Hansische Niederlassungen in Russland um 1600
Hanseatic Trading Posts in Russia around 1600
When Novgorod was absorbed into the Grand Principality of Moscow in 1478, the traditional medieval framework of Hanseatic trade with Russia was transformed. Henceforth, negotiations and decisions on all important questions took place in Moscow, while the day to day problems of trade lay within the purview of the Great Prince’s (later: the Tsar’s) lieutenant residing in Novgorod. Given the abolition of the medieval structures of communication, Hanseatic representatives suddenly required an intimate familiarity with the Russian court in order to conduct successful negotiations. This article argues that the interaction between Hansards and Russians is best understood as a continuing process of accomodation to one another, and focusses initially on the by-laws (Schra) of the Novgorod Kontor, which were continuously amended and supplemented. Initially, these changes were endogenous, resulting from internal tensions within the Hanse itself. Over time, however, the transformation of the Russian environment became more important. Indeed, many of the new rules and regulations inserted into the by-laws can be best understood if they are conceived to be exogenous, imposed on the Kontor from outside. The article then examines in detail the Hanseatic embassy to Moscow in 1603 and demonstrates how the mutual trust between the Hansards and the Tsars arose and how it was strengthened and developed.