OSTERMAN, ANDREI IVANOVICH, COUNT (1686 1747), Russian statesman, born at Bochum, Westphalia, became secretary to vice-admiral Cornelis Kruse, who had a standing commission from Peter the Great to pick up promising young men, and in 1767 entered the tsar's service. He assisted the vice chancellor Shafirov during the negotiations which terminated in the peace of the Pruth (i7i 1). Osterman, together with General Bruce, represented Russia at the Aland peace congress of 1718. Shrewdly guessing that Sweden was at exhaustion point, and that Gdrtz, the Swedish plenipotentiary, was acting ultra vires, he advised Peter to put additional pressure on Sweden to force a peace. In 1721 Osterman concluded the peace of Nystad with Sweden, and was created a baron for his services. In 1723 he was made vice-president of the ministry of foreign affairs. Peter consulted him in domestic affairs, and he introduced many ad ministrative novelties, e.g., "the table of degrees" and the re construction of the college of foreign affairs on more modern lines. During the reign of Catherine I. ,(1725-1727) the conduct of foreign affairs was left entirely in Osterman's hands, and he held also the posts of .minister of commerce and postmaster-general. On the accession of Peter II. Osterman was appointed governor to the young emperor, and on his death (173o) he refused to participate in the attempt of Golitsuin and the Dolgorukis to con vert Russia into a limited constitutional monarchy. He held aloof till Anne was established on the throne as autocrat.
His unique knowledge of home and foreign affairs made him indispensable to the empress. It was at his suggestion that the cabinet system was introduced into Russia. All the useful re forms introduced between 1730 and 5740 are to be attributed to his initiative. He improved the state of trade and materially raised the credit of Russia. The successful conclusions of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-1735) and of the war with Turkey (1736-1739) were entirely due to his diplomacy. During the brief regency of Anna Leopoldovna (October 1740—December 1741) Osterman stood at the height of his power, and the French ambassador, La Chetardie, reported to his court that "it is not too much to say that he is tsar of all Russia." Osterman's foreign
policy was based upon the Austrian alliance. He had, therefore, guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction with the deliberate intention of defending it. Hence the determination of France to remove him at any cost. Indeed it was only the Russian alliance which, in 1741, seemed to stand between Maria Theresa and ruin.
The most obvious method of rendering the Russian alliance unserviceable to the queen of Hungary was by implicating Russia in hostilities with Sweden. A rupture was brought about in 1741 by French influence and French money, but the Swedes were defeated. It now became evident to La Chetardie that only a revolution would overthrow Osterman, and this he proposed to promote by elevating to the throne the tsarevna Elizabeth, who hated the vice-chancellor because, though he owed everything to her father, he had systematically neglected her. Osterman was therefore the first and the most illustrious victim of the coup d'etat of Dec. 6, 1741. He was condemned but, reprieved on the scaffold, was banished to Siberia, where he died.
See S. Shubinsky, "Count A. I. Osterman" (Rus.) in Syevernoye Siyanie, vol. ii. (St. Petersburg, 1863) ; D. Korsakov, From the Lives of Russian Statesmen of the XVIIIth Century (Rus.) (Kazan, 1891) A. N. Filippov, "Documents relating to the Cabinet Ministers of the Empress Anne" (Rus.) (St. Petersburg, 1898) in the collections of the Russ. Hist. Soc., vol. 1o4; A. A. Kochubinsky, Count A. I. Osterman and the proposed Partition of Turkey (Rus.) (Odessa, 1889) ; Hon. C. Finch, Diplomatic Despatches from Russia, 1740-1742 (St. Petersburg, in the collections of the Russ. Hist. Soc., vols. 85 and 91; R. Nisbet Bain, The Pupils of Peter the Great (London, 1897) ; and The Daughter of Peter the Great (London, 1899), chapters 1-3.