Login *:
Password *:


29-03-2015, 06:21


As Vasily Kliuchevsky, the prominent 19th century historian of Russia, mentions in his Russian History, the passionate desire of the Muscovite rulers to adopt the Byzantine heritage culminated, in addition to numerous administrative customs and practices, in the development of a certain political program based on two definite notions, both of which were, indeed, certain political claims. These were “the idea of the Muscovite ruler as a national sovereign of all Russian lands and the idea of him as a political and spiritual successor of Byzantine emperors.”96 97

Although the image of the Russian state apparatus or simply that of a common Russian civil servant became the caricature of ineffectiveness of bureaucracy and corruption not only in Europe, but also in the Russian press and literature, as brilliantly depicted in famous works of Nikolai Gogol’, the foreign policy of the

Russian Empire with its entire staff and apparatus was always a subject of praise,

Admiration or envy. While describing Russian diplomatic corps, Friedrich Engels, a

Man usually very critical of everything Russian, praised their

Perseverance, eyes set fixedly on the goal, not shrinking from any breach of faith, any treason, any assassination, any servility, distributing bribes lavishly, never over-confident following victory, never discouraged by defeat over the dead bodies of millions of soldiers and at least one Czar_,98

Claiming that their talent extended ‘all the Russian armies put together’. Albert J.

Beveridge, another admirer of the Russian foreign and intelligence services, wrote in

1904, just a few months before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese war, that the

Work of the bureau of information in the Orient started bearing golden fruits, since

“Russia’s foreign statesmanship [had been] as much superior to that of other nations

As her internal and economic statesmanship previous to Witte’s administration had

Been inferior.”99 100 Among the methods and aims of the Russian foreign policy was

The struggle against the anti-Russian publications in foreign press, including the


Physical destruction of the anti-Russian books published abroad.

The professional merits of the Russian diplomats, or rather their viciousness and slyness, were noticed by the Ottomans, who almost without exceptions depicted the

Envoys of the Tsar as men ready to achieve their goals by any possible means. This image of the Russian treacherous conduct of relations with the Ottomans, who “always behaved with righteousness and honesty,” survived until recent times and can be encountered even in the works of some present-day authors, who are still eager to see only two patterns of Russian diplomacy: by fraud when impotent and by threat when self-confident.101 102 Moreover, an Ottoman author who analyzed the antagonist flow of the Russo-Ottoman relations that often led to imprudent bloodshed and material loss and who had personally examined “almost all Ottoman documents,” came to a conclusion that Turkey always intended to be on good terms and get along with Russia, while Russian diplomats intended exactly the opposite.103

Although Russia’s successful advance into the East and South and establishment of a well-organized colonial rule over the newly captured Eurasian lands immediately made it an influential global actor in Eastern politics, its main focus was never drifted apart from Europe and its relations with European powers. Not only had PanSlavic and Russian expansionist imperial ideology had their main target in Europe, as well as in the fate of the Ottoman Straits, but even the need for the Russian invasion of Central Asia was caused by its confrontation with England and other European powers.104 The Russian expansionist drive was often related to being an Oriental despotism or a patrimonial state, the ground behind both being the weakness of private property that led to the concentration of political power entailing unlimited expansion.105 However, close to the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20lh century, the Tsarist state started pursuing a more nationalistic policy, while, accordingly, the Russian nationalism, previously oppositional and critical of the state, started becoming more and more state-oriented, losing its romanticism and spirituality.106