South-East Europe in the International Relations at the Turn of the 20th Century (II)

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Part I

France’s Balkan policy of the status quo    

The fundamental interest of France in the region of South-East Europe was of the economic nature but not fundamentally of the political one. The region was perceived by the French politicians as primarily significant in the following three points:

  • As a well-suited area for the investment of the French financial capital.
  • As the region which was the most appropriate overland traffic bond with the Ottoman Empire.
  • As a foothold for the French economic domination over the East Mediterranean.[i]

In this respect, the French economic penetration into the region, followed by an investment of the French financial capital in all Balkan states, acquired a notable success in the second half of the 19th century. It is true particularly for Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece. The Kingdom of Serbia became among all Balkan countries the most depended on the French financial capital especially after 1881 when the French company General Union gave a so far the uppermost loan for the building of Serbia’s first railway-line (Belgrade−Niš). Serbia became more depended on the French capital in 1910 when the French-Serbian Bank was established with the predominant French capital. Therefore, on the eve of the 1912−1913 Balkan Wars the French investment capital dominated in Serbia. However, the French economic concessions were closely connected with the French policy in the region. As a result, the French Government in a great extent controlled Serbia’s foreign policy.

However, the principal object of the French financial subjugation inside the region of South-East Europe was, in fact, the Ottoman Empire. The French financiers and businessmen financed around 32% of the Baghdad Railway’s Co., while 63% of the Ottoman state’s loan should be paid for France. Nevertheless, what was the most important, a predominant number of share-holdings of the state’s Ottoman Bank belonged to France. Hence, the French entrepreneurs obtained very important concessions for the construction of the Ottoman railway-lines in Anatolia, Armenia, and Syria. Subsequently, the designers of the French foreign policy in connection to the Balkans had seriously to take into consideration the economic interest of France’s financiers and businesspersons. The French entrepreneurs, however, in order to make money inside the Ottoman Empire, realized that the Ottoman Empire must not be territorially and politically disintegrated or dismembered. Moreover, they supported an idea of the Ottoman economic, institutional and political reformation and prosperity. Shortly, the French financial capital and investments could earn the profit only in reformed and prospered Ottoman Empire but not politically disintegrated one. This political economy’s fundamental principle became the leading standard in the French Balkan policy of the status quo.[ii]

The French approach toward the Balkan League of Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Greece, especially to the Serbian-Bulgarian accord, had a double standard. On one hand, Paris disagreed with the creation of such an alliance if it would be directed against the Ottoman territorial integrity. However, on another hand, Paris supported the establishment of the alliance in the case that it would accept an anti-Austro-Hungarian political course but not an anti-Ottoman one. This was clearly pointed out by the French Government to the Bulgarian Premier Geshov: France’s aims in the East were to preserve both territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire and the political status quo in the Balkans.

It must be said that France’s policy of good and very friendly relations with the Ottoman Empire dated back even in 1535 when the French Government concluded the first bilateral arrangement with the Ottoman Sultan and Porte (Government).[iii] When during the preparations for the 1912−1913 Balkan Wars, the French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré visited the Russian Emperor in St. Petersburg in August 1912 he remarked that the Balkan League of Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece was not welcomed by France since it was designed as the anti-Ottoman military-political coalition.[iv]

The main reason for the French animosity toward the Balkan League was the French appraisement that such kind of a military-political bloc would be under the Russian political control and finally to be used against the French economic and political interests at the Balkans. Especially the article of the 1912 contract between Serbia and Bulgaria on the arbitrary role of the Russian Emperor Nicolas II in the case of the Serbian-Bulgarian controversy over the division of Macedonia made Paris suspicious toward the conception of any form of the Balkan countries’ cooperation. In other words, the Balkan League of 1912 was seen by France as the military-political alliance under the Russian patronage, which will be used by the Russian Emperor to assist Russia to gain the Straits and Constantinople. Therefore, the French administration did not give to Bulgaria a state’s loan in the autumn of 1912 being afraid that this loan (180 mils. francs) will be used for the purpose of changing the Balkan status quo, i.e., for the war against the Ottoman Empire[v] what is unambiguously accented in political-diplomatic memoirs of Raymond Poincaré.[vi] The French press, like Parisian Figaro, shared his opinion as well. However, when the Balkan countries already defeated the Ottoman Empire in the spring of 1913, the French diplomacy tried to cooperate with Russia in order to transform the alliance into the military bloc against the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.[vii]

