The Russians played a fatal role in the fate of several of its restless neighbors, claim to the lands of Russia and its influence on a considerable part of the Old world.
Russia, restoring and multiplying the power Drevnerusskogo of the state, repeatedly found itself on the verge of death and could easily become a war trophy for their powerful and ambitious neighbors. But it never happened. And the neighbours who dared to enter into confrontation with our country, then bitterly regretted it, lamenting their former power.
In the beginning of the second Millennium of our era of a unified Lithuanian state did not exist. Disparate tribal alliances Samogitians, Lithuanian Yatvingians and gemglow began to unite only in the XIII century by the efforts of Duke Mindaugas, who headed the then unified state. By this time, the representatives of the Lithuanian nobility through dynastic marriages already controlled the old Russian Principality of Polotsk. Mindaugas, without thinking, annexed much of the territory of modern Belarus to the young Lithuanian state. So is Lithuania, most likely, even before the Mongol-Tatars, was the first who received large benefits from the disintegration of Russia.
Later Lithuania, taking advantage of the suppression of the Rurik dynasty on the Western line, took another and Volyn. When Muscovy has increased enough to qualify for the Western Russian lands, the Grand Duke Jogaila decided to get rid of “legal heirs”, agreeing on a joint trip to Moscow with the Horde Temnik Mamai. But not yet. Mom, as you know, was defeated in the battle of Kulikovo. And he Jagiello with his mother Juliana swore allegiance to Dmitry Donskoy and asked for him in the family, offering himself as groom to the daughter of the winner of Mamaia. Of course, recognizing the Supreme authority of Moscow over Lithuania. But in less than a year, as his position has changed. Jagiello converted to Catholicism and married the Polish Princess Jadwiga, concluding with Poland the Union of Krewo. And his cousin Vytautas defeated the Tartars in the South and the Teutons in the West, extending the power of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the Baltic to the Black sea and turning it into one of the largest and most powerful States of Europe.
That’s just great Lithuanian princes were well aware that sooner or later, Rurik can try to recover their land, and it did not give them rest. That is why in Lithuanian documents under the de facto ban was the name “Russia” which the officials and clergy of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania began to replace the notorious term “Muscovy”, a favorite century later Russophobia. Exactly, a few naive way Lithuanians wanted to show the lack of continuity between Kievan Rus and Russia with the capital in Moscow. But terminological casuistry Grand Duchy of Lithuania could not save.
In the XVI century Lithuania, intervening in the Livonian war, was severely bit by the Russian troops, and lost even Polotsk. The success of the Russian arms decided the fate of the Duchy of Lithuania. In order to be saved from a complete rout, Lithuania rushed for protection to Poland, and in 1569, in accordance with the Lublin Union to voluntarily give up their independence and became part of state of the Commonwealth. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania as a state has ceased to exist. For centuries Lithuania came under the rule of foreign monarchs to be reborn in the twentieth century, the small Republic, which has preserved only the memory of past greatness, and remained rather cool attitude to Russia.
Moscow, the Livonian war eventually lost, and then was forced to open its gates to foreign invaders, but the story was already dealing with the Commonwealth, in which the first violin played the poles.
Having arisen synchronously with Russia and having together with her the brunt of feudal fragmentation, as well as knowing the bitterness of numerous defeats and foreign domination, the Polish state was revived in the fourteenth century and immediately started to grab everything that wasn’t nailed down in the neighborhood. A bad lay, at that time, the land of Galicia-Volyn Principality, they are very fast and came under Polish rule.
In the XVI century Lithuania, in fact, obey the poles, following the Union of Lublin, brought them a rich dowry, a large part of the lands of modern Ukraine and Belarus. However, with the purchase of the poles and the Lithuanian passed on to the fear that the Russians will sooner or later unable to take the territory back. The conquest of Russia became for the poles a kind of obsession.
Defeating the Livonian war and repulsed the Russian Lithuanians lost land, Poland has not calmed down. Taking advantage of internal disorders in the time of Troubles, the poles holding up the banner of the first false Dmitry, and then the king’s son Vladislav, tried to clean up Russia. And this they did. In Moscow in 1610 entered the Polish garrison, and Russian-speaking Orthodox population of the Commonwealth, the poles have limited the rights of ecclesiastical Union, but also in political and economic spheres.
