Russia's Huge Offer to the Greek Revolution of 1821

Russia's Huge Offer to the Greek Revolution of 1821

Russia's Offer to the Greek Revolution of 1821. A decisive contribution that Western historiography, diplomacy and politics tried to erase from the first years of the life of the modern Greek state. Which state was forcefully led to orient itself to the West (Kapodistria murder, Bavarian dictatorship, persecution of Russophile fighters and trial of Kolokotronis).

a) The Friendly Society was founded in 1814 in Odessa, i.e. in a Russian city and not in Paris or some western city. Today, the Museum of Friendship still exists there. The Friends initially propagated that the Invisible Authority of their organization was the Tsar himself. Then they made a proposal to Kapodistrias who was the Tsar's foreign minister (since 1815) and when he refused they offered the leadership of Filiki to Alexander Ypsilantis who was an officer in the Russian army, a supporter of the Tsar himself and who enthusiastically accepted to lead the Greek revolution.

That is, the head of Filiki, according to its founders, had to be related to Russia.

b) The most important heroes of 1821 were Russophiles, the first being Theodoros Kolokotronis. From 1806, the Kolokotronians showed the bond they wanted to have with Russia when they would fight with the Ottomans, as they raised as a flag the cross of Saint Andrew (blue cross on a white background) which was the emblem of the Russian Navy. It should be noted that Kolokotronis' father had participated in the Orloviki revolution and was killed with two of his brothers by the Turks. The name Theodoros was taken by his son in honor of the Russian officer Theodoros Orlof. After the independence of Greece, the Old Man of Moria became a member of the Russian party, which was actually led for a time by his son, Gennaios Kolokotronis.

c) The money to start the revolution was found by the Greek shipowners who within a few decades had become rich due to the favorable Treaty of Kiucchuk-Kainartzis that the Russians had extracted from the Ottomans. With the signing of the Treaty, the right to use the Russian flag by Greek shipowners, as well as the construction of ships of large displacement. Those Greeks who at that time raised the Russian flag on their ships were granted a license to practice by the commander of Odessa. In this way the merchant fleet of the Greeks grew impressively, and so did their profits.

An example of a Greek ship owner who had a close relationship with the Russians and starred in the Revolution is Bouboulina herself. Her property was even saved through the mediation of the Russian Ambassador Stroganoff to the Turks of the city. Her husband, who was murdered by pirates, had helped the Russians in a naval battle against the Turks. The Russians honored Boubulina after her death as Admiral of the Russian Navy, a title unique to a woman.

d) The frequent victories of the Russians over the Turks had weakened the Ottoman Empire so much that the Greeks hoped that they too could succeed against it. With the Kyutchuk-Kainartzi Treaty, the Russians had succeeded in making Moldavia and Wallachia autonomous, which were then ruled by Greek Phanariots who were Russophiles. In both countries a strong Greek bourgeoisie developed with the support of Russia. Two years before the founding of the Philiki Etairia, moreover, the Russian-Turkish war of 1806-1812 had ended victoriously for Russia, which separated Bessarabia from the Ottoman Empire. Greek officers who fought with the Russian army distinguished themselves in this war.

The great inspiration of the Greek revolution was therefore the frequent victories of Russia over the Ottoman Empire and less so the French or the American revolution.

e) When the Greek revolution broke out in 1821, the governments of the countries of the Holy Alliance met in Laibach (today's Ljubljana in Slovenia). Metternich then suggested to the delegates that their countries send an army to help the Ottoman Empire crush the revolution while also suggesting the massacre of the Greeks as an example. Kapodistrias, however, as the foreign minister of Russia, managed not to pass the proposal of the almighty Metternich and to keep the Holy Alliance neutral, even though its founding goal was to suppress every revolution in Europe. His argument that silenced Metternich was that "it would be horrible for Christian European troops to beat Christians and subjugate them to Muslims." Kapodistrias then, with the consent of the Tsar (who was present at the conference), essentially saved the Greek revolution and Hellenism from a great calamity.

