Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of History

Committee Chair

Robert Greene

Commitee Members

Mehrdad Kia, Ardi Kia


Russia, Eighteenth Century, Anna Ivanovna, Ernst Biron, Russo-Turkish War


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Diplomatic History | European History | History of Religion | Islamic World and Near East History | Public History


The reign of Russian empress Anna Ivanovna (1730-1740) has been known primarily for disproportionate “German” influence, Anna’s refusing the “conditions” imposed by the supposedly backward-looking noble faction that engineered her succession, and unflattering court spectacle. Religion and foreign policy have received relatively little attention. Meanwhile, the formalization of Anglo-Russian diplomatic and trade relations during Anna’s reign has been seen as the triumph of “modern” nobility who rose as a result of the Petrine reforms. Examination of the concomitant diplomatic relations has focused on the strategies and personalities of Anna’s “German” advisers and portrays Russia as dependent. Finally, the Russo-Turkish War of 1736-39, if mentioned at all, is generally seen as a humiliating defeat.

This study reveals the “Lutheran Yoke” as an aspect of the infamous “German Yoke,” in the context of ongoing integration of Lutheran Baltic German elites whose territories were annexed during Peter I’s reign. Religion had been a divisive issue within and without Russia when Peter’s church reforms were criticized as “Lutheran” by clergy with roots in Kiev and sympathetic to Catholic doctrine. 1730s Russia remained a locus of interdenominational cross-fertilization and conflict, integrated into confessional struggles across Europe.

Russia did not overcome backwardness to enter into the Anglo-Russian Commercial Treaty of 1734. Nor did the British carry off a diplomatic coup by forcing Russia to move forward without a reciprocal defensive alliance. Rather, after the resolution of decades of Jacobite/Hanoverian and strategic struggle that strained relations, Russia used the Anglo-Russian Commercial Treaty of 1734 as leverage to secure the British/Dutch mediation that allowed it to remove troops from Poland during the War of the Polish Succession.

Though some attribute religious motivations to the Russo-Turkish war of 1736-39, nearly all historians consider control of the Crimea and Black Sea the objective.British correspondence reveals Russia’s additional motivation to maintain the Caucasian isthmus as a buffer and trade zone. The Treaty of Belgrade (1739), disallowing Russia from fortifying Azov or sailing its own ships on the Black Sea, appears less humiliating when we recognize that Russia continued to benefit from Persian trade without the expense of occupation.



© Copyright 2015 Kyeann Sayer