But in 1612-m Russian people rose. People’s militia led by Minin and Pozharsky drove the poles from China-town and forced the surrender of the Polish garrison of the Kremlin. From that moment, the proud Polish nobles all just started to fall from his hands. Their attempts to return to Russia was not successful, and dissatisfied with the Polish pans, the Cossacks and other Orthodox inhabitants of the Dnieper raised one rebellion after another until Bogdan Khmelnitsky did not drive out the poles with a considerable part of the territory of modern Ukraine. This success secured the Russian troops, which, despite the death of Khmelnytsky and betrayal on the part of the Cossack, drove back the poles of the Dnieper.
Since then, the Commonwealth lasted more than a hundred years, but from year to year it is becoming more dependent on Russia. By the middle of the XVIII century St. Petersburg is actively influenced the election of the Polish monarchs and calmly walked through the lands of the Commonwealth troops, and tried to get to living under the rule of Warsaw Orthodox equal rights with Catholics. Nationalist poles raised in response to this revolt, creating in 1768 bar Confederation. However, it was defeated by Alexander Suvorov.
The revolt of the poles gave a good excuse to punish them. In 1772 Russia, Austria and Prussia made the first partition of Poland, depriving Poland of a number of outlying areas. In the second partition in 1793 Russia moved once seized by Lithuania lands of Russia and Prussia, populated by ethnic poles North-Western Poland. In 1794, the poles again revolted under the leadership of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, which is also crushed Alexander Suvorov. So, the nobles finally exhausted the credit of confidence, and in 1795 Russia, Austria and Prussia divided the remnants of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth among themselves. The participation of the poles in the Napoleonic wars on the side of France led to a new division of the Polish lands at the Congress of Vienna, the results of which formed the Kingdom of Poland with its center in Warsaw under the rule of the Russian monarch. The independence of the poles regained already in the twentieth century, but the “Rzeczpospolita from mozha to mozha” has become a pipe dream. Every attempt of Poland to grab a piece of the Russian pie miraculously led to exactly the opposite result. And today, the Polish right, urging Poland to a new confrontation with Russia, would do well to think about this amazing twist of fate.
Now this may seem unbelievable, but Sweden was one of the most powerful States of Europe, which for over a hundred years really threaten Russia. The star of Sweden already once set in the Middle ages – the Viking era the Northern Kingdom weakened, lost influence and found themselves in subjection to the Danish king. But already in the sixteenth century, the Swedes regained its independence and took the first overseas territory in Estonia.
In the XVII century for the descendants of the Vikings began the second moment. In Troubled times, they competed with poles for influence on the Russian Kingdom. And soon after that, very successfully participated in the Thirty years war and fought with half of Europe in the great Northern war 1655-1660 years standing in Warsaw and depriving the Danes of skåne.
Due to military victories of Sweden held in subjection the whole of Northern and Central Europe. Capturing a large part of the Baltic and the estuaries of all major rivers in Germany, the Swedes turned the Baltic sea into their inland sea, and received privileges in the North Atlantic.
At the end of the XVII century in Sweden appeared economic problems, but the country was distracted by the young king Charles XII, inspired compatriots military triumphs and diplomatic achievements. Disposing of the coalition of Russia, Poland, Denmark, Saxony and Norway, Charles XII probably felt the most powerful monarch in the world. But the Swedish iceberg was defeated by a Russian icebreaker.
After a few local victories of the Russian army enraged Carl decided to punish “the presumptuous Muscovites” and in 1708 moved troops to Russia. But the inhabitants of White and little Russia, despite the promises made to Karl defectors like former Petrovsky Hetman Mazepa, was not inclined to meet the invaders with open arms, and either closed them behind the walls of cities, or fled into the forests, taking with them the supplies. The king ordered the plunder and burning Russian towns and villages. In the spring of 1709 he unsuccessfully besieged Poltava, and it was under its walls in fate, perhaps all over Europe there was a sharp change.
In June of Poltava with the main forces of the Russian army arrived Peter I. the Russian Tsar had an advantage over the enemy in manpower and artillery. Against 37 thousand Swedes and their allies, which had 41 gun, he has collected about 60 thousand army, who had 300 guns.
