Russian Foreign Policy During Nicholas I Part 3

Russian Foreign Policy During Nicholas I Part 3

At first the war had triumphal appearances for the Russians who, led by General Gurko, arrived at the beginning of July right up to Adrianople; but in a second moment the prospects became much less favorable: twice defeated, the Russian armies already at the end of July were forced to retreat. And only by appealing to all its strength did Russia, aided by Romania, manage in November to obtain a decisive victory under the walls of Plevna, which had been heroically defended by Osmān Pasha; a few days later the Russian offensive in the Armenian sector – an offensive which had also been contained for some time – succeeded, occupying the stronghold of Kars and opening the way to Erzerum.

In January 1878 the Russians were by now at the gates of Constantinople: but, just at the moment in which they could have the illusion of making their triumphal entry there, the other European powers intervened. First of all England which, by passing the Dardanelles to its fleet (22 January), clearly demonstrated its intention to prevent the Russian triumph. The Russians hastened to conclude with the sultan the armistice of Adrianople (January 31), followed shortly after by the peace of Santo Stefano (March 3, 1878) which practically destroyed the Turkish empire in Europe: the creation of a great Bulgarian state, which it went from Albania to the Black Sea, from the Danube to Thessaloniki and Adrianople, meant the rise in the Balkans of a strong vassal of Russia and constituted the essential element of the Treaty of Santo Stefano (v.). Berlin, VI, p. 735). Winner on the battlefields, Russia had to suffer a diplomatic failure all the more serious the greater the hopes of the Slavs, Russians and Balkans had been: the dismemberment of Bulgaria, the territorial amputations made to Montenegro and Serbia – against what ‘had been established in the treaty of St. Stephen – and conversely, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Novi Pazar sangjacat occupied by Austria, Cyprus in the possession of England, still the sultan’s protector England in Armenian affairs: all this it was a severe blow to Russian politics, which had remained completely isolated, and which naturally lost much of its prestige vis-à-vis the Balkan peoples themselves. A state of tension ensued in Austro-Russian and also Russian-German relations,

According to Iamhigher, the critical period in relations between Russia and Germany and Austria, determined by the crisis of 1878, seemed to have passed when, after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II (1 March 1881), Alexander III ascended the throne. The decidedly conservative and reactionary tendencies of the new sovereign immediately had their repercussions in the field of foreign policy, in the sense that the concern to face the liberal and, worse, subversive movements, strengthened in the sovereign the feeling of dynastic solidarity with the Habsburgs and Hohenzollern, and it induced him to seek the collaboration of the two central, conservative empires, also concerned with maintaining the existing political-social order in Europe. Thus was born the alliance of the three emperors (June 18, 1881), which, in the field of foreign policy, entailing respect for the status quo in the Balkans and mutual recognition of the (eventual) annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Austria and of the (eventual) union of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia under the Russian protectorate, meant that Austrian influence remained dominant. west, while Bulgaria was left fully in the Russian orbit of action. In 1884 the agreement of 1881 was renewed for another three years; and the meeting of the three emperors in Skierniewice (September) constituted a new, sensational proof of the momentary unity of purpose between the three ‘Italy. Austria and the (eventual) union of Bulgaria with eastern Rumelia under the Russian protectorate meant that Austrian influence remained dominant in the west, while Bulgaria was left fully in the orbit of Russian action. In 1884 the agreement of 1881 was renewed for another three years; and the meeting of the three emperors in Skierniewice (September) constituted a new, sensational proof of the momentary unity of purpose between the three ‘Italy. Austria and the (eventual) union of Bulgaria with eastern Rumelia under the Russian protectorate meant that Austrian influence remained dominant in the west, while Bulgaria was left fully in the orbit of Russian action. In 1884 the agreement of 1881 was renewed for another three years; and the meeting of the three emperors in Skierniewice (September) constituted a new, sensational proof of the momentary unity of purpose between the three ‘Italy. agreement of 1881 was renewed for another three years; and the meeting of the three emperors in Skierniewice (September) constituted a new, sensational proof of the momentary unity of purpose between the three ‘Italy. agreement of 1881 was renewed for another three years; and the meeting of the three emperors in Skierniewice (September) constituted a new, sensational proof of the momentary unity of purpose between the three ‘Italy.

Russian During Nicholas I 3