f) In the naval battle of Navarino, the combined fleet of the Russians, English and French set out from Poros to meet Ibrahim's fleet after pressure from the Russian Hayden on the English vice-admiral Codrygton and the French Rear-Admiral Derigny. It should even be noted that after the naval battle, Codrington was accountable to the English politicians because he was drawn into an act of war that would test Britain's relations with the Ottoman Empire. On the contrary, the Russians have always been proud of their participation in the naval battle of Naurin, the memory of which they honor every year.

g) The independence of Greece is due to the Treaty of Adrianople as the Sultan, while he had agreed after Navarino for Greece's autonomy, then took back his promises. He even closed the Dardanelles to Russian ships because he was angered by the participation of the Russian fleet in the naval battle of Navarino. Then began the Russian-Turkish war of 1828-1829 which ended victoriously for the Russians who crushed the Turkish army in Adrianople. If the possibility of an Anglo-French intervention in aid of the Ottomans was not visible, the Russians would have occupied Constantinople as well. The negotiations for the Peace Treaty in Edirne followed. During them the Russians forced the Turkish official literally with a pistol to his temple to sign the independence of Greece.

The eminent English politician William Gladstone recognized, although this gave points to Russia, that the Treaty of Adrianople was "the international contract of the political status and independence of the Greek state". Karl Marx's admission is also of particular value precisely because he did not include Russia. So he wrote in 1853 in an article in the New York Tribune: "Who finally decided the fight when the Greeks revolted? Certainly not the conspiracies and uprisings of Ali Pasha, nor the battle in Navarino, nor the French army in the Morea, nor the conferences and protocols of London. But it was Dibitz who advanced through the Balkans to the plain of the Evros." The Dibich referred to by Marx was the marshal at the time of the Russian army that defeated the Ottomans at Adrianople.

Consequently, the prophecies about help from the blond race (ie the Russians), mocked by many pro-Western propagandists, who are ignorant of the events of Adrianople (or who conveniently forget them), have been verified to the hilt!!! And if some of the prophecies were propaganda fabrications, they served a good purpose in their time and played an important role in the very preparation and explosion of the revolution.

Unfortunately, the contemporary political and business elite of Greece continues to keep quiet about Russia's crucial assistance to the Greek revolution.

The Russian Empire as one of the Great Powers played a cleansing role in the Greek Revolution in all its stages, from the preparation to the recognition of Greece by the Ottoman Gate as an independent state.

When the Greek Revolution of 1821 broke out, pro-Hellenic currents in all European countries were also important, despite the reactions of their governments influenced by the "Holy Alliance". In our today's note we will see the attitude of the Russian government towards the revolutionaries throughout the Struggle (1821 – '29).

Let us begin by writing that, regarding Philhellenism in Eastern Europe, we must also include the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, but also any Philhellenic compatriots of the tsarist army officers (the "Decembrists"?) who sympathized with Hellenism in the pre-revolutionary years. or at the beginning of the Revolution.

The "Decembrists" were a few liberal intellectuals who wanted to take advantage of the mediating question of the line of succession to the Russian throne in December 1825, and instigated a standoff of certain garrisons shortly after the death of Tsar Alexander I and before the recovery in throne of his brother, Nicholas I. The movement was suppressed by the new Tsar quickly, with many victims, with executions of 7 of its leaders and exiles of many others, while, in the following years, as D. Kokkinos writes, in Russia "heavy despotism, which brought peace through terror".

A. Pushkin, however, with patience and persistence, always stood as a supporter of the freedom and independence of the Greeks, not only with his spoken word but also with his written word and action. Through many of his poems and other works, he expresses his support for the Greek Revolution for the liberation from the cruel centuries-long tyrannical slavery. The Russian poet also closely watched the beginning, the development, the dynamism of the revolutionary events, the rebellion of the "Friends" and the long-term armed struggle of our people both in mainland Greece and on the islands, while in his letter he states that in his world "nothing was as popular and as universally loved as the Greek case".