Charles XII made a bet on the force of impact of his choicest infantry and heavy cavalry, and surprise, hoping to overturn the Russian army during the night of the attack. And – lost. The Swedes didn’t fall for the offensive and attacked the Russian position at dawn under the fierce rifle and artillery fire. Even surpassing the Russian army after the bayonet attack, soldiers of Karl achieved nothing. Peter the great inspired shelves personal appearance and personally led them into battle, turned the Swedes into a rout. In the hands of the Russian left 137 Swedish banners and standards. Captive Swedish generals of the Russian Tsar respected, inviting them into their tent for a celebratory feast, where he returned to the Supreme command of the army of the enemy sword.
King Charles XII, realizing that the war was lost, threw the remnants of his army, and fled across the Dnieper river to take refuge in the realm of the Turkish Sultan. The whole Swedish army, which included about 16 thousand soldiers, officers and non-combatants, surrendered at discretion. In the battle she lost more than nine thousand people were killed, against 1345 people killed on the Russian side.
The battle of Poltava was one of the most momentous in world history. The army, considered the strongest in Europe, and aspired to the conquest of virtually all of its neighbors, was broken. Sweden had relied on hegemony in Northern and Central Europe, one day became small and lost all international influence the country.
Carl tried to return his country to its former glory, inciting to all-out war against Russia to Turkey, but this and did not succeed. Back in Sweden, he tried to rehabilitate himself, getting involved in a war with the Danes, but was killed under mysterious until the end circumstances – whether a stray bullet of the enemy, whether, realized that the king for his military adventurism is pushing Sweden to the brink.
The history of the Ottoman Empire is the story of perhaps the most stunning rise and tragic extinction of the great powers. Founded in the XIII century on part of the lands of the former possessions of the Byzantine Empire in Asia Minor, the Ottoman Port in about three hundred years became the most powerful state on Earth.
In the XVI century, the Ottoman banners have evolved not only over Asia Minor, but also on the Balkans, almost all of North Africa, Arabia, the Levant, the Caucasus and Western Persia. Vassals of the Turkish sultans became the Crimean Tatar khans. The black sea to the Ottomans was internal, and in the Mediterranean – they felt themselves absolute masters. For the Germans the Turks are terrified and even twice took the siege of Vienna. Of the raids on Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Tartars were driven to the millions of prisoners, which are then sold in the slave markets of his Turkish overlords.
The Russian government stood by the Ottomans as a bone in the throat. Ivan dared to join the Moscow power Turkic khanate and the Caucasian principalities which the Sultan has already seen his vassals. For the Russian offense was being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. Taking advantage of the fact that after signing the Union of Lublin, the Livonian war was for Russia not the best way, the Tatars in 1571 came into the foray to Moscow, and a year later, having received from the Turkish Sultan seven squad chosen Janissaries, the Crimean Khan Devlet Giray moved to conquer Russia.
However, Russian generals Mikhail Vorotynsky and Dmitry Twigs, going to the rear of the Turkish-Tatar troops and imposing their own style of fighting near the Russian mobile fortress “Polye”, in the end, was able utterly to defeat the intruders. So, Russia has not become a Turkish possession.
After the time of Troubles in Russia and Turkey became crowded on the same continent. For two hundred years Russian and Turkish troops met in battle ten times. And only once all this time Turkey was able to emerge from the war victorious – defeating the Russian army in the Prut campaign of Peter I.
Since the second half of the XVIII century, the situation of the Ottoman Empire was disastrous. Russian troops drove the Turks from the Northern black sea, Crimea and Bessarabia. In the early nineteenth century, Russia withdrew the coast of the Caucasus. In 1853 – 1856 the Turks tried to take revenge, landed in the Crimea with the British, the French and the Sardinians, but it didn’t do the Port any good. On the contrary, in St. Petersburg established in the intention to oust the Turks in Asia. At the end of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877 – 1878 the Ottoman Empire actually left Europe, retaining only a small plot of land on the shores of the Bosphorus.
Port failed what its power was based primarily on cruelty and violence. Subdued force Nations automatically became allies of Russia, for centuries turned into the main enemy of the Ottoman Empire. The liberation campaign of the Russian army in the Balkans became one of the most striking examples of international altruism and self-sacrifice in the name of humanism and Slavic brotherhood, who scored the nail in the coffin of Ottoman Imperial expansion…
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The four great powers, whose dominion extends far beyond the territories inhabited by representatives of the titular nation, whose armies terrified the neighbors, stumbled and tried to aim a blow at Russia, and has turned the outcome of the struggle our ancestors in a small nation-state, which now only make films and write books about the past greatness. The story itself proves that the best way of interaction with Russian – is peaceful coexistence.