Russian Foreign Policy During Nicholas I Part 1
According to Globalsciencellc, the question of the East constituted the fulcrum of the whole foreign policy of the new tsar, who opened his reign with the intervention in the Greek-Turkish struggle, closed it with the Crimean war. And they were at first undoubted successes: by forcing the diplomatic situation, which he had inherited from his brother Alexander, he was able to force Canning to accept the principle of a joint Anglo-Franco-Russian intervention in the conflict between Greeks and Turks; after the victory of Navarino, in April 1828 he entered directly into the war against Turkey, towards Armenia. His armies occupied Kars and Erzerum, on the one hand; on the other (June 1829), sensationally defeated by the Turks, occupied Adrianople; while in Greece, thanks to the work of Koper, Russia was rapidly acquiring a decisive influence by regaining all the land lost between 1821 and 1825. The Peace of Adrianople (15 September 1829), in addition to attributing to Russia the islands at the mouth of the Danube and the left bank of the river, the Black Sea coast from the mouth of the Kuban River, the Achalcych region, granted it freedom of trade in Turkey and opened the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles to the transit of ships of all allied powers; but above all it placed the principalities of Moldavia, Wallachia and Serbia under the Russian protectorate, and, in fact, also placed Greece under the control of the Petersburg government. it granted her freedom of trade in Turkey and opened the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles to the transit of ships of all allied powers; but above all it placed the principalities of Moldavia, Wallachia and Serbia under the Russian protectorate, and, in fact, also placed Greece under the control of the Petersburg government. it granted her freedom of trade in Turkey and opened the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles to the transit of ships of all allied powers; but above all it placed the principalities of Moldavia, Wallachia and Serbia under the Russian protectorate, and, in fact, also placed Greece under the control of the Petersburg government.
Four years later, in 1833, the Russian triumph seemed complete. The war of the viceroy of Egypt, Mehemet-Ali, against Turkey offered the Tsar a new way to intervene, formally as an ally of the sultan, and to take new steps forward for the subjugation of Turkey: the Unkiar-Skelessi convention (8 July 1833) placed Turkey for eight years under the Russian protectorate, and, in a secret article, stipulated a commitment for the sultan to close the Dardanelles to the warships of other powers. Immediately after, the Russians began fortification works on the Dardanelles. Two months later, in September 1833, the Münchengrätz agreements, between Russia, Austria and Prussia, establishing the right of intervention – if required – of a sovereign in favor of another sovereign, and by linking the three powers in close agreement again, it guaranteed Russia solid support for its policy. Thus was born the so-called “Holy Alliance of the Northern Courts”.
Except that the position of absolute dominance that Nicholas I had secured, in the East, between 1829 and 1833, was not to be of long duration. The immediate, tenacious if even in the early days covered by the English counter-offensive, which found suitable ground in Turkey, careful to exploit the opportunities to free itself from Russian protection and to take advantage of the conflicts between the great powers to save its independence, had in fact to lead, in the new Turkish-Egyptian crisis of 1839 (war between the Sublime Porta and Mehemet-Ali), to a complete reversal of the situation sanctioned by the Unkiar-Skelessi treaty: the attitude of France, that of Austria itself (despite Münchengrätz), facilitated then the English game: the London Convention of 13 July 1841 established the respect, by the European powers,
It was the first major failure that the policy of Nicholas I had to undergo, in the sector on which all the aims of the Tsar and his people were pinned. It is precisely the fact that the aspirations for the Balkans were not the exclusive domain of a small circle of rulers, but of large sections of the Russian population, excited by the Pan-Slav idea; that therefore reasons of prestige were at stake in the question, even internally, he had to keep alive the obstinate desire for revenge. This led to the Eastern crisis of 1853-56 and the Crimean War.
At the moment of waging this last war, the Tsar could consider himself diplomatically in a secure position: the decisive help he had given to Austria in 1849, by smothering the Hungarian revolt with Russian weapons, legitimized hope in him, it later proved vain that, in exchange, the government of Vienna would have supported his initiative against Constantinople. Under the pressure of public opinion – which, now as always until 1914, acquires decisive importance with regard to the Balkan policy of the government, albeit autocratic, of Petersburg – Nicholas I on May 31, 1853 sent an ultimatum to the sultan; hostilities began in early July.