Let's go a few years before the Greek uprising. In Karlsband, under the guidance of the Austrian chancellor, Metternich, the brains of "I.S." in 1819 for reasons of its organization and methodology, while the following year they gathered at Troppau in Silesia, disturbed by various uprisings in the Italian and Iberian peninsulas. As they disagreed, they interrupted Troppau's work and resumed it in January 1821 in Laybach (lit. Ljubljana, Slovenia).

The news of the Greek Revolution in the first months of 1821 found them and with them and Ioannis Kapodistrias, a member of the Russian diplomatic mission. Tsar Alexander renounces the movement of Alexander Ypsilantis and deletes him from the Russian military lists. "The Tsar's anti-Hellenic policy was neither opportunistic nor heterodox," writes K. Simopoulos about the Russian leader, who "favors" only those movements against Turkey that "serve" Russian interests!

Russia under Peter the Great and Catherine II - during the 18th century - expressed its interest in expanding southward and securing free navigation to the Mediterranean at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, which controlled the eastern Mediterranean and most of Black Sea.

Thus, Russo-Turkish wars often occur and the treaties that are signed do not always favor the Sultan. The treaty of Kiucchuk Kaynartzis (1774) also leans in this direction, but the last Russo-Turkish treaty of Bucharest (28/5/1812, while the Napoleonic army was approaching the Russian borders) left many outstanding issues and gave various reasons for new frictions between Russia and Turkey.

However, when the Greek Revolution broke out in 1821, the Tsar was in a dilemma, as on the one hand he was bound by the "I.S." and the Laybach conference, on the other hand, could not but follow the constant anti-Turkish policy of his country.

The economic activities of Greek merchants and sailors in Russia, the founding of the "Friendly Society" there, the successful careers of Greeks in the Tsar's Court (Kapodistrias was a high-ranking official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while Ypsilantis was a military career, a supporter of Alexander himself ) helped to strengthen the Greek-Russian ties and to make the Greeks believe that the homogenous country would help them. This reasoning, perhaps, also explains the hope of Alexander Ypsilantis that in their national liberation struggle they will have "...a mighty power to defend our rights..." (from the proclamation of 2/24/1821), i.e. Russia.

The Turkish atrocities against the Greeks, culminating in the hanging of the Patriarch on Easter 1821, the stay of Turkish troops in Moldova after the failure of Al. Ypsilanti will trouble the Tsar more, who vacillates between those who are pacifists and those who agree with the spirit of "I.S." proposals from his close advisers (Nesselrod Karolos Vasilievich, Russian foreign minister from 1816 to 1856 and prime minister of the Tsar) and the proposed war resolution of the disputes with the Sultan, which he received from I. Kapodistrias et al.

With two of his circulars, the Russian ambassador in Constantinople, Stroganov, reveals, in the first months of 1821, the official Russian policy. In particular, he gave, with the first (9/21 March 1821), orders to the Russian consulates in the East to emphasize that Russia is completely uninvolved in what has been done in Moldovlachia by Alexander Ypsilantis and his associates, with the second (4/ April 16, 1821) did not announce that the Tsar was condemning Ypsilantis.

On April 30, 1821, the famous "Declaration of the I.S." was published. after the Congress of Laybach, in which the Russian Tsar, the King of Prussia and the Austrian Emperor, with their ministers and their high-ranking diplomatic associates, as well as French and English representatives, participated from January of the same year. They had gathered to decide on the violent suppression of the liberation movements of Piedmont and Naples of the Italian peninsula.

With the declaration, every liberal movement of the people for national liberation or social justice was condemned as criminal. "I.S." he had everywhere, in Europe, "loose and bind".

In July, however, of the same year (6/7/1821), Stroganov was ordered to deliver to the High Gate (: Sultanate government) a strict ultimatum, with which he demanded as a minimum satisfaction - among other things - the following: Russia has the right to protect the Christians of the Turkish-occupied territories – withdrawal of the Turkish army from Moldova-Wallachia – discrimination of guilty & innocent by the Turks when dealing with the Revolution.

The Sultan refused and Russian-Turkish diplomatic relations were interrupted with the withdrawal of the Russian diplomatic delegation from the City. The Russo-Turkish war was at hand, but Alexander, always influenced by Metternich, did not proceed.

