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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In December last year [2015], NATO officially invited Montenegro to become the 29th member state of the most powerful military organisation of our times, if not, in fact, of all time. The country’s Prime Minister, Milo Đukanović, assured the NATO secretary-general that “you can count on us at any time.” It is always nice to hear that someone has your back. But in Montenegro’s case, it means that they have our back with an entire active-duty military force of only two thousand personnel. It is not quite clear how the tiny nation of less than 700,000 people enhances U.S. security ...
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The Nation-State: Post-Mortem
“Balkanization” is the weaponized perversion of anti-colonialism taken to its ultimate extreme, and it’s being wielded by the declining Unipolar World Order to divide and conquer the Eastern Hemisphere in order to prevent the natural emergence of multipolar civilizational blocs as the inevitable outcome of Silk Road Globalization.The rising trend of separatist and autonomous movements in Western Europe, the cradle of the modern-day nation-state system, has prompted concern that the end of the nation-state era is drawing near. To be clear, a nation-state isn’t the same as an ethnic state, although there’s sometimes an overlap such as in the cases ...
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America’s Myth of a Peaceful Nation
"We are a peaceful nation," claimed Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson in an interview with Katie Couric late last year.Carson voiced a view that is held by many in our society. Like most people around the world, we naturally like to think of ourselves as a peace loving country.Unfortunately, the record does not bear this out. It, in fact, indicates something quite opposite: The United States has had a long and bloody history of aggression and war making.A survey of history shows that America has either been involved in armed conflict or conducted some form of military operations during 223 ...
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Vladimir Putin is the Only Leader the West has
A Reuters news report under the names of presstitutes Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold shows how devoid the West is of honest, intelligent and responsible journalists and government officials. http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-nato-summit-idUKKCN0ZN2NN First we will examine the dishonesty or incompetence of the reporters and then that of Western government officials.Emmott and Siebold describe NATO as a “Western defense alliance.” Since the Clinton regime NATO has been an alliance for waging offensive war, a war crime under the Nuremberg rules established by the United States. Under the NATO banner a number of countries have been bombed, invaded, and had their governments overthrown by ...
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Can Russia Survive Washington’s Attack?
It is not only American generals who are irresponsible and declare on the basis of no evidence whatsoever that “Russia is an existential threat to the United States” and also to the Baltic states, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine, and all of Europe. British generals also participate in the warmongering.  UK retired general and former NATO commander Sir Richard Shirreff, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe until 2014, has just declared that nuclear war with Russia is “entirely possible” within the year.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3596977/The-outbreak-nuclear-war-year-West-Putin-entirely-plausible-says-former-NATO-chief-promoting-novel-2017-war-Russia.html My loyal readers know that I, myself, have been warning for some time about the likelihood of nuclear war.  ...
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Who are (not) Modern-Day Macedonians?
Preface It is quite true that “Macedonian national identity is one of the most complex in the Balkans”.[1] The present-day Macedonians are having a century and a half identity disputes with their neighbors, especially with the Greeks and the Bulgarians but as well as and self-identity problems within the territory of the state of Macedonia which was proclaimed as an independent in November 1991 on the foundation of ex-Yugoslav socialist republic (1945−1991) under the same name. Today, only about 64% of Macedonia’s citizens claim to be the Macedonians in ethnolinguistic terms while the rest of population reject this name even from ...
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Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A History Written with an Attempt to Support Albanian Territorial Claims in the Balkans (First part)
Noel Malcolm – Kosovo – A Short HistoryA history written with an attempt to support Albanian territorial claims in the BalkansA Short History of Kosovo by Noel Malcolm is usually considered as one of the prime historical sources on the history of the province. In fact, this book is an example of the History with a political attitude because it is not by chance that Malcolm who attacks the “myths” of Serbian history is at the same time a president of the Anglo-Albanian Association and one of the strongest supporters of independence of Kosovo. Being far from an objective scientific ...
