“Suvorov’s crossing over the Alps”. Painting by Vasily Surikov, painted in 1899
Attempts by Russia to interfere in European affairs did not bring anything good to the Russians. No matter what coalition we find ourselves in, whoever we fought with, in the end the West won, and we suffered losses.
Russian “cannon fodder” in the interests of the West
It should be noted that we are proud of Russian victories, Russian fighting spirit. In numerous wars of tsarist Russia, our commanders, officers and soldiers showed high military art, miracles of courage, fortitude, self-sacrifice and ingenuity. Under the command of great leaders, generals and naval commanders, we beat the most powerful opponents at that time, who terrified all our neighbors.
However, it should be honestly and impartially noted that after Catherine the Great, who solved the great national tasks of reuniting the Russian lands and the Russian people (the annexation of Little and White Russia), the return of the lands of the Northern Black Sea region to Russia, our state was often drawn into unnecessary, alien wars. The Russians began to fight in the interests of European equilibrium, for the interests of Vienna, Berlin, London and Paris. In much of the wars, the Russians did not fight for national interests. Since that time, a negative pattern has been developed: as soon as Russia entered the war in Europe, driven by chivalrous and noble ideals, an allied duty, this turned out to be a lot of blood for our people, terrible irrevocable and meaningless human and material losses. Such wars only at first seemed profitable and glorious, but as a result, the exploits of Russia were quickly forgotten, the former allies betrayed us and sold us.
For example, the Northern War with Sweden was indisputably correct, in the national interest. We have regained access to the Baltic, our Baltic outskirts. All wars with Turkey and Persia, the war in the Caucasus and the annexation of Central Asia (Turkestan) – all wars are in the interests of the state and the people. We returned the fertile lands of the Black Sea and Azov regions to the state. They reached the natural borders of the empire: the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, the mountains of Turkestan and the Pamirs. They pacified the semi-savage tribes of the Caucasus and Turkestan, introduced them to the high spiritual and material culture of Russia.
However, the Romanov dynasty took a course towards Europeanization, which negatively affected the country and the people. Petersburg tried very hard to become a part of Europe. Therefore, Europe was the main direction of Russia’s policy. Russia has contracted to be the stabilizer of the West. At the height of this policy, she was called the “gendarme of Europe.” The ruling elite of Russia was more interested in the affairs of Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Rome and London than in Ryazan or Vologda. As a result, the forces, resources (including human resources) and the time of the Russian Empire were spent on resolving European conflicts. And the development of Siberia and the Far East, for example, remained without much attention.
Attempts by Russia to interfere in European affairs did not bring anything good to the Russians. No matter what coalition we find ourselves in, whoever we fought with, in the end the West won, and we suffered losses. A striking example is the Seven Years War. Europeans shared power on the continent. We had nothing to do there. The Russians showed miracles of heroism. They defeated the Prussian army, the strongest in Western Europe, and took Königsberg and Berlin. And got nothing. Russia has shed blood for the interests of Austria for years. In doing so, we have won the hatred of almost all of Europe. England fought in an alliance with Prussia and maintained her army, which did not prevent her from trading with Russia. The Austrians were our allies, but in every possible way they interfered with the Russian army, they were afraid of our victories and feared the strengthening of Russia. France, which was also an ally of Russia in the war with Prussia, also feared the strengthening of Russia in Europe. It is worth noting that France and England have been setting all of our neighbors against us for two centuries. They were behind Poland, Sweden, Prussia, Turkey and Persia.
Russian blood for the stability of Europe
We fought long and hard with France. Although we did not have fundamental contradictions, neither historical, nor dynastic, nor territorial, nor economic. Wars were fought from 1799 to 1814. A lot of blood was shed. We all remember the heroic deeds of Suvorov in Italy and Switzerland. But why? For the interests of Austria and England! In gratitude, the Austrians set us up, first the Rimsky-Korsakov corps in Switzerland was defeated, then they almost killed the miraculous heroes Suvorov. The Suvorovites were saved, but at the cost of overcoming incredible difficulties, showing the wonders of Russian courage and ingenuity. The great Russian commander himself fell ill after this campaign and soon left for the heavenly squad. The British used the Russian corps in Holland (Dutch expedition in 1799), exposing it to the attack of the French and capturing the Dutch fleet.
The Russian Tsar Pavel the First, having understood the situation, decided to destroy the vicious practice. I realized that the main enemy of Russia is England, not France. I decided that let France confront England in Europe, and we go to Asia. It was a perfectly reasonable choice: Russia at this time could achieve great success in the south and east. At the same time, in the confrontation with England, Russia could hide from the western direction with France and Prussia (Germany). An alliance of Russia, Sweden and Denmark was also concluded, directed against British hegemony at sea. Pavel was preparing an expedition to India. She was ready to support Napoleon, who dreamed of an Indian campaign. It was a blow to the heart of the British colonial empire: the British could lose their main economic base. At the same time, in the process of confrontation with England, we could solve the problem of the straits, take Constantinople. As a result, the Russians received access to the Mediterranean Sea and closed the entrance to the Black Sea for all potential enemies. Received a powerful economic incentive – free passage in the Mediterranean. But Paul was killed with the help of English gold by conspiratorial nobles (The myth of the “crazy emperor” Paul I; Knight on the throne. Foreign policy and military activities of Paul I; Murder of a Russian knight on the throne). His son Alexander the First could not continue his father’s policy, apparently, his will was suppressed by the murder of Paul.
