Manual A Short History of Russia (Illustrated)

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The decline of the Ottoman Empire continued, as did the regional power struggle in the Black Sea, over which neither side was able to claim a decisive victory.

A Short History of Russia Illustrated

The bloody — Crimean War between the Ottoman Empire and Russia left hundreds of thousands dead. Although this never materialized, a stronger but more isolated Russia repeatedly failed to seize control of the strategic Bosporus and Dardanelles Turkish Straits from the Ottoman Empire. After the collapse of both the Russian and Ottoman Empires during and at the end of World War I, there was an unsuccessful attempt to redraw the map of the region.

Having acquired a more secure strategic position, Turkey was able to call upon the Lausanne Treaty to manage growing tensions among European powers in the region, which resulted in the Montreux Convention that established Turkish control over the straits and guaranteed free passage of warships belonging to Black Sea states not at war with Turkey.

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Non—Black Sea powers were restricted in sending their military vessels to the Black Sea they must be under 15, tons per vessel, 45, in aggregate, and could only stay in the Black Sea for 21 days. The United States was not a party to the Montreux Convention. This fragile balance threatened to unravel at the end of World War II when tensions flared between the Soviet Union and Turkey, as the Soviet Union pressed Turkey to renegotiate the Montreux Convention so that the Soviets could share control over the Bosporus and Dardanelles with Turkey. Known as the Turkish Straits crisis, the Soviet Union increased its Black Sea military presence and pressed the Turkish government to accept its demand for military bases on Turkish soil.

In an attempt to shield itself from Soviet pressure, Turkey sought help from the United States, which responded by sending U. Although the Soviet Union eventually backed down, the incident was one catalyst for the Truman Doctrine, which sought to contain a growing Soviet threat in the Mediterranean by anchoring both Turkey and Greece as members of NATO by From on, Turkey allowed Soviet aircraft carriers built in Ukraine Kiev-class, then Kuznetsov-class to pass through the straits.

Despite this policy success, an uneasy relationship continued between Ukraine and Russia over the strategic Crimean peninsula. Russia retained military infrastructure, notably a base in Sevastopol that was necessary to the operation of the Black Sea Fleet. At the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there were , Russian personnel, 60, service members, and vessels, including 28 submarines , which were effectively used to pressure Kyiv regarding the legal status of Sevastopol City and its critical infrastructure.

Moscow, whose move was also driven by a nationalistic fervor for Crimea, was able to effectively use its lasting political ties with Crimean officials Crimea retained autonomy and its own constitution until to increase pressure on Kyiv. In , the Ukraine-Russia Friendship Treaty split the Soviet Black Sea Fleet between Russia 81 percent and Ukraine 19 percent and allowed Russia, in exchange for the cancellation of most of the Ukrainian debt and concessionary energy prices, to lease the Sevastopol base for 20 years, a term extended until in Although Russia maintained the perception that its former Soviet Republics—and the Black Sea area—belonged to its natural sphere of influence, it lacked the political, economic, and military power to fully impose its will.

Russia viewed these events as NATO encroachment into its traditional sphere of influence and took measures to reestablish its influence and enhance its military presence in the Black Sea. Fairfield, Ohio, United States.

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