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« Tuna 4 / 2016

The Role of Baltic Germans in the Foreign Service of the Russian Empire and in European Politics during the Rule of Alexander I

This article examines the role of Baltic German diplomats in the foreign policy of the Russian Empire at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, focusing on the years 1806–1815. It attempts to find answers to the question of why Baltic Germans were so highly valued in the Russian Empire’s diplomatic service and served the Russian Czar Alexander I in the important capitals of Europe during this complicated period. The first half of the article provides an overview of the social background of the Baltic Germans, and also takes a cursory look at the structure of the Russian Empire’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The latter half of the article considers political events of the above-mentioned years, focusing on two diplomats: Count Gustav Ernst von Stackelberg (1766–1850), who served as ambassador in Berlin and Vienna, and Count Christoph Heinrich von Lieven (1774–1839), who represented the czar in Berlin and London. The primary focus of events is on Russian-Prussian relations.