Russo-Swedish War (1590–1595)

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Russo-Swedish War 1590–1595
Dominion over the Ivangorod fortress was at the center of the war
Dominion over the Ivangorod fortress was at the center of the war
place Ingermanland , Estonia , Finland , Kola Peninsula , White Sea
Casus Belli Swedish border violations
output Russian recapture of territories and fortresses lost in the Livonian War and peace of Teusina
Parties to the conflict
Great coat of arms of Sweden.svg
Kingdom of Sweden
John III of Sweden.jpg
King John III
Voivode Sheremetyev
Voivode Dolgorukov
Prince Mstislavski
Prince Zvenigorodski
Field Marshal Fleming
Field Marshal Horn



The Russo-Swedish War of 1590–1595 was an armed conflict between the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Sweden over the fortresses Narva , Ivangorod , Jam and Koporje with the surrounding territories and the Russian access to the Baltic Sea, which had fallen to Sweden during the Livonian War .


Boris Godunov's government tried to return the lost Baltic territories, but King John III. did not want to give in and sought a peace treaty in which the new eastern borders of Sweden are recognized. Otherwise he threatened to resume hostilities. He counted on the help of his eldest son Sigismund III. Wasa , who became King of Poland-Lithuania after the death of Stefan Bathory . To put pressure on Russia, the Swedes organized a series of raids on border areas. War with Sweden became inevitable and the Russian side hastened to declare war while the situation of the newly elected king in Poland was still uncertain.

Course of war

Outbreak of war

On January 4, 1590, the Russian expeditionary force gathered in Novgorod , where the voivodes were divided into divisions. The army of 35,000 men under the command of Tsar Fyodor I set off in the direction of Jamburg . A part of the army under the leadership of Pissemsky and Khrushchev, who was ordered to siege Koporje, broke away from the main army.

On January 26, 1590, the siege of Jam began. The Swedish garrison, numbering only 500 men, surrendered the next day on condition of free passage. Tsar Fyodor left some Strelitzes behind in Jam and marched with his armed forces to Ivangorod and Narva, where the siege artillery from Pskov was also transferred.

Siege of Ivangorod and armistice

The first Russian formations reached Ivangorod on January 30th and were attacked by a 4,000-strong union of Swedes. The Swedes suffered a defeat and withdrew to Rakvere in Estonia . When the entire Russian army arrived on February 2, preparations for the siege began. A few days later, the artillery bombardment began while the Russian cavalry was sent to devastate the area around Rakvere, where the main forces of the Swedes under General Baner were located.

The storm of Narva and Ivangorod on February 19 ended with a loss-making break for the Russians. After that, the artillery bombardment continued, which the Swedes could not stand and asked for an armistice. There was a meeting of diplomats and every time negotiations stalled, the Russian side continued to fire. The Swedes agreed to hand over Ivangorod, Jam and Koporje to the Russians, and a year-long armistice was signed.

Break of the armistice

The Swedish king was highly dissatisfied with the outcome of the negotiations and sentenced Field Marshal Horn to the death penalty . General Bayer was deposed for not coming to the aid of the Narvas garrison in time and was replaced by Field Marshal Flemming, who set out on the eastern border with an army increased to 18,000 men.

In November 1590, the Swedish leadership decided to break the armistice with Russia and take Ivangorod with a surprise attack. However, the attack was repulsed. In return, the Russians besieged Narva, but broke off the siege after an order from Moscow . In December 1590, the Swedes devastated the area around Jam and Koporje.

A Swedish defector reported to the Russian voivods on January 10, 1591 of the impending attack by a 14,000-strong Swedish army from Estonia. Three divisions were sent to meet them, which merged with the Union of Prince Zvenigorodski from Oreschek . The fighting near Koporje lasted three weeks before the Swedes withdrew.

