Afanasii Lavrentevich Ordin-Nashchokin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ordin-Nashchokin, Afanasii Lavrent’evich


Born circa 1605; died circa 1680 in Pskov. Russian statesman, military leader, diplomat, and economist.

The son of a Pskov dvorianin (member of the nobility or gentry), Ordin-Nashchokin was raised in Opochka and received a good education, which included foreign languages, mathematics, and rhetoric. He began his military service in 1622 in Pskov and his diplomatic career in the early 1640’s. During the Russo-Swedish war of 1656–58 he took part in the assault on Vitebsk and in the Dinaburg campaign, and he led the assault on Drissa. In 1656 he signed a treaty of friendship and alliance with Courland and inaugurated relations with Brandenburg. In 1658 he conducted successful negotiations with the Swedes, culminating in the signing of the Valiesar Treaty, for which he was made a dumnyi dvorianin (member of the Boyar Duma). He took part in negotiations with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1662 to 1666 and played a role in the signing of the 1667 Armistice of Andrusovo, after which he was made a boyar and appointed head of the Posol’skii Prikaz (Foreign Office).

Ordin-Nashchokin was instrumental in drawing up the New Commercial Charter of 1667, which regulated trade with foreigners. He concluded an agreement with an Armenian company regarding the silk trade. A number of trade and diplomatic missions were sent by him to Western Europe. When the boyar A. S. Matveev gained the ascendancy in 1671, Ordin-Nashchokin was dismissed from service, and in 1672 he took monastic vows under the name Antonius at the Krypetskii Monastery near Pskov. In 1679 he took part in negotiations with the Poles.

For his services Ordin-Nashchokin was granted rich votchiny (patrimonial estates) and pomest’ia (fiefs), for example Porech’e Volost in Smolensk District and 500 peasant households in Kostroma District. He engaged in trade operations in the Baltic region and became an important landowner and entrepreneur in the 1660’s.

As head of the Posol’skii Prikaz, Ordin-Nashchokin was responsible for an invigoration of Russian foreign policy. He advocated an alliance with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth against Sweden over access to the Baltic Sea and against Turkish aggression. A supporter of economic and military reform in Russia, he proposed in the 1650’s a reorganization of the army through the introduction of recruiting, expansion of the strel’tsy (semiprofessional musketeers), and reduction of the militarily inefficient cavalry of dvoriane. He encouraged the development of trade and industry and constructed shipyards on the Zapadnaia Dvina River and in the village of Dedinovo on the Oka River. Ordin-Nashchokin established postal service between Moscow, Riga, and Vilnius, and he instituted the regular issuance of the manuscript newspaper Kuranty. In his view, the development of industry was not only a way of obtaining wealth and increasing exports but also a means of surmounting Russia’s economic backwardness. He organized metalworking, leather, paper, and glass manufactories.


Galaktionov, I., and E. Chistiakova. A. L. Ordin-Nashchokin, russkii diplomat XVII v. Moscow, 1961.
Galaktionov, I. V. Ranniaia perepiska A. L. Ordina-Nashchokina (1642–45). Saratov, 1968.
Istoriia russkoi ekonomicheskoi mysli, vol. 1, part 1. Moscow, 1955. Chapter 9.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.