Limits of Protection: Russia and the Orthodox Coreligionists in the Ottoman Empire

The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies

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Title Limits of Protection: Russia and the Orthodox Coreligionists in the Ottoman Empire
Creator Taki, Victor
Subject history; political history; history of empire
History of Russia, DK112.8-264.8; History of the Balkan Peninsula, DR70-73; Greece, DF765-787; Romania, DR241-241.5; Turkey, DR531-567; Yugoslavia, DR1250-1258
Description Influence over the Ottoman Christians was the single most important manifestation of Imperial Russia’s “soft power.” In the context of the Russian-Ottoman wars of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, appeals of the Eastern Christian elites to Moscow and St. Petersburg for protection met with the attempts of the tsars and their commanders to rally the support of the co-religionists. However, Russia’s relations with the Orthodox subjects of the sultan were fraught with great ambiguity. Temporary Russian occupations of particular territories of Turkey-in-Europe during the wars incited among the local Christians the hopes for independence that subsequent restoration of the Porte’s authority would all but destroy. In order to maintain Russia’s standing among the co-religionists, the peace treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji of 1774 and subsequent Russian-Ottoman agreements included certain guarantees in favor of the Christian population of the returned territories. The present paper offers a comparative perspective on these arrangements, which served the basis for trilateral relations between Russia, the Porte and the elites of Moldavia, Wallachia, the Archipelago and Serbia in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  The difference in attitudes and behaviour of the Romanian, Greek and Serbian leaders arguably explains varying degrees of autonomy that the territories in question enjoyed on the basis of the Russian-Ottoman treaty stipulations. More broadly, the paper seeks to problematize the notion of Russia’s protectorate over the Orthodox co-religionists. It shows that the legal basis of this protectorate remained very uneven, and, that for a long time, the makers of Russia’s Eastern policy dealt with particular Christian elites of Turkey-in-Europe rather than with the entire Orthodox community of the Ottoman Empire.
Publisher University Library System, University of Pittsburgh
Contributor Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (post-doctoral fellowship)
Date 2015-04-08
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article

Format application/pdf
Source The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies; No 2401 (2015): Limits of Protection: Russia and the Orthodox Coreligionists in the Ottoman Empire
Language eng
Coverage South-Eastern Europe

Rights Copyright (c) 2015 Victor Taki

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