Ambassadorial order - the first shoots of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs


In ancient Russia, orders were called the central government bodies. They were called more chambers and yards, huts and palaces, thirds and quarters. It is assumed that the orders as state institutions arose involuntarily, and the first mention of them in this role is found in 1512 in the letter sent to Vladimir Uspensky Monastery, Grand Prince of All Russia Vasily III.


A certain number of people were ordered to do some specific things - this is how the definition of “order” appeared. The newly established orders acted on behalf of the sovereign and were the highest government seats. Complaints of their actions were considered only by the king or the royal duma. Orders are the initial stages of the current ministries.

Appearance and purpose

The ambassadorial order arose in 1549 under Ivan IV. It existed until 1720. By the Law of 1550, Ivan the Terrible introduces a system of mandative control, which was designed to provide state needs. For almost 200 years, the framework of this system was preserved and was replaced only under the Great Reformer Peter I. The duties of the newly created order included relations with other states, ransoms and exchange of prisoners, and overseeing certain groups of “service people”, such as the Don Cossacks.

Main functions

The ambassadorial order was also in charge of managing certain lands in the south and east of the state. He was responsible for sending Russian missions abroad and receiving foreign missions. In his submission were foreign merchants, during their stay in our territory.


Preparation of texts of international negotiations was also charged with the order. He supervised the diplomatic missions.

Body structure

Initially, the Ambassadorial Order consisted of the Duma clerk, under whose authority were his “comrade” (deputy), 15-17 clerks (the lowest administrative rank) and several interpreters (translators). At the head of the newly created institution was the Prikaznaya clerk, he was the Ambassadorial clerk. In those days, civil servants were called clerks (besides the clergy), in particular, the commanders of orders or junior ranks in the boyar duma.

The structure is gaining weight

The first Ambassadorial order was headed by Ivan Mikhailovich Viskovatov, who before this appointment served as ambassador, clerk of the Duma, was the keeper of the state press. At the head of the order he was until his death, which occurred in 1570. With the growth of international weight of Russia, the value of the Ambassadorial Order increased, its staff increased significantly - in 1689, 53 priests served instead of 17 and 22 translators plus 17 interpreters (interpreter).


By the end of the 17th century, the Ambassadorial Order had gained so much strength that it became one of the most important components of the central state apparatus of Russia. In this century, he passed the way from the Office for External Relations to the state structure, which has considerable autonomy and the broadest powers.


The entire period of the Ambassadorial Order’s existence can be conditionally decomposed in accordance with the three epochal intervals of that time. This Time of Troubles, the restoration of the Russian monarchy under Michael Romanov, the first Russian tsar from this dynasty, and the heyday of statehood, which came under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich.

Bright representatives

Since 1621, Ivan Tarasievich Gramotin, the then head of the Ambassadorial order, began to prepare for the king systematic information about the situation in other countries. They were drawn from the periodicals of the countries, as well as from the observations and conclusions of the ambassadors. These "Letters of letters" were essentially the first Russian newspaper. About this eighth chapter of the Ambassadorial order I must say a few words separately. He began his career as a clerk, and three times with various kings served as the highest post of the Embassy order. In the Time of Troubles, he was one of the most prominent political figures.


The structure of the order was divided into offices in charge of office work on territorial grounds (povytya). There were five of them. The functions of the Ambassadorial order, according to these five clerical units, were distributed as follows - the countries of Western Europe - England and France, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as the Papal State - were in the first heights. The second movement involved relations with Sweden, Poland and Wallachia (the south of modern Romania), Moldova, Turkey and the Crimea, Holland, and Hamburg.


Relations with Denmark, Brandenburg and Courland were dealt with by the 3rd branch in the order in charge of the clerical work of these countries. Persia, Armenia, India, and the Kalmyk state were under the jurisdiction of the 4th ark. The last fifth was in charge of relations with China, Bukhara, Khiva, Zhonggar state and Georgia.

Scale up

From the very moment when the Ambassadorial Order was established, he was charged with the overall management of the country's foreign policy. From the second half of the seventeenth century, the following orders were directly subordinate to it - the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Smolensk and Little Russia. The archive of the most important externally - and internal political documents was also kept here.

Heads of order

With the growth of Russia's international significance, the clerk of the Posolsky Prikaz is replaced by the boyar’s representative of the country's highest feudal class, and the institution itself since 1670 has been called the “State Order of the embassy press”.


For all the time the Posolsky Prikaz of the post of its head, 19 leaders have changed. The last was the count and the first chancellor of the Russian Empire, associate of Peter the Great, Gavriil Ivanovich Golovkin. As a result of Peter I's reforms, the Ambassadorial Office was established, which in 1720 was replaced by the College of Foreign Affairs.

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