A SEARCH FOR SECURITY AND A FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL On the power politics during the twilight existence of the Russian and Ottoman Empires
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The early 20th century witnessed the demise of the Ottoman and Russian Empire. Both empires had been entangled in a struggle for power and survival. Influenced by the environment they operated in, they were forced to adopt hostile attitudes towards each other. This competition stretched both empires to their limit and ended with their demise in the course of the First World War. It was Russia’s search for security and Ottoman fear of partition that shaped the empires’ policies. Russia wanted security for its trade through the Black Sea Straits and feared a foreign presence of one of the Great Powers on its southern border. St Petersburg did not fear the Ottoman Empire itself and even maintained amicable relations with them. It was the fear of what other powers might do with the Ottoman lands that made the Russians aggressively pursue their interests. The Ottoman Empire had suffered a long period of decline and the Young Turk Revolution was a last attempt to alter this course. In analysing the relation between the empires we should thus look further than the bilateral relations they maintained.