Russia under Catherine
Foreign Policy
18th Century Russia
the Southern Frontier

The Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774

A.) The Diplomatic Pre-History of the War

French diplomacy promoted anti-Russian sentiment at the court in Istanbul. Some of Tsarina Catherine II.'s advisers advocated an aggressive policy versus the Ottoman Empire, wanted to induce the Slav and Greek population on the Balkan peninsula to revolt. Catherine's political aims were to separate the Crimea, Moldavia and Wallachia from the Ottoman Empire, as independent states, i.e. Russian satellites.
In 1768 the Russian emissary to Istanbul was arrested and war declared.

B.) The Military Course of Events

A Russian army under the command of Count Peter Rumantsiev took Bucharest and drove the Turks across the Danube. In the NAVAL BATTLE AT CHESME (Scio) the Ottoman fleet was annihilated on June 26th 1770. In 1771 the Russians conquered BENDER and the CRIMEA. The Russian fleet defeated a Turkish fleet at PATRAS (Greece) on October 28th 1772 and took the city; the Russians even took the citadel at BEYRUT (Lebanon) in July 1773.
An armistice was signed in 1772; peace negotiations dragged on, the delay in part caused by the death of the Sultan. Only when an army under General Suvorov crossed the Danube, marching on Istanbul, the new Sultan was willing to sign peace.

C.) The Legacy

In 1774 the PEACE OF KUCHUK-KAINARJI was signed. The Crimea was declared an independent Khanate. Russia annexed lands to the north of the Crimea, as well as KERCH which controlled the exit of the Sea of Asov. Black Sea navigation was opened to all nations, and free passage was granted through the straits. The Ottoman Empire had to pay an indemnity of 4,5 million roubles.
Peace did not last long; in 1783 Russia annexed the Crimea; in 1787-1788 Russia fought another war with the Ottoman Empire. In 1812 Russian troops occupied Moldavia and Wallachia.
The apparent military weakness of the Ottoman Empire was all too inviting for Russian rulers seeking to expand their territory.

Catherine and Pugachev, by G. Rempel
Chronology. Three ages of Russian Navy. from Russian Navy Website
Glorious Pleiad of Russian admirals, scroll down to Grigory Andeevich Spiridov and Samuel Karlovich Graig (= Samuel Craig)
The foundation of Sevastopol, from
Chesma and Patras, from History of the Russian Navy
REFERENCE Melvin K. Wren, The Course of Russian History, Prospect Heights 1994 : Catherine's Wars with Turkey, pp.193-195

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 19th 2004

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