Aleksandr Bezborodko

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bezborodko, Aleksandr Andreevich


Born 1747; died Apr. 6 (17), 1799. Russian statesman. Descendant of a Ukrainian cossack officer.

In 1765, Bezborodko began service in the office of the governor-general of the Ukraine, P. A. Rumiantsev. In 1775 he became secretary to Catherine II; he wrote manifestos and many other documents (until 1792). In 1780 he became a member of the Collegium of Foreign Affairs; beginning in 1784 he was its de facto head. From the end of the 1780’s until 1792, Bezborodko was the daily adviser to Catherine II on the most important matters. He took part in the preparation and conclusion of major international actions entered into by Russia in the last quarter of the 18th century. He obtained Turkey’s recognition of the annexation of the Crimea by Russia (1783); he signed the Peace of Jassy in 1791 with Turkey (a treaty which was favorable to Russia), the convention on the third partition of Poland (1795), and other treaties.

Bezborodko was a great diplomat; however, he was not outstanding for his independence and initiative. After the death of Catherine II, he maintained his leading position in the Collegium of Foreign Affairs, and in 1797 he received the rank of chancellor and the title of svetleishii kriaz’ (his highness the prince). He was an important landowner in southern Russia and used his official position in order to obtain vast latifundia in the southern Ukraine.

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