FANDOM


Russian Ambassdors in Poland (1763-1795) were among the most important characters in the politics of Poland. Their powers went far beyond the those of most diplomats and can be compared to those of viceroys in the colonies of Spanish Empire, or Roman Republic's proconsuls in Roman provinces. During most of that period ambassadors and envoys from the Russian Empire, acting on the instructions from Saint Petersburg, held a de facto position superior to that of the Polish king, Stanisław August Poniatowski. Backed by the presence of the Russian army within the borders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and leveraging the immense wealth of the Russian Empire, they were able to influence both the king and the Polish parliament, the Sejm. According to their demands, the king dispensed the Commonwealth offices among the Russian supporters, and the Sejm, bribed or threatened, voted as the Russians dictated. The agenda of the Permanent Council (Polish government) was edited and approved by the Russian ambassador, and the members of the Council were approved by him.

Their power was also seen in many aspects of the daily life, especially in the Polish capital of Warsaw: for example, a performance in the theatre would be delayed until the Russian ambassador arrived, even if the Polish king himself was present. In another incident, a Russian ambassador who arrived late in the theatre, with the Polish king again present, demanded that the spectacle should be restarted. Eventually this forceful expression of Russian diplomacy, backed by the military might of the Empire, and despite a few setbacks like the Bar Confederation, Constitution of May 3, 1791 and Kościuszko Uprising, achieved its goal of expanding Russian control over most of the Commonwealth territory and population.