Bezborodko, Aleksandr Andreevich, Prince [key], 1747–99, Russian statesman. He became secretary of petitions under Catherine II in 1775 and from 1780 served as head of the department of foreign affairs. During Catherine's reign foreign policy was determined largely by the empress, and Bezborodko generally went along with her schemes. He devised an imaginative plan for the partition of the Ottoman Empire between Russia and Austria that fitted well with Catherine's unfulfilled dream of a new Byzantine Empire. He encouraged Catherine to participate with Austria and Prussia in the last two partitions of Poland (1793, 1795), by which Russia obtained Lithuania, Courland, and the W Ukraine. After Catherine's death (1796) her son, Paul I, made him grand chancellor, with virtual control of Russian foreign affairs. He held this post until his death.
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