The British policy of the balance of powers in Europe and the Balkans 

The British Balkan policy likewise the French one followed essentially its own economic interest in the region. The financial capital from the United Kingdom was present in each of the Balkan states but especially was influential in the Ottoman Empire. At the beginning of the 20th century, the British merchants controlled the biggest portion of the Ottoman export-import trade.[viii] For instance, 35% of total Ottoman import was coming from the United Kingdom. The British entrepreneurs showed particular interest to deal with the exploitation of the Ottoman oilfields in the Middle East. For example, the Anglo-Persian Company with the Shell company had around 75% of investment in the Turkish Petroleum Company which had a monopoly to exploit the petrol in the Ottoman Empire. A similar situation was in regard to the Ottoman cotton trade which was predominantly in the British hands. Henceforth, the Persian Gulf was considered by the British businessmen as the terrain of the first priority for Great Britany’s economic as well political strategy towards the Ottoman Empire. However, the similar interest upon the Gulf showed and Russia which was a military-political ally of the United Kingdom. The Russian-British competitions over the Persian and the Ottoman oilfields and other natural wealth temporally were settled by the agreement on spheres of influence between St. Petersburg and London in 1907. According to this agreement, the Persian territory was divided on the northern Russian and the south-eastern British spheres of economic-political influence. Nevertheless, the principal territory (central part of Persia) as an apple of discord between Russia and the United Kingdom, was left undivided. The Russian line of influence was running from the River Heri-Rud on the East to the city of Jäsd in the South and finally to the southern Kurdistan on the West. The British demarcation stripe of the sphere of influence in Persia ran from the town of Burudschänd on the North-East to the city of Kirman on the West and finishes in the seaport of Bändär Abbas on the South.[ix]

For the United Kingdom, the Persian Gulf had an additional point of importance as in this region the Baghdad-Basra railway-line had to be ended. Thus, in order to enlarge its own territory of the protectorate in the area of the Persian Gulf, the British foreign policy endeavored to tear off the land of Kuwait from the Ottoman Empire and to create a semi-independent Kuwait state under the British patronage. The first phase of this plan was successfully accomplished in 1899 while the second one was realized in 1913, i.e., during the Balkan Wars.[x]

There are indications in historical sources that the Ottoman Empire was forced to hand over the territory of Kuwait in 1913 to Great Britany’s protectorate in order to obtain the British support in the question of Albania – a province of the Ottoman Empire which was at that time under Serbia’s and Greece’s military occupation. The British diplomatic strategy considered its influence in the Persian Gulf as a counterbalance to the Austro-Italian influence in Albania and Otranto Strait. It is not out of the truth that, in fact, the British ruling establishment required on the London Conference of ambassadors upon Albania to obtain the British protectorate over Kuwait in exchange for the Austro-Hungarian and Italian protectorate upon de iure Albanian independent state which should be recognized after the 1912−1913 Balkan Wars.[xi]

The political influence of British diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire was maintained through many British officers and representatives who worked in different sectors of the Ottoman state’s offices and organizations. The Bretons became in the first place influential in the Ottoman ministries as employed advisors within the different sectors of the Government.

The British financial capital gradually was more and more present in the economic life of Serbia during and after the Serbo-Austro-Hungarian “Custom War” of 1906−1911. The British financiers were interested in the building of Serbia’s-projected the Adriatic railway-line to connect Belgrade with the Adriatic Sea. According to the constructing scheme, its one branch would run via Serbia to the Danube and the Black Sea while another one would connect Albania with Salonica and Istanbul. The crucial portion of the British trade with Albania, Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro was hold by the brothers Begston’s Balkan Committee. However, the policy of the Balkan Committee was to obtain an autonomous status for Macedonia and Albania inside the Ottoman Empire in order to provide better conditions for the investment of its capital in this area.[xii]

The British foreign policy toward the Ottoman Empire and South-East Europe was incorporated into the general British policy toward European affairs. This policy supported an idea of maintaining the “European balance of powers”. Due to this policy, the Ottoman Empire was protecting its own territorial integrity for decades. Great Britany preferred, likewise France, to keep alive the “Sick Man on the Bosphorus” for the very reason just not to allow Russia to take advantage of the Ottoman Empire’s disintegration and to establish its protectorate over the Orthodox Christians on the Balkans.[xiii] Actually, the United Kingdom was the principal opponent to the Russian conception to create one united great Slavic Balkan state under its patronage. However, after the 1908 pro-German Young Turk Revolution in Istanbul[xiv] and from the same year the Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina,[xv] the Bretons started to closer co-operate with Russia and France in the Balkan affairs. The purpose of this partnership was to prevent further penetration of the Germanic “Drang nach Osten” in South-East Europe and the Near East. The British Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Grey launched an idea of the Balkan coalition in the following years as a barrier to the Habsburg deeper penetration into the Balkans.[xvi] The British diplomacy worked to include Greece into the coalition in order to pursue its own influence on the Balkan League. At the same time, Greece would make the alliance which would be unable to become subjugated to the Russian Balkan policy.[xvii]

Russia’s driving towards the Straits

Russia’s financial influence in the economies of the Balkan states at the turn of the 20th century compared with the German, the Austrian-Hungarian, the Italian, the British, and the French influence was notably lesser. Moreover, the Russian financial influence in the Ottoman economic life was almost not existing. The trade exchange between Russia and the Ottoman Empire was underdeveloped. In addition, unlike the other members of the European Great Powers, Russia did not have a single concession for the construction of any railway-line in the Ottoman Empire. However, the presence of the Russian financial capital gradually increased in Bulgaria and Serbia after the 1878 Berlin Congress. However, the Russian entrepreneurs did not succeed to get a very important railway building concessions for the lines Sophia−Ruse and the River Danube−the Adriatic Sea. It was so far the most relevant indicator that Russia was losing its political-economic positions in South-East Europe primarily on behalf of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.

