The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia’s expansion in the Baltic region in the 18th century. Cover Image

Речь Посполитая и балтийская экспансия Российской империи в XVIII в.
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia’s expansion in the Baltic region in the 18th century.

Author(s): Tomasz Ciesielski
Subject(s): History
Published by: Издательство Исторического факультета СПбГУ
Keywords: Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; Russian empire; Livonia; Courland; Gdansk (Danzig)

Summary/Abstract: The period from 1686 to 1764 was a separate period in the history of Polish-Russian relations. Its chronological limits are defined by the so-called Eternal Peace Treaty of 1686 (Pokoj Grzymulkowskiego) that was signed between Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as two equal states and the election of Stanislaw August Poniatowski in 1764, which was the result of the Russian supremacy. Such a change in relations between the two neighboring states was the result of a deep internal crisis of Rzeczpospolita and marginalization of its role in the international arena, which manifested already in the time of the Great Northern War. For Russia, the first decade of the XVIII century and the war with Sweden was the time of a rapid advancement towards a great power status. In this process, an important role was played by Peter I’s conquest of south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. In between the Great Northern and the Seven Years’ War, Russia continued to pursue an expansionist policy in the Baltic region. This allowed Russia to expand their possessions significantly and to achieve undisputed hegemony in the Gulf of Finland and south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, experiencing a profound internal crisis, could not resist, which resulted, first, in giving up the right to Inflanty (Polish Livonia), and then in its renunciation of its sovereignty over Courland. The local success of Poland in the fight against Russia was the protection of the independence of Gdansk. Material costs of these victories were high, though it was the city budget that suffered mostly. Every time when the Russians conceded, they did it only under the pressure of other European states. At the same time, the Russian aggressive policy protected somehow the territory of Polish Pomerania from the Prussian kingdom’s attempts of annexing it.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 118-134
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Russian