Russo-Turkish War (1787–92)

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Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792)
January Suchodolski - Ochakiv siege.jpg
Siege of Ochakov 1788, by Russian painter January Suchodolski
Date 1787–1792
Location Eastern Europe
Result Russian victory
Treaty of Jassy
Yedisan region passed from Ottoman to Russian rule
 Russian Empire  Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders

Russia Catherine II
Russia Grigory Potemkin
Russia Alexander Suvorov
Russia Pyotr Rumyantsev
Russia Nicholas Repnin
Russia Fyodor Ushakov
Russia Spain José de Ribas

Russia United States John Paul Jones

Ottoman Empire Abdul Hamid I
Ottoman Empire Koca Yusuf Pasha
Ottoman Empire Hasan Pasha

Ottoman Empire Husayn Pasha
100,000 ?

The Russo–Turkish War of 1787–1792 involved an unsuccessful attempt by the Ottoman Empire to regain lands lost to Russia in the course of the previous Russo-Turkish War (1768–74). It took place concurrently with the Austro-Turkish War of 1787–91.

In the spring of 1787, Catherine II of Russia made a triumphal procession through New Russia and the annexed Crimea in company with her ally, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. These events, the rumors about Catherine's Greek Plan and the friction caused by the mutual complaints of infringements of the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, which had ended the previous war, stirred up public opinion in Constantinople, while the British and French ambassadors lent their unconditional support to the Ottoman war party.

In 1788, war was declared and the Russian ambassador to the Ottomans, Yakov Bulgakov, was thrown into prison, but Ottoman preparations were inadequate and the moment was ill-chosen, now that Russia and Austria were in alliance, a fact of which the Ottomans became aware only when the horsetails were planted for the campaign. The Ottomans drove back the Austrians from Mehadia and overran the Banat (1789); but in Moldavia, Field Marshal Pyotr Rumyantsev captured Iași and Khotyn. After a long winter siege, Ochakov fell to Prince Grigory Potemkin. This news affected the Sultan, Abdul Hamid I, so deeply as to cause his death.[citation needed]

Accordingly, the Treaty of Jassy was signed with Russia on 9 January 1792, recognizing Russia's 1783 annexation of the Crimean Khanate. Yedisan (Odessa and Ochakov) was also ceded to Russia, and the Dniester was made the frontier in Europe, while the Asiatic frontier—the Kuban River—remained unchanged. The Ottoman generals were incompetent and the army mutinous; expeditions for the relief of Bender and Akkerman failed, Belgrade was taken by Laudon of Austria, the supposedly impenetrable fortress of Izmail was captured by Suvorov by surprise attacks using combined infantry and artillery, Ushakov shattered the Ottoman fleet at Fidonisi, Tendra, Kerch Strait, and Cape Kaliakra, and the fall of Anapa to Ivan Gudovich in 1791 completed the series of Ottoman disasters.

The young Sultan Selim III was anxious to restore his country's prestige by a victory before making peace, but the condition of his troops made this hope impossible. On 31 January 1790, Prussia signed an offensive treaty with the Ottoman Empire, but instead of directly joining the war with the Turkish side, Prussia pressed Sweden into war against Russia despite opposition from military officers stationed in Finland. Russia in turn pressed Denmark–Norway into war against Sweden.

Caucasus Front[edit]

As in the previous war, fighting on the eastern front was a sideshow. Russia now had more troops in the area, but fighting was confined to the far northwest.

[1][unreliable source?] Before 1774 the Turks dominated the Crimean Khanate and the Crimeans dominated the Nogai nomads north of the Caucasus. The Turks also held some ports on the Black Sea coast and influenced the mountaineers in the interior. With the final loss of Crimea in 1783 the main Turkish base became Anapa about 60 km southeast of the Kerch Strait. With the help of French engineers they turned it into a first-class fort . The Russians weakly held a line along the Kuban River and were fighting the mountaineers under Sheikh Mansur. The main events in the war were the following. 1. In the autumn of 1788 Tekelli marched to Anapa, saw no hope of taking it and returned to the Kuban. 2. Next January Bibikov marched on Anapa, harassed all the way by the Circassians. An attempted storm failed and he led a disastrous winter retreat. He lost between 1000 and 5000 of his 8000 men and they had to carry back 1000 sick and wounded, most of whom never recovered. 3. In 1790 Admiral Fyodor Ushakov fought a Turkish flotilla near the Kerch Strait. 4. In the autumn of 1789 Batal Pasha landed somewhere on the coast and marched inland, gathering the tribes. The Russian response was disorganized and the full weight fell on General Hermann who had 3600 men and six guns. It is claimed that he defeated 40000-50000 enemy with a loss of 150 men killed and wounded.[2] Batal Pasha was captured and no prisoners were taken. The remnant of the beaten army was demolished by Baron Rosen. The site of the battle later became the Cossack stanitsa of Batalpashinsk.[3] 6. On 22 June 1790 Ivan Gudovich stormed Anapa. The 15000-man garrison was annihilated and the Russians lost 4000 men, about half those engaged. They captured 83 cannon and, most importantly, Sheikh Mansur. Anapa was apparently returned by the Treaty of Jassy since it had to be re-taken in 1807 and again in 1828.


  1. ^ This section from John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, 1908, Chapter III[unreliable source?]
  2. ^ Baddeley, page 51, with no footnote as to his source
  3. ^ The sources are not very good here. Batalpashinsk is 150km from the Black Sea over 8000-foot mountains. He might have landed at Anapa and marched 400km east across flat and roadless country north of the mountains. Baddeley says that the Russians on the Laba River were unaware of his presence, which makes no sense unless he somehow crossed the mountains, which would be difficult.