Russia again began a war with France, to the delight of the British and Austrians. The Patriotic War was an exception, we repulsed enemy aggression – a campaign of almost all of Europe led by France. Including our former allies: the Prussians and Austrians. We did not receive any serious territorial increments, except for a part of the Duchy of Warsaw (having received a problem – the Polish question). We did not take any contributions from the French. Having defeated the great army of Napoleon, they went to liberate ungrateful Europe. Kutuzov begged not to do this, let the Germans, Austrians and British fight Napoleon. At this time, we will be able to solve our problems, in particular, it was possible, in the wake of European turmoil, while everyone is busy, to occupy the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, Constantinople. As a result, we sacrificed thousands of lives, spent millions of rubles, won several battles (which were quickly forgotten in Europe), suffered several defeats from the French and entered Paris. We ended the war beautifully.
Who won? Vienna, Berlin and most of all London are our most insidious and cruel enemy on the planet. England fought with France (the struggle for leadership in the Western world) by proxy. Mostly Russians. The British themselves were engaged in asserting their positions in the oceans, in the colonies, fabulously rich, supplying the belligerents with weapons, ammunition, equipment and goods. Taking advantage of the fact that Napoleon invaded Spain, the British “helped” the Latin Americans to revolt and secede from Madrid. As a result, Britain gained a new sphere of influence, new huge markets and sources of raw materials. While the Russians were performing feats in the war with France, the British fleet captured Malta, which was the “fiefdom” of the Russian Tsar Paul, the head of the Order of Malta. This gave the British a strategic position in the Mediterranean. While the Russians fiercely fought with Napoleon, the British seized South Africa (before that, the Dutch colony). While the Russian army, to the great joy of London, crushed Napoleon’s empire in Europe, the British defeated other European colonists, including the French, and completed the conquest of India. British India became the richest colony of Britain, the basis of its prosperity, the strategic foothold of the British in South Asia.
In the very days when Napoleon was marching to Moscow, and the Russians were bleeding to death in the Borodino field, the British, helping us in Europe against France, at the same time set Persia against us. British instructors, gold, guns and rifles were in the Persian army (war 1804-1813). So Britain stopped the dangerous, in her opinion, the advance of Russia in the Caucasus and the possible breakthrough of the Russians to the warm seas of Persia and India.
Thus, while Russia was fighting to the death with France, Britain was creating its own world empire. The Russians in the fields of Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Prussia and along the bloody path from Moscow to Paris helped Britain become the leading power in the West. Even under Nicholas II, the Russian general, intelligence officer and geopolitician Alexei Efimovich Vandam (1867-1933) wrote about this well. He quite rightly noted: “Worse than a war with the Anglo-Saxon can only be friendship with him.” Willy-nilly, it was Russia, by crushing the empire of Napoleon (Britain’s main rival in Europe), that helped England become the world colonial, naval and economic power of the 19th century. We, acting as British “cannon fodder”, helped Britain become the richest power of the time. England after a cycle of anti-French wars became the leader of the West and the whole world.
Austria and Prussia benefited. Only Russia gained fame, which quickly faded and was forgotten in the West. The recent liberators were soon called “gendarmes” and “barbarians”. A similar situation is now observed with the history of the Second World War. Until recently, historically, Soviet soldiers were noble liberators, but now they are “occupiers and rapists.”
Russia saved Austria from the Turks and the French, then helped suppress the Hungarian uprising, which nearly destroyed the Habsburg empire (Hungarian campaign. How the Russians saved the Habsburg empire; Pacification of Hungary). How did the grateful Austrians repay us? Already in 1815, post-Napoleonic France, Austria and England, fearing our strengthening, concluded a secret alliance against Russia. At the same time, the Austrians were listed as our allies within the framework of the Holy Alliance. Austria, like England, during the Russian-Turkish War of 1828-1829. adhered to a policy hostile to Russia. The Austrians and British feared that the Russians would strengthen their positions in the Balkans, occupy the Strait zone and Constantinople. Therefore, England sent a fleet to the Dardanelles, and Austria concentrated its army in Transylvania. To fend off a possible Austrian threat, we had to assemble an auxiliary army in the Kingdom of Poland. And these troops were needed in the Balkans. As a result, St. Petersburg, under pressure from Austria and England, did not dare to occupy the Bosphorus and Constantinople, although it had all the possibilities for this (Adrianople is ours! Why did the Russian army not take Constantinople; Constantinople at the feet of the Russian tsar).
A similar situation was during the Crimean War, when the leading powers of Western Europe came out against us. Austria threatened us with war, pinning down our troops in the Danube theater and in the western direction. As a result, we were unable to first attack the Turks with all our might, break through to the straits and block them. Withdrawn troops from Moldavia and Wallachia. Then the Austrian army on the border prevented us from transferring additional forces to the Crimea. The war was lost. Then the situation in 1828-1829. repeated in the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878. The position of Austria and England did not allow St. Petersburg to take Constantinople with a spear. Create a completely independent, pro-Russian large Bulgaria. Sovereign Alexander the Liberator was afraid to go into conflict with the Austrians and the British, gave in. The Bulgarians took offense and went over to the side of the Second Reich (then Hitler and NATO).
So was it worth saving Austria several times? After all, the collapse of the Habsburg empire was beneficial to our power and people. We could support Hungary’s aspirations for independence and thus bind the rest of Austria. The collapse of the Austrian Empire made it possible to return Galician and Ugrian Rus (Carpathian Rus), establish itself in the Balkans, taking Christian and Slavic peoples into its sphere (the dream of the Slavophiles), and place their bases in friendly Montenegro and Serbia. Complete the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, expanding Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia in their interests (including them in its sphere of influence). Occupy the straits and Constantinople-Constantinople.
To be continued…