The Russian capital set foot in Serbia in 1867 when Serbia’s government of Prince Mihailo (Michael) Obrenović took the first state’s loan from Russia. The loan was engaged in Serbia’s military preparation for the war against the Ottoman Empire. The principal nature of this loan was a political one but not economic. This case with the Russian loan indicated that the Principality of Serbia at that time intended to tie its political destiny in the upcoming events with Russia.[xviii] It clearly shows two diplomatic missions by Serbia’s diplomats Jovan Marinović and Milan Petronijević in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the autumn 1866 and spring 1867 respectively.[xix] During his visit to Moscow in November 1866, J. Marinović promised to the Russian government that the Russian Emperor would be informed upon every diplomatic action of Serbia regarding the region of South-East Europe. In fact, Serbia’s obligation was the first condition under which the Russian imperial Government was willing to support Serbia and her foreign policy.[xx] Second Serbia’s loan from Russia was taken in 1876 again for the war preparation against the Ottoman Empire (at the time of the 1875−1878 Great Eastern Crisis). This Serbian political-economic linkage to Russia led Serbia’s Government to conclude the first trade contract with Russia in 1892.

Russia’s policy toward the Ottoman Empire was totally different in comparison with the British and French policies towards the same country. While London and Paris intended to prolong the territorial existence of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, St. Petersburg’s politicians aimed to create a new Balkan order but without the Ottoman presence in the region. In other words, according to the Russian conception how to resolve the Balkan Question, the Ottoman Empire had to lose all of its European possessions alongside with the capital Istanbul and the Straits.[xxi] Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and Dardanelles, all of them the parts of the territory of the Ottoman Empire, were for the Russian trade and navy of the principal importance. Consequently, the first goal of the Russian foreign policy was to obtain control under these three geostrategic objects of interest. The Russians believed that this idea could be realized only in the case if Istanbul (Constantinople) would be under direct Russian administration or at least protectorate. Shortly, according to the Russian concept of rearranged Balkan affairs, the place for the Ottoman Empire was reserved only in Asia Minor but not in South-East Europe.[xxii] Control over the Straits with Constantinople became a real Russian historical myth.[xxiii] The Russians were especially scared that Germany would occupy the Straits in the case of the Ottoman territorial disintegration. According to the Russian opinion, in this case, an entire economic life of South Russia would be tutored by Germany.[xxiv] The Straits were important for the Russian economy because they connected the Russian Black Sea’s trade with the Mediterranean and Far East’s markets. In addition, the Straits were the principal overseas ties between the Russian Baltic Sea’s possessions and the southern lands of the Russian Empire. Russia’s export of the corns from the territory of present-day Ukraine and Russia’s oil from the Caucasus highly depended on the free passage through the Straits and the Sea of Marmara.[xxv]

The Russian diplomacy found that the best way to obtain Russia’s protectorate over the Straits and the Sea of Marmara was to support the liberation movement of the Balkan Orthodox Slavs against the Ottoman authority. Finally, independent Serbia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria but under the Russian protectorate should provide Russian exit to the Mediterranean Sea.[xxvi] This political task was hidden under the policy of pan-Slavic solidarity as Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sazonov pointed out in 1914.[xxvii] Because of the meaningfulness of the Straits for the Russian economic and political strategy, the Balkans had the first importance in the Russian foreign policy. This region was considered as more significant in comparison to the rest of Europe, the Middle, and the Far East. In addition, the Byzantine Constantinople (the Ottoman Istanbul) was considered by the Russian Emperors since the time of Ivan the Terrible (in power 1533−1584)[xxviii] as a spiritual center of the Russian and the Orthodox culture and civilization (as the Third Rome).[xxix] The Bosphorus and Dardanelli were of the same importance for Russia as it was Albania for Italy or the Persian Gulf for the United Kingdom. 

