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(Giles Fletcher the Elder). Born circa 1549 in Watford; died March 1611 in London. English writer and diplomat.
Fletcher was ambassador to Russia in 1588–89, during which time he secured the expansion of the Muscovy Company’s privileges (seeMUSCOVY COMPANY). He is the author of Of the Russe Common Wealth (1591; Russian translation, St. Petersburg, 1905), in which he described the Russian countryside and political system, as well as the daily life and customs of the different strata of Russian society. His book was one of the most detailed and comprehensive studies of 16th-century Russia written by a foreigner. Some of his information, such as the statistical data on the Russian budget, is unique and important for the understanding of a number of problems in Russian history. However, Fletcher’s numerous factual inaccuracies and his inclination to portray Russian society in the gloomiest possible light detract from the value of his work.