The Onset of Russian Efforts to Gain Access to The Grand Alliance (1706)
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Russian endeavours to join the Grand Alliance directed against France constituted a priority in the policy pursued by Peter I the Great from the second half of 1706 to the beginning of 1708. The author discussed the onset of the titular efforts, and recreated the most important political goals in Russia at the time of their inauguration. The invasion of Saxony conducted by Charles XII of Sweden (summer 1706) posed a threat for the Reich, especially the Habsburg states, engaged in hostilities against France. There appeared the possibility of combining the up to then separate conflicts - the War of the Spanish Succession and the Northern War, thus providing Russia with an opportunity to extract herself from political isolation and establish an alliance with the western powers. This is the reason why Peter I cherished a profound hope that The Allies and particularly England would perceive him as a valuable ally and, in return for military assistance, accept at least part of the Baltic conquests made by Russia. A significant role in kindling these hopes was played by the English diplomat Charles Whitworth. The author stressed the fundamental divergences between the protocols of the negotiations conducted in Moscow between Whitworth and the Russian chancellors, and the official reports made by the English diplomat. Apparently, without Whitehall authorisation, Whitworth expecting an autbreak of Swedish-Austrian war proposed joint support for Emperor Joseph I and his anti-Swedish policies and the signing of a Russian-English alliance. The most probable explanation of this conduct appears to lie in Whitworth's connections with the imperial court and involvement in putting an end to the uprising in Hungary. The offers made by Whitworth to a considerable extent influenced the tsarist instruction intended for A. A. Matveev, the Russian ambassador to England. Furthermore, the early Russian efforts concerning the Grand Alliance were accompanied by a number of issues that were to perform a considerable part in the diplomatic intrigues of 1707, the end of the Hungarian uprising, and changes upon the Polish throne.
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