The Revolution of 1905 and Russian Foreign Policy

  • Beryl J. Williams


Russian foreign policy at the turn of the twentieth century can perhaps best be understood in the context of what has been termed ‘conservative nationalism’.1 Under Witte the Ministry of Finance had presided over an economic policy designed to give Russia the wherewithal to take her full place as a European great power — a developed industry, a modern army and an efficient communication system. The theories behind the internal policies of the end of the nineteenth century, associated with the influential figure of Konstantin Pobedonostsev, were simultaneously concerned with the development of Russia as a powerful and united state. The autocracy was to be strong and centralised, ruling a nation unified in faith, government and, as far as possible, language. To Pobedonostsev and many of the bureaucracy in the 1890s Witte’s economic Westernisation did not promise political reform. On the contrary, it served as a method not of changing but of strengthening the autocracy and the state. Given unity and centralisation at home and a position as a great power in Europe, Russia would be in a position to fulfil her unique mission as a partially Asiatic power.


Foreign Policy Foreign Minister Forward Policy International Loan Revolutionary Situation 
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© Beryl J. Williams 1974

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  • Beryl J. Williams

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