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Destruction of Christianity: Syria and Kosovo
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. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
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Contribution of US Capitalism to Nazi Germany’s War Economy
This past weekend saw Russians parading in celebration of the anniversary of their costly victory over Nazi Germany. Millions marched throughout Russia, holding photographs of their fallen family members in bittersweet remembrance. To this archival research peoples historian’s knowledge there was no public reminder that Hitler’s armed forces were built up by the West in open violation of the Versailles Treaty’s prohibitions in expectation of Hitler fulfilling his threats to invade the Soviet Union. There is simply no way impoverished Nazi Germany could have on its own built its Armed Forces up to number one military in the world during the ...
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The Euromaidan Ukraine between Fascism, Ochlocracy and Breakup
There is less talk about the rump-Ukraine in the news these days, especially in the western corporate media, and there is a good reason for that: that short-lived Urkonazi “Banderastan” is falling apart. This is hardly surprising since the entire concept was never viable in the first place. Let’s remember how it all began.It is crucial to remember that there was no spontaneous revolution or insurrection in the Ukraine, the Euromaidan had nothing to do with Europe and everything to do with the USA. Oh sure, the Ukrainian people were told that it was about “joining the EU”, but that ...
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In 1879 Chilean and British Imperialism Cut Bolivia Off From the Sea
In 1879 began the disastrous ‘War of the Pacific’, the Chilean army invaded Bolivia’s ‘Litoral’ department, leaving the poorest nation in South America landlocked. It is thought up to 18,000 Bolivians died in the war. Chile’s war on Bolivia was at every step of the way backed and armed by the British Empire as English industrialists took control of the vast natural resources of the Bolivian coastal region. These included guano, sodium, nitrate, copper where British interests established a monopoly on the export of these primary resources. Bolivia has never given up its demand to return to the coast, it ...
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The NATO-Aggression Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999
Was Serbia attacked in 1999? To answer that question, Milica-Hänsel Radojkovic draws on period documents (including Willy Wimmer’s letter to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder). He highlights the unacceptability of the Rambouillet proposals, designed to justify a war that had already started. Fourteen years ago, after the negotiation conferences in Rambouillet and Paris between 6th and 23rd February 1999, the global media informed the general public that “the Serbian delegation did not accept the offered agreement and rather qualified it as null and void”, while indicating that allegedly the so-called Contact Group for Yugoslavia stood behind the agreement. This body consisted of ...
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Five Facts about Kosovo the #Fakenews Media is Lying to You about
1. Kosovo is not ancient Albanian landIts very name comes from the Serbian word “kos,” meaning blackbird. Its Albanian name, “Kosova,” means nothing whatsoever.Kosovo was the heartland of medieval Serbian state and the site of the 1389 battle in which both the Serbian prince and the Ottoman sultan died, checking the Turkish expansion into the Balkans for almost 70 years. Ethnic Albanians were settled there by the Ottomans over the intervening centuries, and became a majority due to pogroms and persecution of Serbs – which began under Ottoman rule but continued under Austro-Hungarian occupation in WWI and German/Italian occupation in ...
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The Pentagon’s “Ides of March”: Best Month to Go to War
Is it a coincidence?In recent history, from the Vietnam war to the present, the month of March has been chosen by Pentagon and NATO military planners as the “best month” to go to war.With the exception of the War on Afghanistan (October 2001) and the 1990-91 Gulf War, all major US-NATO and allied led military operations over a period of more than half a century –since the invasion of Vietnam by US ground forces on March 8, 1965– have been initiated in the month of March.The Ides of March (Idus Martiae) is a day in the Roman calendar which broadly ...
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Mass Killings of Serbs for Organs Only Boosted in Kosovo, But it Started Earlier in Croatia, Vukovar
Contrary to the popular belief, the bloodiest trade in history (when organs were taken away from captured and imprisoned Kosovo Serbs),  did not begin in Kosovo, but in Croatia. As reported by the Serbian media in the process  conducted by EULEX mission in Kosovo , ” one of the accused confessed about  participating in human organ sale”. Driton Jiljta  pleaded guilty to the indictment charging him with “abuse of authority and illegal medical activity.” This case is  apart of larger process and the prosecution has charged seven Albanians and two foreigners for trafficking , organized crime and transplantation formulized as  “illegal medical ...