1822 – 1824

And after the Russian ultimatum was mediated on 6/7/1821, with which they presentthe Greek Revolution is seen as the uprising of a nation oppressed by a barbarian tyrant and not as a revolt instigated by "international revolutionaries", but in the spring of 1822, the Czar of Russia, Alexander, appears unwilling to fight against the Sultan. "Egeneto", in fact, as P. Karolidis writes, "peaceful, contributing to this the announcements made by his brother the regent of Poland Grand Duke Constantine (the first candidate Greek emperor of Constantinople) about the impending revolution of the Poles in the event of war and the outbreak revolution in Spain". At the Russo-Austrian spring talks, the Czar's envoy was Tatishchev, to whom Metternich told that Austria would abandon the Russians if they declared war against the Sultan, and that only for the improvement of the Turkish administration could negotiations be made, not for the creation of semi-independent Greece, as Alexander had proposed. And while it was decided to hold a new Synod of the rulers of Europe, the Tsar, in order to have the cooperation of his allies, should, according to Metternich, "sacrifice" I. Kapodistrias. In fact, this tsarist policy led to the removal of the Iptani diplomat from the Russian Court towards the end of the summer of 1822.

A few months later, in mid-October 1822, the Tsar's wishes were granted, as the Congress of Verona began its work. The Emperors of Russia and Austria, the King of Prussia, supreme lords of smaller states of the Italian peninsula, Napoleon's victor, Wellington as head of the English mission, the Pope's representative, Cardinal Spina, Metternich, and the French statesmen, Chateaubriand and Montmorency, took part. .

At the beginning of November of the same year, the Russians and the Turks re-established diplomatic relations. The terms of the relevant protocol, signed on 9/11/1822, are in favor of the Tsar (respect of the Turks for the Christian religion – that the Turkish army vacate Moldavia – that local rulers be appointed again in these provinces – revocation of all measures against of foreign shipping – free crossings of the Straits of Constantinople by ships of all countries).

Therefore, at the beginning of 1824 (9/1/1824) the Tsar of Russia, Alexander, throws the Russian plan of "3 parts" on the negotiation table. The plan envisaged that the Powers would intervene not to suppress the Revolution, but to recognize statehood for the revolutionaries and enforce pacification in the region. As the Sultan would not accept absolute political independence and the Greeks the Turkish yoke, he proposes to establish 3 hegemonies along the lines of the Danubian ones (the first in Thessaly, Boeotia and Attica, the second with Epirus & Aetoloakarnania and the last will include Crete & Peloponnese) , in which Turkey would retain sovereignty, levy an annual tribute, and maintain garrisons with narrow local rights.

With the advent of 1825

In October 1825, the Russian Prime Minister, Nesselrod, as Egyptian aid to Ibrahim had helped crush the Greek Revolution, saw his country's diplomacy as having failed and could no longer force a defeated Sultan to capitulate. Then, the Russian ambassadors in the European Courts (4/10/1825, Pozzo Di Borgo from Paris and two weeks later, from London, Lieven) propose a bold move, to occupy, immediately and without taking into account Europe , the Transdanubian hegemonies, even at the risk of a European war. Tsar Alexander, although – according to Friedrich Engels – “[…] indolent, moody, bored, mystic and romantic, from the Grec du Bas Empire (as Napoleon called him) had not only cunning and guile, but also mental instability and inactivity [...]", however, it seemed that he was now turning towards the Sultanate and legal authority and not towards the revolutionary Greeks!

A Death Turns the Tide (1825)

Russian policy on the Greek issue, however, will change significantly on 11/19 (or 1/12) /1825, the day Tsar Alexander I died and was succeeded, albeit by usurping the throne, by one of his brothers , Nicholas I, who, as his staff consisted of pro-war men, wanted to resolve any Russo-Turkish differences by war. It is said, in fact, that shortly before Alexander died, according to D. Kokkinos, "they submitted to England the proposal that she should manage and regulate the Greek issue alone".

