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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A Book Review: George Szamuely: “Bombs For Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War On Yugoslavia”, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013
George Szamuely.  Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia.  Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013 (Distributed in the U.S. and Canada by the University of Chicago Press).  Paper.  Pp. 611. In Bombs for Peace, George Szamuely, a senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute at London Metropolitan University, has produced a revealing and sharply argued analysis of Western intervention in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.  The primary focus of the book is on Western diplomatic and military interventions, which played a crucial role in the breakup of Yugoslavia and the plunge into conflict.  Continued intervention fueled deeper conflict, as ...
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An Isolated Tyrannical Regime – Not Pyongyang, It’s Washington
If Pentagon chief James Mattis was seeking to reassure the world of American restraint in the North Korea crisis, he clumsily did the opposite. The US Defense Secretary was speaking after intense discussions with President Trump and other senior military officials in the White House Situation Room following the sixth nuclear test carried out by North Korea on Sunday.Mattis emerged from the meeting to say that any threat from North Korea to the United States and its allies would be met with an «overwhelming military response». He then added – with a weirdly presumed ethical tone – that the US «was not looking to ...
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John McCain: War Criminal, Not War Hero
“I hate the gooks,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) doubled down when asked on the 2000 presidential campaign trail about his continued use of the racist slur for Vietnamese people. “I will hate them as long as I live.” In the mind of the settler-colonialist, the white invader is always the victim and the people he invades, occupies, expels or exterminates are always the aggressors, going all the way back to the Native American genocide. McCain was never able to understand that in Vietnam, as in just about everywhere else they went, Americans were the invaders, not the victims. Even as McCain ...
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An Overview of the Greek Genocide
The Greek Genocide (or Ottoman Greek Genocide) refers to the systematic extermination of the native Greek subjects of the Ottoman Empire before, during and after World War I (1914-1923). It was instigated by successive governments of the Ottoman Empire; the Committee of Union and Progress Party (C.U.P), and the Turkish Nationalist Movement of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.  It included massacres, forced deportations and death marches, summary expulsions, boycotts, rape, forced conversion to Islam, conscription into labor battalions, arbitrary executions, and destruction of Christian Orthodox cultural, historical and religious monuments. According to various sources, approximately 1 million Ottoman Greeks perished during this period.The first ...
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The Idea of a Greater Croatia by Pavao Ritter Vitezović (II)
Part I The political purpose of Vitezović’s writings The ultimate political purpose of P. R. Vitezović’s works, based on his ideological construction, was of a triple nature. First of all, he tried to refute the Venetian claims on the territory of Dalmatia, the Istrian Peninsula, the Dalmatian Islands and Boka Kotorska (Cattaro Gulf in present-day Montenegro) that rose during the Great Vienna War 1683–1699 in which the Republic of St. Marco successfully fought the Ottoman Sultanate in a coalition with the Habsburg Empire [Banac 1984, 73]. The war clearly marked the beginning of the irreversible decline of the Ottoman power which consequently opened ...
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Koszovó Csomója (1999)
A „rövid” XX. századot a balkáni lôporos hordó robbanása vezette be, és úgy látszik, addig nem is tud befejezôdni, amíg ezt a hordót jó mélyen és örökre el nem temetik. A koszovói konfliktus új fázisa – ha nem akarunk éppenséggel visszamenni az ôsidôkig, de legalábbis a rigómezei ütközetig (1389) vagy Arsenije Carnojevic és népe nagy elvándorlásáig (1698 – a tartomány szerb lakosága ekkor menekült el a török megtorlás elôl, és ekkor kezdôdött dél felôl az albánok tömeges betelepedése a lényegében lakatlanná vált területre) – nagyjából az elsô balkáni háborúval kezdôdött, és kisebb-nagyobb megszakításokkal tart ma is. A tartomány szerencsétlen helyen ...
