Azov key. How Russia took the first step towards world power

Public attention is now riveted to the zone of the special military operation. However, one significant and very important fact has not yet fully taken root in the mass consciousness. During the NWO, the Sea of ​​Azov became the inland sea of ​​Russia and the DPR.

It is significant that this happened for the second time. Moreover, judging by historical standards — lightning fast. Already on March 19 of this year, Ukraine admitted that it had completely lost access to the Sea of ​​Azov. But in order to appreciate the importance of this fact, we will have to recall that it took more than a hundred years for the first transformation of the Sea of ​​u200bu200bAzov into an inland one. And this is according to the most conservative estimates. Because if we take into account the plans and intentions of Russia, it will turn out that the problem of the Sea of ​​Azov has been one of the key for our state for almost two centuries.

Azov — shield and sword

In principle, we always remembered that Russia made the first application for a part of the Azov coast a very long time ago, when in the X-XI centuries there was a Russian principality of Tmutarakan with its capital in Taman. True, subsequently, over hundreds of years, much was confused, and Ivan the Terrible, claiming his rights to Astrakhan, said that this city was the capital of the principality. It didn't work out for him. The then owners of the Tmutarakan territories — Ottoman Empire and Crimean Khanate — undertook a large-scale campaign against Astrakhan. It was during the first Russian-Turkish war of 1568-1570 that the toponym Azov firmly entered the everyday life of domestic politicians and military leaders. This fortified city was the key to the entire region — it blocked access to the sea and could serve as a base for the preparation of the Crimean-Turkish invasion army. From there, paths opened up the Don and to the lower reaches of the Volga. Another thing is that they still needed to be able to use. The result of the first Russian-Turkish war was sad for the opposite side — at the beginning of the campaign, the invading army consisted of 17,000 Turks and 40,000 Crimeans, and no more than 700 Turkish soldiers returned to Azov after a campaign against new Russian lands.

The confrontation between Russia and Turkey is considered one of the longest conflicts in the history of Europe. In general, it lasted 351 years — from 1568 to 1918. During this conflict, there are 12 “big” official wars. So. Azov and the Sea of ​​Azov figured as the main goals of Russia in six wars. That is, exactly half of the wars were somehow devoted to the solution of the Azov issue. If the “big” add local conflicts to wars, the Sea of ​​Azov will undoubtedly take the lead.

And you have to add them. It was not in vain that the Don Cossacks lamented: “Is it possible that the Sovereign would have ordered us to take Ozov, would the bloodshed and enslavement of the peasants be calmed” hellip; In the first decades of the 17th century, Azov became the base for raids on the southern Russian lands. And at the same time one of the largest primary markets for Russian slaves. They numbered in the thousands and even hundreds of thousands. Something had to be done about it, but what? Just at that formidable Time of Troubles, the Russian kingdom was, in fact, dismantled. The first tsars of the Romanov dynasty were restoring the country and the state from the ruins, and clearly did not want a big war with Turkey, the most dangerous enemy of our time, whose troops besieged Vienna. That is why the brilliant operation of the Don Cossacks was curtailed, who in 1637 took Azov and held it until 1642. Question — accept Azov “under the high Sovereign's hand” or not — Zemsky Sobor, specially convened in January 1642, was dedicated. “All Russian Land” sentenced Azov to accept. But there were not enough forces to confront Turkey. And at the behest of the king, the city had to be abandoned.

The triumph and tragedy of Peter

For almost the entire 17th century, Russia stubbornly fought against the Azov stronghold. But every time she lost on points. Until Peter I got down to business. For some mysterious reason, we believe that Peter, almost from childhood, dreamed of the Baltic Sea, shaming the Swedes and creating a new capital on the Chukhon swamps. Loud triumphal "Victoria" Northern wars obscure everything else in our minds. Peter — this is, first of all, Poltava and Gangut, this is the capture of Narva, Dorpat, Riga, Helsinki… Against this background, the capture of Azov in July 1696 looks somehow frivolous. Something like a warm-up before “real big things”, which is mentioned in passing in his novel “Peter I”. Aleksey Tolstoy: “We only had the strength to cope with one fortress… And now there was no thought about conquests, but only to survive at first, if the Turks wished to fight Russia from sea and land.