A new attack followed in the summer of 1591. It was undertaken in consultation with the Crimean Tatar Khan Ğazı II Giray , who besieged Moscow in the same year. A lord of the voivod Sheremetyev and Prince Dolgorukov opposed the new incursion. But the Swedes took advantage of the fragmentation of the Russian troops and defeated them by an unexpected attack near Gdow , in which Dolgorukov was captured. The Russians could not report any successes this year because most of the army was busy repelling the Crimean Tatar invasion.

Fight in northern Russia

In addition to the front in Estonia and Karelia , there was also fighting in the far north of Russia. The Swedes tried to conquer the coasts of the White Sea in order to finally isolate the Moscow state. On July 18, 1590, the Swedes landed in the land of the Pomors and proceeded with great brutality to the slaughter of the local population and the pillage and desecration of Orthodox churches.

At the same time, a Swedish peasant army crossed the Kola Peninsula , reached the White Sea and unsuccessfully besieged the Pechenga monastery . The fortress of Kolski Ostrog was besieged just as unsuccessfully , which is why the Swedish farmers contented themselves with plundering the surrounding areas and returned to Sweden.

In September 1591, Peterson's associations tried unsuccessfully to take the Solovetsky Monastery and plundered the coasts of the White Sea once more. The main Swedish army, led by Peterson, attacked from Karelia and sacked the area around Pskov .

After the Crimean Tatars had been fought off, Moscow decided to put an end to the increasingly harmful activities of the Swedes. A large army under the leadership of the Volkonsky princes was sent to Solovki . They drove the Swedes from the White Sea and counterattacked. The Swedish provinces of Oloi, Liinela and Sig were sacked.

Vyborg campaign

The Russian border garrisons were considerably strengthened when forces were released after the Crimean Khan was driven out of southern Russia. Another army was sent from Moscow to Novgorod, and on January 6, 1592, Mstislavski and Trubezkoi's troops crossed the Swedish border at Oreschek . On January 30, the Russian army reached Vyborg . The Swedes launched a relief attack, but were routed by Russian Strelitz and Cossacks . However, the Russian voivods did not dare to siege the well-fortified Vyborg fortress and plundered the area around Vyborg and Kexholm, before returning to Oreschek along Lake Ladoga .

Armistice and Peace of Teusina

After the death of Johann III. and the accession to the throne of his son, the Polish King Sigismund III. Wasa, Russia feared Polish intervention in the war. For this reason, a two-year armistice was concluded on January 20, 1593, even though isolated Swedish attacks on Russian border regions continued. In the spring of 1594 the situation was particularly tense. But the Moscow government wanted to normalize relations with Sweden and did not take any counter-actions.

Peace negotiations began in the village of Tjawsino (Teusina) near Ivangorod. The Russians sought a Swedish return of Narva and Korela (Kexholm). For their part, the Swedes were only willing to return Kexholm for an astronomical sum of 400,000 rubles. Moscow feared Polish intervention during the negotiations.

The "eternal" peace of Teusina was signed on May 18, 1595. Russia recognized Sweden's rights to all of Estonia, while Sweden gave Kexholm to Russia and recognized Russia's rights to the cities of Jam, Koporje and Ivangorod, which it had captured at the beginning of the war. The Russian possession of Oreschek and Ladoga was also confirmed. However, Russia was not allowed to maintain any trading ports or a fleet on the Baltic Sea. Judging by the military situation at the end of the war, Russia made great concessions to Sweden and made a less advantageous peace than would have been possible. This is due to Russia's fears of Polish intervention in the war.

Protestant Sweden and Catholic Poland, however, could not be ruled by a king in the long run and so Sweden rebelled against Sigismund III only a short time later. Wasa and dissolved the personal union of the two states. Boris Godunov, realizing his strategic mistake, refused to ratify the Teusina Treaty, but internal political turmoil prevented him from reopening the question of Russian access to the Baltic Sea.


  • AB Širokorad. Severnye vojny Rossii . - М .: AST; Mn .: Harvest, 2001.