The exact reasons for the Russian campaign which began in the spring of 1695 against the port of Azov, at the mouth of the Don, remain obscure. In particular it is doubtful whether Peter himself had much to do with the decision to attack the Turkish fortress, for as yet he had hardly begun to play a leading role in the government. A new outburst of fighting between Russians and Turks, however, was to be expected. The war between them, though quiescent since Golitsyn’s second failure against the Crimea in 1689, was still in being. The Tatars of the Crimea continued to carry out occasional destructive raids against Russian territory; in 1692, for example, they burnt part of the town of Nemirov in the Ukraine and carried off a considerable number of prisoners. There was a real danger that, if Russia did not play a more active part in the struggle, its allies, the Holy Roman Emperor and the king of Poland, would neglect Russian interests when peace was made. A Turkish agreement in the summer of 1694 to open negotiations with the Austrians and Poles aroused fears of Russia being relegated to a position of inferiority in the alliance and perhaps even denied the representation expected at a peace congress. Religious feeling and tradition, a certain crusading impulse, also provided a significant part of the background to the attack on Azov; it is noteworthy that the army which captured it in 1696 bore at its head a flag which had been carried, almost a century and a half before, by the army of Ivan IV when it took the great Tatar and Muslim fortress of Kazan in 1552.