Sava Vladislavich - Russian Service

Russian Service

A commercial project brought the young merchant to Constantinople, where, in the absence of a permanent Russian mission, he was entrusted with various tasks by the Russian foreign ministers Vasily Galitzine and Emelian Ukraintsev. It so happened that his own commercial interests always went hand-in-hand with those of the Russian government. In 1702, he made the acquaintance of Peter the Great in Azov.

With an eye toward profiting from the fur trade with Russia, Vladislavich visited Moscow in the next year, but, after obtaining important privileges from the Tsar, returned to Constantinople, where he represented Russia's interests, in tandem with Pyotr Andreyevich Tolstoy, until the Battle of Poltava. It was he who purchased for the Tsar a black page, Ibrahim Hannibal, the ancestor of the great Pushkin. In 1708, he relocated to Moscow and soon received from the Tsar the lands in Little Russia, where Nezhin was made the centre of his commercial operations.

The "Illyrian Count" (as Vladislavich liked to style himself) maintained trade contacts with fellow Serbs and was under the impression that they would rise in revolt against the Sultan as soon as the Tsar invaded the Danubian Principalities. Having launched the invasion in 1711, Peter sent him on a mission to Moldavia and Montenegro, whose population Vladislavich was expected to incite to rebellion. Little came of these plans, despite the assistance of a pro-Russian colonel, Michael Miloradovich (the ancestor of Count Miloradovich). There has been preserved an inscription from that time, in a chronicle:

In the year 1711 Mihailo Miloradovich came to Montenegro, to the great misfortune of the Monastery and of Montenegro.... razed Montenegro and destroyed the church and the Monastery.

From 1716 to 1722, Vladislavich resided in Italy, dividing his time between the advocacy of his own private interests and those of the Tsar. He entertained the aristocracy of Venice as well as foreign visitors, Ernest Louis, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt (1667-1739), Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1654-1730), Girolamo Colloredo, Governor of the Duchy of Milan (then under Austrian rule), Count Theodor Constantin Lubomirski, Anselm Franz, 2nd Prince of Thurn and Taxis, and Count Charachin. It was to this patron that Antonio Vivaldi dedicated La verità in cimento at Venice in 1720. While in Italy, among other commissions, he supervised the education of Russian nobles (such as painter Ivan Nikitich Nikitin) and prepared important, secret political treaties with Pope Clement XI, an ethnic Albanian. It was he who acquired in Venice an assortment of marble statues that still decorate the Summer Garden in St. Petersburg.

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