The question of the straits from Catherine the Great to Nikolai Pavlovich
For the first time, the question of the straits arose precisely under Catherine, when, following the results of victories over the Turks and the rapid development of Novorossia, an instrument appeared in the form of the Black Sea fleet and the victorious army, and funds were formed for further external expansion through the export of grain.
Russia nobleman reached the peak of power and confidently rushed to the club of the great powers, in which it was greatly hampered by the lack of free sea power. It seems we had a fleet, even two - the Baltic and the Black Sea, but to get out of the shallow Baltic into the Atlantic, you need to pass the strait in the Danish waters, and the Black Sea is an ideal trap, connected to the sea by the narrow Mediterranean Bosphorus, followed by the Sea of Marmara, and then the even narrower and more winding Strait of the Dardanelles.
In fact, the Russian fleet, both military and commercial, turned out to be absolutely dependent on the goodwill of the Ottoman Empire, the very one with which we fought all our history, and which Russia, to put it mildly, hated, in addition, increasingly falling into dependence on England and France.
There was an ideological moment, albeit a deeply secondary one: Istanbul is Constantinople, the Second Rome, the place from where Christianity came to Russia, and where we took a lot from culture and traditions. And this place has been ruled by Muslims since 1453.
In short, it so happened that the straits became the cornerstone of Russia's foreign policy, and it was Catherine who was the first to try to solve this problem.
The Yassy Peace, despite the name - the Treatise of Eternal Peace and Friendship, concluded between the All-Russian Empire and the Ottoman Port in Iasi on the 29th day of December 1791, was perceived correctly - as a truce, Russia had to master New Russia and strengthen the Black Sea Fleet, Turkey - lick the wounds.
Previous agreement - Kuchuk-Kainardzhiyskiy:
For the benefits and benefits of both empires, there is free and unhindered sailing for merchant ships belonging to the two contracting powers in all the seas washing their lands; and the Sublime Port allows such exactly Russian merchant ships, which other states are in trading in its harbors and use everywhere, free passage from the Black Sea to the White, and from the White to the Black, as it does to stick to all harbors and marinas, on the shores of the seas and in passages or canals, these connecting the sea, located.
He also carried a lot of good things, for example, the right of unhindered passage of Russian merchant ships in the Mediterranean, but ended in war.
Russia was preparing. Even one of the empress's grandchildren was named with a hint - Constantine, it was rumored that it was he who would lead the revived Byzantium, but ...
But it didn't take off. In Europe, the Napoleonic Wars began, and there was no time for plans, and then at all - Catherine died, Paul was quickly killed, and Alexander was interested exclusively in European politics. And in the war of 1806-1812, we were more likely to defend ourselves.
The Bucharest peace in the straits regime did not change anything, and this war as a whole did not advance the solution of the issue a single step.
Nikolai Pavlovich's attempts
In 1828, another Russian-Turkish war broke out.
The Russian army and navy are operating successfully, Russian troops entered Bulgaria. There is only one step left to the straits ...
But it didn't work out again.
Firstly, mass diseases began in the army, and secondly, European politics. All major players were against the occupation of Constantinople by Russian troops. I had to be content with the article of the Adrianople Peace:
She confirmed the right to free trade, but did not give confidence in the persistence and solution of this problem.
Meanwhile, the lion's share of the income of the empire and the nobility is bread, and the problem had to be solved.
The second attempt of Nikolai Pavlovich was the Crimean War.
However, at first it was just Russian-Turkish and had an interesting background.
In 1833, Russian troops nevertheless ended up on the shores of the Bosphorus, however, at the request of the Turkish Sultan, saving the Ottoman Empire from death. The result was the Unkar-Iskelesi Treaty, according to which Russia received the right of free passage of warships and merchant ships and vessels through the straits and the right to close the straits for warships of third countries, plus joint defense of the straits.
It was an undoubted diplomatic victory that solved all the problems of Russia without taking Constantinople and the cross at Hagia Sophia, to which the pragmatist Nicholas did not really strive.
But the contract has expired. And the straits regime had to be discussed in London - with Great Britain, France, Austria and Prussia. The result of this discussion was the Conventions of 1840 and 1841, according to which the Black Sea was closed to warships of all countries in peacetime.
Nikolai Pavlovich considered the Convention a success, because he sincerely hoped to solve the problem of the “sick man of Europe” by peaceful and joint actions of the “European concert”.
But, as the future showed, these hopes were groundless, none of the European powers was interested in the appearance of Russia in the Mediterranean and its further strengthening ...
Actually, one of the reasons for the Eastern War lies precisely in this. So, Britain - by lending to the Ports, increased its economic and political presence there, Austria - worried about its part of the Balkans, France - wanted to return to the club of superpowers ...
Russia, remaining alone, nevertheless did not believe that the "partners" in the Holy Alliance would betray and attack, especially since the concessions of 1841 were very serious.
And there were no plans capture straits, there were plans prevalence in the Port, these are two different things.
The very reason for the conflict was stupid - who will own one of the churches in Jerusalem: Russia or France?
But in the end, the Russo-Turkish war broke out first, and then the European one. And here Nicholas made a terrible mistake - instead of pogroming the Ottoman fleet and landing in the Bosphorus (and there were forces for this), he ordered the occupation of Moldavia and Wallachia until Russian demands were satisfied. The Turks, feeling the European powers behind their backs, were not going to satisfy anything.
The Turks themselves in that war showed themselves, as always: from Sinop to Kars, the Sultan's troops and fleet suffered defeat after defeat. But the fate of the conflict was decided not in the Caucasus, but near Sevastopol.
And the Paris Peace Treaty not only put an end to the plans for the straits, but also deprived Russia of the main instrument in the struggle for them.
The Black Sea is declared neutral: entry into the ports and waters of which, open for merchant shipping of all peoples, is formally and forever prohibited to warships, both coastal and all other powers, with the only exceptions that are stipulated in Articles XIV and XIX of this treaty.
As a result of the declaration of the Black Sea as neutral on the basis of
Article XI, it may not be necessary to maintain or establish naval arsenals on the shores of this arsenals, as they no longer have a goal, and therefore e.v. Emperor of All Russia and E.I.V. the sultan undertake not to start or leave any naval arsenal on these shores.
As a result, Russia lost the right to defend its shores, and the Black Sea Fleet was reduced to a flotilla of 6 ships of 800 tonnes each and four ships of 200 tonnes each.
It was this that was a catastrophe in the eyes of society at that time, and not a defeat (rather conditional) in the war.
However, by that time Nikolai Pavlovich was already dead, and Alexander Nikolaevich, the future Liberator, Westernizer and liberal, ascended the throne.
Whatever it was - time was lost, the chance was lost, primarily due to the credulity of the top of the empire to the Western partners in the Holy Alliance.
But the problem itself did not go away - Russia needed control over the straits.
Ideally - as under Nicholas under the terms of the Unkar-Iskelesiysk agreement, only indefinitely. Not ideal - annexation, despite all the propaganda: what to do with Istanbul and the surrounding lands - in St. Petersburg did not really know.
New wars and new diplomatic conflicts lay ahead, and in a worse situation than before.
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