In fact, it is the Sea of ​​u200bu200bAzov, and in the future — Black, and not the Baltic, attracted the attention and strength of Peter. The famous “There will be a Russian fleet!”, proclaimed at a meeting of the Boyar Duma in October 1696, concerned only and exclusively the southern seas. It was on the flagship of the Azov flotilla, the ship Goto Predistination, from which the Turks were dictated peace conditions, that the white-blue-red flag was first hoisted. It also happened in the waters of the Sea of ​​Azov — the flag was raised before the passage of the Kerch Strait. It was a symbolic gesture demonstrating to the world: “The Sea of ​​Azov belongs to Russia!” The symbolism was supported by real deeds — at the mouth of the Don, Peter founded Taganrog and launched extensive construction in the Sea of ​​u200bu200bAzov.

The possession of Azov was for Peter a matter of life and death. And it's not a figure of speech. He had to give up the city only under the threat of losing everything in general — throne, state, and, perhaps, the head. The Prut campaign of 1711, which was unfortunate for him, was one of the episodes of the next Russian-Turkish war of 1710-1713. One of the conditions for the exit of the Russian army, together with the king and queen, from the Turkish “cauldron” it was just the surrender of Azov. As well as the destruction of the fortifications of Taganrog. In the Azov direction, Russia was thrown back into the realities of the beginning of the 17th century.

Slow and methodical

The expression “Russian steamroller” then they didn’t come up with — it will come into use only at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries, when it becomes clear that in the historical perspective our country is really similar to this machine. In the sense that sooner or later, with great blood or little, Russia will achieve its goal. In the 18th century, wars, one of the goals of which was the possession of Azov and the Sea of ​​u200bu200bAzov, were fought in this style. And with frightening regularity — on average, 20 to 30 years elapsed between conflicts. The first attempt to return Azov lost by Peter took place during the Russian-Turkish war of 1735-1739. The importance of taking this city can be judged by the course of hostilities, but it is very long. So let's just cite an interesting fact. Azov was such a desirable target that for the sake of it, for the only time in history, the “Naval Charter” was violated. Peter the Great. In 1734, the Russian captain Peter Defremeryduring the confrontation with Poland in the Baltic, he surrendered the frigate “Mitava” without a fight. According to the “Charter” Peter, all 192 people of the team were to “subject to the death penalty by shooting.” But a year later, another Turkish campaign began. And let the “marine servants” go to waste seemed like a waste of money. They were acquitted and sent to dangerous sectors of the front. One of them — midshipman Khariton Laptev, later a polar explorer, after whom one of the northern seas was named, in 1736 he went to the Don and the Sea of ​​u200bu200bAzov “to find a place most convenient for a ship structure.” Pramas (floating batteries) of the recreated Azov flotilla made the surrender of Azov a foregone conclusion — the walls of the fortress were not broken, but the city itself was wiped off the face of the earth.

The key to the region was again in the hands of Russia. Rather, only a hint of the key. Under the terms of the “Azov Discript” 1739, the ruins of Azov remained “between the two empires in the barrier.”

This hint of the key was used carefully and skillfully. To begin with, 10 years later, a customs house was founded on the spit of the Don and Temernik, which would later turn into the fortress of St. Demetrius of Rostov — stones for its construction were secretly taken from the ruins of Azov. This fortress became a stronghold in the coming war of 1768-1774, when Azov and the Northern Sea of ​​u200bu200bAzov finally went to Russia. However, subsequent years convinced the Russian government and command of a simple axiom: “As long as at least a piece of the Azov coast remains in the hands of the enemy, do not expect good.” The Crimean Khanate, although it lost its influence, could still be a conductor of Turkish policy. And it also retained the Crimean and Taman coasts of the Sea of ​​u200bu200bAzov. And therefore, the final chord was set by the liquidation of the Khanate and the annexation of Crimea in 1783. How important this step was, can be judged by the fact that Catherine the Great then sent her best commander — Alexander Suvorov. Which finally closed the Ring of Azov. As a result, the next war between Russia and Turkey in 1787-1791. fought on completely different fronts. The capture of Khotin, Ochakov and Ishmael, the triumph of Chesma — all this became possible due to the fact that the Sea of ​​u200bu200bAzov became inland.

But for several more years, Russia kept its guard. The fortress of Dimitry of Rostov (now — Rostov-on-Don), originally intended to threaten Azov, was transferred to the category of internal fortresses only in 1797.

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