Our Notes & References
Relations between Russia and the Ottoman Empire were strained -to say the least- during the second half of the 18th century. Inbetween two wars, a shared use of the Black Sea had to be negotiated and resulted in the present treaty.
Printed in St. Petersburg in Russian and Ottoman Turkish and divided into 81 articles, the treaty stipulated general conditions of trade in order to foster productive collaboration between Ottoman and Russian merchants. At the same time, this agreement intended to consolidate the Russian position in the area, allowing free passage for Russian merchants in the Black Sea, the Danube, and everywhere else in the Ottoman land under the protection of the Porte.
From the Russian side, the treaty was signed by Iakov Bulgakov who was a Russian envoy to the Ottoman Porte since 1781, after having been a member of Nikolai Repnin’s earlier embassy to Constantinople in 1776 (Bulgakov published an illustrated account of this embassy, in Russian in 1777).
In April 1783, a few months before this treaty was signed, a Russian manifesto announced the annexation of Crimea, Taman and the Kuban Tatars to Russia, a late consequence of Russia’s victory in the 1768-74 war. Various tools were used to delay the start of another war, including Bulgakov’s commercial treaty to delay it, and in December the Sultan was forced to recognise Russian annexations as a formal act. A new Russo-Turkish war started however in 1787.