Historians do not know exactly when Ivan Viskovaty was born. The first mention of him refers to 1542, when this clerk wrote a letter of conciliation with the Kingdom of Poland. Viskovaty was quite thin, he belonged to a noble family that had little to no reputation. He built his career thanks to his own diligence, natural talents and the intercession of patrons. Contemporaries described him as an extremely eloquent person. The ability of a speaker was very important for a diplomat, so it is not surprising that over time, Ivan Viskovaty headed the Ambassadorial Order (the prototype of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
Until the middle of the 16th century, the entire diplomatic system of the Russian state was built around the Grand Duke. He could delegate some powers on an individual basis, but there was no state institution.
The state of affairs in the Moscow diplomacy of that time can be judged from the entries in the embassy books. They say that, starting in 1549, Ivan the Terrible, who had recently been crowned king, ordered Viskovaty to accept importedforeign delegations official letters. At the same time, the official's first foreign trips began. In the same 1549, he went to the Nogais and the ruler of Astrakhan, Derbysh.
At the head of the Ambassadorial Order
Compared to his colleagues, Ivan Viskovaty was also distinguished by his low rank. He was just a pick up. Ivan the Terrible, appreciating Viskovaty's abilities, equated him with other more eminent diplomats - Fyodor Mishurin and Menshik Putyanin. So the nobleman became a deacon. In the same 1549, Ivan Viskovaty was suddenly appointed head of the diplomatic department. He became the first official of this kind in national history.
From that moment on, Viskovaty began vigorous activity, which for the most part amounted to meetings with numerous foreign delegations. Ambassadors from the Nogai Horde, Lithuania, Poland, Kazan, Denmark, Germany, etc. came to the clerk. The unique status of Viskovaty was emphasized by the fact that he received high-ranking guests in person. For such meetings there was a special deacon's hut. Ivan the Terrible himself mentioned her in his letters.
Duties of a diplomat
In addition to meetings with ambassadors, Ivan Viskovaty was in charge of their correspondence with the tsar and the Boyar Duma. The clerk was present at all preliminary negotiations. In addition, he organized Russian embassies abroad.
During the meetings of the tsar with the delegations, Viskovaty Ivan Mikhailovich kept the minutes of the negotiations, and his notes were later included in the official annals. In addition, the emperor instructedhim the management of his own archive. This fount contained unique documents: various decrees of Moscow and other specific princes, genealogies, papers of a foreign policy nature, investigative materials, government office work.
Custodian of the State Archives
The person who kept track of the royal archive had to have a huge responsibility. It was under Viskovat that this repository was reorganized into a separate institution. The head of the Embassy Prikaz had to work hard with papers from the archive, because without them it was impossible to make inquiries about relations with other states and organize meetings with foreign delegates.
In 1547, Moscow experienced a terrible fire, which contemporaries called "great". The archive was also damaged in the fire. Taking care of him and restoring valuable documents have become Viskovaty's paramount task from the very beginning of his tenure as head of the diplomatic department.
Under the protection of the Zakharyins
The prosperous bureaucratic fate of Ivan Viskovaty was successful not only thanks to his own diligence. Behind him were powerful patrons who took care of and helped their protégé. These were the Zakharyins, relatives of Ivan the Terrible's first wife, Anastasia. Their rapprochement was facilitated by the conflict that broke out in the Kremlin in 1553. The young king became seriously ill, and his entourage was seriously afraid for the life of the sovereign. Viskovaty Ivan Mikhailovich suggested that the crown bearer draw up a spiritual testament. According toAccording to this document, power in the event of the death of Ivan Vasilyevich was supposed to pass to his six-month-old son Dmitry.
In a situation of uncertainty about the future, Grozny's relatives, the Staritskys (including his cousin Vladimir Andreevich, who claimed power), fearing the excessive strengthening of the enemy boyar clan, began to intrigue against the Zakharyins. As a result, half of the court did not swear allegiance to the young Dmitry. Until the last, even the closest adviser to the tsar, Alexei Adashev, hesitated. But Viskovaty remained on the side of Dmitry (that is, the Zakharyins), for which they were always grateful to him. After some time, the king recovered. All the boyars, who did not want to support the claims of Dmitry, turned out to be a black mark.
The Sovereign's Eye
In the middle of the XVI century, the main direction of Russia's foreign policy was the east. In 1552 Grozny annexed Kazan, and in 1556 Astrakhan. At court, Alexei Adashev was the main supporter of the advance to the east. Viskovaty, although he accompanied the tsar in his Kazan campaign, de alt with Western affairs with much greater zeal. It was he who stood at the origins of the emergence of diplomatic contacts between Russia and England. Muscovy (as it was called in Europe at that time) did not have access to the B altic, so sea trade with the Old World was carried out through Arkhangelsk, which freezes in winter. In 1553, the English navigator Richard Chancellor arrived there.
