© Public domain25 Nov 1795 signed his abdication of the last Polish king Stanislaw August Poniatowski. This stopped the story of the Commonwealth as a sovereign state.Although it is possible to say that their political subjectivity that state began to lose much earlier.In 1709 a second time on the Polish throne Augustus II the Strong, ally, or simply a protégé of the Russian Tsar, Peter I (not yet Emperor). In the year 1717 he actually recognized the Russian protectorate, reducing troops in the country to 24 thousand people, whereas at that time in the Commonwealth was located sixty thousandth Russian army. From these events a number of historians and conduct the further way of fading and disappearance of the Commonwealth.
As for Stanislaw August, he elected king of Poland began in 1764, and before that a few years stayed in Petersburg as Secretary to the English envoy Williams. It was there that he met — and there is opinion, very close — with the Grand Duchess Catherine Alekseevna, future Empress Catherine II. According to rumors, that he was the real father of Anna Petrovna, daughter of Catherine II, who died in infancy.
And whether because of these amorous adventures, casting a shadow on royalty, whether due to a change of the political situation after the resignation and exile of the Chancellor Bestuzhev, Poniatowski was distant from the Imperial court.
Remembered Poniatowska already in 1764, after the death of Augustus III the Saxon, when it was necessary to elect a new Polish king. And with the support of the Czartoryski magnates in Poland, with whom he was in relationship, as well as Catherine II, Stanislaw August became king of Poland.
Here you need to understand that Poland at that time from a political point of view was very peculiar education. It was a “gentry democracy” with an elected king. He was elected king by the Sejm, composed of representatives of the Polish aristocracy, nobility, which the Saeima has delegated to the small, local meetings, regional councils.
The real beach in legislation and the adoption of any important decisions by the Parliament was the principle of absolute equality of the gentry to each other, or, as it was called liberum veto. When any member of the Saeima could block any decision simply by voting against it. Decisions had to be taken unanimously or rejected.It is clear that this principle has become a source of corruption and political manipulation, including from other States. And here I must say that Poniatowski, as king, he decided to show his independence and give Poland the opportunity for greater sovereignty and a more rapid political decision-making. The new Polish king had initiated reforms which, in particular, was canceled and the principle of liberum veto.
But it’s not like as many representatives of the nobility, who perceived such reforms as a blow to their own dignity, and other States, among which were Russia, Austria and Prussia.
As for the nobility, the conservative part of it gathered in the bar Confederation, to resist the too “Pro”, according to them, the king. After his reforms, in addition to the abolition of the veto, and proclaimed a much greater tolerance for Orthodox and Uniates. And the conservatives of the Catholic gentry to prevent not wanted. All this has led to the entry of Russian troops on the territory of the Commonwealth at the request of Poniatowski.
By the way, his role in fomenting the conflict was played by Russia, which initiated the so-called Repninsky the Seimas, which, under the authority of the Russian Ambassador Nicholas Repnin, in effect, annulled the “right of veto”, and decided to “dissident problem” in the Orthodox and Uniates. The fact of such intervention in the internal politics of Poland was a very painful slap to the proud Polish nobility. And even more insulting was the connivance of the Polish king to the activities Repnikova of the diet.
The outbreak of the Russo-Polish war, or rather of the war between Russia and loyal to the king’s troops with the forces of the bar Confederation, led to the first partition of Poland in 1772.Divided the territory of Austria, Prussia and Russia. Was again convened the Parliament, which approved the constitutional reform with the election of the king and strengthened liberum veto.
Interestingly, administrative reform, after the first partition of Poland had improved the situation of the country. Including financial. And improved so that the Commonwealth re-emerged and began to gain force “Patriotic party”, which insisted on the rupture of relations with Russia.
Was called “four-year Sejm” of 1788-1792, where the patriots won a political victory over the Pro-Russian factions of the Polish gentry. They broke off relations with Russia at a time when Russia was at war with Turkey. However, the war with the Ottoman Empire over Russia’s victory in the Commonwealth to quell the “Polish patriots” was immediately sent to the troops.
At the same time in Poland appeared Pro Targowica Confederation, which, moreover, made an Alliance with Austria. It was a kind of response to the actions of the conservatives who have managed to negotiate with Prussia in fact, that Poland became a satellite of that country.
In the end, improving the financial situation of Poland, and active law-making, and the mobilization of political life has led… to the second division. Now between Russia and Prussia.
During this partition, the Russian Empire was land that is now part of Ukraine, but rather, part of right-Bank Ukraine.
In General, from the Commonwealth remained at about one-third of its territory, which existed before any partitions and the active opposition of the Polish conservatives with Russia and resistance to Russian influence.
And I must say, it is so shocked the Polish Patriotic circles, which in 1794 broke out the uprising of Tadeusz Kosciuszko. For the sovereignty, independence, and, traditionally, against Russia. What it led to?
Right, to the third and final partition of the Commonwealth and to the disappearance of that state.By the way, during the uprising, kościuszko managed actually to take hostage of king Stanislaw August. Publicly it was motivated by concern for the monarch and trying to protect him.
But Poniatowski himself described these events somewhat differently: “…wouldn’t let me out of the Palace, covering it with zeal for my safety. In fact, I was locked up as a hostage; with me no one was considered, Kosciusko manipulated me…”
After the suppression of Poniatowski, under the protection of 120 Dragoons went to Grodno, where on 25 November, the name day of the Russian Empress, has resigned. The day before, the Commonwealth officially ceased to exist.
Poniatowski left for St. Petersburg and died in the marble Palace in 1798. He was buried, symbolically, in the crypt of the Catholic Church in the name of St. Catherine of Alexandria.
The results of the partition of Poland a part of Russia includes the lands of Polish Ukraine (i.e. the Kiev and Bratslav provinces), as well as Volhynia and the lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, including territories of modern Belarus.
And, in General, the entire Eastern and part of Central Europe after these sections has changed beyond recognition. It was a new era of the European “great game”. Where did not exist such a large and independent player as the Rzeczpospolita.Alexander Chausov