Grigorii Kotoshikhin

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kotoshikhin, Grigorii Karpovich


Born circa 1630; died November 1667 in Stockholm. Pod’iachii (scrivener) in the Posol’skii Prikaz (Foreign Office); writer.

In 1658–61, Kotoshikhin was part of the Russian mission that conducted the negotiations with Sweden to conclude the Treaty of Valiesar and the Treaty of Kardis (Kärde). In the spring of 1664 he was sent to Prince la. K. Cherkasskii’s troops as a clerk, but he deserted to the Lithuanians in August and then traveled to Silesia. From there he moved to Narva and Stockholm, and in March 1666 he was admitted to the Swedish service. He was executed for the murder of the landlord of the house in which he lived.

Kotoshikhin is the author of a work (published under the title Concerning Russia During the Reign of Aleksei Mikhailovich, 1840) that is a valuable source for the history of the state system of Russia in the mid-17th century. Kotoshikhin’s information is very detailed and accurate, and most of it is confirmed by other 17th-century sources. It must be considered, however, that his work was compiled on the order of the Swedish government and that some of his opinions about 17th-century Russia are tendentious.


Markevich, A. I. G. K. Kotshikhin i ego sochinenie o Moskovskom gosudarstve v polovine XVII v. Odessa, 1895.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This is illustrated particularly well by the case of the Russian diplomat Grigorii Kotoshikhin, who after serving for many years in the Russian state administration fled via Poland to Sweden in 1664 where he wrote his magnum opus On Russia in the Reign of Aleksei Mikhailovich.
For example, in the mid-1660s the Ambassadorial Chancellery collected money intended to ransom captives, which, according to the undersecretary (pod'iachii) Grigorii Kotoshikhin, brought in 150,000 rubles per year.
Together with the uncontested fact of Grigorii Kotoshikhin's service in the Ambassadorial Chancellery (working within the chancellery system, he should have possessed reliable information), this detail encourages scholars to accept Kotoshikhin's word without verification.
(40) In his account of the Muscovite administrative system, Grigorii Kotoshikhin noted that Moscow was surrounded by royal forest preserves and lodges; hunting game was off-limits to others, with severe penalties for poaching.
Grigorii kotoshikhin reports that the tsar personally distributed or ordered distributed alms to the poor, gifts to the church, and amnesty to prisoners on occasions such as the tsar's wedding, the birth of his children, or funerals in his family.
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