Embassy Order

The significance, functions, and composition of the employees of the Embassy Order changed in the course of state-building and the complication of the international tasks facing Russia. He was led by an Embassy clerk or The clerk of the order. Russian ambassadors were entrusted with the overall management of the country's foreign policy and all current diplomacy: sending Russian embassies abroad, receiving and vacating foreign embassies, preparing texts of instructions to Russian ambassadors and correspondence with them, preparing agreements, negotiating, and since the beginning of the 18th century, also appointing and monitoring the actions of permanent Russians diplomatic representatives abroad.
In 1549, Ivan the Terrible transferred the entire "embassy business" to the jurisdiction of one of the most educated people of that time - the clerk Ivan Mikhailovich Viskovaty, later a duma clerk. I.M. Viskovaty in a short time managed to put the embassy documents in order, dismantled and systematized the extensive royal archive, which was badly damaged by the fire of 1547. It was during his time that inventories of archival documents first appeared, records of business papers used were kept, and the Embassy Office was finally formed, which was soon named the order.

The first mention of the Embassy Order dates back to 1549. It also says that on February 1 (10), 1549, I.M. Viskovaty, together with the deacon Bakaka Karacharov and the Lithuanian clerk, wrote a letter of truce in the State Yard, that is, an armistice agreement. The Duma embassy clerks worked within the walls of the Embassy Order. They accepted the letters brought by the ambassadors, conducted preliminary negotiations, attended receptions of foreign diplomats, drew up instructions to Russian diplomats sent abroad and bailiffs to meet foreign ambassadors, got acquainted with the reports of Russian ambassadors who returned after completing a diplomatic mission to their homeland.
Portrait of Ivan IV by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1897 (Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow)
Duma clerks kept records of foreign merchants living in Russia, artisans and Tatars settled in Russia, were engaged in the management of Moscow settlements inhabited by foreigners and courtyards for the reception of ambassadors. If in the 16th century the Embassy Order was mainly an office for foreign relations, executing the decisions of the сsar and the Boyar Duma, then in the 17th century it turned into a central state institution with broad powers and significant independence.

By the 50-70 years of the 17th century, the structure and functions of the Embassy Order were finally formed. His departments, called povytyami, were named first by the surnames of their superiors, and later by numbers: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. Bailiffs and guards appeared. All employees of the order were sworn in, promising to keep state secrets, not to communicate with foreigners, and to translate truthfully when translating. There were also gold scribes in the order, that is, those who painted letters sent to foreign countries with gold and paints (usually the borders of letters and initial words were signed). The Embassy Order contained the state seals and the state archive.
"In the same month, November, on the 2nd day, the ambassador of the tsar and the Grand Duke Anton Mikhailovich Romodanovsky, and Ivan Mikhailov, the son of Viskovaty, and the clerk Pyotr Grigoriev, the son of Sovin, came from the Danish land to Moscow"
Since 1667, the boyars were already at the head of the Embassy Order. Among the heads of the Embassy Order there were many outstanding Russian diplomats - A.Ya.Shchelkalov and V.Ya.Shchelkalov, I.T.Gramotin, A.S.Matveev, V.V.Golitsyn, L.K.Naryshkin, F.A.Golovin, etc. In the second half of the XVII century, the Embassy Order began to be called the State Order, which emphasized its special significance. Under Сsar Alexei Mikhailovich, he received the name of the State Order of the embassy Seal. Since the 80s of the XVII century, it was also called the State Embassy Office, which later, under Peter I, was transformed into the Embassy Field Office.

By the Decree of Peter I of December 12 (24), 1718, on the basis of the Embassy Order and the Embassy Office, the College of Foreign Affairs (KID) was formed.