The Geopolitical Origins of the Crimean War (1853-1856) and the Secret Russian-Iranian Negotiations

Nugzar K. Ter-Oganov.

Abstract. The Crimean War of 1853-1856 is regarded as one of the bloodiest wars in the history of XIX century. Many authors dedicated their research for studying the military and political backgrounds of the Crimean War. It is notable that according to the Western (mainly, the British) historical tradition, as well as to the Soviet historiography, based on the Marxist ideology, the only person who was solely responsible for the origin of the Crimean War was the Russian Emperor Nicolai I. Nevertheless, as it becomes clear from the short analyses of the political situation in Europe in the prewar period, the clash of geopolitical interests of the leading European Empires, including France, and Ottoman Empire from one side, with the Russian Empire from another, eventually laid down the grounds for war. For the purpose to guarantee safety on the Russian-Iranian border and at the same time to avoid rendering any possible military support to Ottoman Empire by Qajar Iran, Russia offered the Iranian authorities to conclude a military alliance. The Russian-Iranian diplomatic negotiations, started in May 1853, led to the signing in Tehran, in September 1854 of the secret “Convention of Neutrality”, according to which Iran declared the non-interference policy in the Crimean War. As a reward for the signing of that convention Russia promised Iran not to recover the last payment of the known contribution, equal to a half million tumans, which Iran had to pay to Russia.

Keywords: The Crimean War of 1853-1856, the Status of the Black Sea, the Straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles, the Paris Treaty of 1856, the Russian-Iranian Secret Negotiations in 1853-1854, the Iranian Convention of Neutrality of 1854.