Libmonster ID: U.S.-1475
Author(s) of the publication: S. A. NIKITIN

The literature devoted to the history of the Eastern crisis of the 70s of the XIX century was supplemented with a detailed analysis of the Romanian-Russian relations of this time. Written on the basis of a wide range of unpublished materials from Soviet and Romanian archives and other sources, both on the problems of foreign policy of the countries under consideration, and on the internal history of Romania, the book by Associate Professor of Moscow State University, Candidate of Historical Sciences M. M. Zalyshkin is distinguished by a high degree of documentation and evidence.

Describing the economic and political situation of Romania on the eve of the Eastern crisis, the author dwells on the agrarian reform of 1864, which created "relatively favorable conditions for the development of capitalism in agriculture" (p.15), although it did not satisfy the peasants ' land needs. The reform contributed to the development of capitalism in the country, but these were still the first sprouts of it, and industrial production accounted for only 1/10 of agricultural production. The vassalage of the Romanian principalities towards Turkey and the impossibility of customs protection facilitated the access of foreign goods to their territory and the influx of foreign capital. In the hands of foreign entrepreneurs were railways, oil fields. Foreign capital also operated in the banking sector. Chronic deficits undermined public finances. Romania, or, as it was officially called at that time, the united principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, was a hereditary constitutional monarchy, in the political life of which groups of conservatives and liberals, representing land-owning and bourgeois circles, participated.

The author examines the Romanian policy of neutrality in 1875-1876. Both the Conservative government that was in power in 1875 and the liberal government that succeeded it in 1876 maintained a policy of neutrality, although it should be noted that there were certain fluctuations among liberals on this point. A significant part of the bourgeoisie was interested in freeing Romania from vassalage. At this time, the Western powers, as before, while paying lip service to the peoples subject to Turkey, in reality did everything to preserve the status quo in the Balkans and thereby hindered the liberation movement. They have always considered Romania as a barrier against the spread of Russian influence and its penetration into the Balkans. Meanwhile, it was Russia's policy that contributed to the liberation of the Balkan peoples: Serbs, Greeks, and Romanians. Romania's continued dependence on Turkey helped strengthen the economic and political positions of the Western European bourgeoisie. At one time, the essence of these relations was formulated by the Romanian historian A. D. Xenopol. "If England ever supported us," he wrote, "it was only for the sake of her own interests in the Ottoman Empire, because we also remained part of that Empire for her" (p.55). The position of other Western powers was not much different from the British one. For Russia, Romania's neutrality was an obstacle to its activity in the Balkan Peninsula, and it sought an agreement with the principality that would pave its way through Romania. For the latter, by virtue of all that has been said, " the path to nationhood-

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to the national liberation of Ukraine... open only rapprochement with Russia " (p. 62).

M. M. Zalyshkin describes the futile attempts of the Romanian government to achieve the expansion of state sovereignty and the activities of supporters of turning the country into a "Belgium of the East", that is, obtaining guarantees from the powers for its permanent neutrality. The anti-Russian orientation of these aspirations is beyond doubt. The author carefully traces the course of the political struggle between liberals and conservatives, the fall of the Catargiu cabinet, the coming to power of the liberals and the maneuvering of the Epureanu government. In the summer of 1876, it tried to get Turkey to recognize the name "Romania", establish normal diplomatic relations, demarcate the border along the Danube, conclude a trade convention, etc. Then the Serbo-Turkish war broke out, and Serbia turned to Romania for support, which rejected this offer, which created considerable difficulties for the Serbs to acquire weapons; in addition, the Romanians prevented volunteers from crossing the Danube. Even Russian volunteers and hospitals heading to Serbia encountered resistance in Romania. Romania was unable to consistently pursue a policy of strict neutrality, as public sympathy was on the side of the Serbs. From the point of view of the main desire - to obtain the above - mentioned concessions from the Porte by peaceful means, taking advantage of its difficulties-the actions of the Romanian government were useless due to the negative attitude of the Turkish government to Romania's harassment. All this forced its ruling circles to seek rapprochement with Russia.

M. M. Zalyshkin writes that the change in the course of Romanian policy in the autumn of 1876 was reflected in the dispatch of a delegation to Livadia, where Alexander II was staying at that time. During the negotiations, an agreement was reached on cooperation between Russia and Romania in the event of a war against Turkey, although this was not recorded in any document. But even after taking this step, the Romanian government did not give up trying to get the powers to recognize the "permanent neutrality" of their country. "Without making a final choice, until the fully obvious advantages of this or that option were determined and all the conditions for its successful implementation were created, the ruling elite of Romania hesitated and waited" (p. 134). In addition to pressure from the West, many Romanian politicians from large landowners and the upper bourgeoisie acted in the anti-Russian direction. There was no unity and agreement in the Government of the country.

The new round of negotiations on the recognition of Romania's neutrality by Western powers, the book notes, showed the difference in the positions of England-France and Germany-Austria-Hungary. If the former acted openly, the latter did not agree to act openly against Russia, although they wove behind-the-scenes intrigues.