The main Russian opponent in the Balkans was the Habsburg Monarchy (from 1867 the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary) since the first Russo-Ottoman War in 1677−1681. The struggle between these two European Great Powers upon the spheres of influences in South-East Europe was only temporarily settled in 1782 when the Russian Empress Catherine the Great and the Austrian Emperor Joseph II divided the Balkans into the Russian and the Habsburg spheres of influence. The line of division, in this case, ran from Belgrade to the Adriatic Sea. The territories eastward from this line belonged to the Russian zone of the protectorate, while the lands westward from the line went to the Austrian area of patronage. In fact, the Serbian lands were shared between Russia and Austria while present-day Albania was given to Russia. It was the first and the only example that Austria agreed to renounce the claim over the territory of Albania and to cede it to Russia. The Russian imperial navy started to implement this agreement by the occupation of the Ionian Islands in 1799. This military action was designed as an overture for the later Russian deeper penetration into East Balkans exactly via the territory of Albania.[xxx] However, during the whole 19th century the territory of Albania was under the Austrian sphere of interest but not of the Russian one. Moreover, the Russian diplomacy signed two agreements with the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary upon the Balkan status quo in 1897 and 1903. Accordingly, the territory of present-day Albania with West Macedonia and Kosovo-Metochia was recognized as the Austrian-Hungarian area of patronage.[xxxi] 

The importance of Albania for the Russian foreign policy emerged again during the Serbian-Greek military occupation of the present-day territory of Albania in 1912−1913 as a land of the Ottoman Empire. At that time only Russia supported Serbia and Greece in their policy against the independence of Albania while all other members of the European Great Powers opposed the Russian plan to divide Albania into two parts. At the same time, during the Albanian crisis, a significant number of the Muslim inhabitants of Albania expressed their loyalty to the Ottoman Empire. The Russian intention to divide Albania between Serbia and Greece in 1913 was, in fact, the compensation to Belgrade and Athens for Russia’s design to give to Bulgaria great territorial concessions in Macedonia and Thrace. Additionally, the Russian diplomacy had an idea in 1914−1915 to unite Serbia with Montenegro, Kosovo-Metochia, Dalmatia, North Albania, and Bosnia-Herzegovina into a single federal state of the Serbian nation.[xxxii] This idea was alive during the time of the creation of the Balkan League in 1912 and its the main protagonist became the Russian ambassador to Serbia N. Hartvig.[xxxiii] However, during the 1912−1913 Balkan Wars, the ultimate Russian ceding of Albania to Austria-Hungary and Italy in 1913 occurred under the Emperor’s deep conviction that the Albanian Question would provoke the Third Balkan War what for Russia was not prepared at that moment. Albania was seen in conception of the Russian foreign policy in the Balkans as the territory which should thwart the Italian and the Habsburg penetration in the direction towards the Straits[xxxiv], and Constantinople where “the keys of the Russian home had been.”[xxxv]

 

Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

sotirovic@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2019

 

Endnotes:

[i] Documents diplomatiques français 1871−1914, Vol. VI−VII, Paris, 1933.

[ii] About this problem, see in [Georgeon F., “L’ économie politique selon Ahmed Midhat,” Edhem E. (ed.), Première rencontre internationale sur l’Empire ottoman et la Turque moderne, Istanbul, 1991, 464−479; Inalcik H., Quataert D. (eds.), An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300−1914, Cambridge, 1994; Kunelarp S., “Les Ottomans à la découverte de l’Europe: Récits de voyageurs de la fin de l’Empire”, Etudes turques et ottomans: Documents de travail, theme issue on “Voyageurs et diplomates ottomans,” № 4, December 1995, 51−58].  

[iii] Поповић В., Источно питање, Беогрaд, 1928, 56.

[iv] Renuvin P., Evropska kriza i prvi svetski rat, Zagreb, 1965, 144. See also [August T., The Selling of the Empire: British and French Imperialist Propaganda, 1890−1940, Westport, 1985].

[v] Балканската война или pуската оранжева книга, София, doc. № 11, 8 (The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ diplomatic documents about the Balkans from August 1912 to July 1913).

[vi] Poincaré R., Les Balkans en feu, Paris, 1923, 33. About the same issue, see more in [Becker J. J., The Great War and the French People, Leamington Spa, 1985].

[vii] Documents diplomatiques français, Vol. VI, doc. № 229. About this problem, see more in [Jelavich B., A Century of Russian Foreign Policy, 1814−1914, Philadelphia, 1964; Thaden E., Russia and the Balkan Alliance of 1912, University Park Pennsylvania, 1965; Jelavich B., Russia’s Balkan Entanglement, 1806−1914, Cambridge, 1991; Геллер М., История Российской империи, Vol. III, Москва, 1997].  

[viii] Taylor A. J. P., The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1849−1918, Oxford, 1954, 504.

[ix] Westermann Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte, Braunschweig, 1985, 134.

[x] Palmowski J., A Dictionary of Contemporary World History from 1900 to the Present Day, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 358.

[xi] Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangès, Corrèspondence politique, Turquie, Guerres balkaniques, Conférence de Londres; Decision of the Ambassadors’ Conference, Nov. 9, 1921, Simmonard A., Essai sur l’independence Albanaise, Paris, 1942; Commission Internationale de délimination des frontières de l’Albanie. Frontière Serbo-Croato-Slovene-Albanese. Protocole de delimitation, Florence, 1926. This question has been dealt more extensively, in [Puto A., Albanian Independence and the Diplomacy of the Great Powers 1912−1914, Tirana, 1978; Puto A., The Albanian Question in the International Acts of the Period of Imperialism, 1912−1918, Vol. I−II, Tirana, 1987].

