[Russian Ambassadors in Leghorn and the Relationship between Muscovy and Tuscany in the Seventeenth Century]. In 1656 and in 1660 some ambassadors of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich of Russia arrived in Livorno. The first of these embassies, led by Ivan Ivanovich Chemodanov and the clerk Alexei Posnikov, was in fact directed in Venice but the stay of just over a month in Livorno was an important stage for the Russian ambassadors. The second mission, led by Vasily Bogdanovich Lichachaev and the clerk Ivan Fomin, was directly addressed to Tuscany although this time, the ambassadors stayed for only five days at Livorno. In both cases the presence of Russian diplomats in the city attracted much attention and left many documentary traces that are described in detail in the article. In April 1663 another Muscovite ambassador arrived in Florence: Ivan Afanas’evich Zheljabuzhskij. The three Russian embassies in Tuscany, in 1657, 1660 and 1663, laid the foundations for stable trade relations with Muscovy, which increased progressively with the gradual opening of that country to the West that characterized the last years of the reign of Alexei and those of the regency of Sophia Alexeevna. Villani highlights the importance of Dutch and English mediation in the development of Russian-Tuscan relations, and especially the role that played Charles Longland. It also shows that behind these missions stood the intention to develop commerce of some Russian goods in which the Italian markets were particularly interested in, including leather, salmon and caviar. The consolidation and development of trade between Muscovy and the Mediterranean area during the 1660s and 1670s was also thanks to the brokerage of Francesco Guasconi (a Florentine living in Muscovy), after Zheljabuzhskij’s 1663 mission time there were not direct diplomatic exchanges for a long and Tuscany was not even officially visited by Russian diplomats who travelled through Italy in those years. The resumption of direct talks with Muscovy occurred in the early 1680s due to the morbid “scientific” and “ethnographic” curiosities of the Grand Duke Cosimo III, that in any case were, not directed to Muscovy itself but to the lands which bordered with China. In the summer of 1682 the Grand Duke asked to Francesco Gasconi to buy a Circassian slave for him in Muscovy. The Grand Duke liked to surround himself with young people of different nationalities to give an exotic touch to his court. These slaves were then forced to convert to Catholicism and as soon as they become adults, they were manumitted with a good pension. Apparently the Grand Duke had to wait a long time for the arrival of his young Circassian, and, before the promised gift a Russian ambassador arrived in Tuscany in February 1688. This diplomatic mission was not addressed only to the Grand Duke and was not to deal directly with specific Russian interests in Tuscany. On May 6, 1686, in Moscow, the “eternal” Peace between Russia and Poland had been signed, putting to an end decades of war between the two countries. It was a huge success of Moscow’s foreign policy and therefore, at the beginning of 1687, Sofia Alexeevna sent a series of diplomatic embassies to all European countries to officially give this news and to prompt the construction of a league against the Turkish. The ambassador for Tuscany was Vasily Timofeevich Postnikov. This was the first diplomatic mission in Tuscany after almost a quarter of a century. The survey of the Tuscan-Russian relations since the middle of the 1600s highlights the role of the British as intermediaries between the Muscovites and Italians. And why in the course of the seventeenth century, Livorno – now the main English port for the Levant trade – also became the Italian port for Russian goods.
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