Austro-Russian alliance refers to the treaty signed by the Austrian Empire and the Russian Empire in May–June 1781.
Russia was previously allied with Prussia (Russo-Prussian alliance). However, with time, Russia's attention was increasingly drawn towards the south, and the Ottoman Empire. Advocated by Grigory Potemkin, this new direction reduced the strategic value of Prussia as an ally to Russia, and made Austria once again a more appealing candidate. The Russo-Prussian alliance was once again extended in 1777, but at the imperial court in Saint Petersburg, Panin pro-Prussian faction's influence was eclipsed by the Potemkin's pro-Austrian one. After the death of Maria Theresa of Austria, Joseph II of Austria was more favorable towards improving relations with Russia, and secret negotiations begun in early 1781, resulting in an Austro-Russian alliance formed around May and June 1781. The Prusso-Russian alliance existed formally till 1788, but it lost most if its significance upon the declaration of the Austro-Russian alliance, which isolated Prussia on the international scene. The most notable consequence of the Austro-Russian alliance was the Austro-Turkish War (1787–1791) and the Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792).
In 1790 the alliance was strained, as Russia informed Austria that it has no desire to interfere in case of an Austrian-Prussian conflict.