St. Petersburg Conventions

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

St. Petersburg Conventions


agreements concerning the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzecz Pospolita).

The St. Petersburg Convention of 1772 between Russia, Prussia, and Austria concerning the First Partition was signed on July 25 (August 5). The tsar’s agreement to the partition of Poland was explained by his difficult position with regard to the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74, the threat of Austria’s joining the war on Turkey’s side, and strong pressure from Prussia—the initiator of the partition. Ceded to Russia were eastern Byelorussia, with the cities of Gomel’, Mogilev, Vitebsk, and Polotsk, and part of Livonia. Prussia received Warmia, the województwos Pomerania (except for Gdańsk), Malbork, and Chełm (except for Toruń), along with most of Inowrocław, Gniezno, and Poznań województwos. Austria received the principalities of Óswięcim and Zator and the southern part of Kraków and Sandomierz województwos, as well as the Russian (without the Chełm lands) and Bielsk województwos. Under military pressure from the three powers and after protests and unsuccessful appeals to Great Britain and France, the Polish Sejm and later the Polish king were compelled to ratify the treaties in 1773. By their terms, Poland renounced all claims to the lands that were expropriated.

The St. Petersburg Convention of 1793 between Russia and Prussia concerning the Second Partition was signed on January 12 (23). It was brought about by an effort to hinder the consolidation of Poland, by the events of the Great French Revolution, which had aroused the people in several countries, especially the Poles, and by the creation of an anti-French coalition of European monarchies. In accordance with the convention, Russia obtained a considerable portion of Western Byelorussia and the Ukraine. Prussia received Gdansk and Toruń, almost all of Great Poland, and part of Mazowia and Kraków województwos, along with the city of Czȩstochowa. Under pressure from the Russian envoy, the Grodno Sejm ratified the partition.

The St. Petersburg Convention of 1795 between Russia, Austria, and Prussia concerning the Third Partition was signed on October 13, (24). In connection with the Polish uprising of 1794 led by T. Kościuszko, which caused alarm among the parties to the partitions, Russian and Prussian troops invaded Poland, and Catherine II proposed its final partition. Russia was ceded the lands east of a line running from the Bug River through Nemiróv and Grodno to the Neman River. Austria received the województwos of Kraków, Sandomierz, and Lublin and part of Mazowia, Podlasie, Chełm, and Brest-Litovsk. Prussia obtained most of the Mazowia Województwo together with Warsaw, as well as parts of Troki, Podlasie, and Rawa województwos. As a result of the three partitions of the commonwealth, Russia obtained the Lithuanian, Byelorussian, and Ukrainian lands, except for the part of the Ukraine taken by Austria. The indigenous Polish lands were divided between Prussia and Austria.

The St. Petersburg Convention of 1797 between Russia, Austria, and Prussia was signed on January 15 (26). It confirmed the partition of the commonwealth and eliminated the remnants of Polish statehood—for example, it provided for the abolition of Polish citizenship and elimination of any references to Poland in titles. As a supplement, the convention included the 1795 Act of Abdication by the Polish king Stanisław August.


Martens, F. F. Sobranie traktakov i konventsii, zakliuchennykh Rossiei s inostrannymi derzhavami, vols. 2, 6. St. Petersburg, 1875–83.


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