[xii] Балканската война или pуската оранжева книга, София, doc. № 11, 18−21 (The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ diplomatic documents about the Balkans from August 1912 to July 1913).

[xiii] Taylor A. J. P., The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1849−1918, Oxford, 1954, 504−506; Janković B., The Balkans in International Relations, Hong Kong, 1988, 89−119. About the same issue, see more in [Rossos A., Russia and the Balkans: Inter-Balkan Rivalries and Russian Foreign Policy, 1908−1914, Toronto, 1981]. 

[xiv] On the 1908 Young Turk Revolution, see in [Lévt-Aksu N., Georgeon F., (eds.), The Young Turk Revolution and the Ottoman Empire: The Aftermath of 1908, London−New York: I.B.Tauras, 2017].

[xv] On the British perspectives about the 1908−1909 Annexation Crisis, see in [Demirci S., British Public Opinion Towards the Ottoman Empire During the Two Crisis: Bosnia-Herzegovina (1908−1909) and the Balkan Wars (1912−1913), Gorgias Pr Llc, 2010].

[xvi] Thaden E., Russia and the Balkan Alliance of 1912, University Park Pennsylvania, 1965, 120. About the same issue, see in [Taylor A. J. P., The Habsburg Monarchy1809−1918. A History of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary, London, 1990, 276−302, Seton-Watson R. W., Britain in Europe 1789−1914.

[xvii] British documents on the Origins of the War, 1899−1914, Vol. IX, doc. № 461; Drosos D., La Fondation de l’ Alliance Balkanique, Athenes, 1929.

[xviii] Миљковић Д., Прилози расветљавању привредних односа Србије и Русије у XIX  веку, Београд, 1956, 11−16 (documents).

[xix] Дипломатски архив, Београд, Архива  Илије Гарашанина, Letter from Schtackelberg to Ignatiev, Wien, November 27, 1866. In this letter, there is a concept about the conversation between Marinović and Gorchakov; Ibid., Писмо Гарашанина Ристићу, Београд, 11. децембар, 1866; Ibid., Мариновић J., “Питање о градовима”; Haus-Hof und Staats-Archiv, Wien, Letter from Beist to Prokresch, Vienna, December 20, 1866; Ibid., Marinović’s papers, Letter from Prince Mihailo to Bismarck, Belgrade, October 24, 1866; Дипломатски архив, Београд, Архива Јована Ристића, Писмо Гарашанина Ристићу, Београд, фебруар 1867; Ibid., Писмо Гарашанина Ристићу, Београд, 11. мај 1867; Дипломатски архив, Београд, Архива  Илије Гарашанина, Писмо Гарашанина Ристићу, Београд, 11. мај 1867, концепт; Ibid., Писмо Гарашанина Петронијевићу, Београд, 20. мај, 1867, концепт; Дипломатски архив, Београд, Записник седница од 31. маја 1867; Ристић Ј., Последња година спољашње политике кнеза Михаила, Београд, 1895, (memoires), 15, 45; Ловчевић С. (уредник), Писма Илије Гарашанина Јовану Мариновићу, Зборник САНУ, том II, № XXII, Београд, 1931.

[xx] Дипломатски архив, Београд, Политички односи, Писмо Мариновића Горчакову, Београд, 17. фебруар, 1867, концепт; Ibid., Letter from Stremoukov to Marinović, St. Petersburg, February 9, 1867; Дипломатски архив, Београд, Хартије Јована Мариновића, Letter from Shishkin to Marinović, Belgrade, March 1867.

[xxi] On this issue, see the conversation between the representative of the French ministry of foreign affairs, Maurice Paléologue, with the Russian ambassador to France, Izvolsky in [Taylor A. J. P., Taylor A. J. P., The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1849−1918, Oxford, 1954, 505; Paléologue M., An Ambassador’s Memoirs, London, 1923].

[xxii] About this issue, see more in [Taylor A. J. P., “The War Aims of the Allies in the First World War”, Pares R., Taylor A. J. P. (eds.), Essays Presented to Sir Lewis Namier, London, 1956; Balsover G. H., “Aspects of Russian Foreign Policy, 1815−1914”, Pares R., Taylor A. J. P. (eds.), Essays Presented to Sir Lewis Namier, London, 1956].

[xxiii] Адамов Е. А., Константинополь и проливы по секретным документам б. Министерства иностранных дел, Москва, 1926.

[xxiv] Report by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sazonov to the Russian Emperor, Nicholas II, December 1913.

[xxv] The Russian economy enormously suffered when during the 1911−1912 Italo-Ottoman war the Ottoman authorities closed the Straits only for two weeks in April 1912.

