Adashev, Aleksei

Adashev, Aleksei Fedorovich


Died 1561. Russian statesman.

Adashev came from the Kostroma nobility, who were related to the Moscow boyars. From the late 1540’s, he was one of the government leaders of the Izbrannaia Rada (Selected Council), which effected major reforms aimed at strengthening centralized power. Adashev was an okol’nichii (a government officer), the head of the Prikaz (Office) of Petitions, and a postel’nichii (bed chamberlain), handling Ivan IV’s personal records and guarding the seal “for pressing and secret affairs.” In addition to directing the compilation of the official discharge book and “his majesty’s genealogy,” he edited materials of the official chronicle—Chronicler of the Beginning of the Reign.

Adashev advocated an active foreign policy toward the Tatar khanates and supervised the diplomatic preparations for annexing the Kazan and Astrakhan khanates. He directed the engineering work during the siege of Kazan in 1552. With I. M. Viskovatyi, Adashev conducted the diplomatic preparations for the Livonian war of 1558–83 and handled Russian foreign relations in the first years of the conflict. He promoted the conclusion of a truce unfavorable to Russia with Livonia in 1559. In May 1560 he was sent to Livonia as a voevoda (military governor). Adashev opposed the subsequent continuation of the war and also the increased inflence of the Zakhar’in family, who were relatives of the tsaritsa. This opposition may have caused his fall from favor. In 1560 he was imprisoned under guard in Iur’ev (Tartu), where he died.


Smirnov, I.I. Ocherki politicheskoi istorii Russkogo gosudarstva 30–50 gg. XVI v. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
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Shmidt, S. O. “Pravitel’stvennaia deiatel’nost’ A. F. Adasheva.” Uch. Zap. MGU, 1954, issue 167.
Shmidt, S. O. “Vostochnaia politika Rossii nakanune ‘Kazanskogo vziatia.’ “ In Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia: Politika: Diplomatiia XVl-XXvv. Moscow, 1964. (Collection of articles commemorating the 80th anniversary of Academician I. M. Maiskii.)