Несбывшиеся ожидания: император Петр III и казахские правители
The article is an analysis of relations between the Kazakh ruling elite and Peter III, at first as the heir to the throne and then as the emperor of the Russian Empire. The aim of the research is to clarify what hopes and perspectives were connected by Kazakh khans and sultans with the new Russian monarch, why their expectations did not come true and how it was reflected in the correspondence of the rulers of Kazakhstan with the Russian emperor and other imperial authorities. The sources the author of the article used are, first of all, letters of Kazakh khans and sultans (such as Abul Khair Khan, his sons Nurali, Erali, Aychuvak, sultans Barak, Yulbars, Abulfaiz, Biy Janibek Koshkaruly) to Peter III and other representatives of Russian imperial elite – from Empresses Elizabeth and
Catherine II to the governors of Orenburg. Chronologically, these documents cover the period of 1743–1764. The rule of Peter III was very short-term and, as it is considered in historiography, did not influence substantially the Russian history, and even made more harm than benefits; although there are attempts to revise the negative evaluation of this monarch nowadays. However, the interest in Peter as the heir to the throne was considerable among the Russian elite and among the national elites of the Russian Empire. It was reflected in the letters of Kazakh rulers sent just after his appointment the heir to the Russian throne. It is evident from these letters the representatives of the Kazakh elite expected from Peter Fyodorovich a more determined policy towards Kazakhstan than that of his aunt, both in administrative and in military fields. But with time, khans and sultans saw that the heir to the throne showed no interest towards his Kazakh subjects and no longer sent letters to him. When Peter III became the emperor, they resumed correspondence, but its tone changed substantially: Kazakh rulers demonstrated some condescension towards the emperor, explaining him what he should to do to “please” the Kazakhs. Moreover, Kazakh rulers addressed most of their requests not only to the emperor, but also duplicated them to other authorities – Chancellor Count Vorontsov and especially to Orenburg governors – as they understood that their fate depended more on regional authorities than on the emperor in St. Petersburg. The author finds that the rule of Peter III, despite being short, was, in fact, a turning-point in the Russian-Kazakh relations during the imperial period. It was then that the Kazakh
rulers stopped to address their requests and problems to emperors and central authorities and began to interact closely with the frontier imperial administration of Orenburg and Siberia regions.