[xxvi] Gottlieb W. W., Studies in Secret Diplomacy During the First World War, London, 1957, 148−162. On this issue, see more in [Дякин В. С., Русская буржуазия и царизм в годы первой мировой войны (1914−1917), Ленинград, 1967; Покровский М. Н., Царская Россия и война, Москва, 1924; “Die Internationalen Beziehungen im Zeitalter des Imperialismus”, II, 7 II, № 493]. Winston Churchill stated during the first months of the First World War that the Russian soldiers will fight bravely only if the Straits would be the task of their victory.

[xxvii] Sazonov S., Les années fatales, Paris, 1927.

[xxviii] On the reign of Ivan the Terrible, see in [Anisimov J., Rusijos istorija nuo Riuriko iki Putino: Žmonės. Įvykiai. Datos, Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos centras, 2014, 131−146].

[xxix] On this question, see in [Mango C., Byzantium and its Image, London, 1984; Mango C., Byzantium The Empire of New Rome, New York, 1982; Shevchenko I., Ideology, Letters and Culture in the Byzantine World, especially “Constantinople viewed from the eastern provinces” and “Byzantium and the eastern Slavs after 1453”, London, 1972; Johnson R. M., The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy, The Foundation for Economic Liberty, Inc., 2004].

[xxx] More about the Eastern Question in the 18th century, see in [Sorel A., La question d’orient au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1889; Driault E., La question depuis ses origines jusqu’a nos jours, Paris, 1898]. About a geopolitical character of the Eastern Question and Russia, see in [Перишић С., Нова геополитика Русије, Београд: Медија центар Одбрана, 2015, 56−60].

[xxxi] Хвостов В. М., История дипломатии, II, Москва, 1963, 345−351; Динев А., Илинденската епопеја, II, Скопје, 1949, 5−10.

[xxxii] Дипломатски архив, Београд, Извештај министарства спољних послова Србије војној врховној команди, телеграф послат из Ваљева 3. октобра 1914. г., документ бр. 5714; Архив Југославије, Београд, Фонд Јоце Јовановића Пижона, Дневници Ј. Ј. Пижона, кутија бр. 54, документ бр. 247. On the Russian diplomacy during the First World War, see in [Трубецки Н. Г., Рат на Балкану 1914−1917. и руска дипломатија, Београд: Просвета, 1994 (memoires)].

[xxxiii] Международние отношения в епоху империализма. Документы из архивов царского и временого правителъства 1878−1917, том XX, Москва, 1938,  Report by the Russian representative in Belgrade from September 20, 1912; Балканската война или pуската оранжева книга, Софиа, doc. № 36, 19−20 (the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ diplomatic documents about the Balkans from August 1912 to July 1913). 

[xxxiv] On this issue, see in [Проект захвата Босфора в 1896 г., Красный Архив, том IV−V, (XLVII–XLVIII), Москва−Ленинград, 1931; Хвостов В. М., История дипломатии, том II, Москва, 1963].

[xxxv] Покровский М. Н., Царская Россия и война, Москва, 1924.


