 hours of the evening "Prince Gustav" lowered the flag. At nightfall, the battle was over - the fleets dispersed. The Swedes went to Sveaborg under the protection of the fortress. Only at the beginning of 12 in the morning the boat that approached the Rostislav brought a report that Vladislav, who was assigned to the center of the Swedish fleet, badly damaged and lost control, was forced to surrender. Of the crew of 700 people were killed 257, 34 holes were counted in the hull. Both sides lost one ship. The loss in personnel reached the Russians - 580 killed, 720 injured and around 450 prisoners. The Swedes lost 130 people killed, 400 injured and more 500 prisoners.
In tactical terms, the Gogland battle turned out to be a draw: the losses of the sides in the ships are comparable. In strategic terms, it was an undoubted Russian victory. The plans of the Swedish command were thwarted, as were all sorts of plans for a landing operation. Since the battle took place on the day of Reverend Sisoi, July 6, from then until the 1905, the Russian fleet always had a ship under the name "Sysoy the Great". After the battle, the situation was expected to be analyzed, and as a result, Martin Fonesazin was removed from command for his inept actions, and the commanders of the battleships Memory of Eustathius, Fight, and John the Theologian, for failing to assist Vladislav, were put on trial and sentenced to death . However, Catherine soon pardoned pseudo-commanders, degrading them to the sailors.
Results and consequences
Having sent the most damaged ships to Kronstadt, Greig completed repairs on his own and 26 July 1788 appeared in full view of Sveaborg, where as a result of the “victory” (Gustav III knew a lot about propaganda and declared the naval battle of Gogland his victory - in Gelsingfors there was even a salute on this occasion) duke Karl of Södermanlands took refuge. There was fog at sea, and the appearance of the Russian squadron for the Swedes was sudden - their ships had to chop off the ropes and hastily leave under the protection of coastal batteries. At the same time 62-gun "Prince Gustav Adolf" ran aground and was captured. It was not possible to remove the trophy from the ground, so it was burned in front of the entire Swedish fleet.
During the blockade of Sveaborg, Admiral Greig fell seriously ill - an epidemic of typhoid fever raged in the fleet. The flagship "Rostislav" left the fleet and arrived 21 September in Revel. October 15 Samuel Greig died.
The war with Sweden continued for another two years, the fighting took place mainly at sea, which makes it possible to characterize the Russian-Swedish war as a sea war. There were a number of major battles in which success accompanied the Russian fleet. Only at the end of the conflict did the Swedes achieve a major victory in the second battle of Rochensalm, defeating the rowing fleet commanded by Nassau-Siegen.
The war ended with the signing of the Verela Peace Treaty, which maintained the status quo in the territorial possessions of both states. The war with Turkey continued in the south, and it was beneficial for Russia to untie its hands in the Baltic as soon as possible. The failed conqueror of St. Petersburg, patron of the opera and theater, King Gustav III was mortally wounded during a masquerade ball at the Swedish Royal Opera 19 in March 1792 and died a few days later. So the aristocracy repaid him for limiting his power in parliament. All his life the king admired the theater and finally found his death in it.
Catherine II considered victory in the war with Turkey only as a stepping stone to the realization of her plans, since the Bosphorus and Dardanelles remained in the hands of the Ottomans. Soon the attention of the whole of Europe was drawn to France, plunging into the depths of the revolution, where the device promoted by Dr. Guiloten began its tireless work. The Russian empress publicly poured on demonstrative tears about her “brother Louis”, the Western ambassadors moaned sympathetically, and in the meantime, the plan of the landing expedition was almost ready, the purpose of which was to land in Istanbul and take control of the straits that were so necessary for Russia. While the Western partners were intensively dragging each other for wigs, nothing could prevent the empire from fulfilling the geopolitical task of reaching the southern seas. However, the death of Catherine stopped the implementation of these plans, and Russia was embroiled in a long period of war with France.