Kosintsev Yu. G. Vasily Dolgorukov’s Struggle for the Return of Denmark to the northern alliance in 1709 (.pdf)


The paper discusses the problems of Russian-Danish relations at a critical stage of the Great Northern War and the role of the Russian ambassador Dolgorukov in alliance between Moscow and Copenhagen. The author emphasizes the interest of Russia in union with Denmark: it was extremely difficult to continue the war with moving operations to the Baltic battlefield without Denmark’s powerful navy because the Russian fleet was still weak. The importance of Dolgorukov’s mission in the opinion of the Russian government and the ruler is emphasized in the article. The author allocates the main stages of the Russian-Danish rapprochement that began inautumn of 1708, but proceeded at first slowly and carefully. The results of the Poltava battle became the turning point and significantly accelerated the course of negotiations forcing the Danish party to make considerable concessions. At the same time, tough negotiations were being held, and the analysis of emerging problems shows the importance of a personal factor in history. The result of negotiations could not be so considerable without active efforts of Dolgorukov and his determination to make independent initiative decisions in difficult situations. The author shows the major factors which detained the entry of Denmark into the anti-Swedish alliance – starting with a position of the Danish government and the Danish elite and to the influence of the current international situation. The interrelation and interference of two largest conflicts of that time, the War of the Spanish Inheritance and the Great Northern War, are under analysis. The participants of “the Spanish war”–the sea powers England and Holland followed the developed antagonism in the northeast of Europe, but also actively interfered with its course that significantly complicated the realization of the tasks set by Dolgorukov. Some additional obstacles were created - on the one hand, the overestimated expectations of the Danish government, and on the other hand,the limitation of Russian resources enduring an acute financial crisis. In connection with it, minimization of monetary subsidies to the Danish party, and whenever possible, its replacement with other types of help became one of the main tasks of Dolgorukov. Hindrances were created by an inappropriate activity of hired Russian diplomats abroad (in particular, the baron Ubrikh promising the overestimated sum of subsidies). The author shows that the Russian party managed to intercept an initiative in the negotiations and use the blunders of Danes. They sent their own representative Yust Yul too late. He was actually excluded from negotiations, in which the Russian ambassador in Copenhagen began to play the major role. Despite the short period of his diplomatic career and a lack of diplomatic experience, Dolgorukov managed to use the situation, that promptly changed after Poltava, and the desire of Danes to use immediately current situation for the fight against the weakened Sweden. As a result, he managed to reach the agreement of a military alliance with minimum concessions and minimum expenditure from Russia. Dolgorukov’s contribution to the fast restoration of the anti-Swedish coalition in 1709 was quite powerful and demonstrated the productivity of Peter the Great’s policy on the formation of diplomatic corps in the form of continuous missions abroad.


Key words: Peter I, Frederick IV, Vasily Dolgorukov, Great Northern War, Denmark-Russia alliance.


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