Russia and the Seym of Autumn 1720
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The article deals with the attitude of Russia towards the Seym which sat in Warsaw on 30 September-5 October 1720, and which left its imprint in historiography due to the inner conflict between King Augustus II and the hetmans. In reality the side particularly interested in putting an end to the parliamentary session was Russia, and the question of the hetman command became a convenient façade for concealing other objectives: the preservation of peace in the Commonwealth and making it impossible for the latter to evade Russian influence, find new allies and independently withdraw from the Northern War. The author discusses the active part played by Russia in bringing about a breakdown of the Seym: support for the hetman oposition, exploitation of the pacifism of the Poles, the threat of installing into Poland a 100 000-strong army in case of a severance of the alliance and the dissemination of false information about the policy of Augustus II. At the same time she undermines the view embedded in heretofore historiography, about harmonious Russo-Prussian cooperation in anti-Seym undertakings. Russia regarded a collapse of the Seym attained not by breaking debates, but by blocking the election of the speaker of the house, to have been an optimal solution. She delayed for two years the eventuality of Augustus II introducing any sort of systemic changes in the Commonwealth, and by leaving the question of the hetman unresolved, forced the Wettin monarch to concentrate on domestic issues. In this manner Augustus was presented to the rest of Europe as an uncertain partner. Consequently Russia gained control over the Commonwealth and paved the path towards separatist negotiations with Sweden on her own terms.
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