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The Idea of a Greater Croatia by Pavao Ritter Vitezović (I)
Introduction The article will examine the model for the creation of a Greater Croatia designed by a Croatian nobleman, publicist and historian Pavao Ritter Vitezović (1652–1713). The article will offer a new interpretation of the substance and significance of Vitezović’s political ideology. Many historians have viewed Vitezović’s political thought and his developed ideological framework of a united South Slavic state as part of a wider pan-Slavic world. According to the prevailing notion, Vitezović was a precursor of the idea of Yugoslavism (a united South Slavic nation-state) and even Pan-Slavism - a pan-Slavic cultural and political reciprocity. Yet a closer look at ...
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Croatian Schooling ‘Leaves Pupils Ill-Informed’ About WWII Regime
Many Croatian schoolchildren know little about crimes committed under the country’s World War II-era fascist regime – but experts claim that the revisionist political environment is more to blame than the education system.The former Jasenovac concentration camp, one of the most important World War II historical sites in the former Yugoslavia, is around 110 kilometres from Croatia’s capital Zagreb - an hour and a half by bus.But no schools in Zagreb sent their pupils on trips to the Jasenovac Memorial Site last year.Out of a total of 909 primary schools in Croatia, only seven of them organised visits for pupils ...
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British Imperial Project in Ukraine: Violent Coup, Fascist Axioms, Neo-Nazis (2014)
Uncovering the Western mainstream mass-media lies on Ukraine. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
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Global Warfare: “We’re Going to Take out 7 Countries in 5 Years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran”
It is worth noting that 6 out of these 7 countries (with the exception of Lebanon) identified by General Wesley Clark “to be taken out” are now the object of President Trump’s ban on Muslims’ entry to the US:  Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Iran and Yemen. All of these countries are on the Pentagon’s drawing board. These countries have been directly or indirectly been the object of US aggression (Global Research Editor). General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia. Complete Transcript of Program, Democracy Now. Today we spend the hour with General ...
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”The Time Of The Kurds” (Documentary Film)
This video is part of the Council on Foreign Relations’ InfoGuide Presentation, “The Time of the Kurds”: http://www.cfr.org/kurds The Kurds are one of the world’s largest peoples without a state, making up sizable minorities in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Their history is marked by marginalization and persecution. Yet some Kurds may be on the verge of achieving their century-old quest for independence in a Middle East undergoing the convulsions of Syria’s civil war, Iraq’s destabilization, and conflict with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Watch video here: THE TIME OF THE KURDS Duration: 10 min. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ...
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How Holocaust Revisionists Remake History as Nationalist Sham
The consumption of history seems to be more widespread than ever: from general-interest history magazines and historical dramas and documentaries to historical fiction, popular history seems, well, unprecedentedly popular. The evolution of the TV historian reflects this trend: where once real working historians who had written serious books hosted television programmes, these days they are as likely to be photogenic media presenters with minimal, if any, actual history qualifications. The attraction of history and being a historian are not hard to work out. In the public imagination, historians are usually considered to be intelligent, objective people, if a little eccentric, who tell ...
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The Balkan Vlachs (3)
The Vlachs in Greece Many researchers and scholars judge that the largest part of the Balkan Vlachs is concentrated in Greece. The census of 1935 recorded 19,703 Vlachs in Greece, but according to the last census in Greece that allowed people to express their ethnic identity (in 1951), there were 39,855 Vlachs in this state.[1] However, a real number of the Vlachs in Greece today is up to 120,000.[2] The Vlachs in a post-war Greece are not acknowledged as an ethnic or national group for the very reason that Greece from the mid-1950s does not recognize an existence of any national or ...
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Déjà Vu in the Balkans
An eerily familiar sense of regional unease has crept over all the former republics of Yugoslavia. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar echoed the Balkan zeitgeist when he warned at a press conference this week that: “If the migrant crisis is not adequately controlled as agreed at the summit in Brussels there is a possibility of conflict situations between the states of the Western Balkans. It is possible that a small conflict would initiate a wider reaction because of the very difficult recent history (of the region), which is why it is very important that we solve this crisis together as no country can solve this problem by itself.” It seems like everybody knows that ...
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The U.S. Military Interventions (1945- )
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
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Democratic Front of Montenegro will Continue to Fight Against NATO Membership
The opposition in Montenegro unanimously decided to boycott the local elections in Niksic, scheduled for March 12. This decision was made in protest against the political trial against the deputies from the Democratic Front (DF) Andrija Mandic and Milan Knežević. DF, Democratic Montenegro, Demos, civil movement URA, the Social Democrats and the Socialist People’s Party refused to participate in the elections after the Mandic and Knežević were deprived of parliamentary immunity. Andrija Mandic said that the prosecution was launched in order to weaken the Democratic Front. He added that he wants to raise the question about the legitimacy of the removal ...
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The Balkans: Endurance, Endeavour and the Resistance to Foreign Oppression
I travel frequently to the countries which once made up the now defunct Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, satisfying a passion of mine that stems back to my childhood days. For me, the Balkans’ history, its people and its cultures are both enigmatic and magnetic, as they have been, too, for countless others, of many nationalities, over centuries gone by.  Accounting for the enchantment of the Balkans, its captivating allure, is a challenge to put into writing. Because no words can truly embellish what is one of the most absorbing parts of the world. To understand and feel what it is ...
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NATO adds to Turkey’s Chagrin
There has long been speculation about a Turkish good-bye to NATO. The U.S. and its military proxy organization in Europe are doing their best to further such a move: The image of Atatürk was displayed as a target during the drill at NATO’s Joint Warfare Center in Stavanger, Norway held between Nov. 8 and Nov. 17, while a NATO soldier posted defamatory words about Erdoğan on the social media. Atatürk is the founder of the secular Turkey. He was designated as "target" during a desk-top drill. NATO's Joint Warfare Center is not a low level school but an elite officer training institution led ...
