Sovětská zahraniční politika a Osmanská říše na přelomu let 1917 a 1918
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SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY AND THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE TOWARD THE END OF 1917 AND IN EARLY 1918
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The issue of relationships between the newly founded Soviet Russia and the declining Ottoman Empire during the final stage of World War I is one the blank spaces on the margins of an otherwise well-discussed topic. Negligible interest in this topic is primarily caused by the fact that this was a relatively short and relatively unimportant episode set against the background of much more significant events. In the period from November 1917 to March 1918 the policy of Soviet Russia towards the Ottoman Empire represented part of a more general problem – namely Soviet policy towards the Four Central Powers. At the beginning of the period under research Soviet Russia was at war with the Ottoman Empire. The Soviet Government therefore considered the conclusion of peace to be its principal problem of policy towards the Ottoman Empire. It was to give Russia space to disseminate revolutionary ideas amongst the Ottoman population. In case these ideas fell onto fertile ground, a revolutionary uprising in the Ottoman Empire (envisaged naturally as one of a generally democratic and anti-imperialist nature, albeit not a proletarian revolution) could contribute to the weakening of the European powers and thus to the final victory of a proletarian revolution in the developed countries of Europe and America. High expectations and hopes placed on proclamations and peace offers, intentionally targeted to promote revolutionary potential in the countries of the Central Powers (and not merely within them), did not, however, come to fruition in the case of the Ottoman Empire, nor in the case of their allies. Revolutions did not materialise in the above mentioned countries in the period under research. Therefore, during truce talks, which took place shortly after Soviet offers of peace, the Soviet side attempted to ensure favourable conditions for the spread of its propaganda, especially among the troops of the Central Powers. The questions of a peace settlement between Soviet Russia and the Ottoman Empire became a matter of peripheral importance during the Brest-Litovsk peace talks, which followed. Nevertheless, Soviet foreign policy had to deal with three main problems in her relationship to the Ottoman Empire: 1) the fate of Eastern Anatolia and especially the question of the Armenians there, 2)the recognition of the independence of Persia and the withdrawal of both Ottoman and Soviet troops from there and 3) the question of Ottoman territorial demands in South Caucasus. However, Soviet foreign policy in all these three areas conflicted with the entirely opposing Ottoman views on a future settlement of the above mentioned problems. It was the irony of fate that both countries evoked the idea of national self-determination in order to promote their own demands, yet each of them envisaged its realization in completely different terms. With a view to the overall results of peace talks the Soviet Government failed, at the end, to have her own demands incorporated in the peace treaty. Similar to her situation with Germany and Austria-Hungary, Soviet Russia incurred territorial losses in the case of the Ottoman Empire, also. Thus, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk came to embody, to a greater degree, the failure of Soviet foreign policy towards the Ottoman Empire.
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