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Videos on Ex-Yugoslavia: Reverse Side of the Truth
Documentary films about ex-Yugoslavia not seen on global corporate mass-media news. For instance: US documentary movie "RETLINES" with English subtitle from 1991 about Vatican smuggling Croat Nazi Ustashi to South America in 1945 Ratlines were a system of escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe at the end of World War II. These escape routes mainly led toward havens in South America, particularly Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile. Other destinations included the United States and perhaps Canada and the Middle East. There were two primary routes: the first went from Germany to Spain, then Argentina; the second from Germany ...
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Kosovo for “Europe”: Serbia between “Holy Land” and Stepmother
The assassination of Kosovo’s Serb leader Oliver Ivanović on January 16th, 2018 in the northern (the Serb) part of the divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica once again put on the agenda both the issue of contested land of Kosovo and Serbia’s policy toward the West, in particular, the EU. The Western (the USA/EU) client Serbia’s government is quite long time under the direct pressure from Brussels to recognize an independence of the narco-mafia Kosovo’s quasi-state for the exchange to join the EU but not before 2025. It is only a question of time that a Western colony of Serbia has to ...
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Before the U.S. Congress: HM King Peter II’s of Yugoslavia Speech at the Capitol in 1942
A highlight of Peter II’s 1942 official state visit to the U.S. was his speech before the U.S. Congress. That speech solidified and affirmed Yugoslavia as an ally of the U.S. during World War II.Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had issued a statement in support of Peter II and the Yugoslav government.FDR’s message of April 8, 1941 emphasized that the U.S. would provide aid and assistance to Yugoslavia:“The people of the United States have been profoundly shocked by the unprovoked and ruthless aggression upon the people of Yugoslavia. The Government and ...
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Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon on Kosovo in March 1999
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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Kosovo and Metohija – Return to UNSC Resolution 1244
We hear that Kosovo and Metohija’s frozen conflict is not conducive to Serbia’s interests, but nobody notes that Serbia stands to lose even more if negotiations under EU auspices continue under the same pattern and trend. Judging by the ongoing course wherein Serbia has been only delivering concessions and Prishtina’s clique only gaining control over the whole Province, Serbia may end up delivering irrevocably all her rights and interests and receiving nothing in return. Except promises of EU membership by 2027 as “indicative” year! Rarely is heard that such a EU/USA deal “territory (of Kosovo and Metohija) for EU membership” would ...
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The International Rogue Nation: America
In 2003, America (and its lap-dog UK) invaded and destroyed Iraq on the basis of lies to the effect that the U.S. (and UK) regime were certain that Saddam Hussein had and was developing weapons of mass destruction. These U.S. allegations were based on provable falsehoods when they were stated and published, but the regime's 'news'-media refused to publish and demonstrate (or "expose") any of these lies. That's how bad the regime was (and its media's 'news' were) — this was virtually a total lock-down against truth, and for international conquest (in that case, of Iraq): it was mass-murder and ...
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Israel’s Money Machine: Jewish Oligarchs Fund Crimes Against Humanity
The stars came out in Hollywood on November 2nd, or at least some of them did. The gala event celebrated the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and raised funds to support its mission in Israel itself and on the occupied West Bank. The organization being fêted was the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), which has fourteen regional offices in the United States and operates under the slogan “Their job is to look after Israel. Our job is to look after them.” In attendance were Arnold Schwarzenegger and actor Gerald Butler. Entertainment was provided by the singer Seal.Hollywood Jewish royalty ...
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Washington’s “Humanitarian” War and the KLA’s Crimes
Revelations of fascistic crimes carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) prior to, during and after NATO’s war against the former Yugoslavia should provide a salutary lesson whenever Washington again cites humanitarian concerns to justify its predatory war aims. A new report prepared by Swiss Council of Europe deputy Dick Marty slams Kosovo leader Hachim Thaci for organ trafficking and other abominable crimes, deftly shaded by the U.S. in pursuit of their own self-interests. A report by the Council of Europe describes Kosovo today as a country subject to “mafia-like structures of organised crime”. It accuses KLA commander and current ...
