The Russian Empire and the World, 1700-1917: The Geopolitics of Expansion and Containment

The Russian Empire and the World, 1700-1917: The Geopolitics of Expansion and Containment

The Russian Empire and the World, 1700-1917: The Geopolitics of Expansion and Containment

The Russian Empire and the World, 1700-1917: The Geopolitics of Expansion and Containment

Synopsis

Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European foreign policy was practised within geographical constraints and imperatives. By placing both Russia and its neighbours within this context, the author retells over 200 years of Russian Imperial history.

Excerpt

This book has a dual purpose. It is intended to be, first of all, a comprehensive survey of the major events in the history of tsarist Russian foreign relations between 1700, when the Northern War with Sweden began, and 1917, when the Romanov dynasty collapsed. The history of Russian diplomacy has been neglected for a number of reasons: the year 1917 remained for many years the great divide in Russian history, since it was assumed that Soviet foreign policy was guided by the tenets of Marxism- Leninism and showed little or no continuity with its predecessor, and the emphasis on social history consigned foreign policy to a scholarly limbo, especially after the 1960s.

More than thirty years ago, Ivo Lederer edited a collection of essays on Russian foreign policy; Taras Hunczak followed suit with another collection twelve years later. Barbara Jelavich published in 1964 the first short survey of Russia's foreign relations from 1814 to 1914, expanded later to include the Soviet period. These three basic books have been out of print for many years. We now have another short general survey by David MacKenzie, Dietrich Geyer's study for the period from 1860 to 1914, and William Fuller's analysis of Russian strategy from the seventeenth century to 1914. This book begins in 1700, a more appropriate date than 1801 or 1814, when the goals and methods of Russian foreign policy bad become well established. It might be argued that the eighteenth century was a century of empire-building, and that it was not until 1815 that the Russian Empire, completed but for the annexation of Central Asia and . . .

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