On Tsar Alexander and Russian policy and diplomacy on the Greek question, Fr. Engels will write: "So the Greek revolt offered the handhold? but in order for the Russian diplomacy to be able to press it with force, the involvement of the West had to be prevented, that is, it had to remain occupied with its internal problems. For this purpose he had offered brilliant pre-work the empty talk about "legitimacy". The legitimate masters had become hated everywhere (…) Tsarist diplomacy (…) directly protected the revolutionary elements of the West as soon as they appeared in the guise of Philhellenism – and who else were the Philhellenes, who collected money and sent whole armed auxiliaries bodies in Greece, if not the Carbonaris and other liberals of the West?

All this did not prevent the enlightened Czar Alexander from calling his legitimate colleagues at the congresses of Aachen, Troppau, Leibach and Verona, to take the most active measures against their revolted subjects and to send in 1821 the Austrians to Italy and in 1823 the French in Spain to suppress the revolution - and even to seemingly condemn the Greek revolt, while at the same time inciting it himself and having his men encourage the Philhellenes of the West to redouble their activity.

Once again, stupid Europe was caught in an unbelievable way, to the rulers and the reactionaries, the Tsar preached legality, to the liberal philistines, the liberation of the peoples and enlightenment, and they both believed him."

As infinitely majestic, decisive and powerful, hard as stone and merciless as fate, the new Tsar, however, a – according to Engels – “a type of mediocre lieutenant”, is the embodiment of classical despotism and he trusted few people, whom had close to him as advisers, while his wars against the Muslim Ottoman Empire were not "waves" of his philhellenism or his care for the enslaved co-religionist Greeks, but rather they are a practical application of the ideological triptych "Absolutism, Orthodoxy, Patriotism", on of which he supported his system of power full of lies, servitude and hypocrisy!

Seduced by his warmongering advisers, Tsar Nicholas therefore sent a new ultimatum to Turkey on 17/3/1826 to satisfy within 6 (!) days in favor of Russia any differences with the Ottoman Empire from 1812 and 1821.

Otherwise, the Russian diplomat Minciaky would have been buried in Constantinople and this would have been at the expense of the Sultanate government. In addition, the new Tsar wanted Russia to have the first say in diplomatic developments and not Metternich and G. Canning. And with his initiatives, seemingly in favor of the Greeks, it seems that he will instigate the establishment of the pro-Russian party close to the English and French in Greece, in the first two months of 1826!

Nicholas saw, therefore, that the British loans, at the mercy of G. Canning, of the two years 1824-1825 had increased the English influence on the revolutionaries and, moreover, that the Russian Court had been disturbed by the "Act of Subjugation" in the summer of 1825. And while in the following years, the Tsar himself will, to serve Russian interests and with "paternal - according to Marx - providence" to the Greeks Kapodistrias for Governor and will help Greek independence, with tsarist, therefore, initiative, is shaken diplomatically the Greek issue. On 23/3 (or 4/4)/1826 the English diplomat and general Wellington, who had gone to Russia to congratulate the new Tsar, and the Russian prime minister and foreign minister Nesselrod sign the Petrograd Protocol and agree to mediate for the creation of a single Greek state, subordinate, however, to the Sultan, however, the two powers (England & Russia) defining the terms of the Greek-Turkish compromise. At the same time, they declare that they will accept the collaboration of the other forces as well. The Tsar, by signing the said Protocol, had succeeded in his goal, to achieve peace in Greece without coming into confrontation with England.

With the protocol of Petropolis (1826), the plan of the 3 hegemonies was abandoned, Austria and Metternich were deleted from the list of those directly interested in the Greek Revolution, the Russo-Turkish war was prevented - for the time being - it essentially destroyed the "I .S." It was the first official diplomatic document that recognized the political existence of the Greeks by mentioning the name "Greece" and guaranteed it autonomy with local elected rulers and the payment of a servitude tax. However, the protocol is considered a Russian success, as it did not satisfy G. Canning and the ally close to the Sultan's ally, Mohammed Ali of Egypt, France will agree with the other two powers only after the Treaty of Ackerman (7/10/1826: full acceptance by the High Gate of Russian claims, in exchange for non-Russian involvement in the Greek question) and Turkey's persistent refusal to accept a peaceful settlement of Greek-Turkish disputes.

