FOREIGN POLICY OF RUSSIA FROM THE CRIMEAN WAR TO THE GREAT EASTERN CRISIS (1856-1875)
The evolution of the foreign policy of Russia after the Crimean war was conditioned by the necessity to reform the country, as well as by changed circumstances in the international relations. Russia had to ‘have a break after the lost war in order to implement internal reforms’. At the same time, Russia had to find a way out of ‘dangerous and degrading position’ to which it was brought by the Paris Peace Treaty. It was necessary to took the country out of international isolation, which it faced before the anti-Russian, ‘Crimean coalition’ of the European countries.
Russian diplomacy managed to implement its tasks in Europe primarily through rapprochement with France, and when this proved unsuccessful, it reproached Prussia. The first step in the rapprochement with Prussia was made at the time of the uprising in Poland in 1863, and in 1871, after the defeat of France, Russia used the right moment and diplomatic means, with the support of Prussia, to change Articles of the Paris Treaty which had limited its rights in the Black Sea.
This success was also ‘purchased’ with high price, by agreeing to the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership, what substantially changed situation in Europe, and thus the position of Russia as well. After that, there were raised issues related to the Western borders of the country, and there was emerged a need to find new allies to ensure the country's position in the international relations. Primarily, the way out was found in the rapprochement with Germany and Austria-Hungary, in the form of the Union of Three Emperors. However, this ‘consultative pact’ of conservative countries proved to be insufficiently stable, due to the contradiction of interests among its members in Europe and the Balkans.