In the future, the merchant visited Russia several more times. Each of his visits was accompanied by a traditional meeting with Ivan Viskovaty.The head of the Posolsky Prikaz met with Chancellor in the company of the most influential and we althy Russian merchants. It was, of course, about trade. The British sought to become monopolists in the Russian market, full of goods unique to Europeans. Important negotiations, where these issues were discussed, were carried out by Ivan Viskovaty. In the history of relations between the two countries, their first trade agreement played a fundamentally important and long-term role.
Viscovaty and England
Merchants from Foggy Albion received a preferential letter full of all sorts of privileges. They opened their own representative offices in several Russian cities. Moscow merchants also received the unique right to trade in Britain without duties.
Free entry into Russia was open to English craftsmen, artisans, artists and doctors. It was Ivan Viskovaty who made a huge contribution to the emergence of such beneficial relations between the two powers. The fate of his agreements with the British turned out to be extremely successful: they lasted until the second half of the 17th century.
Supporter of the Livonian War
The lack of own B altic ports and the desire to enter Western European markets pushed Ivan the Terrible to start a war against the Livonian Order, located on the territory of modern Estonia and Latvia. By that time, the best era of the knights was left behind. Their military organization was in serious decline, and the Russian Tsar, not without reason, believed that he would be able to conquer the important B altic cities with relative ease: Riga, Dorpat,Revel, Yuriev, Pernavu. In addition, the knights themselves provoked the conflict by not letting European merchants, craftsmen and goods into Russia. The regular war began in 1558 and dragged on for 25 years.
The Livonian issue split the tsar's close associates into two parties. The first circle was headed by Adashev. His supporters believed that it was necessary first of all to increase their pressure on the southern Tatar khanates and the Ottoman Empire. Ivan Viskovaty and other boyars took the opposite view. They were in favor of continuing the war in the B altics to the bitter end.
Fiasco in the B altics
At the first stage of the conflict with the knights, everything went exactly as Ivan Viskovaty wanted. The biography of this diplomat is an example of a politician who made the right decisions every time. And now the head of the Ambassadorial order guessed right. The Livonian Order was quickly defeated. The castles of the knights surrendered one by one. It seemed that the B altics were already in your pocket.
However, the successes of Russian weapons seriously alarmed neighboring Western states. Poland, Lithuania, Denmark and Sweden also claimed the Livonian inheritance and were not going to give the entire B altic to Grozny. At first, the European powers tried to stop the war, which was unprofitable for them, through diplomacy. Embassies rushed to Moscow. Met them, as expected, Ivan Viskovaty. The photo of this diplomat has not been preserved, but even without knowing his appearance and habits, we can safely assume that he skillfully defended the interests of his sovereign. Head of the Ambassadorial Orderconsistently refused Western crafty mediation in the conflict with the Livonian Order. Further victories of the Russian army in the B altics led to the fact that the frightened Poland and Lithuania united into one state - the Commonwe alth. A new player in the international arena openly opposed Russia. Soon, Sweden also declared war on Grozny. The Livonian war dragged on, and all the successes of Russian weapons were nullified. True, the second half of the conflict passed without the participation of Viskovaty. By this time, he had already become a victim of repression by his own king.
The conflict between Grozny and the boyars began in 1560, when his first wife Anastasia suddenly died. Evil tongues spread rumors about her poisoning. Gradually, the king became suspicious, paranoid and fearful of betrayal seized him. These phobias intensified when Andrei Kurbsky, the closest adviser to the monarch, fled abroad. The first heads flew in Moscow.
Boyars were imprisoned or executed on the most dubious denunciations and slanders. Ivan Viskovaty, who caused envy of many competitors, was also in the queue for reprisal. A brief biography of the diplomat, however, suggests that he managed to avoid the wrath of his sovereign for a relatively long time.
In 1570, against the backdrop of defeats in Livonia, Grozny and his guardsmen decided to go on a campaign against Novgorod, whose inhabitants they suspected of treason and sympathy for foreign enemies. Afterbloodshed, the sad fate of Ivan Viskovaty was also decided. In short, the repressive machine could not stop on its own. Having begun terror against his own boyars, Grozny needed more and more traitors and traitors. And although no documents have been preserved to our time that would explain how the decision about Viskovaty was made, it can be assumed that he was slandered by the new favorites of the tsar: guardsmen Malyuta Skuratov and Vasily Gryaznoy.
Shortly before that, the nobleman was removed from the leadership of the Embassy order. In addition, once Ivan Viskovaty openly tried to stand up for the terrorized boyars. In response to the exhortations of the diplomat, Grozny burst into an angry tirade. Viskovaty was executed on July 25, 1570. He was accused of treacherous ties with the Crimean Khan and the Polish king.