The solution is a Russian-Turkish war

With the entry of 1827, we have mobility for the Greek question in the Courts of the Great Powers. Let us pay special attention to the instructions of the Russian subsecretary of State Nesselrod to his ambassador in London, Lieven, on January 9, 1827, and mainly concerned the perceived danger from the Egyptian fleet against the ports of the Peloponnese: "The real coercive measures to which we attach great importance are to unite our naval squadrons, with a view to preventing the entrance of Turkish or Egyptian reinforcements of soldiers, arms, ships, and munitions into the Peloponnese or the Archipelago… If Mr. Kaning refuses a treaty agreeable to our own wishes… our emperor submits to you another method of negotiation, as a reserve medium, which you will use as a last resort...". In other words, Lieven should categorically remind Koenig of Article 6 of the Petrograd Protocol of April 4, 1826, according to which the contracting parties reserved the right to take advantage of every favorable opportunity to force Turkey to accept their decisions on the cessation of the war in Greece.

On 4/26/1828, a new Russo-Turkish war will be declared, since Nicholas I demanded from Mahmud II the agreed upon in Ackerman, where, however, there was no mention of the Greek issue, which the Gate and its staffs interpreted as lack of interest on the part of the Tsar and Russia in the fate of the Greeks. As for the Greeks, in the spring of 1828, the Tsar himself will express his distaste for their -in his opinion- horrible, criminal and repulsive behavior, since they are subjects, as he believes, who rebelled against their legitimate ruler ( !).

Russia and the Ottoman Empire, in their wars during the 19th century, sought to satisfy different, opposing goals. This was not a clash of two selfish tyrants. Russia, lured by its important geographical position and pushed by its economic interests in the seas surrounding the Ottoman Empire (Mediterranean, Aegean, Caspian, Black Sea, Persian Gulf), wanted to consolidate its influence in the Straits and the Balkan Peninsula . By conducting the Russo-Turkish wars, Russia's dominant role in the region would be consolidated, its economy would develop, and its economic and political influence on the Balkan peoples would expand. However, it was in conflict with the policy of the Sultan, since the Ottoman Empire aimed to expand its territorial conquests at the expense of Russia and to maintain its sovereignty over the Balkan peoples.

The war lasted until 14/9/1829, the Russian army, after its failed attempts during 1828 (May – October), advanced, from May 1829 onwards, in the eastern Balkans and just reached Adrianople. There, the so-called treaty is signed, which annoys the Anglo-French, who have been watching for the last year (since the beginning of 1828) Russia trying to solve only the Greek issue in its favor. Let us see the most important terms of this peace, namely: "1. integrity of the Ottoman state, 2. observance of the previous treaties between the Porte and Russia, 3. accession of the Porte to the 6/7/1827 Treaty of London between France, England and Russia and it concerned the regulation of Greek affairs, 4. valid guarantees for the freedom of navigation in the Black Sea and 5. further negotiations of Turkish and Russian envoys regarding the demands for reparations and the other claims of the two parties".
A brilliant example was Nikolai Rayko
Nikolaos Raykos (or Nikolai Rayko) was a Russian Philhellene. He went down to Greece in the first years of the revolution of 1821 and fought bravely in many battles as a commander of large units. He was a highly educated officer. He was a guard in Palamidi, Patras and Rio. During the reign of Kapodistrias, he was commander of the Evelpid School and chief of the artillery. He was a free and brave character and never accepted a salary.

A few words
He was a prominent personality of Patras during the Kapodistrian period, although he did not gain much fame in this region. Raiko was the best known of the "few visible Russian Philhellenes". He wrote in his writings that he visited revolted Greece because he noticed that the Russian Philhellenes were completely absent from the liberation struggle of the Greeks, ignoring the common past and the common religion. that connected these two peoples Rumor has it that he was the illegitimate son of Alexei Bobrinsky, who "was the child of Tsarina Catherine the Great and Grigory"