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2007 | 114 | 3 | 5-36

Article title

Russian Passivity during the Interregnum 1696-1697, and Russian-Austrian Relations

Title variants

Pasywność Rosji w czasie bezkrólewia 1696-1697 a stosunki rosyjsko-austriackie

Languages of publication



This article presents an attempted explanation of the passive stand taken by Peter I during the titular interregnum via a wider look at the Russian foreign policy of the period and, predominantly, relations with Austria. The author undermines the thesis proposed by Andrzej Kamiński about the psychological reasons for the tsar’s unwillingness to become embroiled in the Polish question, and supports the views of Vlodimir D. Korolûk, who emphasised strictly political determinants. Contrary to Korolûk, however, the article stresses the weakness of Russian diplomacy at the onset of the independent rule of Peter I and the isolation of Russia on the international arena. Dispatching K. Nefimonov to Vienna was an attempt at changing the prevailing situation. An analysis of the ensuing negotiations made it possible to perceive Russian efforts to avoid the inclusion of Poland into the new alliance, despite the option represented by Austria. The question why this ostensibly irrelevant issue proved to be an essential controversy between the tsar and the emperor opens an analysis of the negotiations conducted by Nefimonov about the future election. Their course displays evident Russian opposition towards Austrian plans of stimulating Russian policies in Poland. After all, Peter I tried to avoid accentuating his protest against the imperial plans, probably fearing that any dispute could harm the completion of an anti-Turkish alliance. Pertinent literature recognises the treaty signed at the beginning of 1697 as aimed also against Poland since close cooperation between the tsar and the emperor restricted Poland’s freedom. Actually, such hopes were cherished by the Austrian diplomats, who from the beginning of the Nefimonov mission urged Russia to sign an agreement concerning Polish issues, and after accomplishing the alliance tried to persuade Russia to acknowledge it as an obligation to assist the emperor in the course of the election contest in Poland. Since 1695 Vienna also tried to launch cooperation between Russia, Austria and Prussia in order to place upon the Polish throne a candidate approved by the neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, Russia was not interested in collaborating with Austria in Poland. The emperor expected the tsar to provide financial support in the election controversy, but Russia did not want to, and was unable to undertake such great costs. Moreover, Peter I, who at the time was debuting on the international scene, probably wanted to guarantee himself unhampered manoeuvre and refused to establish overly close ties with the emperor









Physical description




  • Warszawa


Document Type

Publication order reference



YADDA identifier

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