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Barbarism in Words and Deeds. Barbarism of U.S. Imperial Wars is Unmatched
“What Russia is sponsoring and doing [in Syria] is not counter-terrorism it is barbarism”Samantha Power, US Representative to the United NationsThe US representative to the United Nations, Ambassador ‘Ranting Sam’ Samantha Power, accused the Russian and Syrian governments of ‘barbarism’, claiming Moscow or Damascus had attacked an unarmed United Nations humanitarian convoy delivering aid to civilians in Aleppo.  No evidence was presented.  Rants and threats do not require facts or proof; they only require vehement emotional ejaculations and compliant mass propaganda organs.‘Barbarians’, to be clear, evoke images of leaders and groups, which abjure all civilized norms and laws.  They only ...
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A Croatian Role in the Destruction of Yugoslavia in the 1990s (II)
Part I The basic cornerstones of the Croat ultraright nationalistic ideology From the point of the ideology of the extreme Croat nationalism, the cardinal goal of ultraright nationalistic parties, groups, ideologists and politicians was to create for the first time after 1102 an independent, as much as a Greater and finally “Serben-frei” Croatia. In the 1990s it was an exactly ultraright nationalistic ideology that provided the main background for creation of a new normative order and values in the HDZ’s Croatia. This ideology had five cardinal cornerstones which gave the framework for building a new institutional order, political values and means to ...
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Is Slavery Still Exist?
A good tradition of the British and the West European colonialismOrigins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Join the debate on our Twitter feed: @OvsishteRead our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe 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.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]Belgian Congo
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Broken Promise: NATO Expansion and the End of the Cold War
IntroductionSome have tried to debunk the view that the West implicitly or explicitly promised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand east after German reunification and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact). These claims are misleading and obfuscate the historical record of at least a clear understanding, if not promise that there should be no NATO expansion eastward in any way, shape or form. At the very least the West made a implied commitment not to expand NATO east. It is more precise to say, however, that the West gave an explicit verbal, that is, unwritten guarantee not to ...
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Documentary Film: “Stolen Kosovo” (The Czech Republic)
The truth about Kosovo and Metochia.This documentary film was made by the Czech Republic TV and banned in all mainstream globalist media in western countries.It will reveal to you the horrifying story of Kosovo that nobody ever wanted to tell you and debunking all hoaxes, lies, and propaganda NATO used for trigger events...In 1999 NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days and destroyed everything on its way bridges, hospitals, schools, telecommunicat­ion buildings, military bases...killing more than 2.500 and wound more than 5.000 civilians.One of the reasons why NATO bombed Serbia is to build the biggest military base in Albania, so they ...
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U.S. Geopolitical Games in Montenegro and Proven Winning Approach by Đukanović
The Nation-State: Post-Mortem
America’s Myth of a Peaceful Nation
Vladimir Putin is the Only Leader the West has
Can Russia Survive Washington’s Attack?
Who are (not) Modern-Day Macedonians?
Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A History Written with an Attempt to Support Albanian Territorial Claims in the Balkans (First part)
Destruction of Christianity: Syria and Kosovo
Contribution of US Capitalism to Nazi Germany’s War Economy
The Euromaidan Ukraine between Fascism, Ochlocracy and Breakup
In 1879 Chilean and British Imperialism Cut Bolivia Off From the Sea
The NATO-Aggression Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999
Five Facts about Kosovo the #Fakenews Media is Lying to You about
The Pentagon’s “Ides of March”: Best Month to Go to War
Mass Killings of Serbs for Organs Only Boosted in Kosovo, But it Started Earlier in Croatia, Vukovar
Barbarism in Words and Deeds. Barbarism of U.S. Imperial Wars is Unmatched
A Croatian Role in the Destruction of Yugoslavia in the 1990s (II)
Is Slavery Still Exist?
Broken Promise: NATO Expansion and the End of the Cold War
Documentary Film: “Stolen Kosovo” (The Czech Republic)

Written by Policraticus

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