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Oliver Stone’s American History: “We’re not under Threat. We are the Threat”
As he launches his new TV series offering a critical view of US overseas exploits, the film director tells MEE he didn’t always see it that way. American controversies are Oliver Stone’s forte. The Hollywood movie director has turned his cameras on the assassination of John F Kennedy, the Vietnam War and the 9/11 attacks. But, when researching his television series, The Untold History of the United States, it was American exploits in the Middle East that left him with the most lasting impression, he told Middle East Eye on Wednesday. “When I studied the untold history, one thing that really hit me hard was ...
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The Memorandum (1804) by the Karlovci Metropolitan Stevan Stratimirovic
The goal of this article is to investigate and describe the text of one very significant, but so far forgotten, document and historical source upon the question on Serbian liberation from the Ottoman sway and national unification. The document was written in 1804 during the first months of the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman oppression [about the uprising see in Petrovich 1976; Vucinich 1982; Temperley 1969; Ђорђевић 1956]. Introduction The Serbian nation was divided at the dawn of the 19th century by the borders of Ottoman pashaliks and by the state frontiers that separated the lands under Ottoman from those under ...
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The Forgotten Genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor
George Mauropoulos, "The Forgotten Genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor", AHIF Policy Journal, American Hellenic Institute Foundation, Inc., Vol. 8, Spring 2017, pp. 3 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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Serbia’s Sovereignty as a Nation State: Serbia does not need a ‘Dialogue’ on Kosovo
“Now that the global circumstances have changed, and when the United States and NATO are losing their influence, and while the powers that are in favor of preserving Kosovo and Metohija – such as Russia and China – are strengthening, we are nevertheless pursuing a policy of complete surrender.” The aim of the internal dialogue conducted by the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, should be to distribute responsibilities and to be the cover for the final surrender of Kosovo and Metohija. The government constantly assures us that it will never recognize Kosovo as an independent State, but here we must point out the ...
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The “Catalonian Question”
The Catalan identity and Catalonia Catalans are the people who live in the territories of Spain in the autonomous-historical region called Catalonia. Their significance for the Spanish inner politics can be understood as the best if we know that Catalonia (Catalunya) is being since 1975 the most politically and economically powerful autonomous self-governed region in the Kingdom of Spain – during the last 20 years, basically, a kind of “a state within the state”. As a matter of fact, Catalans are the most integrated ethnohistorical groups of Spain together with Basques.[1]What makes Catalans so interlinked could be understood if we know ...
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Kosovo and Vidovdan after 600 Years
Kosovo Ethics, which are implanted in the national consciousness of the Serbian people, have not changed for 600 years – nor will they ever change. The basic values of those ethics, bequeathed to Serbians on Vidovdan in 1389, have not been chiseled on 2 stone tablets, but are impressed in the inmost being of every Serb.Every nation has 1 date in its history which it considers more important than any other. For the Serbs, the most important date in their history is June 15, by the old calendar – June 28, by the new calendar (Vidovdan). On that day, in ...
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A Book Review: George Szamuely: “Bombs For Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War On Yugoslavia”, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013
An Isolated Tyrannical Regime – Not Pyongyang, It’s Washington
John McCain: War Criminal, Not War Hero
An Overview of the Greek Genocide
The Idea of a Greater Croatia by Pavao Ritter Vitezović (II)
Koszovó Csomója (1999)
Videos on Ex-Yugoslavia: Reverse Side of the Truth
Kosovo for “Europe”: Serbia between “Holy Land” and Stepmother
Before the U.S. Congress: HM King Peter II’s of Yugoslavia Speech at the Capitol in 1942
Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon on Kosovo in March 1999
Kosovo and Metohija – Return to UNSC Resolution 1244
The International Rogue Nation: America
Israel’s Money Machine: Jewish Oligarchs Fund Crimes Against Humanity
Washington’s “Humanitarian” War and the KLA’s Crimes
Oliver Stone’s American History: “We’re not under Threat. We are the Threat”
The Memorandum (1804) by the Karlovci Metropolitan Stevan Stratimirovic
The Forgotten Genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor
Serbia’s Sovereignty as a Nation State: Serbia does not need a ‘Dialogue’ on Kosovo
The “Catalonian Question”
Kosovo and Vidovdan after 600 Years
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