Russo-Turkish War (1568–1570)

The Russo-Turkish War (1568–1570) or Don-Volga-Astrakhan campaign of 1569[3] (referred to in Ottoman sources as the Astrakhan Expedition) was a war between the Tsardom of Russia and the Ottoman Empire over the Astrakhan Khanate. It was the first of twelve Russo-Turkish wars ending with World War I in 1914-18.

Russo-Turkish War (1568–1570)
Part of the Russo-Turkish Wars
Result Russian victory[1][2]

Ottoman Empire

Commanders and leaders
Ivan the Terrible
Pyotr Serebrianyi
Selim II
Sokollu Mehmed Pasha
Mustafa Pasha
Devlet I Giray
30,000 troops 20,000 troops
30,000–50,000 troops
Casualties and losses


  • Over two-thirds of the forces perished.
  • Ottoman fleet scattered.

In 1556, the Astrakhan Khanate was conquered by Ivan the Terrible, who had a new fortress built on a steep hill overlooking the Volga.[4]

In 1568, the Ottoman Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, who was the real power in the administration of the Ottoman Empire under Selim II, initiated the first encounter between the Ottoman Empire and her future northern arch-rival Russia. The results presaged the many disasters to come. A plan to unite the Volga and Don by a canal was detailed in Constantinople.

In the summer of 1569 in response to Russia's interference in Ottoman commercial and religious pilgrimages, the Ottoman Empire sent a large force under Mustafa Pasha of 20,000 Turks and 50,000 Tatars to lay siege to Astrakhan.[5] Meanwhile an Ottoman fleet besieged Azov. However, a sortie from the garrison under Knyaz (prince) Serebrianyi-Obolenskiy, the military governor of Astrakhan, drove back the besiegers. A Russian relief army of 30,000 attacked and scattered the workmen and the Tatar force sent for their protection. On their way home up to 70% of the remaining soldiers and workers froze to death in the steppes or became victims of attacks by Circassians. The Ottoman fleet was destroyed by a storm. The Ottoman Empire, though militarily defeated, achieved safe passage for Muslim pilgrims and traders from Central Asia, and two years later, as a result of the Crimean raids, the Russians were forced to destroy of the fort on the Terek River.[5]

In 1572 was the battle of Molodi in which the Ottomans dispatched another large force to support the Crimean Khanate however they were defeated.


  1. ^ Janet Martin, Medieval Russia: 980-1584, (Cambridge University Press, 1996), 356.
  2. ^ Садиков П. А. Поход татар и турок на Астрахань в 1569 г. // «Исторические записки». — М., 1947. — Т. 22.
  3. ^ DeVries, Kelly Robert (2014-05-01). "The European tributary states of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries". Choice. 51 (9).
  4. ^ Martin 1996, p. 354.
  5. ^ a b Martin 1996, p. 356-357.


  • Attila Weiszhár and Balázs Weiszhár: Lexicon of Wars, Atheneaum publisher, Budapest 2004.
  • Martin, Janet (1996). Medieval Russia:980-1584. Cambridge University Press.