Russia 1725-1762
Foreign Policy
Catherine the Great 1762-1796
Foreign Policy

Russia's Foreign Policy, 1725-1762

Czarina Catherine I., in 1726, entered an Austro-Russian alliance. In the WAR OF POLISH SUCCESSION, Russia fought on the side of her ally Austria; a Russian force took Danzig, causing the French-supported king, Stanislas Lescynsky, to leave the country and King Augustus III., supported by Austria and Russia, to prevail. Poland, in return, ceded sovereignty over the ZAPOROZHE COSSACKS to Russia; in 1735-1739 a RUSSO-TURKISH WAR was fought, as a result of which the Ottoman Empire recognized Russian sovereignty over the Zaporozhe Cossacks and ceded the territory of Azov; the war was ended in the PEACE OF BELGRADE 1739.
Progress was also made against the Kazakhs : the LESSER HORDE accepted Russian sovereignty in 1731, the MIDDLE HORDE in 1740, several clans of the Great Horde in 1742. In 1734 the Russians established a fort at ORENBURG to secure the area.
Several expeditions were undertaken into Eastern Siberia, to the KAMCHATKA PENINSULA. Under Dane VITUS BERING, ships were built on Kamchatka, which were sailed across the Bering strait, where ALASKA was claimed for Russia in 1741.
Between 1725 and 1741 Russia saw a succession of rulers, and the country at times seemed preoccupied with the question of succession; in 1741 the Swedes wanted to take advantage of the situation and declared war (the first SWEDISH-RUSSIAN WAR, 1741-1743). However, the Swedish army proved to be no match for the Russians, which occupied Finland; in 1743 Sweden had to cede WESTERN KARELIA to Russia.
In 1756 Russia joined the SEVEN YEARS WAR against Prussia, as an ally of Austria, Sweden, France and Saxony. Russian troops defeated the Prussians in 1757 in the BATTLE OF GROSS-JAEGERSDORF and in 1759 in the BATTLE OF KUNERSDORF (Aug. 12th). Yet Czarina Elusabeth died on January 5th 1762; she was succeeded by her son PETER III., an ardent admirer of Frederick the Great. He switched sides in the war, allied himself with Prussia and placed Russia's army under Frederick's command. Frederick defeated the Austrians; in 1763 peace was signed at the status quo ante. At that time, Peter III. had been ousted and murdered, and replaced by his wife CATHERINE THE GREAT. The Seven Years' War, from Russian perspective, had been nothing but a waste of time and resources.

Russia's Czars, 1725-1762
Catherine I.
Peter II.
Ivan VI.
Elizabeth I.
Peter III.

Biography : Tsarina Elizabeth I. of Russia, from Dr. Pavlac's Women's History Site at King's College
Iraj Bashiri, Kazakhstan, an Overview, includes brief history; Almaty means Apple Place, from Almaty Gallery, includes Kazakh history
DOCUMENTS Injunction of Empress Anna Ioannovna, 5 June 1730, Panteleimon Monastery, from Treasures of Mt. Athos, posted by Hennenic Min. of Culture
REFERENCE Simon Dixon, The Modernisation of Russia 1676-1825, Cambridge : UP 1999
Melvin K. Wren, The Course of Russian History, Prospect Heights 1994, Chapter 10 : The Age of Favourites, pp.169-180
John Channon, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Russia, 1995

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on August 24th 2006

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