In the second half of October 1876, the Russian government decided to continue negotiations with Romania, and A. N. Nelidov, an adviser to the embassy in Constantinople, went to Bucharest. By the end of November, the negotiations ended with the drafting of political and military conventions that ensured the passage of Russian troops through the territory of Romania. But the documents were not signed - neither Nelidov nor the Russian Consul in Bucharest, D. F. Stewart, had the authority to do so. As you know, during the meetings of the Constantinople Conference of the great Powers for the settlement of the Eastern question (December 1876), the constitution of the Ottoman Empire was proclaimed, which allegedly resolved all its national problems. However, it disappointed the Romanian nationalists. After all, Romania, as before, was considered as a privileged vassal territory of Turkey. Anti-Turkish sentiments have increased not only among young students, but also in the parliament. The note of protest sent to Constantinople did not meet Turkey's readiness to meet Romania's demands. Nor did it achieve anything in the capitals of the great Powers. At the end of November, the Russian government, not expecting positive results from the Constantinople Conference, granted D. F. Stewart the authority to sign the conventions. However, the Romanian Government considered it necessary to wait until the conference was over. Bismarck and Andrassy did their best to prevent the Russian-Romanian rapprochement. But by the end of 1876, the tendency towards rapprochement with Russia began to increase in the ruling liberal circles of Romania, as the clearly impending Russo-Turkish war encouraged Turkey to seek to transfer military operations to Romanian territory. Information about this has reached

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the Romanian government. However, even in these circumstances, it delayed signing the conventions, wanting to do so after Russia declared war, in order to preserve the appearance of being forced to sign the agreement.

Speaking about the signing of the conventions, the author notes that at the beginning of 1877, due to some temporary easing of the international situation, the Romanian government again turned towards neutrality. Opponents of the Russian-Romanian rapprochement have increased in the Cabinet. In turn, the Russian government did not force the negotiations. However, by February, the mood began to change. Romanian newspapers began to publish articles denouncing Turkish rule in the Balkans, and Romanian border guards clashed with Turks on one of the Danube islands, which strained relations between these countries. And when, after N. P. Ignatiev, the Russian ambassador in Constantinople, visited the capitals of the great powers, the inevitability of war finally became clear and the Russian government offered to sign the Roumanian conventions, "the liberal government, having carefully weighed all the pros and cons, was now itself again inclined to draw closer to Russia "(p.200). The Romanians resumed negotiations on the supply of weapons to Romania, which had begun in 1876. In the middle of March and. Bratianu accepted the offer to sign the conventions, although he continued the policy of procrastination, demanding that this signing take place no earlier than two weeks before the start of the war. On March 30, D. F. Stewart was instructed to inform the Romanian government that a break between Russia and Turkey was inevitable; at the same time, it was promised to speed up the supply of weapons. On April 2, a meeting of the Romanian Crown Council was held, which decided to move closer to Russia. On April 3, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was appointed, and on the 4th, the new Minister, M. Kogalniceanu, together with D. F. Stewart, signed conventions that allowed the passage of Russian troops through the territory of Romania and recognized the Russian army as friendly. The Russian Government pledged to respect the" political rights of the Romanian State " and protected the integrity of the Principality (p.216). The Conventions provided Romania with "the most favorable way out of the dangerous complications that threatened to deepen the Middle East crisis" (p. 218). "Concluding... the agreement with Romania, the ruling circles of Russia essentially contributed to the expansion of the state sovereignty of the principality " (p. 219). The entry of Russian troops into the territory of Romania gave the Romanians hopes for the complete liberation of the country from vassalage. The author cites numerous facts of the friendly attitude of the population towards the Russian troops.

The book covers in detail the negative impression that the conclusion of the conventions made in Vienna, Paris and other Western capitals. Turkey was annoyed, but demanded that Romania act together with it. When it became known about the ratification of the conventions, it closed the Romanian representation in Constantinople, considering, as before, Romania only as a "privileged province". In turn, in Romania itself, the current situation was sharply discussed. There were still opponents of the agreement, but there were also skeptics. There were debates in the chambers, in which the motives of the "Belgium of the East" were still heard, but the question of the war against Turkey was already raised. As a result of these discussions, the Assembly of Deputies decided to declare independence.

The book traces all the foreign policy fluctuations of Romania and the reasons for the lack of clear lines in its policy. The rapprochement with Russia was only a maneuver related to obtaining independence, which Romanian statesmen could not achieve either from Turkey or from Western powers.

The author examines various aspects of the socio-political life of the country, conflicts among the landowner-bourgeois circles. However, the sections devoted to Russian-Romanian revolutionary relations cause some dissatisfaction. The fact is that the author confines himself mainly to covering the activities of emigrants from Russia in illegally transporting revolutionary literature and distributing it in the Russian army environment. The book does not mention public relations between Russia and Romania, does not cover in detail the attitude of the Romanian revolutionary circles to the events, their participation or non-participation in military operations, etc.


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S. A. NIKITIN, Historical science in the USSR. Reviews by M. M. ZALYSHKIN. FOREIGN POLICY OF ROMANIA AND ROMANIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. 1875-1878 // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 12.06.2024. URL: (date of access: 13.07.2024).

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