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Western Policy Doing the Bidding of Islam in Kosovo: Destroying Orthodox Christianity
Islamic forces entered Europe from Asia and North Africa in order to enslave, convert, persecute and either completely destroy Christianity or to enforce dhimmitude. Before this process began you had the complete annihilation of Christianity in many parts of North Africa and in various parts of the Middle East it was one long sojourn into dhimmitude, pogroms and massacres. Christianity survived in some areas, for example in Egypt, however, numbers succumbed after Arab colonial and Islamic discrimination took route. Therefore, a complete Islamic inquisition took root in Arabia (modern day Saudi Arabia) and just like the Sunni Islamic inquisition against Buddhism ...
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Killing a Republic – Kissinger and Cyprus
In July 1974 the US-controlled Athens military junta organized a coup d’état in Cyprus and an assassination attempt against the President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios. Everything was executed in exactly the same way as it had been a year before in Santiago Chile. (Cyprus is an island of great strategic importance, now a member of EU and Eurozone. 82% of his population are Greek by nationality and 18% Turkish Cypriots. The country obtained its independence from Britain in 1960, after one of the most successful national-liberation struggles after the 2nd World War). Unlike Salvador Allende, Makarios escaped death and with him ...
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Kosovo’s Political Murders: Unpunished but Not Forgotten
The first thing you hear is the slow-moving clatter of a wheelchair. Then comes his voice. Fetah Rudi survived an attempted assassination which left him paralysed for life, and has spent more than 17 years suffering the consequences.Kosovo Liberation Army - A Balkan Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization a la HezbollahIn June 1999, Rudi was one of the Kosovo Albanians who was detained and tortured in a Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA prison.A few months later in December 2000, Rudi - a member of the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, which at the time was President Ibrahim Rugova’s party - became a ...
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Proxy Wars: Kosovo and South Ossetia
Yada…yada…yada. The discussion on the unprovoked and planned aggression by Georgia on South Ossetia is futile and moot because Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced last week that the Russian Government would recognize the independence and freedom of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. On August 25, 2008, both houses of the Russian Parliament or Duma voted unanimously to recognize the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. On August 26, 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that the government of the Russian Federation officially recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Save your rhetoric. Georgia has lost those areas permanently. Ossetians and ...
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Hey Obama, What About Serbia’s “Territorial Integrity”?
Or Yugoslavia’s for that matter. The level of western cynicism on “territorial integrity” is far greater than you probably know. The Kosovo-Crimea discrepancy is just the tip of the iceberg Earlier this month Obama gave an earful to Putin (from a G7 meeting held 2,000 kilometres away from Moscow) complaining that this day and age you just can’t go around violating the “territorial integrity” and “sovereignty” of other countries: “Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire? Or does he recognize that Russia’s greatness does not ...
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Angela Merkel Ignores Otto Von Bismarck’s Advice Never to Quarrel with Russia
It has been 200 years since the birth of Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor who unified Germany. Otto von Bismarck emphasized the importance of good relations with Russia. "The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia", he said. Bismarck was convinced that a European security system without Russia would be impossible and war with Russia would be disastrous. Bismarck had been Prussia's ambassador to the Russian Empire. He was no Russophile, but he had an understanding of the geopolitical situation that almost no politician today possesses. Let's imagine that Bismarck left a letter to the following rulers of Germany, ...
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Violation of Human Rights of Serbs in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija
The struggle for peace and the struggle for full respect of universal human rights, as defined by UN Declaration on protection of human rights, are interdependent and non-separable. Violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity, military interventions, aggressions and occupations go hand in hand with massive violations of the basic human rights.It is clear that there are no humanitarian military interventions.NATO military aggression against Yugoslavia ( Serbia ) which started March 24rth, 1999 was launched to allegedly protect human rights of Kosovo Albanians. It was carried out in blatant violation of the basic principals of International Law and without approval of ...
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The Albanian Origin: The Main Challenges of Research
We must be clear on the meaning of Albanian autochthony, anthroponymy and ethnogenesis. Actually, the question is: have the Albanians lived without interruption in the  present-day “ethnic” territories of the Albanians (Albania, the Eastern Montenegro, Kosovo and Metohija, the Southern Central Serbia, the Western Macedonia and the Northern Epirus in Greece) since the ancient Greek and Roman times? In the other words, are the Albanians really the indigenous people of the Balkans as they claim or just newcomers to their present-day ethnic territories?  It is true, however, that the question of the Illyrian ethnic and cultural background of present-day Albanians ...
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The Idea of a Greater Croatia by Pavao Ritter Vitezović (I)
Croatian Schooling ‘Leaves Pupils Ill-Informed’ About WWII Regime
British Imperial Project in Ukraine: Violent Coup, Fascist Axioms, Neo-Nazis (2014)
Global Warfare: “We’re Going to Take out 7 Countries in 5 Years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran”
”The Time Of The Kurds” (Documentary Film)
How Holocaust Revisionists Remake History as Nationalist Sham
The Balkan Vlachs (3)
Déjà Vu in the Balkans
The U.S. Military Interventions (1945- )
Democratic Front of Montenegro will Continue to Fight Against NATO Membership
The Balkans: Endurance, Endeavour and the Resistance to Foreign Oppression
NATO adds to Turkey’s Chagrin
Western Policy Doing the Bidding of Islam in Kosovo: Destroying Orthodox Christianity
Killing a Republic – Kissinger and Cyprus
Kosovo’s Political Murders: Unpunished but Not Forgotten
Proxy Wars: Kosovo and South Ossetia
Hey Obama, What About Serbia’s “Territorial Integrity”?
Angela Merkel Ignores Otto Von Bismarck’s Advice Never to Quarrel with Russia
Violation of Human Rights of Serbs in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija
The Albanian Origin: The Main Challenges of Research
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

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